Apr 12, 2017 @ 11:12
75,000 workers, 150,000 people. These are the forecasted workforce and population shortfalls throughout Northern Ontario by the year 2041, even after allowing for the expected growth in the Indigenous population.
In order to meet those goals, the north would have to attract on average some 6,000 people a year, starting next year and every year thereafter for 25 years. This will require real resources, significant effort, and serious commitment.
It will also require an evidence-based plan. Northern Policy Institute has launched a new project, Northern Attraction, to collect the evidence, engage with experts, and develop that action plan to share with key decision makers, community partners and the broader public.
As part of the Northern Attraction project, Curry Consulting of North Bay has been commissioned to recommend any needed changes to current policies and programs related to migration. These could include economic incentives for newcomers, local control of immigration programs based on local needs, methods of targeted recruitment and the capacity of settlement services to provide the necessary supports to ensure newcomers feel welcomed in communities. Newcomers include both immigrants (from outside of Canada) and secondary migrants (Canadians or new arrivals moving to Northern Ontario from their current community).
Members of the Curry Consulting team are Don Curry, Meyer Burstein, a former Director-General with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Dr. Michael Haan, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Migration and Ethnic Relations in the sociology department at Western University
According to available data, approximately 1800 more people left Northeastern Ontario than came to the region in 2014-2015. That same year, approximately 700 more people left Northwestern Ontario than settled there.
“Shrinking population and negative net migration numbers represent a significant challenge for the North and one that needs to be addressed,” said Charles Cirtwill, President & CEO of Northern Policy Institute. “The Northern Attraction project is one half of our focused response to this challenge. The second is our Shared Economy project which explores needed changes to help Indigenous peoples achieve their economic potential. This is not an either/or exercise, both of these projects must set us on a path for success if the north is going to grow and prosper.”
More information on the Shared Economy project will be released later this spring.
Northern Attraction is an ongoing project that will include outreach efforts to collect baseline information on the types of newcomers in Northern Ontario and existing settlement and attraction programs and services available in the north. To get involved, contact [email protected]