After hosting two Come North Conferences in February 2020, it became clear that there is an abundance of work being done to welcome newcomers and retain the existing population. Welcoming community efforts, asset inventories, anti-racism and reconciliation supports can be found in every region of northern Ontario. Connection, coordination, and communication across Ontario’s northern regions is needed to maximize these efforts. Adequate resources must be dedicated to carry out the collective goals established at the Come North Conferences, which emphasizes the need for the formal Magnetic North initiative.
About Magnetic North
The purpose of the Magnetic North initiative is to encourage community coordination in pan-northern population growth and welcoming community strategy, including attraction, retention, and reconciliation. The initiative, via the Magnetic North Program Officer, will implement the immediate action plan produced as part of the Magnetic North and Come North Conferences, and provide updates on the status.
A vital part about this initiative is assessing progress and resetting priorities, which will continue to happen at the annual two-day Magnetic North conference hosted by Northern Policy Institute, in partnership with organizations across Northern Ontario. The priorities for the conference, and thus the initiative, will be set based on changing trends and needs existing within the engaged communities.
Finally, progress reports and other research will be produced that focus on the impact and progress on engagement efforts in Northern Ontario communities, and actions that are prioritized at the annual event.
The Magnetic North initiative is not intended to replace existing or future local initiatives. The intent is to support those local initiatives by helping them to connect with, learn from, and work alongside other initiatives seeking the same or similar ends. Avoiding duplication, leveraging scarce resources, and avoiding conflicting messages will help Ontario's northern regions to grow and prosper. As each community becomes more attractive and welcoming, every community becomes more attractive and welcoming.
The Magnetic North Program Officer is hired by Northern Policy Institute. Their focus is on engaging with involved actors and community organizations; developing online tools and other mechanisms to support and encourage collaboration, communication, and coordination; and produce progress reports and other research that updates progress and makes additional recommendations to further our efforts and maximize population growth in Ontario's northern regions. The broad mandate of the Program Officer is to oversee the project and to act as an advisory resources for the Steering Committee and lead community coordination.
Initially, the Program Officer participated in a public engagement process, via the Magnetic North Conference and other outreach initiatives, which informed the development of the principles and purpose of the Magnetic North initiative. Initially, the public engagement process prioritized building meaningful relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations working towards reconciliation, and organizations working to support newcomers and immigrants.
Throughout the role’s duration, the Program Officer will continue to engage with organizations, communities, First Nations, and individuals across Ontario’s northern regions to support and encourage collaboration, communication, and coordination. This includes the development of online tools, production of e-newsletters, annual reports, and the delivery of regional updates in rural communities. To emphasis coordination, communication, and collaboration, the Program Officer will assist communities and various organizations to develop local plans to attract, retain, and welcome their population. The goal is to align individual messaging content with that of the regional plan and marketing effort. This work is well underway.
Our Program Officer - Holly Parsons
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Holly moved to Australia and graduated with a B.A. in Politics & Policy Studies and International Relations from Deakin University in Melbourne. Holly gained experience in research, policy analysis, and advocacy while working at grassroots NGOs in Australia and Indonesia. Now, back in Canada, Holly is enjoying her NPI experience in Sudbury as a Policy Analyst.
Contact the Program Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Magnetic North Conference
A lot has changed since February 2020, when the first Come North conference was launched. We face ever-changing demographic challenges in our communities. This creates a growing need to retain and fully embrace the existing populations. Strategies, priorities, and next steps must be revised and adapted regularly. In June 2021, the Magnetic North conference provided that opportunity to regroup and refocus.
The next Magnetic North Conference is scheduled to be a two-day Conference, on June 22 & 23, 2022. The in-person proceedings are to take place in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The goal of the Conference is to maintain an agenda that is evenly balanced between the topics of reconciliation, anti-racism, attraction, retention, and settlement.
The Magnetic North conference will continue to operate annually. From 2022 forward, however, it will be delivered as a hybrid virtual and in-person conference. A hybrid approach will not only address the lingering results of COVID-19 but also acknowledges the reality of travelling across the vast geography of Northern Ontario. This approach will maximize the diversity of participants and ensure that the findings reflect the needs of our communities.
The Magnetic North Project Officer will ensure that the conference attendees are updated each year on the migration and welcoming trends in the various regions of Northern Ontario. Annual evaluations on engagement initiatives and the implementation of action items will measure the progress of the project and how successfully our communities are welcoming new, and current, members.
Programs for YOU
The Magnetic North Program Officer has the mandate to:
- Act as an advisory resource for communities without local dedicated capacity to plan and deliver efforts in support of anti-racism, reconciliation, economic engagement, social supports, migrant attraction, settlement, and retention.
- Where possible and necessary, assist in resolving challenges or removing barriers to the introduction/expansion/delivery of programs promoting welcoming, reconciliation, population growth, and/or retention in rural and remote areas.
If your community lacks these dedicated resources, or you are just having trouble identifying them, we can help. Please contact the Magnetic North Program Officer directly at email@example.com to arrange a meeting.
Resources available for YOU
We understand the value of quality research. So we have curated a list of research resources for you. These resources are divided in two sections. Research reports and papers by Northern Policy Institute and other external resources.