Northern Policy Institute
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November 2016

North by the Numbers

A visual take on Northern Ontario data


What surfaced as the primary predictor of who would become a high cost healthcare user, looking 5 years forward? Food insecurity. So, if you cared about nothing else, there's a dollar value to dealing with food insecurity because it's so tightly associated with health and healthcare costs. Our single best predictor of who is food insecure is income

--- Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, presenter at Northern Policy Institute's recent conference in Sudbury on basic income guarantee.

New In October

Your monthly update on the work of Northern Policy Institute

Recommendations: Health Care Priorities in Northern Ontario Indigenous Communities - A new briefing note released by Northern Policy Institute, Health Care Priorities in Northern Ontario Indigenous Communities, by John Dabous, Julie Duff Cloutier, Nichola Hoffman and Kristen Morin, emphasizes how improved access and integration of culturally safe services can tackle the serious health care disparities that continue to exist in the north. In light of findings presented in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the authors set out to address issues related to sub-par health care delivery, including those identified nine years ago in a writing campaign by Dr. Murray Trusler, a family physician who provided health care services in the remote community of Sioux Lookout.
Read the full Briefing Note here.


BIG Conference 2016 - Our recent conference October 5-6, 2016 on a basic income guarantee posed some key discussion questions on what a BIG policy could look like and how it would be implemented in Ontario. If you participated at the conference or not, there is still time to share your ideas. The deadline to complete our response forms and share your ideas is Friday November 11, 2016.
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News in the North

The latest headlines from communities across Northern Ontario

Safe drinking water on First Nations gets $4M boost from federal government: More than a dozen First Nations in northern Ontario can participate in an innovative Indigenous-led solution to drinking water problems in remote communities thanks to an investment from the federal government. Read the full story.

North may get two more ridings: The proposed far North Electoral Boundaries Commission could recommend increasing the number of seats from the North to 12 or 13 by splitting Ontario's two northernmost ridings. Read the full story.

New school opens in Pikangikum First Nation nearly a decade after old one burned down: Kids in a remote First Nation in northern Ontario are attending classes in a proper school building for the first time in nearly a decade. Read the full story.

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Success Stories

Individuals and organizations helping to grow the North

Clean Scene Inc. 

Founded in 1961, Clean Scene Inc. is a commercial dry cleaner and laundromat that has been serving local communities in Northeastern Ontario and Western Quebec for over 5 decades. The business is owned by Darcy and Kelly Griffith, who moved to New Liskeard after 20-year careers in Southern Ontario. Griffith’s family had a cottage in South River when he was growing up, where he spent summers and holidays. He says Northern Ontario “became home,” and that it took just 2 days of seeing wonderful scenery and the beautiful town of New Liskeard for his wife to fall in love with the area, too.

Clean Scene Inc. is proud to offer dry cleaning and linen, uniform, and floor mat rentals to clients, as well as a professional tailoring service and laundromat.

As a member of the Ontario Fabricare Association, Drycleaning and Laundry Institute International, and the Temiskaming Shores and Area Chamber of Commerce, Clean Scene Inc. is committed to providing quality service to their clients and furthering the local economy. Never one to sit still, Darcy Griffith has also been President of the Temiskaming Shores Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors for the past 3 years and recently spearheaded a fundraising campaign to have 3 Syrian refugee families settle in the City of Temiskaming Shores.

When asked about business in Northern Ontario, Mr. Griffith had this to sa
“You can have an impact if you want to get out and do it. Northern Ontario is no different than anywhere else in the world – you get out what you put in – isolation is a choice, not a geographical reality.”

Learn more about Clean Scene Inc. on their website.
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Northern Community Spotlight

This month's featured profiles of Northern Ontario communities

Census District: Thunder Bay
Population: 942
Population Density: 15/km²
Number of Private Dwellings: 472
Median Age: 47.8
Employment Rate: 42.3%
Participation Rate: 51.3%
Unemployment Rate: 17.5%
Major Employment Industries:

  • Healthcare and social assistance - 14%
  • Public administration - 12%
  • Accommodation and food service - 12%
  • Educational services - 9%

Red Rock sits on the shore of Lake Superior, about 10 miles west of the Nipigon River. During the Second World War, a prisoner of war camp was established in this location, housing German prisoners. The Red Rock Folk Festival, held by the Live From the Rock Folk & Blues Society, is held each year.


Census District: Thunder Bay
Population: 182
Population Density: 441.6/km²
Number of Private Dwellings: 83
Median Age: 28.2
Employment Rate: 39.3%
Participation Rate: 60.7%
Major Employment Industries:

  • Public Administration - 50%
  • Health care and social assistance - 14%
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting - 14%


Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek (Rocky Bay First Nation) is an Ojibway community of 182 residents in Northwestern Ontario, located on the southwest shores of beautiful Lake Nipigon. Rocky Bay First Nation is serviced by the Nokiiwin Tribal Council.

*Based on 2011 Census and NHS data

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Jobs North

Employment and training opportunities in Northern Ontario

Job Vacancies and Wages - Northwest Ontario
In the first quarter of 2016 there were 2,185 vacant positions in Northwest Ontario, up by 90 vacancies from the quarter prior. Of these vacancies, 31,4% of vacancies are in sales and service occupations, followed by trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (25,9%), occupations in education, law and social, community and government services (13,3%), business, finance and administration occupations (8,0 %) and health occupations (7,6%). The highest average offered hourly wage by occupational category was in occupations in manufacturing and utilities ($30.40), followed by natural resources agriculture and related production occupations ($26.70), transport and equipment operators and related occupations ($25.45).


Monthly Polls

Your opinion can help direct Northern Policy Institute's research


Last Month's Poll Results

NPI recently hosted a conference to explore the potential social and economic impacts of a basic income guarantee in Ontario. Do you think a basic income guarantee is a good idea?

This Month's Poll

Will you adjust the heat settings in your home this winter due to Hydro costs?

Sneak Peek

Get an exclusive preview of our upcoming projects and publications

After the Healing:

An excerpt from an upcoming Northern Policy Institute paper

[…] Public inquests and police investigations tend to focus on tragic outcomes rather than shed light on signs of success in First Nations education. When looking for future policy direction, it is wise to go to the source, tapping into the hopes and aspirations of the rising generation of First Nations youth. In the case of the Nishnawbe Aski First Nations, the February 2014 Feathers of Hope report provides a far more productive route forward. Funded by the Ontario Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, that report was generated out of meetings held in 2013 involving more than 160 Aboriginal youth from 64 different communities. It took a much broader perspective, centred on shedding the legacy of residential schools, but exploring youth concerns such as cultural survival, youth suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and physical and mental health (Ontario Child Youth Advocate 2014).”

Excerpt from the upcoming paper, After the Healing: Safeguarding Northern Nishnawbe First Nations High School Education, by Paul W. Bennett, with research assistance from Rick Garrick


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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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