Latest Policy Bytes

Prison Segregation: out of sight is not out of mind

October 23, 2017 - In the fall of 2016, Thunder Bay made headlines when coverage of Adam Capay’s four year stint in segregation at the Thunder Bay Jail hit the press.  Capay, 19 years old at the time of imprisonment, was placed in segregation following a fight which resulted in the death of another inmate. He was charged with first-degree murder and placed in segregation for four years awaiting trial on the new charge.

Five Big Ideas for Northern Ontario

October 10, 2017 - Twice last month, we were challenged to think BIGGER in terms of our vision for the future of our region and our country. First came Dr. David Robinson’s piece in this magazine decrying the incrementalist nature of the recently released provincial multi-modal transportation study. Then came Conrad Black, in the pages of the National Post, reminiscing about the days of real policy debate in this country and putting forward some big ideas of his own for transformational change.

Why we need to be careful in delivering a basic income through the tax system

September 18, 2017 -  It has been nearly a year and half since the Ontario government announced in its 2016 budget that it would proceed with testing a basic income. The pilot communities have now been chosen (Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay), though details on the First Nations community have yet to be released, and some of the details of the basic income model have been announced. While the implementation details on the pilots are still sketchy, the pilot will run for three years and the results will be obtained in 2020 when they will be evaluated by a third-party research group. Based on the results of the pilot, the basic income may be rolled out across the province.

It's Time to Put Your Mouth Where Your Money is

September 11, 2017 - Have you read it yet? Have you taken the time to draft even a short reply to it? Do you know the deadline for comment is the 15th of September? Which of the themes it outlines do you think should be a priority? What about the 37 directions it includes. Too many? Too few?

If you don't North, now you North

September 5, 2017 - Saying goodbye to beach weather, camp (not cottage!) weekends, barbeques, and patios all come with summers end. NPI has even more farewells at the end of August as we say goodbye to our Experience North Summer Placements, who spent their summer working across three locations in Northern Ontario. Whether they were working on website design in Sault Ste. Marie, exploring policy options in Kenora or creating innovative outreach strategies in Thunder Bay, they all had the opportunity to experience all that Northern Ontario has to offer.

'Filling Up': Electric Vehicles in Northern Ontario

August 28, 2017 - Who killed the electric car? Many remember the film by director Chris Paine and its exploration of the electric vehicle industry in North America during the early 2000s. What was once seen as an industry with little chance of growth due to the worlds continuing reliance on oil, and the perception of meddling ‘evil’ resource extracting companies, has begun to, pun intended, switch gears. As Canada celebrates its 150th year since confederation, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) have become an enticing option for next generation car buyers. Although electric vehicles (EVs) only accounted for 1% of total new vehicles sales in 2016, they are still making an impact on one of Canada’s largest commercial industries. With electric vehicles sales totaling more than 1,000 units sold per month across Canada, and with Volvo recently announcing all of its new model vehicles will be hybrid, or electric by 2019, it’s safe to say that the green car movement is here to stay.

Perhaps the Answer to Our Skills Gap is Closer Than we Think

August 21, 2017 - According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, 82 percent of their members who reported attempting to hire a new employee during a six month period in 2016 had challenges in doing so. The number one challenge reported was the inability to find someone with suitable qualifications. This finding aligns with previous analysis released by the Chamber and with the larger scale work of people like Rick Miner, author of The Great Canadian Skills Mismatch: People without Jobs, Jobs Without People.

You Can Get a Job AND an Education

July 17, 2017 - I realize this may come as a shock to some, but it is possible for post-secondary institutions to provide students with what is known as a classical education AND to prepare them for employment. It is equally possible, indeed necessary, to develop critical thinking skills while also learning a trade.

North for the North: Recruiting for the Future

July 10, 2017 - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have been responsible for the safety and well-being of Ontario’s citizens for more than one hundred years. Since their creation in 1909, the force has grown to employ over 10,000 employees, serving over 322 communities, and a geographic area of over one million square kilometers (OPPA 2017). With fifty-one detachments in Northern Ontario alone, the OPP are responsible for a large portion of policing for rural and remote communities in Ontario's northern regions. As of 2017, the OPP will face a challenge when over 1,000 of their current 5,300 officers become eligible for retirement (Kirkpatrick 2016, December 15). With approximately 800 uniformed officers serving Northern Ontario, the wave of retirements - expected to begin late this year - will result in one out of every five officers eligible for retirement, or approximately 140 active duty members (OPP 2016). Although the OPP have taken steps to ensure these retirements will not impact service levels, the question becomes, how will the loss of officers and the migration of new OPP members to the north affect police-community relations going forward?