Northern Policy Institute Takes Giant Step Forward

Lakehead University

Lakehead UniversityTHUNDER BAY – The move forward to form a Northern Policy Institute continues. The Northern Policy Institute is proceeding with the help of special advisors, Lakehead University President Dr. Brian Stevenson and Laurentian University President Dominic Giroux. The institute will be based at the two universities in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, and will work with northern post-secondary institutions and research organizations.

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation will provide $5 million to establish the institute.

Lakehead University President Dr. Brian Stevenson states, “The Northern Policy Institute’s mandate complements the themes of the Growth Plan and sets the tone for a collaborative, evidence-based multi-sector approach engaging public and private sector partners to conduct research. The Institute will provide a Northern perspective, grounded in quality research to guide the policy development and economic decisions of governments, communities, business and industry. Input from First Nations leadership will be an important part of NPI’s work, by including an Aboriginal perspective in developing policy recommendations affecting their communities as well as communities across the North”.

“One of the guiding principles of the institute is to stimulate public engagement and dialogue and promote the viewpoints of Northern Ontarians. The institute will provide valuable and welcome opportunities to members of the public to share their ideas,” shares Bill Mauro, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Thunder Bay Atikokan.

“In extensive consultations across the North during the development of the Growth Plan, Northern stakeholders were highly supportive of establishing a Northern Policy Institute. I am pleased to launch a policy institute that will provide input from a northern perspective for provincial policies and programs that affect Northern Ontario. As a Northern Minister and as a life-long Northerner, I welcome any tool that ensures the unique needs of the North are understood and met,” added Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines.

“I’d like to give special thanks to NOMA and Common Voice Northwest for their strong advocacy of a Policy Institute throughout the Growth Plan consultation process as well as all Northerners who shared that vision and, of course, to Presidents Stevenson and Giroux for their continued commitment to seeing us achieve this important goal for Northerners” shared an enthusiastic Michael Gravelle, MPP, Thunder Bay-Superior North.

“The Northern Policy Institute will focus on northern policy priorities in partnership with stakeholder groups from throughout Northern Ontario, including municipal associations, Francophone groups, labour groups, universities, colleges, Indigenous organizations and private sector industry. The Institute responds to the expressed intent of northerners having a stronger say in policy directions affecting the North. This investment over the next five years will allow for policies that are proposed for and by the North, leading to better community engagement in the decisions that affect the day to day lives in our communities,” commented Dominic Giroux, President and Vice-Chancellor, Laurentian University.

QUICK FACTS:
• A search is underway for the founding Chief Executive Officer, who will oversee the institute’s preparation of a five-year business plan.
• In April 2011 a questionnaire was sent to over 1,400 individuals and organizations to provide input on the role and mandate of the Institute.
• The institute will play a role in monitoring the implementation of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, which the province delivered in March 2011.