Northern Policy Institute
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September 2016
North by Numbers
A visual take on Northern Ontario

Expanding the cattle herd could be a boon for the agricultural industry in the Northeast, but there is also much potential for the Northwest. In fact, in 2011, the Rainy River District had the most cattle and calves in the region, accounting for nearly a quarter of all bovine in Northern Ontario (see chart below). As a result, expansion could benefit districts in the Northwest, particularly those that are not currently agriculturally diverse, such as Kenora.

--- Mike Commito, author of Where's the Beef? Weighing Cattle Herd Expansion in Northern Ontario

New In August

Your monthly update on the work of Northern Policy Institute

Labour Market Alignment: Education in the North: In his new blog, NPI policy intern Jarrod Sundmark discusses Northern Ontario's need for more skilled trades people to fill vacant positions. He suggests this shortage has to do with a major misconception surrounding skilled trades education in Ontario, namely that these fields are thought of as inferior to university programming. Read the full blog here
True North: How "Northern" is Northern Ontario?: Dr. Mike Commito argues that how a region is defined or perceived has serious impacts on how we approach issues and ultimately make policy decisions. The concept of nordicity was developed in the 1970s as a measurement tool to assess the northernness of a community. Read the full commentary here
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News in the North

The latest headlines from communities across Northern Ontario

Trudeau admits challenges ahead as Liberal ministers wrap up retreat: The Prime Minister wrapped up a two-day cabinet retreat in Sudbury, praising his government's accomplishments but admitting there is more work ahead of them than behind. Read the full story.

Attawapiskat chief wants to honour Gord Downie in person on northern First Nation: The Tragically Hip frontman took a moment between songs during his final concert to talk about Canada's history of neglect and mistreatment of northern First Nations. Downie's words struck a chord with Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Bruce Shisheesh. Read the full story.

Train found at bottom of Lake Superior, 106 years after derailment: The final resting place of a train that derailed more than 100 years ago near Schreiber, Ont. has been discovered. The train derailed on June 9, 1910 near Mink Harbour and dropped 20 metres to Lake Superior, and 60 more metres to the bottom of the lake. Read the full story.
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Success Stories

Individuals and organizations helping to grow the North

La Luna Café & Bakery - Nipigon, ON
La Luna Café & Bakery is located in the heart of beautiful downtown Nipigon and is owned by Caitlin Brown, of Edmonton, and Dan Howells, of Ignace. The couple met in Thunder Bay and were brought to Nipigon with the idea of opening a sandwich shop to cater to the bridge and road construction workers. They soon discovered an old, spacious building in downtown Nipigon that "had the potential to be so much more than a sandwich shop," Brown said. They purchased the building that would blossom into La Luna Café. The café opened its doors in August 2015 and is celebrating its one year anniversary this year.

"As we did market research, we realized that Nipigon could really benefit from a restaurant with healthy, wholesome cooked food, as well as place to hang out, listen to music, play board games or just catch up," Brown said.

La Luna infuses their menu with local ingredients like Thunder Bay's Wolfhead Coffee, tea from International House of Tea, along with produce from Sleepy G farms in Pass Lake.

The best thing about owning a café in Nipigon is the people and landscape," Brown said. "Everyone in Nipigon has been very welcoming and you can't walk down the street without saying hello to half a dozen people."

La Luna's gourmet sandwiches, seasonal salads, and fresh bread baked in-house is enough to make anyone come back for more. For those passing through Nipigon or stopping for the night, eating at the café is a must.

Check out La Luna's menu here and their Facebook page for daily specials.

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Northern Community Spotlight

This month's featured profiles of Northern Ontario communities

Census District: Rainy River
Population: 563
Population Density: 1.7/km²
Number of Private Dwellings: 307
Median Age: 47.8
Employment Rate: 58.3%
Participation Rate: 60.4%
Unemployment Rate: 0%
Major Employment Industries:
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting - 33%
  • Healthcare and social assistance - 7%
  • Transportation and warehousing - 5%

Dawson is a township located in the Rainy River District at the mouth of the Rainy River where it flows into Lake of the Woods. The township was formed on January 1, 1997 when the former townships of Atwood, Blue, Dike, and Worthington were amalgamated.
Census District: Parry Sound
Population: 213
Population Density: 6.6/km²
Number of Private Dwellings: 96
Median Age: 33.2
Employment Rate: 50%
Participation Rate: 62.5%
Unemployment Rate: 15%
Major Employment Industries:
  • Public administration - 28%
  • Construction - 22%
  • Retail trade - 11%
  • Healthcare and social assistance - 11%
  • Accommodations and food services - 11% 
Shawanaga 17 First Nation  is located 30 kilometres northwest of Parry Sound. The community has year-round road access from Highway 69. Shawanaga First Nation belongs to the larger Anishnabek Nation, compromised of Algonquin, Saulteaux, Anishnabe, Odawa, Chippewa, and several other groups. Each summer, Shawanaga hosts a Pow Wow and community festivities, which has been an annual event for the past 17 years.
*Based on 2011 Census and NHS data
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Jobs North

Employment and training opportunities in Northern Ontario


In the fourth quarter of 2015 there were 2,095 vacant positions in Northwestern Ontario, down by 670 vacancies from the quarter prior. Of these vacancies, 43% of vacancies are in sales and service occupations, followed by trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (16%). occupations in education, law and social, community and government services (12%), health occupations (10%) and business, finance and administration occupation (8%). The highest average offered hourly wage by occupational category was in management occupations ($25.25) followed by health occupations ($26.05) and trades, transport and equipment operators and realted occupations ($25.95).

Monthly Polls

Your opinion can help direct Northern Policy Institute's research

Last Month's Poll Results

Will your family be better or worse off now that the government has introduced the new Canada Child Benefit?


This Month's Poll

Now that summer is almost over, how important were community festivals to your summer plans?

Sneak Peek

Get an exclusive preview of our upcoming projects and publications

Governance in Northern Ontario:

An excerpt from an upcoming Northern Policy Institute paper

[…] Developed regional governments, which cover much of Southern Ontario, are absent in the North, with the possible exception of the City of Greater Sudbury, the successor to the Regional Municipality of Sudbury.
Instead, Northern Ontario is divided into districts, although the Association of Municipalities of Ontario says these “do not serve any municipal purpose” (AMO 2016). In Southern Ontario, regional governments have had the additional benefit of reducing long-standing and counterproductive rivalries among communities. Hespeler, Cambridge, and Kitchener, for example, were constant rivals before regional governance was introduced.. […]

Excerpt from the upcoming paper, Governance in Northern Ontario: Taking Ownership of the Future, by David MacKinnon

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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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