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Improving Access To Education In The North

Archived Bulletin

Improving Access To Education In The North

McGuinty Government Building Tomorrow's Highly Skilled Workforce

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Northern Ontario residents will now have improved access to more postsecondary education and training opportunities through enhanced distance learning services.

Ontario is supporting the upgrading and expansion of information technology to provide Contact North with the necessary equipment and bandwidth for its audio-conference, video-conference and e-learning technologies.

Contact North works in partnership with postsecondary institutions and community-based organizations to offer distance education to the more than 200,000 Northern residents who do not have direct access to postsecondary classrooms in their communities.

This investment is part of the McGuinty government's five-year Open Ontario plan to create new opportunities for jobs and growth.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario government has invested $3.5 million in 2009-10 in information technology enhancements and upgrades to the Contact North network.
  • Contact North currently maintains access centres in over 90 small and remote communities across Northern Ontario, including more than 20 centres in First Nations communities.
  • In 2009-10, 6,000 learners completed 17,600 full-and part-time courses using the Contact North network.
  • The number of available courses recently increased by 30 per cent. In the fall 2009 semester, learners could choose from 322 college courses, 37 university courses, 93 literacy courses, and one secondary school course.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Contact North provides a critical service for the residents of Northern Ontario. I am pleased that our government continues to recognize the significance of this organization's work in providing innovative access to quality education and training.”

Michael Gravelle

Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry and MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North

“Communities across Northern Ontario - including Thunder Bay-Atikokan - are extremely fortunate to have access to such high quality education and training services as those offered by Contact North. The upgrading of the system will enhance the learning experience for people in the North.”

Bill Mauro

MPP for Thunder Bay - Atikokan

“Contact North's commitment to innovation and excellence helps to ensure that all Ontario residents, including those in small and remote communities, can access high quality postsecondary education and training.”

John Milloy

Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Minister of Research and Innovation

“On the eve of its 25th anniversary as Northern Ontario's Distance Education & Training Network, this investment by the Government of Ontario could not be more timely as Contact North experiences explosive growth of over 60 per cent in the number of course registrations facilitated during this past semester. This additional funding will allow Contact North to meet the growing education and training needs of residents of Northern Ontario communities and contribute to economic development across the North.”

Maxim Jean-Louis

President and CEO of Contact North



Education and Training Rural and North