A popular theme this year at NPI was “connecting and creating partnerships
in Northern Ontario”. We’ve created twenty new partnerships this year, to
complement the more than fifty we established in years past. We would like to first thank these partners for their continuous support. Because of them, NPI is closer to its goal of being a self-sufficient organisation with a diverse funding base and is better able to provide non-partisan, independent research for the people of Northern Ontario.
Just one example: NPI’s Experience North program is stronger than ever. In
collaboration with educational partners across Northern Ontario, NPI gave a warm welcome to six summer placements. Projects ranged from francophone immigration and tourism to Northern Ontario post-secondary education and labour market trends, all with a focus on NPI’s mission to advance the conversation on the topic of sustainable growth in Northern Ontario.
With the support of our partners, we expanded our education efforts this year. In November, NPI held its first official
Understanding Ontario’s Northern Regions session at Queen’s Park. All of the Northern members of the provincial parliament
were invited to join this test run. Next year all MPPs as well as senior public servants will be invited to the briefing.
Partnerships were central to many of our newest or most impactful projects this year. This includes the launch of the
Northern Analyst Cooperative, a Data 101 project. This project allows its members to “time share” a professional policy
analyst. By merging our collective resources, we can ensure that the smallest municipality or local charity can access highend skills at an affordable price. Data 101 has also expanded its horizons by becoming a primary source of data navigation
training service through our Data 101 training sessions.
Immigration has been a critical topic of conversation in the past 12 months. NPI and its partners worked hard to push that
file forward. First came the “Northern Attraction series”. This four-part series was written by one of our year-long NOHFC
interns, Christina Zefi. Part One determined the need for a newcomer strategy. Part Two identified Northern Ontario’s
strengths and weaknesses in the attraction and retention of newcomers. Part Three compared the current federal and
provincial immigration programs to other provinces to develop a list of best practices. Finally, Part Four proposes strategies
and solutions for small to medium-sized communities to attract newcomers.
In addition to this important research, and in partnership with multiple organisations, enter the International and Community
Matchmaker Project. This program offers employability and entrepreneurship services for potential immigrants and
secondary migrants, and employers seeking sources of skilled workers.
This important work requires many hands, and minds. NPI has a wonderful staff bursting with ideas, each having a different
background and experiences that make us a diverse and talented team. Finally, I would like to say a special thank you
to all our Board members (past and present) that continue to be committed to NPI’s work. We value their knowledge and
expertise. Together, we are stronger.
President and CEO