Applications are now closed! Please view our career page for more information on the available opportunities. 


About Experience North

Every summer, Northern Policy Institute makes available up to ten four-month placements across Northern Ontario. Usually housed with a partner organization in one of Ontario’s Central, Western or Northern Regions, the placements learn first-hand about the cut and thrust of public policy debate, building human capital and experience in the North. In 2020, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Experience North Summer Placements worked remotely from home. This may occur again in 2021, depending on the advice and direction of provincial and regional health authorities at that time.

Experience North 2020 Placements

Abby Shillinglaw


Abby Shillinglaw grew up in New Liskeard, ON, and is very happy that she can call Northern Ontario her home. Growing up, Abby helped support her community by contributing many hours to fundraisers and events, as a dancer and instructor at a local studio. Being a resident of Northern Ontario, Abby will be able to contribute a unique perspective and specific knowledge of the area to her NPI work. She has completed the first 3 years of her undergraduate B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Environmental Science at Queen's University and hopes to return back home to the North after she graduates. Abby is passionate about the environment, conservation, and social environmental justice issues which are paths she plans pursue in the future. In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors, being active, and hanging out with her friends and family. She is looking forward to her 2020 summer placement with NPI.

Abby is a Research Analyst working on Post-Secondary and Indirect Learners


Even online you can be green and buy local


Andrew Jalak


Andrew will be entering his third year of study at Wilfrid Laurier University, with a focus of communications studies in Waterloo Ontario. Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, Andrew has developed a great knowledge of Northern Ontario and the beauty this fine land has to offer, through opportunities and travels over his 20 years. Andrew’s thirst for travel has not held him within our rocky mountains, but to many places across the world, some of his favourites being’ Paris, Liverpool, London and Portrush in Northern Ireland. Not only is Andrew an avid traveler, but he is also very into sports, both as a participant and spectator. Growing up playing hockey, much like many Canadians, this is his sport of choice, still playing at the recreation level at Wilfrid Laurier. As a fan his favourite team is the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. His love for sports does not just end there, he also enjoys watching the Toronto Raptors of the NBA, and also playing golf. During the summer months, you can find Andrew spending time out at camp with his family, friends and of course his chocolate Labrador, Dolce.

Andrew is a Communications Officer



Tourism: Looking forward to seeing fellow Ontarians this summer. 

Communities Banding Together in Times of Uncertainty – Part 1

Communities Banding Together in Times of Uncertainty – Part 2


Christina Fera


Christina Fera is a recent graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University where she majored in Communication Studies with a specialization in the Cultural and Creative Industries. Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Christina moved to Southern Ontario in order to pursue her degree. Christina is planning on continuing her studies in the fall at Humber College in order to obtain a post graduate certificate in Public Relations. Previously, Christina worked as a Communications Specialist Student for a non-profit in Waterloo, Ontario, called Monica Place. She also spent two years working for Laurier’s Department of Residence as a residence life assistant and two years working for the Municipality of Sault Ste. Marie as an environmental initiatives student. In her free time, Christina loves spending time out at her camp on Lake Superior, taking her dog for walks and writing poetry.

Christina is a Communications Officer


Ionic Mechatronics

9 Lives Design

Maia Kvas


Maia Kvas, born and raised in Timmins, has completed her third year in the Medical Sciences program at Dalhousie University. Through her involvement with Engineers Without Borders Canada, she has developed a profound passion for social change. In the future, she wishes to combine both her interests in health and social development to improve health policies. Maia has experience with academic research in the biomedical engineering department and has worked as a mining laboratory analyst. Maia is looking forward to researching various policies surrounding Northern Ontario during her Experience North Summer 2019 placement. On her free time, Maia loves to play Ringette, soccer and hike with friends.

Mais is a Research Analyst focusing on healthcare in Northern Ontario 


Northern Ontario’s state of mental health and why


Mateo Orrantia


Born and raised in Marathon, ON, Mateo is proud to call Northern Ontario home. Heading into his fourth year of Arts & Science at McMaster University,  Mateo tries to bring an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. A firm believer in a self-directed North, he wants to apply his experiences in research and grassroots activism to help foster stronger and more sustainable communities across Northern Ontario. After spending his last few summers working at Pukaskwa National Park, Mateo has become passionate about protecting the region's unparalleled natural resources. Unsure of where his future will take him - other than back to the North - Mateo has gotten involved with initiatives across disciplines, from Strength & Conditioning coaching to forestry research and student governance. When he's not working, Mateo enjoys powerlifting and exploring the outdoors (which usually results in a little too much bushwhacking).

Mateo is a Research Analyst working on First Nation and Métis Asset Mapping


Take me home, country roads: housing services and Indigenous mobility in Northern Ontario

Mercedes Labelle


Mercedes Labelle graduated from McGill University in 2020 with an Honours Bachelor of Political Science and Urban Systems. During her studies, she focused on Canadian politics and public policy processes, specifically researching the uneven distribution of benefits and services between urban and rural communities. At McGill, Mercedes provided analysis on Canadian Politics for the McGill Journal of Political Studies (MJPS). Through her involvement with MJPS, Mercedes developed a deeper understanding of the diverse interests and needs of the Canadian population. Having grown up in Canada, the United States, and Spain, Mercedes is eager to return to Northern Ontario, where her family now resides. In her free time, Mercedes enjoys listening to podcasts, cooking, and reading.

Mercedes is a Research Analyst working on Comparative Transportation Subsidization


Staying connected in increasingly distant times: transportation in the COVID-Era

Can the government help Canada’s most vulnerable population amid a pandemic?

Thank You to our Sponsors






Experience North will normally receive some partial funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Applicants should be aware of the eligibility requirements for that program when applying for Experience North:

To be eligible for Canada Summer Jobs Funding, youth must:

  • be between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the employment;
  • be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for the duration of the employment*; and,
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number at the start of employment and be legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations.

The program’s broader objectives as part of the Youth Employment Strategy are to improve the labour market participation of Canadian youth.

*International students are not eligible participants. International students include anyone who is temporarily in Canada for studies and who is not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada. As the objective of the CSJ program is to support youth entering the Canadian labour market, the temporary nature of an international student’s time in Canada does not allow for a long-term connection to the labour market.

Join some of our past Northern Policy Institute summer placements
who have worked throughout Northern Ontario 


"This summer has given me the chance to hone my abilities as a researcher, writer, interviewer, and Excel spreadsheet-maker. It feels like I’ve been granted an all-access backstage pass to the region I grew up in, and I can’t believe how much I’ve learned. "

– Mateo Orrantia (Marathon)


"This summer placement has allowed me to spend my weekdays learning about the regions of Northern Ontario and my weekends out exploring them – I couldn’t ask for anything more. "

– Abby Shillinglaw (Temiskaming Shores)

"I would recommend the Experience North program to anyone who has an interest in community-level development, research and data analysis in Northern Ontario. "

– Mercedes Labelle (North Bay)

"Coming back a second year did not feel like coming back to the same job because NPI has so many different projects and skills needed to complete them that every experience/task feels brand new! "

– Maia Kvas (Timmins)

"I was excited to be able to take what I learned in school and apply it to this role. Through working as a Communications Officer, I was able to gain professional experience related to my field. "

– Christina Fera (Sault Ste. Marie)

"Thanks to Northern Policy Institute, I have been given the opportunity to be immersed in the realm of public policy and debate and continue expanding my knowledge in the field of communications. "

– Andrew Jalak (Sault Ste. Marie)



How do you build capacity?


Experience North Through the Years 

Experience North 2020

Experience North 2019

Experience North 2018

Experience North 2017

Experience North 2016

Experience North 2015

Experience North 2014