The Turning Point? Estimating the Francophone Economic Footprint in Algoma

Jan 29, 2022 at 08:45

Francophones make up a significant percentage of the labour force in smaller communities in the Algoma District. Author, Raven Wheesk, explores the undeniable economic and social impact the Francophone community has on the Algoma District. By examining contributions to the labour force and overall economic activity, this paper examines the economic footprint of Algoma’s Francophone community.

The Turning Point? Estimating the Francophone Economic Footprint in Algoma found that communities outside of Sault Ste. Marie has a large percentage of Francophones in their population and labour force. However, this population in the Algoma region is declining at faster rates than the total population.

Francophones represent a large percentage of those employed in the mining industry in Algoma District (24%), as well as agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (14%), wholesale trade (10.3%), and education (9.1%). If trends continue, the mining industry and smaller communities will see negative effects to their economies.

Want to learn more, read the report here.

The paper identifies key steps that should be taken to encourage retention of the Francophone community in the Algoma region, these include:

  1. Building the younger French-speaking population by promoting enrollment in French immersion education programs.
  2. Attracting Francophone migrants into smaller communities in the Algoma district to replace the aging workforce in key industries.
  3. Providing better services for the existing Francophone working age population to increase retention.

This paper acknowledges the importance of Francophone communities in the Algoma District, considering the communities contribution to economic and cultural prosperity.

As stated in the paper, “increasing the education of the French language encourages the revitalization of the Francophone community,” says Wheesk.

About the Author: Raven Wheesk

Born in Thunder Bay, Raven is a lifelong citizen of Northern Ontario. Interested in history and math from a young age, he graduated with an Honours B.A. and M.A. in Economics from Lakehead University. Raven’s research interests include economic history, public finance, labour and natural resource economics.

Northern Policy Institute is Northern Ontario’s independent think tank. We perform research, collect evidence, and disseminate ideas. We seek to identify policy opportunities to support the growth of sustainable Northern Ontario communities. Our regular operations are located in Thunder Bay and Sudbury. We seek to enhance Northern Ontario’s capacity to take the lead position on socio-economic policy that impacts Northern Ontario, Ontario, and Canada as a whole.

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