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Economic development tackled by think tank

A think tank based in Northern Ontario is examining strategies for regional economic development in the north.

The Northern Policy Institute (NPI) highlights best practices gleaned from a range of Northern Ontario communities and draws from Places to Grow: Best Practices for Community-based Regional Economic Development in Ontario’s North by Jamie McIntyre is based on a series of 72 interviews with economic development professionals in First Nations and non-First Nations communities.

The research compiled provides readers with a glimpse into how northern communities are managing economic development and encourages conversation on the topic of best practices.

Some of the key findings by the NPI:

  • A well-diversified economy does not always spell growth, but it does protect communities from the booms and busts of resource-based economic shifts.
  • First Nations who worked around existing restrictive legislation, and partnered with outside organizations, saw a greater return on capital investments.
  • Northern Ontario’s population is aging, and communities that are adapting to the changes through strategic alignment are faring better in the long run.
  • Infrastructure is often inadequate, but through creative cost-sharing agreements or partnerships, communities can upgrade for the 21st century.
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