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Preparing Northern Ontario for the Future

Archived Backgrounder

Preparing Northern Ontario for the Future

Ministry of Finance

The Long-Term Report on the Economy identifies demographic, economic and employment trends in Ontario that will present future challenges and opportunities. In response, Ontario is building inclusive growth provincewide that will create prosperity for years to come by developing a highly skilled workforce, making health care more accessible, building modern infrastructure and supporting business innovation and growth.

Regional economic growth is affected by many factors, including natural resources, the mix of business and industry, and demographics. According to the report, Northern Ontario, which accounts for about 90 per cent of Ontario's land mass yet about six per cent of its population, is projected to maintain fairly stable population growth to 2040.

Ontario is committed to making long-term investments in services and infrastructure to address the challenges and improve the economic conditions of Northern Ontario, while preparing for the jobs and economy of tomorrow. According to a forthcoming study by the Centre for Spatial Economics, every dollar invested in infrastructure results in an increase of nearly $6 in real GDP over the long-term.

Education and Skills Development

By supporting a highly educated labour force, Ontario is preparing for tomorrow's economic opportunities.

  • Developing employer-led workforce training at Sudbury's YMCA through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, a shared investment between employers and government.
  • Supporting the retrofit of Sault Ste. Marie's Alexander Henry High School to meet the community's need for a French immersion elementary school.
  • Supporting the construction of a new wellness centre at the Sudbury campus of Collège Boréal.
  • Investing in Thunder Bay's Centre for Advanced Studies in Science and Engineering at Lakehead University, supporting laboratories, research facilities and a new space for graduate students focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Transportation and Industry

By connecting vibrant northern communities, Ontario is creating jobs and helping businesses get goods to market more quickly.

  • Continuing the four-lane expansion of Highway 69 south of Sudbury and Highway 11/17 east of Thunder Bay -- supporting a strategic link in the Trans-Canada Highway -- through the Northern Highways Program.
  • Upgrading roads, bridges and other community infrastructure in Fort Frances and the Rainy River District.
  • Investing $120 million annually to help qualifying businesses reduce their electricity costs, ensuring northern industries remain competitive.

Health Care

By providing faster access to care and increasing capacity, Ontario is putting patients first.

  • Supporting renovations to Thunder Bay's St. Joseph's Care Group, which includes 38 new specialized mental health beds.
  • Ensuring culturally appropriate health care for Indigenous peoples, focusing on the North, through Ontario's First Nations Health Action Plan.
  • Funding new attending nurse practitioners in long-term care homes in North Bay, Thunder Bay, Parry Sound and Kenora. 

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