Latest Policy Bytes

Filling the Education Gap: Teach for Canada's First Nations Education Initiative

October 20, 2015 - Every September a fresh crop of hundreds of mostly novice teachers head North to teach in remote, mostly First Nations populated communities. Hired by northern public school districts or aboriginal education authorities, the recruits arrive flush with excitement and prepared to ‘sink or swim’ on a mostly unfamiliar educational terrain. 

Homework: Why it's Making a Comeback

October 14, 2015 - School has resumed for another year and most parents, teachers and students are once again confronting the thorny issue of homework.  After a decade-long campaign against assigning kids too much work to be completed at home, homework definitely making a comeback in Canadian schools.

Demonyms in the North

September 28, 2015 - Do you know what a demonym is? What if I were to ask you to tell me what the term Torontonian meant? You’d probably be able to tell me that this term describes someone who lives or is from the city of Toronto, and that’s precisely what demonym means. It is a term used to attribute the name of place or location to someone, usually a resident, and generally involves adding a suffix, such as “ian” or “nian” in the case of Toronto. The term traces its origins back to ancient Greece and is derived from the word “deme,” which was used to describe a township. The adjective demonymic, therefore, describes the process of attributing the name to an Athenian citizen according to the deme that they reside. Currently, the word deme is still used to describe an administrative division in modern Greece. 

Community Hub Schools: A Call for “Cage Busting” Leadership

September 16, 2015 - Transforming emptying or mothballed schools into community hubs is now becoming de rigueur for provinces and school districts. Three weeks ago, Ontario became the latest to embrace the policy initiative and take on the herculean implementation challenge. Breaking into that educational silo will take what American policy analyst Frederick Hess has aptly termed “cage-busting leadership.”

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.