Latest Policy Bytes

Our Experience Getting to “Know the North”

September 8, 2015 - As summer interns in Sault Ste. Marie, Mandy and I spent the summer working on a research project with Northern Policy Institute, called “Know the North.” Working out of Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, a generous amount of our days were spent reaching out to economic developers in First Nations and non-First Nations communities, in hopes of arranging informal interviews. We were happy to speak with an average of 72 economic development players this summer. The goal of the conversation was to gain a better understanding of how First Nations and Municipalities are faring on a social and economic scale, as well as address regional themes that Northern Policy Institute can tailor its research around and open the door to the beginning of a lasting partnership with northern communities.  Seventy two interviews and six well-used notebooks later, here is a snapshot of the things we learned over the summer:

Northern Policy Institute's summer 2015 internships draw to a close

August 31, 2015 - This summer, Northern Policy Institute had the pleasure of working with an inspiring group of young adults from Northern Ontario through its annual internship program. These eight interns, all hailing from different educational and professional backgrounds, provided Northern Policy Institute with new perspectives on existing research and innovative ideas of ways to grow Northern Ontario.

An Unpacking of What it Means to Say “Innovation” and FedNor's Private Sector Youth Internship

August 28, 2015 - In Northern Ontario, the environment is one of the largest economic drivers, and at first glance, extracting a living from the land could appear as fertile grounds for a poverty of ideas.  In a hyper-digitized global context, Northern Ontario’s traditional industries may fail to be thought of as sectors that are capable of creating new ways to earn a profit while building on cultural capital (Hall & Donald, 11), better known as non-financial assets, such as education, ideas, and knowledge that arm individuals with a social advantage (Crossman).

FedNor – Who calls the shots matters

August 18, 2015 - What’s the first thing people normally do when the person on the other side of the counter can’t or won’t give them the level of customer service they desire? They ask to speak to the manager. They want to know that the person they are talking to has the power to not only identify a solution, but to implement it.

NHL Expansion in the North Not Likely: A Rebuttal to the Idea of a Sudbury-Thunder Bay Market

August 11, 2015 - Talk of National Hockey League (NHL) expansion is heating up. At the end of June 2015, the league announced that it was beginning the process for expansion bids, with many speculating that the NHL would grow to thirty-two teams by the start of the 2017-18 season. The deadline to submit bids expired on July 20th, with only Québec City and Las Vegas forwarding their candidacy, along with a $10-million (USD) fee, 20 percent of which is non-refundable. A blog post featured on FiveThirtyEight, a statistical and aggregation website affiliated with ESPN, had earmarked Sudbury-Thunder Bay as a potential NHL market. Yes, you read that correctly. Could Sudbury and Thunder Bay, two cities separated by more than 1,000 km on the Trans-Canada Highway, be an ideal market for a National Hockey League franchise?

Corporate tax avoidance, tax evasion, and GAAR: Oh my!

August 5, 2015 - There has been a lot of attention on corporate tax avoidance of late, with calls for corporations to ‘pay their fair share.’ If you are in this camp, then I hope you are following closely the OECD BEPS debates, the luxleaks fall out, and yes even the federal budgets. No? Well, then you should.

Making the old new again: How adaptive reuse is changing Sault Ste. Marie's Mill Square

July 22, 2015 - In 2012, a group of private investors purchased the historic site of St. Mary’s Paper in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario that borders the waterfront in the Canal District. Bustling with new energy, Mill Square now occupies the once industrial space, functioning as a cultural hub that houses artists, entrepreneurs and businesses, while also being headquarters to the Algoma Conservatory of Music and Algoma University Fine Arts department. It will become home to an established and successful marketplace, as well as function as event space that is scheduled to open for booking on June 1, 2015.

Eliminating Homelessness in Northern Ontario: Northern Ontario as the next Medicine Hat?

Medicine Hat and Housing First

July 15, 2015 - Medicine Hat recently made headlines for being the first city in Canada poised to eliminate homelessness by the end of 2015. Mayor Ted Clugston credited this remarkable achievement to the city’s Housing First (HF) strategy. Housing First is a homelessness approach targeted at addressing the chronically and episodically homeless populations[1]. The founding philosophy behind HF is that an individual’s housing needs must be met before their other problems can be addressed. HF is guided by six principles: housing is to be provided as soon as possible, individuals must have choice in their housing arrangements and services, housing is not conditionally tied to anything other than accepting regular visits[2], individuals must contribute some of their income towards rent, housing should be integrated into the community to reduce stigma, and individuals are to be provided with the necessary supports to increase their self-sufficiency and help them graduate the HF program[3].

Northern voices can indeed be heard

July 6, 2015 - The Mowat Centre, a research institute associated with the University of Toronto, just released a “Federal Economic Agenda for Ontario.” The document essentially asks, and answers, two questions: What are the primary challenges facing Ontario? And, what does the evidence tell us about the best possible responses to those challenges?

Nudge Economics and Tax Compliance

June 30, 2015 - It would seem the latest bright shiny ball in the policy world is Nudge Economics. On the one hand, I suppose it is good that governments are finally getting around to reading some economics books. On the other hand, governments don’t seem to read the books too carefully since they can’t seem to understand the difference between Nudge economics and, well, economics.