Latest Policy Bytes

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.

Parking Expansion at Health Science North Best Value for Dollar

September 25, 2014 - Recently, Greater Sudbury councillors approved the purchase of land from the neighbouring Idylwylde Golf Course in order to add nearly one thousand parking spaces at Health Science North (HSN). The need for additional parking was driven by patient and visitor complaints that parking was too far away from the hospital, as well as removing the need for shuttle buses for employees and staff who currently park off site at the former St. Joseph Health Centre, (One could question the need for a shuttle when Sudbury Transit’s University via Paris bus already provides the same service).

Cargotecture – The Next Frontier in Housing Construction

September 24, 2014 - In an age of rising housing prices, increasing costs of construction material and fewer lots on prime real estate, the necessity of economising in the housing business is on the up-and-up. Technological advancements have been a part of reducing some of the costs associated with housing and the construction of new buildings, however; the hard costs of construction are relatively fixed, particularly in Northern Ontario. In order to overcome this issue, builders and planners worldwide have been investigating an alternative construction material that is recycled, economical, and virtually indestructible. It is called ISBU.

Further Examination of the ORPP - Part Two

September 15, 2014 - A key topic for Ontarians as of late is pension plan reform. While looming retirement realities seem dismal, the provincial government claims to have a solution. Presented as a step in the right direction, the ORPP professes to provide a reliable, sustainable supplemental pension plan for the province. Although this retirement assistance package has the potential to do some good, economic theorists supported by extensive literature highlight significant design flaws in the ORPP that need to be meted out prior to implementation if anyone is to truly benefit. In light of these assessments it is important to determine whom the ORPP actually serves, where does it fall short, and would it prove harmful to those it is intended to help?

Picking Up the Pieces: A Community-School-Based Approach to First Nations Education Renewal

September 11, 2014 - First Nations Education has been the focus of a great deal of controversy and discussion in recent months. The latest proposed “solution” put forth in Bill C-33 was built around an enhanced federal financial contribution. The bill was, however, ultimately rejected by many first nations and subsequently abandoned by the government. . In “Picking up the Pieces,” Paul Bennett and Jonathan Anuik demonstrate why the education reform proposed in Bill C-33 missed the mark. More money in the form of increased capital funding might have brought modest gains to on-reserve schooling, but replacing one bureaucracy with another rarely changes the state of education or improves the quality of student learning at the school or community level.