Northern Policy Institute
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North by the Numbers

A visual take on Northern Ontario data

Nonetheless, many of the District School Boards we contacted in relation to this paper estimate that their student body is fast approaching 50 percent First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI). Such estimates are echoed in recent research that reports that an average of 46 percent of the students attending seven schools in Thunder Bay were FNMI.

--- John A. Hodson and Julian Kitchen, authors of A Strategy for Change: Supporting Teachers and Improving First Nations, Métis, and Inuit School Success in Provincially Funded Northwestern Ontario Schools

New In September

Your monthly update on the work of Northern Policy Institute

A Strategy for Change: The latest report published by Northern Policy Institute, A Strategy for Change: Supporting Teachers and Improving First Nations, Métis, and Inuit School Success in Provincially Funded Northernwestern Ontario Schools, by Dr. John Hodson and Dr. Julian Kitchen, proposes a new program to help First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students in the north achieve success in the classroom.
Read the full Research Report here.

North by Numbers: Northern Policy Institute, North Superior Workforce Planning Board, and the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre are pleased to launch, an interactive data tool that displays Northern Ontario census data from between 2001 and 2011. Visit to get started!

Breakfast with Champions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce will be hosting Breakfast with Champions - Post Election: What Now? on Wednesday, November 4th. The event will consist of a three tiered panel discussion on the results of this historical election, including a presentation by Charles Cirtwill, President & CEO of Northern Policy Institute. Find out more and sign up here.
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News in the North

The latest headlines from communities across Northern Ontario

School ‘just a piece of the puzzle’, says FNMI grad coach: An initiative designed to close the achievement gap between self-identified First Nations students and the rest of the student body is showing some positive results after a year at Dryden High School. Read the full story.

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day Congratulates Batchewana First Nation’s Completion of the Bow Lake Wind Facility Project: Chief Isadore Day states that the Bow Lake Wind Facility, located 80 kms northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, represents "the future path of First Nation partnership and ownership in supplying clean energy to Ontario, Canada, and North America."  Read the full story.

Sault Gets Cultural Tourism Funding: The province is providing $60,000 in tourism funding so organizations in Sault Ste. Marie can enhance their programming around the Group of Seven artists.
Read the full story.
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Success Stories

Individuals and organizations helping to grow the North

Agawa Indian Crafts
Located on scenic Pancake Bay, Agawa Indian Crafts is a successful Northern Ontario gift store offering a wide variety of authentic Aboriginal artwork and crafts. Everything found on the store's shelves is meticulously handcrafted and sourced from Canadian Aboriginal craft co-operatives, with products ranging from jewelry to home decor.

Open from May to October each year since 1972, Agawa Crafts and its adjacent sister store The Canadian Carver function as a major tourist attraction with thousands of visitors each year. Their convenient location off of Highway 17 makes them an ideal stop for travelers looking for a chance to stretch their legs.

The success of Agawa Crafts has been recognized by the Globe and Mail, calling it "a virtual treasure trove of gifts for the entire family." Agawa Crafts is undoubtedly a strong example of a successful Northern Ontario business, proudly representing the region's rich culture and history. 

Learn more about Agawa Indian Crafts and The Canadian Carver here.
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Northern Community Spotlight

This month's featured profiles of Northern Ontario communities


Featured Municipality

Census District: Algoma
Population: 1,279
Population Density: 292.4/km²
Number of Private Dwellings: 594
Median Age: 51.2
Employment Rate: 38.2%
Participation Rate: 46.1%
Major Employment Industries: Retail trade; Health care and social assistance; Construction; Public administration; Manufacturing
Located on the north shore of Lake Huron, Thessalon serves as a popular retirement community, with beautiful landscapes and a variety of recreational facilities. Visitors can partake in an array of seasonal sports and leisure activities, including baseball, tennis, skiing, and even BMX racing, or explore the area's many hiking trails. Thessalon also features a large scenic marina, where fishermen can find northwater salmon and bass.

Metachewan First Nation

Featured First Nation

Census District: Timiskaming
Population: 83
Population Density: 2.5/km²
Number of Private Dwellings: 35
Median Age: 39.5
Employment Rate: 53.8%
Participation Rate: 53.8%
Major Employment Industries: Mining, quarrying, and gas extraction; Public administration
Matachewan First Nation is situated in the heart of a large Northeastern Ontario mining area. The First Nation takes an active role in the mining of various previous metals, including gold, making mining its largest employment industry. Matachewan First Nation has also established the Matachewan Aboriginal Access to mining jobs Training Strategy (MAATS) with cooperation from the Federal and Provincial Governments, Northgate Minerals Corp. and Wabun First Nations. This training initiative aims to prepare community members for future careers in mining and resource development.

*Based on 2011 Census and NHS data

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Jobs North

Employment and training opportunities in Northern Ontario

What is fantastic about Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) data is that we can allocate vacancies to specific occupations. Zooming in on the Northeast, we see that the majority of the 6,390 jobs that are vacant are in sales and service occupations (56%), followed by trades, transport and equipment operators (19%) and health occupations (8%) [Figure 1]. See Table 1 for a breakdown of more specific occupations within these categories.
Figure 1. Vacant occupations in Northeast Ontario, 2015 Q1
Table 1. Breaking down the vacant occupations in Northeastern Ontario, 2015 Q1
Sales and Service Trades, Transport & Equip. Op. Health occupations
Occupation # of vacancies Occupation # of vacancies Occupation # of vacancies
Sales support occupations 960 Transport and heavy equipment operation and related maintenance occupations 360 Assisting occupations (dental, nurse aides, etc.) 125
Sales representatives and salespersons - wholesale and retail trade 510 Maintenance and equipment operation trades 230 Professional occupations in nursing 95
Service representatives and other customer and personal services occupations 500 Industrial, electrical and construction trades 205 Technical occupations in health 95
Service support and other service occupations, n.e.c. 465

Monthly Polls

Your opinion can help direct Northern Policy Institute's research

Last Month's Poll Results

Out of the following options which one would you choose as our first priority?

  1. Encourage more Canadian students to study here and stay after graduation  37.9%
  2. Encourage more international students to study here and stay after graduation  31.0%
  3. Aggressively pursue immigrants from the rest of Canada  17.2%
  4. Aggressively pursue new international immigrants  10.3%
  5. Encourage people to have more children  3.4%

This Month's Poll

People choose to stay and live in Northern Ontario for many reasons. What is yours?

Sneak Peek

Get an exclusive preview of our upcoming projects and publications

Bringing Higher Education to Northern Communities:

An excerpt from an upcoming Northern Policy Institute paper

[…] One of the most pressing issues in Northern Ontario remains that of infrastructure. Bringing higher education to northern communities through brick and mortar is one possibility but increasing accessibility to postsecondary opportunities throughout the region will require continued focus on infrastructure investment and development. Aside from taking an “if you build it, they will come” approach, there still needs to emphasis on investing into current infrastructure, particularly connectivity in more northerly areas. Improving digital and communications infrastructure will not only facilitate economic development but at an educational level it will improve the learning environments for students and teachers and provide them with the tools to teach for the future. […]

Excerpt from the upcoming paper, Making the Grade?: An Observation of Education and Employment Trends in Northern Ontario, by Mike Commito.

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Northern Policy Institute is Northern Ontario's independent think tank.  We develop and promote research, evidence and policy opportunities to support the growth of sustainable northern Ontario communities.  

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