Latest Policy Bytes

The Grass Isn't Always Greener: Job Opportunities in Northern Ontario

January 30, 2017 - “The grass is always greener,” is a sentiment echoed by many northerners in regards to employment opportunities and salaries in the region. Many young workers have their eyes set on Southern Ontario in the hopes of finding a job with high wages, leaving the north behind for greener pastures.

Indigenous Tourism: Takeaways for Northern Ontario

January 16, 2017 - Here’s a puzzle: 20 percent of Indigenous “tourism businesses…are located in… British Columbia,” which attracts “one in four visitors.” At the same time, Ontario has 31 percent of all Indigenous tourism businesses in Canada, yet two percent of visitors from their “key markets…experienced [Indigenous] culture” in 2012. This difference means that Northern Ontario’s Indigenous tourism industry has plenty of room to grow. Since British Columbia enjoys a higher demand for this type of tourism, it can offer several best practices to create a more dynamic Indigenous tourism sector in the North. These lessons can provide positive spillovers such as increased revenue, a larger and more diverse economy, and stronger social ties amongst communities and First Nations.[1]

Red Tape Redux? Or Reduction?

January 9, 2017 - The Ontario Medical Association celebrated the holidays in 2016 by sending nicely wrapped boxes of red tape to MPPs. The gifts were a protest about the new regulations and red tape that the OMA said would result from the passage of Bill 41. These types of protests are not new. Every regulated industry and occupation complain bitterly about onerous or outdated regulation.

Two Million Northerners?

December 12, 2016 - One hundred million Canadians by 2100. This is the bold goal set for us by the Century Initiative (a group of business leaders and Canadian intellectuals) and now endorsed by Prime Minister Trudeau’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth. But I want to highlight something missing from this glorious plan for 100 million Canadians.

Getting a Good Start: Teaching Kindergarten at Kejick Bay School

November 25, 2016 - Alisha Hill’s initial apprehensions disappeared a year ago when she met her Kindergarten class.  Like most teachers heading to Northern Ontario to teach for the first time in a First Nations community, she had read the tragic stories and was painfully aware of the troubles affecting reserve life.   

School of the Airwaves: Wahsa Distance Education – from Radio to Social Media

November 25, 2016 - Over the past twenty-five years, Wahsa Distance Education Centre (WDEC), has pushed at the limits of technology in the Northern education frontier. Since his arrival as Principal in 1995, Darrin Head has seen WDEC through a succession of dramatic technological changes in the delivery of its programs – from comparatively crude instructional radio to SMART board technology and social media.  

Northerners need lower online taxes

November 21, 2016 - Do you shop online? Are you a Canadian? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then you are likely being shafted. Well, shafted might be too strong a word, but not by much.

The Digital Divide: Internet Access in Northern Ontario

November 14, 2016 - For the majority, internet usage is an integral part of the everyday. It has infiltrated its way into our daily lives, and serves as an indispensable medium in the workplace, for commerce, education, health services, and functions as global gathering place for an open and democratic exchange of ideas. Individuals in urban centres tend to have access to seamless online connectivity and can pay bills at any time, from the comfort of their own home – even obtain a degree. This opens up the interesting question of whether affordable, high speed internet services, should be a legal right, or at least, a basic service. This question is particularly pertinent for individuals in northern Ontario who live in remote or rural areas, who by virtue of geography, are far enough away from urban cores to be at a social and economic disadvantage.