Latest Policy Bytes

Success Story: Ye Olde Chip Truck, Kenora

August 10, 2016 - For nearly 60 years, the Ye Olde Chip Truck has been a well-known institution in the City of Kenora. The clientele is diverse, and includes the likes of local hockey hero Mike Richards to former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Each summer, thousands brave the lines for a batch of their world famous fries. While Ye Olde has had a number of different of owners over the course of its 59 years, its recipe and popularity have stood the test of time.   

Where's the Beef? Weighing Cattle Herd Expansion in Northern Ontario

August 8, 2016 - There’s an old adage that states, “Don’t have a cow, man” or wait, that’s not the one I’m thinking of. Rather, I mean to repeat Mark Twain’s refrain, “Buy land, they’re not making any more of it.” While neither of these concepts are related in principle, inverting the ethos of Bart Simpson’s famous catchphrase and combining it with Twain’s words of wisdom may present a synergistic opportunity for Northern Ontario.

New NOSM Graduates are practising in rural and Northern Ontario – so far so good

July 25, 2016 - Practising as a family physician in a rural area can be challenging. For example, rural areas have fewer physicians, but more patients with complex needs and greater distances from advanced health care services.  All of this means that doctors often need to wear many hats and have complex workloads while dealing with a lack of resources and professional isolation.  In Ontario, there have been many initiatives by governments and communities to attract physicians to rural northern regions including offering financial incentives, marketing the rural and northern “lifestyle” to physicians and enhancing supports for medical practice to reduce stress.  However, these attempts have been largely unsuccessful, resulting in high turnover rates of doctors who return to the urban south once the financial incentives have run out or when the northern lifestyle has lost its appeal.

Getting the Small Things Right: How data suppression distorts Northern realities

July 18, 2016 - Northern Policy Institute recently released a briefing note about how data is (or isn’t) being collected in Northern Ontario, and how this can impact our knowledge and perception of important public policy issues in the region. The first part of the report focused on the perils of the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), and the second part zeroed in on a new idea: creating a set of regional economic accounts for Northern Ontario.

Education or bust

June 13, 2016 - The first in a series of papers Northern Policy Institute has commissioned in partnership with all six northern workforce planning boards outlines some serious challenges in the Timiskaming District. The authors conclude that, to borrow a phrase, absent significant improvements in rural education outcomes, the region is facing “a future of people without jobs and jobs without people”.

Incentives are powerful

June 6, 2016 - If you have ever studied economics, you will know that one of its calling cries is that people respond to incentives. Indeed you can even consider economics to be the study of how and why people respond to incentives.

Show me the money, in Northern Ontario

May 9, 2016 - You can’t make a living in the North, right? That is what we northerners are often told. The real money is down south or out west. Well, not so fast. 

Missing the Mark on Spring Bear Hunt

May 2, 2016 - This week marks the return of the spring bear hunt in Ontario. This past February, the province confirmed that it was extending the spring bear hunt for an additional five years, expanding it to all wildlife management units that currently have fall bear hunting, and offering hunting privileges to non-residents.

Airships, A Permanent Solution to High Northern Food Costs?

April 25, 2016 - Areas of inner-cities where most large grocery stores have closed are being called urban food-deserts. A transportation connection has been drawn between the food insecurity of urban food-deserts and the health of citizens. The inner-cities have higher rates of diabetes because some residents cannot afford the travel costs to reach a large grocery store outside the urban core. Consequently, they shop where they can walk, at corner stores, where nutrition is not the objective and “junk food” is prominent.