Latest Policy Bytes

Genetically Modified Foods Not the Solution for Sustainable Agriculture in Northern Ontario

November 17, 2014 - Northern Ontario has always been the source of a vast amount of natural resources. These resources are generally focused on mining and forestry. However, another less publicized resource is becoming a more important contributor to the well-being of the region: agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs state that there is considerable potential for agriculture in Northern Ontario[1]. However, the harsh Northern Ontario climate can be a barrier to agriculture in the region as it shortens the farming season and increases the occurrence of frost, which results in a low crop yield.

Will the Ring of Fire Create a New Community for Ontario?

November 10, 2014 - Fly in. Fly out. It’s been the mantra of remote mines since governments and industry realized they were often left holding the bag for mining towns when the minerals were gone. Roads, water systems and schools remained but were not sustainable by the few taxpayers left behind.

Funding Interprofessional Primary Care (IPC) In Ontario

November 3, 2014 - According to a recent report compiled by the Ontario Medical Association, 4,266 physicians, (52 per cent of all physicians today), and roughly 8.6 million patients are committed to a practice in an interprofessional primary care model.[i] The IPC model of healthcare was designed for several reasons, but primarily to provide patients with improved integrated access to care during evenings and weekends, and to encourage physicians to accept new patients.  This innovative model was contingent on transforming the methods in which primary care is funded. As the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Medical Association collaboratively move forward in its primary-care reform initiatives, there is a need to take a balanced view of not only the needs of the province’s physicians with those of the patients, but to access the systems accountability to taxpayers as well. Consequently, it is important to identify the payment methods currently in use, determine what so far might be problematic, and provide evidence-based recommendations in an attempt to monitor the vitals of such an essential system.

Rail Decisions in Canada – Part 3 of 3

October 24, 2014 - Policy decisions shaped Canada’s rail system and helped define northern Ontario’s development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some were models of intelligent public policy.  Others were questionable, but ultimately bore fruit when subsequent decisions corrected their flaws.

Rail Decisions in Canada – Part 1 of 3

October 20, 2014 - Some members of the transportation policy community see big decisions looming for Canada’s rail industry. This is particularly so in Northern Ontario, where questions will have to be answered not just about the federally-regulated transcontinental and short line carriers, but also the province’s Ontario Northland and federally-owned VIA Rail Canada.  Add to this the transportation choices to enable the Ring of Fire’s development.

Guest Post: If We Build It, They Will Stay

October 16, 2014 - Forty-seven years ago, perhaps in the outsized spirit of Expo 67, the retired major general and author Richard Rohmer put forward a bold proposal in Mid-Canada Development Corridor: A Concept. It described a vast landmass stretching from Newfoundland and Labrador across Quebec, Ontario, and the Prairies, to British Columbia and up through Northwest Territories and Yukon, occupying the area between southern settlements and the treeline—a band dominated by boreal forest. His idea was to implement a national strategy to develop and populate it.

Rip-it-and-ship-it Versus Value-added

October 14 - 2014 - It’s a common concern that Northern Ontario is not developing industries that will add-value to raw mining and forestry materials before they are exported for use elsewhere. So, why can’t we build processing and manufacturing facilities and then sell the value-added products to the world?

Stainless Steel and the Ring of Fire

October 1, 2014 - It would be hard to find an adult in Northern Ontario who hasn’t heard of the Ring of Fire or doesn’t know what it promises for the North’s future. Most believe that long term prosperity for workers, industry and First Nations people is at their doorstep.