Our People

Board of Directors

Suzanne Bélanger-Fontaine

Suzanne Bélanger-Fontaine

Mrs. Bélanger-Fontaine, who currently serves as Director of Immigration Services and Programs at Collège Boréal, is a well-recognized and respected figure within the Francophone community. She brings with her significant public service experience having worked in senior and leadership level roles with both the Federal and Provincial governments.

Before her time at Collège Boréal, Mrs. Bélanger-Fontaine spent several years working with the Commissioner of Official Languages as Representative for the province of Ontario, where she acted on the Commissioner’s behalf to promote official languages in federal, provincial, and municipal organizations and at the community level. She previously served as Director with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Yukon Region, where she worked closely with the territorial government and with First Nations and territorial partners on environmental and economic development initiatives, as Associate-Director on the DEW Line Clean Up Project with the Department of National Defense and as Senior Officer with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

In addition to her impressive employment background, Mrs. Bélanger-Fontaine has been deeply involved at the community level. She has served on several agency boards over the years. She is currently on the Board of directors of the Canadian Centre for Language Benchmarks, and Le Phénix, a provincial organisation supporting inclusion and persons with disabilities. Mrs. Bélanger-Fontaine is a graduate of Brock University, the Université du Québec à Montréal and L’école nationale d’administration publique.

Kim Jo Bliss

Kim Jo Bliss
Vice-Chair Northwest

Kim Jo Bliss began working at the Emo Agricultural Research Station in 1988 as a summer student.  Though her employer name has changed, currently she is employed by the University of Guelph doing applied crop research at the Emo Station.  Kim Jo also owns and operates a Beef Farm north of Emo and takes great pride in raising quality beef & lamb.  Most of her products are marketed through local networks.  Kim Jo developed a passion for Agriculture at a young age by spending most of her time with her grandmother on her farm. 

Kim Jo spends a great deal of time promoting Agriculture and takes pride in living and working in Northwestern Ontario.  She also enjoys sharing the many reasons others should consider living, working and raising families in the North.

Kim Jo volunteers on various Agriculture Committees both locally and provincially.  She is still a director with Riverside Foundation and welcomes any chance to talk and promote Agriculture whether it be on her own farm or in school settings.

She has a huge passion for teaching her 2 nieces the need and value of Agriculture and that hard work will never hurt anyone.  

Charles Cirtwill

Charles Cirtwill

Charles Cirtwill is the founding President and CEO of Northern Policy Institute.

Charles joined NPI in September 2013 after twelve years with the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

His published works focus on government structure and organization, business-government relations, inter-governmental relations, performance measurement and accountability. He has spoken across Canada and the United States on the role of think tanks in society, the appropriate assessment of government activities, and the use of school performance data to improve classroom practice and fully engage all education stakeholders.

He has had leadership and Board roles in multiple organizations including Civitas, IPAC, Scouts Canada, the Rural Ontario Institute, the Mowat Centre, several local school associations, and local homeowner’s associations. He attended Dalhousie University, earning a BA in Political Science, a LLB, and a MPA with a focus on quantitative and qualitative assessment of public policy and programs.

Read the message from the President.

Dr. Harley d'Entremont

Dr. Harley d'Entremont

Most recently, Dr. d’Entremont served as Vice-President, Academic and Research at Nipissing University, after having served as Academic Vice-President (Francophone Affairs) at Laurentian University from 2003 to 2008. He had previously served as President of the Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia for 13 years.

Dr. d’Entremont holds a BA in political science from St. Mary’s University, a Master’s in Public Administration from Dalhousie University and a PhD in political science from Western University.

He has served on various boards such as the Regroupement des universities de la francophoniecanadienne hors Québec (including a term as President), the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents (including a term as Chair), the Association of Atlantic Universities, and the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (including four years as Vice-Chair).

Kevin Eshkawkogan

Kevin Eshkawkogan
Secretary

Kevin is Anishnabek and is a member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island.

Kevin has been a key player in the development of Indigenous cultural tourism in Ontario since 2003. Kevin was an integral part of the development and growth of the Great Sprit Circle Trail on Manitoulin Island, one of the country’s most renowned Indigenous tourism organizations that provides culturally authentic Indigenous experiences to visitors along with marketing support to Indigenous operators. He has provided leadership to GCST formally for over 15 years and has imparted his guidance to countless individuals throughout Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, and beyond.

Kevin works tirelessly to unite Indigenous tourism providers, grow market reach and bring meaningful employment opportunities to the region. Kevin is a mentor and visionary who works closely with his community to ensure sustainable and organic growth within the Indigenous tourism industry.

In 2015, Kevin was named the Tourism Champion of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. He has also been recognized by numerous media outlets for his accomplishments within the industry.

Kevin sits on a variety of boards including the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and the Tourism Association of Ontario. He has also helped establish ITO, ITAC, Northeastern Ontario Tourism, Destination Northern Ontario, the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre, and many other tourism organizations and businesses.  He sits on the Destination Ontario Sector Advisory Committee, Tourism Skillsnet Ontario Council, and the Trans Canada Trail Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Ralph Falcioni

Ralph Falcioni

Ralph has over 30 years of experience in the electricity industry. Working with electrical utilities in both large and small-sized corporations. He has expertise in areas that include business development and planning, environmental, government relations, legal and financial affairs. He has served on the Thunder Bay Hydro board for several years. This board experience has included taking a leadership role in making transformations in audit and governance as Board Chair.

Ralph’s experience in Northern Ontario includes consultations with more than fifteen remote First Nations communities. Some of which have lead to the development of successful joint venture renewable energy projects. This experience has provided him with an understanding of the challenges and opportunities for integration of technology with these unique communities. The learning of how technology is integrated in ways consistent with Indigenous culture has been valuable in reaching agreement on collaborative energy projects across the north.

Christine Leduc

Christine Leduc

Christine Leduc holds a Masters of Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry. She has held policy positions in the office of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Forest Industries Association. She is a recipient of the Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry and the Ontario Professional Foresters Association Fernow Award. In September 2020 she was named to Canadian Forest Industries Magazine Top 10 Under 40.

Florence MacLean

Florence MacLean
Chair

Florence has a diverse and multi-disciplined background as a business owner, industry liaison in an academic setting, senior municipal manager, federal andprovincial employee which has allowed her to develop a vast understanding of thepolitical/public domain including the need to be flexible and adaptable to the ever-changingenvironments within the political realm.

MacLean worked at the then Ministry of Northern Development and Mines as a Northern Development Officer where she worked in partnership with municipalities, First Nations communities, Local service Boards as well as local businesses and community organizations. Following MNDM, Florence worked as the Economic Development Officer for the Corporation of the Municipality of Sioux Lookout and in 2013 created her own Economic Development Consulting company, Blue Heron Consultants. She is currently the Chief Administrative Officer for the Township of Manitouwadge

Dwayne Nashkawa

Dwayne Nashkawa
Vice-Chair Northeast

Dwayne has been the Chief Executive Officer of Nipissing First Nation, located on the shores of Lake Nipissing in northern Ontario, since January 2004.  He has spent his career working in First Nations in senior roles in the areas of natural resources development, treaty research, governance, and administration. 

Dwayne has led various tripartite negotiations including the Ontario First Nations Policing Agreement and the development of the Anishinabek/Ontario Resource Management Council. While at Nipissing, Dwayne has led the development of private business relationships for and various community development initiatives including the NFN Constitution and Financial Administration Law.  He has also participated as a negotiation team member on Nipissing First Nation’s recently settled boundary claim.

Dwayne is a member of the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation located on the Bruce Peninsula and is the proud father of three.

 

 

Pierre Riopel

Pierre Riopel
Treasurer

Pierre Riopel, currently a member of the University of Sudbury Board of Regents, has worked over 25 years in the field of education where he has had a significant impact with his innovative spirit, leadership and expertise. He has worked at all levels of the education system (elementary/secondary, college and university), and during his career, has especially served the needs of Franco-Ontarian students. In 2016, his contribution was recognized by the French government as he was made a chevalier (knight) of the Ordre des Palmes académiques.

Before assuming the responsibilities of President at Collège Boréal from 2013 to 2016, he was a secondary school teacher and principal, then superintendent and finally director of education at the Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario. He also taught at the École des sciences de l'éducation, the French-language teacher training program at Laurentian University.

Mr. Riopel holds a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Toronto as well as an Honours B.A. in History with a Minor in Political Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Ottawa. Mr. Riopel was also trained at the Leadership Institute for Superintendents, Graduate School of Education from Harvard University, and has completed studies towards a PhD (in Education) at the University of Montreal.

Dr. Donna Rogers

Dr. Donna Rogers

Donna M. Rogers, Ph.D - Vice-President Academic and Research, Algoma University

Dr. Donna M. Rogers joined Algoma University as Academic Dean in 2018, bringing over three decades of teaching, research, and academic leadership experience, at the Pennsylvania State University, Middlebury College, Dalhousie University and Brescia University College. Dr. Rogers holds an Honors B.A. (Latin & Spanish) from Waterloo, an M.A. (Spanish) from Western, and a Ph.D. (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) from Toronto.

Appointed to the role of Vice-President Academic and Research in July 2020, she is a member of the University’s senior executive team. She leads the academic and research functions of the University, supporting excellence in teaching and learning and excellence in faculty and student research. She continues to work closely with the Academic Dean and oversees the directors responsible for the Registrar’s Office, the Wishart Library, and Experiential Learning and International Affairs.

 

Eric Rutherford

Eric Rutherford

Eric Rutherford was raised in Kirkland Lake where he attended Elementary and High School. After attending Teacher's College he commenced his career as an Elementary School Teacher in the community of Beardmore. Further degree work was completed at Lakehead University. Following retirement as an Elementary School Principal, Eric continued to be involved as President and CEO of Beardmore Forest Products.

Eric also spent 25 years as the mayor of Beardmore followed by 10 years as a councillor with the Regional Municipality of Greenstone. He is also a Past President of the Ontario Good Roads Association, the Thunder Bay District Municipal League, and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association. He has more recently spent six years as a Governor on the Confederation College Board of Governors. Eric also serves as a Director on the Nipigon District Memorial Hospital Board, he is also a Director of the Greenstone Victim Services Committee.

 

Alan Spacek

Alan Spacek

Born and raised in Kapuskasing, Alan has been a lifelong community volunteer.  Building a career as a respected entrepreneur, owning and operating a number of businesses, Alan continues to serve as an active member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA).

Elected Mayor of Kapuskasing in 2006, Alan was acclaimed for two more terms, retiring in December 2018. During his time as Mayor, Alan was a member of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities for twelve years, serving as President for eight years until August 2018.

Alan was, and continues to be, very active and passionate about promoting Northern Ontario and the value of strong local government.  He has served as a Chair, President, executive member and board member in multiple organizations.

Alan is currently an associate member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 85. In his spare time and as a member of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Alan enthusiastically enjoys all outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling alongside his family and friends.

Mariette Sutherland

Mariette Sutherland

Mariette Sutherland, MPH, is an Anishnaabe-kwe from Whitefish River First Nation in Northern Ontario. Mariette has completed over 125 projects in the past 16 years. Her focus is on respectful community-based research and engagement in First Nations and Indigenous health issues. This approach informs the conceptual design of service models, effective proposal development, planning, evaluation, and recommendations. Mariette is known for her systems level thinking, bigger picture insights, and dynamic facilitation.  She has worked successfully with numerous First Nation health organizations and government agencies and departments as an independent consultant.

A committed community member, Mariette has served on several regional and provincial boards and committees in fields such as community care, northern economic and business development, cultural revitalization, hospital public affairs, university governance and communications.

As the former Executive Director of the Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, an Aboriginal Health Access Centre, based on Manitoulin Island, she led the organization during a pivotal period of growth and development. A notable accomplishment during this time was the development of community driven guidelines for ethical Aboriginal health research. Mariette’s educational background includes a BEng (Chemical Engineering, 1990) and a MPH from the University of Waterloo.

Brent Tookenay

Brent Tookenay

A Couchiching First Nation member, Brent Tookenay has been the Chief Executive Officer for Seven Generations Education Institute for the past six years. As CEO of Seven Generations Education Institute, Brent is responsible for providing education and training programs for the people of the Treaty #3 area. Brent has spent his entire career working and supporting the First Nation communities of Treaty #3 in all areas and levels of education. Recently Brent was awarded the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Indigenous Education and Seven Generations Education Institute.   

 

Brian Vaillancourt

Brian Vaillancourt

Brian Vaillancourt is the Vice president of Business Development at Collège Boréal. Brian oversees the College’s Foundation, alumni, international development and recruitment, contract training, continuous education, and its northern campuses. As an education builder, he is past chair of the province’s Heads of Technology, and past member of the College Student Achievement Project Steering Committee, the National Council of Deans of Technology, the Council of Deans of Trades and Apprenticeship Canada, and the province’s Heads of Technology and Heads of Apprenticeship. He is presently a board member of the Mining Industry Human Resources council (MiHR).

 

More about the Board of Directors here

President & CEO

Charles Cirtwill

Charles Cirtwill

Charles Cirtwill is the founding President and CEO of Northern Policy Institute.

Charles joined NPI in September 2013 after twelve years with the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

His published works focus on government structure and organization, business-government relations, inter-governmental relations, performance measurement and accountability. He has spoken across Canada and the United States on the role of think tanks in society, the appropriate assessment of government activities, and the use of school performance data to improve classroom practice and fully engage all education stakeholders.

He has had leadership and Board roles in multiple organizations including Civitas, IPAC, Scouts Canada, the Rural Ontario Institute, the Mowat Centre, several local school associations, and local homeowner’s associations. He attended Dalhousie University, earning a BA in Political Science, a LLB, and a MPA with a focus on quantitative and qualitative assessment of public policy and programs.

Read the message from the President.

Samantha Angell

Samantha Angell
Executive Assistant

While not an employee of Northern Policy Institute, Samantha plays a critical role in its ongoing success as Executive Assistant to Charles Cirtwill,  President & CEO of Northern Policy Institute.

Samantha has many years’ experience working with various government agencies and private corporations in Northwestern Ontario and the Ottawa area. Prior to taking on her current role, she played a central role in laying the foundation for the growth and development of Northern Policy Institute.

Samantha’s broad project management experience has resulted in the successful implementation of business development strategies, client and stakeholder engagement programs and operational procedures and systems redesign. Samantha is a graduate of the Human Resources Management Program at Confederation College.

 

Staff

Samrul Aahad

Samrul Aahad
Economist

Samrul Aahad graduated with an M.A. in Economics from the University of Saskatchewan where he was the recipient of the prestigious Boving Family Scholarship. During his Masters, he was able to contrast the conventional ways of analysis popular with economists with contemporary techniques such as ones used in machine learning. He has, previously, worked as a business/data analyst for various research organizations and industries locally and internationally. 

Samrul is an Economist

Lalit Bhojwani

Lalit Bhojwani
Media & Marketing Officer

Lalit was born and raised in the Indian state of Gujarat where he completed his B.A. and M.A. in Commerce from Maharaja Sayajirao University. He has called Thunder Bay home for the past two years. Lalit has experience in business in India, managing and owning his own trading company, and in Northern Ontario as a service advisor for a telecommunications company. Lalit is a recent graduate of the Digital Marketing and Marketing Analytics program from Confederation College. He successfully worked on creating a detailed digital marketing plan for Wake the Giant music festival in Thunder Bay. He looks forward to utilizing strong administrative, communication, and technological skills for personal and organizational growth. In his free time, Lalit enjoys playing video games and learning new skills.

Lalit is a Media & Marketing Officer 

Ashlyn Chilson

Ashlyn Chilson
Graphic Designer

Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Ashlyn is a proud Northwestern Ontario citizen. She is a graduate from OCAD University's Drawing and Painting: Digital Painting and Expanded Animation Program in Toronto and strives in any creative field. She discovered her love for graphic design early after graduating and aiding in the Digital Main Street Program in 2020. Driven by her passion for anything art-related, Ashlyn is always creating something, whether it be digital art, animation, or a mix of physical media!

Ashlyn is a Graphic Designer.

Sarah Friesen

Sarah Friesen
Outreach & Events Coordinator

Sarah Friesen was born in Toronto, but was raised in Thunder Bay, where she grew up exploring the surrounding region and enjoying all the natural beauty it has to offer. She graduated from Lakehead University with a Master of Science in Archaeological Science in 2021, and previously earned an Honours Bachelor of Science in Applied Life Sciences from Lakehead University. Sarah is excited to do meaningful work in her home community and in Northern Ontario at Northern Policy Institute as the Outreach and Events Coordinator. In her spare time, you can find Sarah reading, exploring lakes and rivers in her kayak during the summer, or snowshoeing in the wintertime.

Sarah is the Outreach & Events Coordinator

Bob Gravelle

Bob Gravelle
Graphic Designer

A life long resident of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Bob Gravelle is a graduate of Confederation College’s Multimedia program. His passion for art, music and design are only matched by his love of his community. Armed with a wide breadth of multimedia expertise and well over a decade of graphic design experience, he aims to use his skills to cultivate understanding between NPI and the general public.

In his free time, Bob is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and artist, both traditional and digital. He has a love of food, nature, technology, philosophy, poetry and meditation.

Bob is a Graphic Designer.

Mercedes Labelle

Mercedes Labelle
Lead Policy Analyst

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.

Dr. Martin Lefebvre

Dr. Martin Lefebvre
Senior Researcher

Born in Kirkland Lake and raised in Timmins, Martin Lefebvre, PhD, is a lifelong northerner. He left only to undertake graduate studies at the University of Western Ontario, and immediately returned.  His doctoral thesis studied institutional investor location preferences in the USA in the past two decades. His other research interests include sports analytics, spatial statistics, and location theory. In his spare time, Martin likes reading, painting, fencing as well as watching baseball and Canadian football.

Martin is a Senior Researcher 

Holly Parsons

Holly Parsons
Magnetic North Program Officer (Acting)

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. On the weekends, you can find Holly hiking, camping, kayaking, and exploring the majestic Canadian Shield. Holly loves to travel, ski, read books, cook vegan recipes, and be outdoors. 

Holly Parsons is a Magnetic North Program Officer (Acting)
Rachel Rizzuto

Rachel Rizzuto
Research Manager

Rachel Rizzuto is the Research Manager for Northern Policy Institute. Originally from the United States, Rachel attended the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo, earning her B.A. (Honours) and M.A. (co-op) in Political Science, respectively. Throughout her academic and professional careers, Rachel has pursued the study of community and economic development, an enthusiasm borne out of travel throughout rural and urban China. Through her role at NPI, Rachel provides research expertise and passion for seeing northern communities thrive.

The Research Manager is responsible for assisting in the development and delivery of policy and research priorities for NPI.

Bryanne Rocha

Bryanne Rocha
Policy Analyst

Currently an M.A. student in Political Science at the University of Calgary, Bryanne has studied sustainable development, environmental clauses in international trade agreements, and agricultural lobbying. Her B.A. (Honours) in International Relations explored the measurement and conceptualization of Sustainable Development. She is also interested in the relationship between mining operations and Indigenous communities. Originally from Brazil, Bryanne enjoys spending time with her family, reading classic literature, learning new languages, and baking desserts.

Bryanne is a Policy Analyst

Krissie Rose

Krissie Rose
Finance & Operations Manager

Born and raised in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, Krissie Rose graduated with a Diploma in Business Administration (Accounting) from the College of the North Atlantic in 2011. Krissie is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration degree part-time at Memorial University of Newfoundland with a focus on accounting, in anticipation of working towards a CPA designation. Krissie brings to NPI a wealth of financial experience in budgeting and forecasting, primarily from various roles in the aviation industry. In her spare time, Krissie enjoys her fur babies, hiking, camping, fishing and boating. 

The Finance & Operations Coordinator is responsible for coordinating all budget and finance related activities of the Institute.

Melanie Thompson

Melanie Thompson
Event Coordinator

Melanie Thompson was born in Thunder Bay, lived, and worked in Alberta, the U.K., and in Southern Ontario. She's worked in journalism, television production, and most recently as an Examinations Planner for Royal Academy of Dance in Toronto. After much exploring, she has come to love and appreciate her hometown much more and is happy to be a part of an organization that works to make a positive impact on the north. In her spare time, Melanie performs with a theatre group and loves to explore the beautiful outdoors.

Melanie is an Event-Coordinator.

Interns and Project Staff

Emily Davis

Emily Davis
Program Officer

Originally from Southern Ontario with familial ties in Northern Ontario, Emily spent time in both regions growing up. She earned a Joint Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in Political Science and Communications from the University of Ottawa, with her honours seminar in Canadian politics. In her spare time, Emily enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, cooking elaborate meals, and spending time with her fur baby, Bean. Although extensive time in Northern Ontario has only been a more recent endeavour, she has come to be inspired by the people and landscape that make it so unique and looks forward to making an impact in development and sustainability within the region.

Contact Emily: edavis@snoed.ca

Kerem Karabeyoglu

Kerem Karabeyoglu
Policy Analyst

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Kerem graduated in 2021 from the University of Western Ontario with a B.A. in Political Science. During his studies, Kerem developed a keen interest in the areas of Canadian Arctic Sovereignty and Intergovernmental Cooperation. His academic focus was also directed towards International Peace-building and Transitional Justice studies. Immediately after graduating, kerem returned to Turkey to intern as a Junior Consultant in the Turkish Parliament. Now, back in Canada, he is pursuing his professional interests in promoting long-term sustainable development. Having experienced Northern Ontario for the first-time tree-planting, he has been inspired to return to the natural beauty of the region ever since. An avid trail runner, soccer fan, and skier, kerem is also passionate about producing music in his free time.

Kerem is a Policy Analyst

Karly Mabee

Karly Mabee
Policy Analyst

Karly Mabee recently graduated with her Master of Applied Politics after completing an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Leadership at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. During her studies Karly took a particular interest in data analysis, federalism, and environmental policy. During her Masters, Karly had the opportunity to work on a Northern Research Project with the Ontario Public School Board Association to conduct research and analysis regarding the challenges and opportunities for education delivery in Northern Ontario. This introduction to Northern Ontario inspired Karly to learn more and contribute further to the development of equitable policy in the North. In her free time Karly enjoys camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. She looks forward to exploring the Greater Sudbury area and engaging with the Northern policy community. 

Karly is a Policy Analyst

Sherry Mayer

Sherry Mayer
Community Engagement Officer, Indigenous Ingenuity

Born and raised in the Greater Sudbury Region and a true nature lover, Sherry remained rooted within her northern community after her first academic graduation. With an honours diploma from Cambrian College in Social Services and studies with the Indigenous Social Work Program with Laurentian University, her career focus is on improving social inclusion, diversity and anti-oppression efforts for Northeastern Ontario communities. Sherry brings forth 12 years of both front line and management experience within the Employment and Immigration sectors, has led a variety of social projects and has worked with many diverse populations over the span of her career; more recently she has assisted with the Northern Policy Institute's Matchmaker Project and Project Officer role for Magnetic North. Sherry is also an entrepreneur and experienced yoga teacher with certifications in Hatha Yoga and Yoga Therapy, specializing in trauma informed yoga practices. Sherry leads ITO's Indigenous Ingenuity Northern Tour in partnership with Science North and the Northern Policy Institute, helping to enhance Indigenous partnerships and tourism efforts, within Northern Ontario.

Sherry is a Community Engagement Officer, Indigenous Ingenuity

 

Experience North Placements

Emma Dingle

Emma Dingle
Graphic Designer

Emma Dingle was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She is a first-year university student enrolled in a Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Art at the University of Waterloo. With a passion for graphic design, Emma often liaises with arts organizations in her community which has provided her with extensive experience in social media management and digital art. Certified through the British Association of Teachers of Dancing, Emma enjoys spending her free time teaching dance and can often be found singing, dancing, and performing. 

Emma Dingle is a Graphic Designer

William Dunstan

William Dunstan
Research Analyst

William Dunstan is a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management student at Carleton University, set to graduate in June 2022. During his undergraduate studies, William learned about the wide world of public policy and developed a particular research interest in economic policy and regional development. Professionally, he has worked in several policy-related roles both in the think tank sphere and with the federal government. Originally from Ottawa, William developed a love for Northeastern (or Central) Ontario and the region’s high quality of living during his time as an Experience North intern in 2021.

William is a Research Analyst

Vanessa Gould

Vanessa Gould
Policy Analyst

Born and raised in Cameroon, Vanessa received her first post-secondary education in business in France. Skilled in determining patterns from data, both quantitative and qualitative, Vanessa has a history of working in Data Sciences, Analytics, and Reporting, both overseas and in Canada. She returned to studies at Western University, where she graduated with a second degree in Financial Economics and Global Development Studies, and is now in the process of completing a master degree in Research for Policy and Evaluation. Since the beginning of her Canadian journey, Vanessa came to be inspired by the beautiful human mosaic and the many stories of people like her who made the maple leaf country their home. Passionate about economic development, empowerment, social justice, and social good, Vanessa has a keen dedication to research and community-based projects. She continues her journey in Northern Ontario and hopes to contribute to the development and strengthening of the northern communities.  And in her spare time, she enjoys sci-fi, hiking, and nature.

Vanessa is a Policy Analyst.

Matthew Jackson

Matthew Jackson
Communications Officer

Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Matthew recently graduated with a joint degree in Business Marketing and Business Administration Marketing that were completed in two years & one year respectively. Matthew will be continuing his education in pursuit of a Bachelors of E-Commerce in Digital Marketing. Growing up in northern Ontario inspired Matthew to begin his career at an institute that contributes to the well-being of the residents that live there. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys golfing, spending time with his family & black lab Monty, and exploring Ontario and the rest of the world whenever he can. He looks forward to the opportunity to contribute and engage with the northern community!

Matthew is a Communications Officer.

George Ositashvili

George Ositashvili
Policy Analyst

George was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. He completed his Bachelors of Economics specializing in Development and in International Political Economics at Carleton University in 2021. He is currently pursuing Master of Arts in Economics at Lakehead University. In his fourth year of Bachelors he had an opportunity to write a paper on a country outlining what projects could be done to improve its economy. That was the moment when he realized that economic development was truly something that he wanted to pursue in the future. Apart from economic development he is also very passionate about International Trade having written papers on subjects such as EU, NAFTA, and TPP. He has previously worked on Parliament Hill as a Members Assistant for 5 years and has also spent a year at the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Government Relations Assistant. At NPI he looks forward to getting a better understanding of what Northern Ontario has to offer because he believes that it is a region that has yet to reach its full potential with respect to what it has to offer to Ontario and Canada.

Outside of work he enjoys the great outdoors and going on long walks. In the past he was a competitive dancer and has a 1st degree black belt in Taekwon-do.

George is a Policy Analyst.

Michelle Pocion

Michelle Pocion
Operations Assistant

Michelle Pocion is from Thunder Bay, Ontario, studying full-time at Lakehead University. She will be entering her final year of undergraduate studies in the fall and graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) degree in spring 2023. Michelle has developed an appreciation for experiential learning through university after discovering business case competitions. She has successfully represented Lakehead University at various events and competed against other Canadian universities. Michelle is an avid reader outside of her studies and balances busy student life through fitness and spending time with friends and family (dogs included!). During the summer, Michelle enjoys getting outside and spending time on Lake Superior. Michelle is excited to be joining NPI as an Operations Assistant, where she can utilize her existing knowledge and gain experience in a non-profit setting to assist in meaningful projects in her community.

Michelle is an Operations Assistant.

Gillian Sgambelluri

Gillian Sgambelluri
Finance Assistant

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gillian Sgambelluri has been a lifelong true North citizen. Gillian is currently pursuing post-secondary education at Lakehead University in the Honours Bachelor of Commerce program. Specifically, Gillian’s program has allowed her to develop accounting and finance skills that she plans to put into practice at her position as Assistant Accounting Officer at Northern Policy Institute. She is very eager to advance her career at NPI whilst gaining knowledge about her community and giving back to where she was raised. In her spare time, you can almost always find Gillian at the dance studio where she enjoys teaching and participating in some classes of her own. Throughout the summer, she loves to be out in the sun swimming with her dogs at camp. 

Gillian is an Finance Assistant

Amelia Spacek

Amelia Spacek
Policy Analyst

Amelia was born and raised just North of Sault Ste. Marie in Aweres Township. She is currently studying Computer Engineering at the University of Ottawa where she is also building a high efficiency electric vehicle with the uOttawa Supermileage team. As a member of the Electrical team, Amelia is working with her peers to implement a custom-built brushless electric motor controller and to design a data collection system to monitor the energy consumption of the vehicle remotely. Amelia is excited to research the impacts of government policies surrounding e-vehicles in the North with NPI. She loves exploring Northern Ontario and particularly enjoys backcountry camping in Lake Superior and Killarney Provincial Parks.

Amelia is a Policy Analyst.

Advisory Council

Michael Atkins

Michael Atkins

Michael Atkins is the president and owner of the Laurentian Media Group, a diversified media company which includes a digital trade group (IT World Canada Inc.), a consumer publishing magazine group (CCMC Sports Group), a weekly newspaper company (Laurentian Publishing Ltd.), a business publishing company (Northern Ontario Business Limited), a digital design Creative Operations software business (ConceptShare Inc.) and a digital music business (Adventus International Limited).

Atkins is the past chair of the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology, past chair of the Laurentian University Board of Governors,  past Chair of the Canadian Business Press, past President of the Association of Area Business Publications (US), former director of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Community Newspaper Association.  He is a 2004 recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Rotary Club of Sudbury, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Laurentian University in June 2005.

He joined the board of the Northern Policy Institute in the fall of 2016. 

Martin Bayer

Martin Bayer

Martin Bayer is a member of the Ojibways of Aundeck Omni-Kaning First Nation on Manitoulin Island and was raised on the M’Chigeeng First Nation. He is a Partner with Weaver, Simmons LLP in Sudbury, Ontario and is the head of their Aboriginal Law Group. He practices aboriginal law with a focus on natural resource development, land claims and self-government matters.

He has extensive experience with all legal aspects of the negotiation and drafting of impact and benefits agreements, self-government agreements and land claim settlement agreements. He advised De Beers Canada and Detour Gold in their negotiations with the First Nation and Metis communities of the James Bay lowlands which lead to Ontario’s first diamond mine and Canada’s largest gold mine. He also acts as the Chief Negotiator for the Anishinabek Nation, a political organization representing 39 First Nations in Ontario, in their negotiations with Canada to reach a self-government agreement.

He is past Vice-Chair of the board of Cambrian College and served on the Sudbury Regional Hospital, the Ojibways of Sucker Creek Economic Development Board, the Serpent River First Nation Economic Development Board, the Wabuno Fish Farms and Processors, and the Robinson-Huron Forestry Company. He was a special advisor to the Assembly of First Nation’s National Joint Task Force on Land Claims Reform. He serves as Chairman of Waubetek Business Development Corporation and is member of the board of the University of Sudbury.

He received Cambrian College’s Alumni Award in 1999 and the Ontario Premier’s Award in 2002 for his contributions to education in Ontario.  Martin holds a Three-Year Business Administration Diploma from Cambrian College, a B.A. in Political Science from Laurentian University, a J.D. from the University of Toronto and a Certificate in Mining Law from Osgoode Hall Law School’s Professional Development Program. He is working to complete his Masters of Law degree in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.

Pierre Bélanger

Pierre Bélanger

Pierre Bélanger is a well-known personality in Northern Ontario and northwestern Québec.  Born in Timmins, ON in 1947, he has a varied background in both business and public affairs. In business, this ranges from a key role in manufacturing the Boler RV (1972-1982) to owning and managing a large multi-product retail RV dealership, Earlton RV (1976-2012).  For a time, from 1983 to 2002, this also included ownership and operation of the Earlton Zoo, a major northern tourist attraction.

He has maintained an interest in agriculture with Bisons du Nord, a 480 acre/200 head buffalo ranch established in 1972.  The ranch sells breeding stock and meat animals.  Pierre has served as a long time director on the Canadian Bison Association (CBA) and as founding president in 1983. His early 70’s activities included the development of significant franco-ontarian cultural institutions such as the Théâtre du Nouvel Ontario (TNO) and the Coopérative des artistes du Nouvel Ontario (CANO).

His commitment to public affairs has been constant from school board to regional, provincial and national economic development councils.  He has had an active presence as president of the Collège Boréal’s foundation and chair of the national RDÉE, a francophone economic development and job creation network. He has chaired the Northern Ontario Development Corporation (NODC), a provincial crown corporation, and was a board member of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), a federal crown corporation.

Mr. Bélanger has run twice as a Liberal candidate for Canada’s Parliament in 1979 and in a 1982 by-election.  Other commitments include the Foire Gourmande, a successful Quebec/Ontario regional food products fair and Entre-Amis/Between Friends, a Quebec/Ontario linkage effort.  He currently chairs the Fondation communautaire du Témiskaming, a community philanthropic foundation established in 1987. In 2000, he was actively involved as a spokesperson in the widespread community resistance to the rail shipment of Toronto’s municipal waste to the Adam’s Mine open pit in Temiskaming. Mr. Bélanger also works on contract as a trainer and speaker on profitable management for owner-operated businesses. Since 2006, he has been a regular issues commentator for Ontario on french Radio-Canada radio.

The common thread in his public affairs involvement are his regional and francophone roots and his firm belief in sustainable community development through local effort and enterprise. In 2007, Laurentian University in Sudbury, ON awarded him a Doctor of Laws honorary degree in recognition of his contribution to his community. “I measure myself against my 20 year old self when I didn’t know half measures.  I still want to be enthused and to make principled, intelligent choices.”

Cheryl Brownlee

Cheryl Brownlee

Originally from Dryden, Cheryl has 25 years of combined experience in government, external communications, and stakeholder engagement.  Passionate about mining and public affairs, Cheryl firmly believes in the value the resource sector brings to communities and maintains that social innovation is the key to driving the Canadian brand of mining.  

After 10 years working as a political assistant and policy advisor across several ministries at Queen’s Park, Cheryl began a 14-year career with the Ontario Mining Association.  At the OMA she was engaged in all aspects of public relations and policy analysis and built strong trusted relationships with stakeholders and members alike. Collaborating with dozens of mining companies, she acquired a wide breadth of experience on the issues that matter most to the sector and ultimately served as Board Secretary and performed the role of Chief Operating Officer. 

On contract with Newmont’s Canadian Sustainability and External Relations team since 2019, Cheryl also sits on the Advisory Board for Inspire Resources, a new Canadian private corporation formed to advance next generation mining operations that are codesigned by stakeholders. She was also appointed in 2020 as the mining industry’s representative for Ontario’s Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee.

Currently living in Toronto with her husband and two children, she holds a BA in political science and Diploma in business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.  

Chief Patsy Corbiere

Chief Patsy Corbiere

Katie Elliott

Katie Elliott

Corporate Communications Manager at PUC Services Inc, Sault Ste. Marie

A ‘boomerang’ back to Sault Ste. Marie, Katie has over 11 years’ experience working in policy, communications and community development. Her interest in pairing public relations with community, economic and social development has contributed to the long-term sustainability and resiliency of northern and rural communities. She has held senior positions at Northern Policy Institute, NORDIK Institute, Parliament of Canada and Natural Resources Canada, and has completed studies in Political Science at McGill University and Public Relations at Ryerson University. Katie is the recipient of the Sault Ste. Marie Honda Community Driven Award for Leadership, 2016.

Shane Fugere

Shane Fugere

Shane Fugere is originally a member of Pic Mobert First Nation but is now a member of Pays Plat First Nation and lives in Marathon, Ontario. He grew up in Pic Mobert in the 80's and 90's during his adolescent years but has since lived and worked in many areas of Canada, Northwestern Ontario, including Pic Mobert, Longlac, Pays Plat and Thunder Bay. 

Shane has faced many barriers trying to get into the trades from a young age due to lack of direction, role models, funding, and experience. He began to self-teach welding in 1999 and eventually decided to take a welding course with Confederation College in 2001. In 2012 Shane became a professional welder while working at Bombardier Transportation in Thunder Bay and then Lead welder for the LRV line. Since then he worked across Canada as a tradesperson, and LiUNA Indigenous Relations Representative. Further, he has done many community engagements, economic development and strategic planning sessions to promote generational change.

In March 2020 Shane joined White Lake Limited Partnership as their Operations & Project Manager in his home community of Pic Mobert First Nation. Shane uses his perspective gained over 20 years in various roles to assist the company in its operations business development and strategic planning.

Shane Fugere regularly speaks with communities and organizations across Ontario to share his story and promote generational change.

George Graham

George Graham

George Graham has a long career as a hands-on forest manager, consultant, employer and business owner in Northern Ontario. The forest industry and delivery of forest practices and operations which support that industry are an important economic foundation for communities in the Great Clay Belt region. 

A Registered Professional Forester, George has lived and worked in Hearst for forty years. He graduated with a forestry degree from Lakehead University in 1978 and was recognized by the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) for exemplary contributions to the practice in 2015.

The owner of Thunderhouse Forest Services Inc. since 1994, his team delivers forest management planning and technical services to the forest industry.  Through a major client, Hearst Forest Management Inc., George enjoys the challenge of his role as senior forester, working for a board that includes First Nations and communities. He authored and guided several forest management plans and has many years of experience working with government to deliver complicated and regulated practices on the ground.

George’s passion and experience is ensuring a future forest. He has extensive silvicultural experience both in planning and costing of future forests and 40 years in the tree planting business.  His firm has planted over 100 million trees.     

For 10 years his team delivered Forest Resource Inventories (FRI) for nine forests throughout Ontario. FRI is the building block on which the profession relies to plan forest sustainability.  His team conducted field sampling and used sophisticated photo interpretation technology to produce the data and maps required by Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources. 

Presently a member of the OPFA Crown Lands Forestry Committee, George also sits on the board of Nord-Aski Regional Economic Development Corporation, a Community Futures Development Corporation.  He was also on provincial teams with MNR and industry on Silvicultural Standards (1994) and Forest Management Planning Manual (1993-94), a member of the Ontario Lumber Manufacturers Association Forestry Committee (2002-2004), Northeast Regional Advisory Committee (2002-2004), and Hearst Forest Local Citizen’s Committee (1988 to present). 

George is stepping back from career work and looks forward to more time at his cottage, with family and contributing to Northern Policy Institute.

Cheryl Kennelly

Cheryl Kennelly

A difference maker with a broad slate of public, private, and volunteer sector experience. A passionate leader, engaged in community and capacity development. An unrelenting “cheerleader” with an ardent belief in the power of community.

Zack Lafleur

Zack Lafleur

Zack Lafleur is a member of Nipissing First Nation and is the Executive Director of the West Nipissing Chamber of Commerce located in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. Zack has been with the chamber for over three years and has had many titles within the organization including marketing assistant and business engagement coordinator.
 
Zack obtained his honours bachelor of business administration with a specialization in marketing from the University of Guelph-Humber. During his studies, he was elected as Vice-President of the Guelph-Humber Marketing and Advertising Association and received the 2020 Business Writing Award. He is a strong advocate for small business owners in the West Nipissing region, bringing their concerns and opinions to government levels. Zack believes that small business owners' voices must be heard and ensures that Northern Ontario businesses are not excluded.
 
Zack sits on the chambers agricultural task force, membership recruitment, and marketing committees and recently joined the West Nipissing health professional recruitment and retention committee.

Winter Dawn Lipscombe

Winter Dawn Lipscombe

Winter Dawn is a member of Wauzhushk Onigum Nation and was born and raised in Kenora, ON. She is a recent graduate from Mount Allison University, with a B.A. (Hons) in International Relations and Economics. Winter Dawn was recently traditionally selected to serve on the Treaty #3 Youth Council and holds the Economic folder; she is also a former Policy Intern of the Northern Policy Institute. During her undergraduate, Winter Dawn’s research focused on Indigenous populations across the world and studied the health and economic outcomes within them. She is passionate about community development and the impact of policy on Indigenous populations. Winter Dawn is excited to return to Northern Ontario and enjoys taking her dog exploring the North.

Dr. George C. Macey

Dr. George C. Macey

George C Macey, DDS graduated from the University of Toronto Dental Faculty 1968 and practices full time with his spouse Krystyna in Marathon Ontario. He has 2 adult children and 3 shihtzus. He was made a Fellow of Lakehead University in 2005 and was a recent recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Medal.  George Macey has been a community activist and involved in public policy through the Chamber of Commerce movement and party politics for 30 years.

His experience includes holding positions as President of Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce, President & Chairperson of The Common Voice Northwest, Chair of the Marathon Development Commission and as a Board Member with the Northwestern Ontario Technology Centre.

Bill Spinney

Bill Spinney

Bill was born and raised in the Niagara peninsula and received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from Wilfred Laurier University in 1975, and yes, he was there when it was called Waterloo Lutheran University.

Bill and his wife Dr. Susan West D.V.M. relocated to Parry Sound in 1986 when his then employer answered their prayers and offered a move out of the GTA. Since 1988 Bill has been a part of the Parry Sound Area Community Business & Development Centre, the Community Futures (CF) office for West Parry Sound most recently (1999) as their General Manager. Building the small business employment base through counseling and development lending has and continues to be a rewarding experience for anyone involved in the CF program... "Always look for a way to say yes".

Locally Bill served as President of the Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce and sat on the West Parry Sound Health Centre and Georgian Bay Biosphere Boards. Provincially he served as President of the CF Ontario Board (2009/10) and Chaired the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (2006/06). 

Dr. Sue and Bill raised 3 children in their Nobel home, now spoil 4 1/2 grandchildren and remain at the beck and call of a dog and 2 cats, all very fortunate rescue pets.

Dr. Brian Tucker

Dr. Brian Tucker

Dr. Brian Tucker is an ecologist specializing in terrestrial ecology and spatial statistics, with additional background in ecological restoration. He is a resident of Northwestern Ontario and has a strong connection to his Métis community, the traditional Métis way of life, as well as the commercial fishing, logging and trapping industries. He is currently the Manager of Métis Traditional Knowledge and Land Use for the Métis Nation of Ontario.

Brian was born and grew up in Northwestern Ontario (Fort Frances), where his traditional lifestyle fostered and maintained a close connection to the lands and waters of the north. He grew up hunting, fishing, trapping and harvesting plants as part of his Métis way of life. Before completing high school and moving away to attend post-secondary education, he worked at the family commercial fishing, trapping, and logging operations. He has also worked in the tourism industry, primarily as a fishing guide.

Brian studied at the University of Alberta in Edmonton (Ph.D. in Ecology) where he explored new methods of spatial data analysis and applied them to clonal plant ecology. During his M.Sc. research at Laurentian University (M.Sc. in Biology), Brian examined small scale (topographic) and large scale (historic smelting impact) vegetation community composition gradients using Hidden Markov Models. His B.Sc. research at Laurentian University (B.Sc. in Environmental Earth Science) comprised of examining the same gradients with the standard Markov Model. Prior to his university studies, Brian attended Confederation College in Thunder Bay (3-yr Environmental Engineering Technology). He has been an NSERC scholar throughout his undergraduate, M.Sc. and Ph.D. studies.

Brian’s studies have allowed him to explore and live across Northern Ontario; over the years, both Thunder Bay and Sudbury became “home” as connections and friends were made both at educational institutions and in the community. This has provided him with knowledge of the geography, the people, the issues and the opportunities across Northern Ontario. Brian’s studies in Alberta provided him continued exposure to high calibre educational institutions. It also served to further broaden his understanding of the Canadian experience, both in the sense of its diversity and its consistency across space and people.

Driven by the need to return to his family roots and community in Northwestern Ontario, Brian and his family moved back to Fort Frances where he remotely completed his doctoral research at the University of Alberta. During this time he spent three years teaching a range of courses at Confederation College’s Fort Frances campus. Many of these courses were distance education courses, and Brian was able to teach and learn from students from across the northern part of the province.

Over the course of the past three years, Brian has worked within the Métis Nation of Ontario in the Lands, Resources and Consultations Branch. He has served as the Manager of the LRC Branch, and he is now the Manager of Métis Traditional Knowledge and Land Use. This work has allowed him to work closely with Métis communities, industry representatives in the resource and energy sectors, and Federal and Provincial officials from various ministries on a range of projects, issues and initiatives. Brian has gained experience in government policy development and implementation, Aboriginal consultation, resource development in northern Ontario, infrastructure projects, natural resource management and northern education initiatives. Working within the MNO has also given Brian considerable exposure to Métis governance, rights, and culture. This work has also allowed him to travel across much of Ontario. Whenever possible, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife and son. He also enjoys canoeing, hunting, fishing, trapping, and literature.

More about the Advisory Council here

Research Advisory Board

Dr. Hugo Asselin

Dr. Hugo Asselin

Dr. Hugo Asselin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Social Development at Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. In 2008, he was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Forestry. He has since supervised the work of more than 30 graduate students. His research interests include northern development; land and resource management and governance; social acceptability; aboriginal knowledge, and research ethics. Since 2011, he is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Ecoscience, an international peer-reviewed journal in ecology. Since 2007, he serves as a board member of the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS). He is frequently interviewed by the media and had a weekly popular science column for 2 years (2012-2014) on the morning show of the French CBC in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. 

Riley Burton

Riley Burton

Riley Burton currently works as the Academic Chair of the School of Business, Hospitality and Media Arts at Confederation College in Thunder Bay.

Riley has held many different positions within Confederation College including Program Manager for Contract Training, Chair for the School of Engineering and Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre. With a commitment to education Riley has held contract teaching positions within the diploma programs of Forestry and Business. He has also taught numerous courses on contract with Oshki-Wenjack Education Institute. Prior to serving the College system, he worked as a Professional Forester for private enterprise and a Communications and Project Management consultant for both public and private clients within Northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Burton is passionate about Northern Ontario issues and always works to align his endeavours with the College system to regional initiatives. As such, he is a current community elected director with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Board. Mr. Burton also serves as a plan governor for the CAAT Pension Plan, is a past board director for the Ontario College Administrative Staff Association and past internal governor for the Board of Governors of Confederation College.

Riley holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree from Lakehead University, a Master of Arts in Applied Communication from Royal Roads University and a Business Fundamentals certificate from the Harvard Business School Online. He remains a registered professional forester in the province of Ontario and is also a certified Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute.

Ken Carter

Ken Carter

Dr. Heather Hall

Dr. Heather Hall
Chair, NPI Research Advisory Board

Dr. Heather Hall is one of the leading scholars on innovation and economic development in rural and northern regions in Canada. She grew up in Northern Ontario and has a professional and personal interest in researching issues that are important to the North, including: the impacts of new technologies in the mining sector; the community impacts of large-scale industrial projects; and innovation and economic development policy, planning and practice. Her work has been recognized nationally and internationally, and has informed government policy in Canada, Northern Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Sweden. Dr. Hall is the co-lead of the University of the Arctic’s Thematic Network on the Commercialization of Science and Technology for the North. She is also the lead researcher for Remote Controlled, a national project exploring the impacts of new technologies in the mining sector.

Dr. Katie Hartmann

Dr. Katie Hartmann

Dr. Katie Hartmann is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Agricultural Education and Studies Department at Iowa State University. Her work focuses on equity and access in formal and informal agricultural education settings, and the systemic barriers faced by marginalized communities to education. Specifically, her research has focused on inclusive and decolonizing pedagogies, community development through culturally responsive programming, and assisting educators and institutions build collaborations with diverse communities. She is particularly interested in Cooperative Extension’s collaborations with Indigenous communities, the sociohistorical context of the Land Grant System, and decolonizing methodologies and practices.

Carolyn Hepburn

Carolyn Hepburn

A proud member of Fort Albany First Nation, Carolyn first joined Sault College in 1999. Having worked in a number of departments throughout the institution, Carolyn became the Director of Native Education in 2005, taking on the Employment Ontario Literacy and Basic Skills portfolio in 2010 and in 2017 was appointed to the position of Dean of Indigenous Studies and Academic Upgrading. Currently the Chair of the Indigenous Peoples Education Circle representing all 24 Colleges in Ontario and Vice-Chair of Colleges and Institutes Canada’s National Indigenous Advisory Committee, Carolyn is a passionate advocate for education who is committed to fostering and strengthening the interconnections and collaborations needed between Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, communities and industry in meeting the future demands of a qualified Indigenous workforce.  

Dr. Peter Hollings

Dr. Peter Hollings

Dr. Hollings completed his Ph.D. at the University of Saskatchewan in 1998 where he investigated the geochemistry of the 2.7-3.0 Ga Uchi Subprovince from Red Lake to Pickle Lake. During a two-year NSERC funded postdoctoral fellowship at CODES Dr. Hollings participated in a multi-disciplinary research project investigating the genesis of giant copper-porphyry deposits in Chile. As a faculty member at Lakehead University since 2001, Dr. Hollings is continuing his research into the relationship between igneous petrogenesis and mineralisation in Northwestern Ontario, the Philippines and S America. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers on these topics. Hollings is currently the Chair of the Department of Geology and Director of the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration, both at Lakehead University. He is an Associate Editor of Mineralium Deposita and Acta Geologica Sinica.

Brittany Paat

Brittany Paat

Brittany Paat was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie where she completed her BA from Algoma University. She went on to complete her MA from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs where she focused her studies on Northern Ontario health policies. Brittany’s research interests  include rural and remote public health policies, social and economic determinants of health, health equity, evidence-based and evidence-informed decision making, and education policies. 

Dr. Barry Prentice

Dr. Barry Prentice

Dr. Prentice is a Professor of Supply Chain Management, at the I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba and the former Director (1996-2005) of the Transport Institute. His major research and teaching interests include logistics, transportation economics, urban transport and trade policy. Dr. Prentice holds a degree in economics from University of Western Ontario (1973) and graduate degrees in agricultural economics from University of Guelph (1979) and University of Manitoba (1986).

Dr. Prentice has authored or co-authored more than 250 research reports, journal articles and contributions to books. His scholarly work has been recognized for excellence in national paper competitions and awards. In 1999, National Transportation Week named him Manitoba Transportation Person of the Year. Through the Transport Institute, Dr. Prentice has organized national and international conferences on sustainable transportation (Railways and the Environment), supply chain logistics (Planes, Trains & Ships), agribusiness logistics (Fields on Wheels), the potential use of airships for northern transportation (Airships to the Arctic) and food trade between Canada and Mexico (La Cadena de Frio). In 1999 and 2003, he received University of Manitoba Outreach Awards. In 2009, Dr. Prentice was made an Honourary Life Member of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum.

Dr. Prentice was instrumental in founding a major in transportation and logistics within the B.Comm. (Hons.) program at the I. H. Asper School of Business (fall 2003). Since that time a new Department of Supply Chain Management has been formed, and in 2006 a M.Sc. program in supply chain management was initiated.

Dr. Prentice has served on the Boards of Directors of several transportation organizations: National Transportation Week (President, 2001 and 2003), Honourary President of the Canadian Institute for Traffic and Transportation (2001-3) and the Canadian Transportation Research Forum (Past President, 1997). Dr. Prentice is the President of ISO Polar Airships that he co-founded in 2005 as a not-for-profit research institute to promote the use of airships as sustainable transport for the northern latitudes. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Transportation Research Forum. In addition, Dr. Prentice has served on Winnipeg Airports Authority, Inc. (1998-2003), Winnipeg TransPlan 2010, the Mid-Continent International Trade Corridor Task Force, the Rapid Transit Task Force, expert committees, and is frequently asked to speak on the topics of trade and transportation.

Dr. David Robinson

Dr. David Robinson

David Robinson, PhD, is an economist. As a leading expert on Northern Ontario economic development, he was the first person to identify and promote the Northern Ontario Mining Supply and Service sector as our leading sector. He was also the first person to propose Northern Ontario School of Architecture. He has consulted for forest-dependent communities and written on the economics of community forestry. He is best known publicly for monthly columns in Northern Ontario Business Magazine, and in Sudbury Mining Solutions, the trade journal for the local Mining Supply and Services sector which he helped found. He does frequent interviews in broadcast media, has been a guest on TVO’s Agenda several times, and is often a featured speaker at conferences and events. He is particularly concerned with the economics of climate change. David teaches Game Theory, Natural Resource Economics, Statistics, and Econometrics. 

 

Dr. Lindsay Tedds

Dr. Lindsay Tedds

Dr. Lindsay Tedds is an Associate Professor and Scientific Director, Fiscal and Economic Policy School of Public Policy, University of Calgary.

Her primary research and teaching area is applied economic research and policy analysis, with a particular focus on the design and implementation of tax policy. She has written a number of peer reviewed journals articles, book chapters, and technical reports, as well as two books in this field. Lindsay has also held several posts with the Government of Canada in Ottawa as well as in municipal government in the areas of public economics and policy implementation.

More about the Research Advisory Board here

Authors

Celisse Bibr

Celisse Bibr

Celisse Bibr is a second year Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Rural and Northern Health program at Laurentian University, and a recent M.A. graduate from the Interdisciplinary Health program. Her current research centres around Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, exploring efforts for education and awareness in Northern Ontario.

David Bruno

David Bruno

As founder and CEO of a global cyber security firm, David Bruno specialises in anti-fraud and anti-corporate espionage systems for banks and financial institutions worldwide. Through his company, Secure Swiss Data (now SafeSwiss®), he provides financial sector solutions for the digital and interactive e-commerce sectors. For 20 years he has worked to provide security protection to the masses. After completing his MA in International Relations & Communications in Spain, he was hired by a telecom company for their new office, working out of both Barcelona and Montreal as a business development manager. It was here that his career advocating for fraud prevention systems began. He has since taken a number of courses in topics including DDoS, identity theft, anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing.

Zoe Higgins

Zoe Higgins

Zoe Higgins is a second year PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Rural and Northern Health program at Laurentian University and a pediatric speech-language pathologist at the Laurentian University Speech and Language Clinic. I have a Master of Health Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Ottawa. My research interests are speech and language assessment practices with First Nations children, literacy and bilingualism.

Fenfang Li

Fenfang Li

Fenfang Li moved to Thunder Bay from China in 2015, and graduated from Lakehead University with a Master’s degree in Economics in 2017. She is a former data analyst for NPI. Her educational background and work experience have inspired her to apply economic theories to real life problems. Her experience living and studying in Thunder Bay provides her with a solid base of knowledge regarding Northern Ontario policy issues, and she is excited to apply her knowledge to help the local community.

David MacKinnon

David MacKinnon

Mr. MacKinnon is a frequent commentator on Canadian fiscal issues. He has spoken to audiences across Ontario and his work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the National Post and many local newspapers across Canada. He has also been a guest on The Agenda on TVO, the BNN and other national  public affairs programs.

Mr. MacKinnon is a native of Prince Edward Island. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree (honours economics) from Dalhousie University and an MBA from York University. He was also awarded a Centennial Fellowship by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and York University to study at York, Harvard and Oxford Universities as well as the European Institute of Business Studies.

Mr. MacKinnon served as Director, Planning and Economics and Executive Director, Development Strategy in the Nova Scotia Department of Development from 1977 to 1981. He later served in several senior capacities in the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Montreal and as CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association from 1996 to 2003. He was also CEO of the Ontario Development Corporation, Ontario’s major economic development agency, from 1986 to 1993.

He is a Past Chair, West Park Healthcare Center, a Toronto rehabilitation hospital and currently serves as a Director and Chair of the Finance Committee at the Canadian Standards Association. He is a former member of the Patient Relations Committee of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, after serving on the governing council of that organization for six years.

In 2012, Mr. MacKinnon joined the board of the Quinte Health Care Center, a community hospital with sites in Picton, Belleville, Bancroft and Trenton.

David and his wife Betsy moved to Prince Edward County in 2010 after sailing in county waters for fifteen years.

Josée Malette

Josée Malette

Josée Malette is a current 4th-year medical student at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine who was born and raised in Thunder Bay. She holds a B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and an Honours B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa. Lover of the outdoors, she enjoys fishing, canoeing, hiking and spending time with family. She is currently the Chair of the provincial student-led
Northern Ontario and Rural Medicine Committee. Apart from northern, rural and remote medicine, her interests in the field revolved around access to French-language services, critical care, acute care and wilderness medicine. She is delighted to be pursuing a career as an Emergency Medicine resident starting July 1, 2020. She looks forward to providing care to patients in her hometown and the rest of Northwestern Ontario in the future.

Jamie McIntyre

Jamie McIntyre

Jamie McIntyre’s given name is Mashkiki Kwe, and she belongs to makwa doodem (bear clan). She has a mixed background of settler Scottish and Anishinaabe from Batchewana First Nation. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Economic and Social Development at Algoma University, and was most recently the Resource and Partnership Developer at NORDIK Institute based in Sault Ste. Marie. She has also received an Ec.d and Council for Advancement of Native Development Officers TAED certification through Algoma University. Her interests include cross-cultural relationship building and knowledge sharing, as well as sustainable development practices. 

Curtis McKnight

Curtis McKnight

Curtis was born and raised in Sherwood Park, Alberta. He has recently graduated from Queen’s University with a BAH, majoring in applied economics and minoring in political studies. During his time at NPI as a Research Analyst, Curtis was able to apply qualitative and quantitative techniques of analysis to make a positive impact on the unique policy environment of Northern Ontario. Some research interests of his include policy implications of business cycle dynamics, and the importance of natural resource development as it relates to economic growth. Currently, Curtis works as a financial advisor with Scotiabank. 

Christina McMillan Boyles

Christina McMillan Boyles

Christina McMillan Boyles RN, MScN is a Registered Nurse and an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at Laurentian University. Concurrent with her MScN degree, she completed a Type II diploma in Health Services and Policy Research. Currently, she is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Health in the School of Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian University.  She is an active member of the Ontario Respiratory Care Society (ORCS). She serves as the ORCS Regional Representative for Northeastern Ontario, and is a member of the ORCS Provincial Committee and the Research and Fellowship Committee. She is also a member of the Canadian Respiratory Health Professionals Association (CRHPA), the Canadian Association of Health Service and Policy Research (CAHSPR), and the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO). She served as a development member for the RNAO Best Practice Guideline (BPG) for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Some of her research interests include chronic disease, COPD, health services, health policy, nursing education, and qualitative research methodologies.

Dr. Bakhtiar Moazzami

Dr. Bakhtiar Moazzami

Dr. Moazzami has taught Economics and Econometrics at Lakehead University since 1988. He is well known for his research activities particularly related to Northern Ontario. He has written many reports on Northern Ontario’s economic development challenges and opportunities. He was commissioned by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to undertake a comprehensive study of Northern Ontario’s economy as a part of the research conducted for the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario. Included in the study were the identification of growing, declining and emerging industrial clusters in the region. Professor Moazzami has also written extensively on Northern Ontario’s Aboriginal people and Northern Aboriginal economy. Dr. Moazzami’s expertise and influence reaches beyond Lakehead University and Northern Ontario. He has been a regular guest speaker at the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program.

Dr. Sarah-Lynn Newbery

Dr. Sarah-Lynn Newbery

Dr. Sarah-Lynn Newbery, completed medical school at McMaster and postgraduate family medicine training in Thunder Bay in the Northern Ontario Medical Program. A fellow of both the CFPC and the SRPC, she has been a rural physician in comprehensive community practice in Marathon since 1996 and she is currently the Chief of Staff of the North of Superior Health Care Group. She has been on the board of the Ontario College of Family Physicians since 2008 and is a past President of the OCFP. She has been the
VP Clinical for the Northwest LHIN and is chair of the Northern Physician Resources Task Force. She is on several provincial health related committees and is chair of the OCFP’s Rural Mentoring Network and Leadership in Primary Care Mentoring Network. She has been an active community teacher and faculty member at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine since its inception and is currently the Assistant Dean of Physician Workforce Strategy.

Anthony Noga

Anthony Noga

Anthony Noga was born in Thunder Bay and grew up in city's rural outskirts. He graduated from Lakehead University with an HBA in History and Political Science. He spent time volunteering with an economic development agency in Israel before getting his Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Waterloo. A political economy geek, Anthony worked for NPI as a data analyst. He is now a labour market analyst for North Superior Workforce Planning Board (NSWPB) where he can put his extensive research and analytical skills to work in his hometown.
Alex Ross

Alex Ross

Alex Ross was born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario. After graduating from Laurentian University with a B.A. (Hons) in Economics in 2010, he completed a Masters Degree in Economic Policy from McMaster University. Alex is a former NPI senior data analyst after working as a trust officer in the wealth management industry, and he has past non-profit experience as well as international teaching experience in Thailand. Alex’s areas of interest include environmental economics and sustainability, labour economics, education, and community growth. In his spare time, Alex enjoys hiking, exploring Northern Ontario, cooking, and travel. Alex is the business development officer for arts, culture and film at the City of Greater Sudbury.

Nabina Sharma

Nabina Sharma

Nabina Sharma is a second year PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Rural and Northern Health program at Laurentian University. She has a Master of Public Health from Nepal and experience working with the rural and Indigenous communities of Nepal. Her research interests are global health, aging population, dementia and health policy.

Christina Zefi

Christina Zefi

Christina Zefi is a former Research Analyst at Northern Policy Institute. She has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminology from the University of Toronto as well as a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Humber College. Her research interests include immigration reform and policy related to Indigenous Affairs, the environment, and mental health. Prior to her role at NPI, Christina worked at TD Canada Trust as a Financial Advisor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view past authors, click here

To view past authors, click here.