September 26, 2016 - Land use planning is at the heart of the livability and sustainability of the communities in which we live. The province-wide, land-use planning document, the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), is an authoritative text used by local planning experts in Ontario to determine the layout of a community’s built and natural environment. It requires local decisions to align with provincial interests. Some Northern Ontario stakeholders in the land planning community regard the PPS as a product of provincial apprehension about overdevelopment and diminishing greenspaces in Southern Ontario. This premise stems from the document’s focus on growth management practices and its unnegotiable language that does not necessarily speak to local conditions in northern communities. The Ministry of Finance’s growth projections for Northern Ontario over the next 26 years are negative, with an estimated population decline from 798,000 in 2015 to 780,000 in 2041. Certainly, Northern Ontario is interested in seeing policies that encourage growth rather than constrain it, and this can be accomplished by loosening the reins of finite and protectionist policies in the PPS.
September 19, 2016 - It’s the weekend and you’re driving around Timmins looking for a nice place to stop and enjoy the sights of Northern Ontario. You heard Kettle Lakes Provincial Park is a great place to visit so off you go down highway 101. Chances are, if you’re not from the area and you don’t have a GPS, you’ll drive right past the turn off to get to the park because there is no sign pointing towards its location. Odd, right? Where are the signs?
September 12, 2016 - Eight, double zero, five, six, five, seven, four, two, one. That’s eight, double zero, five, six, five, seven, four, two, one. Since the 1970’s that ditty has been bouncing around in my head. Sung to a catchy beat in the unmistakable tones of Stompin’ Tom Connors. It was then (and still is today) the phone number to call for Prince Edward Island tourist information. Go ahead, try it, you know you want to.
September 6, 2016 - It has been a common complaint from Timmins residents in past years that the city does not offer the same amount or quality of events that other northern centres do. But recently, these critiques have been answered. Local businesses and members of the community have started stepping up to offer a range of events in town that will appeal not only the community but hopefully tourists visiting the area. There is support from the province to encourage tourism in northern communities because of the benefit and growth that events generate. The rise in the number of festivals and events in Timmins is certainly something worth celebrating.
August 29, 2016 - As another summer draws to a close, another Experience North program is in the books. This year, Northern Policy Institute welcomed ten policy and communications interns into the fold. Hailing from different educational and professional backgrounds, these interns provided Northern Policy Institute with new perspectives on existing research and innovative ideas of ways to grow Northern Ontario.
August 22, 2016 - It’s around that time of year when students looking ahead to post-secondary studies will face the deadline to accept offers of admission. For Northern Ontario students, this looming date is a symbol of choice: to move away or stay in the north?
August 15, 2016 - Aligning the supply and the demand of the labour market is indispensable to overall economic efficiency. With trends such as a declining population, youth out-migration and a growing skills gap in Northern Ontario, there is an increased need to ensure that the job supply meets demand and that young adults have the education and skills to fill these vacancies.
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.
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.
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.