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.