Northern Policy Institute
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Our Mission

To develop and promote proactive, evidence-based and purpose driven policy options that deepen understanding about the unique challenges and opportunities of Northern Ontario and advance the sustainable development and long-term prosperity of Northern Ontario.

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Recent News

This Month

Northern Policy Institute releases infrastructure map for the Ring of Fire: On February 19, Northern Policy Institute published a map that highlights proposed transportation infrastructure for the Ring of Fire region. The map was created by Northern Policy Institute researcher, Julien Bonin. The proposed transportation infrastructure highlighted in the map includes a James Bay Seaport, the Noront East-West Road, the KWG East-West Road, the Cliffs North-South Road, the First Nation Spur Road, the KWG North-South Railway, and the TGR Railway-Road.

The map was featured in a presentation by Northern Policy Institute’s Rick Millette, Senior Executive Director: Ring of Fire, at the Ontario Good Roads Association/Rural Ontario Municipal Association Combined Conference in Toronto on February 24. Millette’s presentation focused on proposed access routes to the Ring of Fire that are highlighted on the map and the economic and social gains that could result. To see Millette’s full presentation, click here.

You can view the Ring of Fire Transportation Infrastructure Map on our website.

On February 25, Northern Policy Institute co-hosted a discussion meeting along with the Waubetek Business Development Corporation in Sudbury to explore the Federal Economic Agenda for Ontario. Over 20 people participated in the meeting, including Glen Hare, Deputy Grand Council Chief of the Anishinawbek Nation. The meeting was part of the discussion process to include a Northern perspective in a Federal Economic Agenda for Ontario, which will be released in the spring of 2015 before the federal election in the fall. You can read the original discussion paper here.


Northern Policy Institute welcomes new volunteers: Northern Policy Institute is pleased to welcome several new volunteers who will be joining the Research Advisory Board and the Advisory Council. The Research Advisory Board is welcoming Dr. Lindsay Tedds, an associate professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, Dr. Robert Campbell, the President of Mount Allison University, and Leata Ann Rigg, faculty member of Health Sciences at Northern College. Full backgrounds of the new members of the Research Advisory Board can be found on our website.

Joining the Advisory Council are Kathryn Poling, former mayor of Sioux Lookout, John Fior, CAO for the Municipality of East Ferris, Ron Garbutt, a councillor with the Municipality of French River, and Frank Kallonen, president and CEO of the Greater Sudbury Utilities Group. Full backgrounds of the new members of the Advisory Council can also be found on our website.  

Northern Policy Institute is pleased to welcome our new volunteers who will be joining an existing team of prominent Canadians. The Advisory Council is a group of committed individuals interested in supporting, but not directing, the work of Northern Policy Institute. Leaders in their fields, they provide advice on potential researchers or points of contact in the wider community. The Advisory Council is comprised of 15 members, one from each district, (two from Sudbury and Thunder Bay), and three from inside Northern Ontario. Currently, there are still vacancies in the Sudbury district, Timiskaming, Algoma, Cochrane, Manitoulin, and Rainy River.

The Research Advisory Board is a group of academic researchers who provide guidance and input on potential research directions, potential authors, and draft studies and commentaries. The Research Advisory Board has 12 members, four from Northern universities, four from northern colleges, and four from outside the North. Currently, there are two vacancies, one for a professor from a Northern college and one for a professor from outside Northern Ontario. For a complete list of all our volunteers, click here.  

In the Media: An op-ed written by Paul Bennett, Fellow in Education Policy with Northern Policy Institute, appeared in the Parry Sound North Star on February 20 and the North Bay Nugget. The op-ed, A ‘dollars and sense’ alternative – Community hub schools,’ discusses the issue of school closures in Ontario and whether or not closing schools actually saves education dollars. Bennett suggests that the hub school model open the door for school and community revitalization. You can read the full op-ed here.


What’s Next?

Events: On March 5 and 6, Paul Bennett, Fellow in Education Policy with Northern Policy Institute, will be participating in the opening panel at the Chiefs of Ontario Education Conference. The conference, Our Children, Our Future, Our Vision, will be held in Toronto. Bennett will be participating in a panel discussing recent reports on First Nations education, including his report written with Jonathan Anuik and published by Northern Policy Institute in September, 2014, Picking Up the Pieces: A Community School-Based Approach to First Nations Education Renewal.

On Sunday, March 8, Northern Policy Institute President and CEO, Charles Cirtwill, will be a guest on the TVO program, The Agenda with Steve Paikin. The Agenda will be taping two episodes in Thunder Bay on March 7 and 8 focusing on the resource economy in Northwestern Ontario. Cirtwill will be discussing the importance of resources to the Northwest, including energy and infrastructure needs. Taping begins at 12:45PM on Sunday, March 8 at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.

Summer 2015 Internship Program: Northern Policy is excited to be offering several internship positions this summer in locations throughout Northern Ontario. There is one communications and one public relations internship available in our Thunder Bay office, and policy internships available in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, and Dryden. This is a great opportunity to make a difference in Northern Ontario, learn about Northern issues, and be part of a dedicated team at Northern Ontario’s very own independent think tank. The deadline for applications is March 13, 2015. Internships start on May 4, 2015 and end on August 28, 2015. For more information on the internships available and how to apply, visit our Employment Opportunities page.

Featured Blog

This month’s featured blog was written by Cheryl Reid, Policy Analyst. Cheryl’s latest blog examines co-operative housing in Canada. In Preserving Co-op Housing: Proposing Concrete Action, Cheryl argues that proactive policy changes must be constructed in order to preserve co-op housing programs in Canada.

“Most were established in the 1990’s for 20 or 30 year terms. These subsidies expire when each co-op building’s mortgage expires. When the federal government entered into this arrangement it was the most cost effective avenue to take: they could create affordable housing that works without actually having to run it. It was clear that this arrangement would come to an end one day, the question is – is anyone prepared for what comes next?”

Click here to read the full blog.


Getting to Know Us

Advisory Council - Brian Davey:
Brian Davey is currently the executive director of the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund. Previously, he has served as the Manager for Economic Development with the Matawa First Nations Tribal Council. From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Davey was the managing partner of First Nations Equity, a financial advisory/management-consulting firm. Mr. Davey served as the CEO of the Aboriginal Economic Renewal Secretariat based in Toronto, a Secretariat responsible for facilitating and developing business partnerships between industry and Aboriginal business. From 1991 to 1997, he was a Deputy Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. He has worked over 28 years on First Nation issues mostly related to economic and business development and has been a Director of Zenyatta Ventures Ltd since November 24, 2009.

The Advisory Council is a group of committed individuals interested in supporting, but not directing, the work of Northern Policy Institute. Leaders in their fields, they provide guidance and input on strategic direction, communication, potential researchers or points of contact in the wider community. To learn more about other members of the Advisory Council, click here.


Get Involved

Northern Policy Institute depends on effectively engaging with policymakers and the general public. There are lots of ways for you to get involved: 
Send all applications, comments, and questions to
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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