Contact North Investments Benefit Northern Residents
A highly skilled workforce is the key to Ontario's success in today's knowledge-based economy. With 70 per cent of new jobs expected to require postsecondary education or training, investing in programs like Contact North play an important part in the province's Open Ontario plan to help raise the province's postsecondary rate to 70 per cent. Contact North partners with 19 colleges and universities, literacy organizations and community-based institutions to provide Northern Ontario residents with access to postsecondary courses and programs using audio-conference, videoconference and e-learning technologies through its network of over 90 centres. In 2009-10, Ontario invested more than $9.22 million in Contact North, including $3.5 million for technological infrastructure enhancements. From 2006 to 2010, investments totalled more than $28.64 million. Approximately 6,000 registered learners used the network in 2009-10, with 85 per cent of the 17,600 course registrations coming from outside of the five major Northern Ontario communities (Greater Sudbury, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Timmins). Founded in 1986, Contact North is organized as a not-for-profit corporation governed by a volunteer board and directors composed of the presidents or delegates of Northern Ontario's colleges and universities, and community-based representatives, including those from the private-sector and First Nation communities.