THUNDER BAY – The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), and the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) have collectively provided their input into the development of the Northern Policy Institute. In a joint memo to Special Advisors Dominic Giroux, President of Laurentian University and Brian Stevenson, President of Lakehead University, the Presidents of FONOM, NOMA and NOSDA outlined key points for consideration in the development of the Northern Policy Institute.
NOMA President Ron Nelson says, “It is vital that all municipal leaders present a united voice to ensure that the Northern Policy Institute meets our needs.” FONOM President Al Spacek agrees, “The Northern Policy Institute represents a great opportunity for Northerners to provide input into government activities and legislation.” NOSDA Chairman Gary Scripnick explains, “We believe that the work of the Northern Policy Institute has the potential to greatly enhance policy development capacity to benefit the citizens of Northern Ontario.”
In the memo, the three groups expressed their support for the Mission, Outcomes, Principles and Mechanisms that have been proposed by Common Voice Northwest. This includes:
That the Northern Policy Institute conducts independent forward-looking research on business, economic and social issues, and generates policy advice that will improve Northern Ontario’s standard of living through sound economic and social policies.
That the nature of the work of the Northern Policy Institute be:
– Credible, balanced, independent research and well-considered concepts;
– Northern Ontario based;
– Proactive and forward looking;
– able to bring attention to this large geographic area with a small population;
– able to Monitor and regularly report on the implementation of the Northern Ontario Growth Plan.
They also urge that the organization be freestanding with a pan-northern Board of Directors (subject matter experts, not Order-in-Council appointees).
The memo concludes with the following, “If this Institute is neither independent, nor able to influence and shape government policy in a practical, down-to-earth way, a fantastic opportunity to guide self-determination and sufficiency will be lost to the peoples of Northern Ontario.”
FONOM and NOMA collectively represent all 144 municipalities in Northern Ontario. NOSDA is involved in the delivery of services that contribute to the quality of life of Northerners across all municipalities and unorganized territories.