2018 SOTN Report


2018 State of the North Conference Report - How Taxation can Support Growth – Discussion Summaries

November 14,  2019 |  Alex Ross

In September 2018, Northern Policy Institute held its second annual State of the North conference in North Bay, Ontario. This event drew a wide range of participants from across Northern Ontario, including community partners, planning boards, federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government, Indigenous leaders, policymakers, and the general public. 

The topic of last year’s conference was “How Taxation can Support Growth,” and it included an examination of and discussions about the use of tax incentives, special economic zones, and changing tax systems to better grow regional economies. Speakers included notable experts such as Dr. Jack Mintz, the President’s Fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, who led the capstone discussion, and Mikko Annala, the Head of Governance Innovation at Demos Helsinki in Finland. The first panel, a discussion of specific tax ideas and experiments, included Kevin Milligan from the Vancouver School of Economics, Toby Sanger, the Senior Economist with CUPE, and Fred O’Riordan with Ernst & Young LLP. The second panel focused on Indigenous taxation and profit-sharing, with Chief Commissioner Manny Jules from the First Nations Tax Commission and Dwayne Nashkawa, the CEO of Nipissing First Nation. Like the previous year, the conference kicked off with a presentation on the state of Ontario’s northern regions from NPI’s CEO Charles Cirtwill.  

After each panel discussion, presentation, and capstone speaker, the audience was given an opportunity to participate in a series of table discussions. Each table had between eight and 10 participants, including a notetaker, and Chatham House Rules were applied to all discussions in that no individual participant was identified in the notes of the discussion, but all understood that their replies were subject to public disclosure.

The purpose of this report is to create a compilation of the conference discussion results, with key points highlighted from each topic. NPI views the content of these discussions as invaluable for both policymakers and researchers in Northern Ontario. 


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