Follow Us! Like Our Page!

Join the Conversation to move Northern Ontario forward – Northern Policy Institute

Press Release

Speaker lineup for State of The North Conference includes experts from around the country

September 12, 2017 – Northern Policy Institute is pleased to announce the speaker lineup for the upcoming State of The North Conference September 27th – 28th in Timmins, ON.

State of the North is an annual conference that brings together members of the general public, decision makers, community leaders, experts, and innovators to explore the state of Northern Ontario from an economic, social, and environmental perspective. This year’s theme is ‘Responding to Northern Ontario’s Demographic Shift’.

The day and a half agenda features presentations by diverse experts, including Suzanne Ley, Executive Director NS Office of Immigration, Atlantic Immigration Pilot, David Abbott, Vice President of Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and David Robinson, Professor at Laurentian University.

In response to the ‘state of the north’, ONDP’s Gilles Bisson and PCPO’s Vic Fedeli will be making remarks on behalf of their respective party leaders. Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon of Mushkegowuk Council will provide a First Nations perspective prior to the panel and discussion on a shared economy, and the Hon. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, will be on hand to bring remarks on behalf of the Ministry.

FedNor’s Director General, Mr. Aime Dimatteo, will cap the event speaking to the Prosperity and Growth Strategy for Northern Ontario.

In addition, the conference agenda includes multiple table discussions designed to engage participants in a wide range of critical issues and subject areas relevant to the ‘state of the North’. Topics for conversation include immigration pilots, decision devolution to Northern regions and growing together in the shared economy.

“We are looking forward to the conversation about practical solutions to move Northern Ontario forward”, said NPI President and CEO, Charles Cirtwill. “We encourage participants from all different backgrounds to attend, so we can have a rich dialogue on issues important to Ontario’s northern regions.”

Tickets are still available to attend the conference that will be held September 27th-28th at the Ramada Inn in Timmins, Ontario. Students or anyone attending the Northern Ontario Business Awards on September 28th will receive a discounted ticket price for the conference. Visit to register. To join the conversation on social media, use the hashtag #StateOfTheNorth

Northern Policy Institute would also like to thank our generous sponsors for the event:

Panel Sponsors: Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Corporation and the Timmins Chamber of Commerce

Tech Sponsor: Sencia Corporate Web Solutions

Media Sponsor: Northern Ontario Business

Table Discussion Sponsors: City of Temiskaming Shores, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, Northern Ontario Business, and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association

State of the North Agenda

Day 1 – Wednesday, September 27th

Local Immigration Pilots

Suzanne Ley, Executive Director NS Office of Immigration, Atlantic Immigration Pilot Monika Feist, Success Skills Centre, Manitoba, Manitoba Nominee Program Ronald Labrecque, Assemblée communautaire Fransaskoise, linkages with Mauritius

Response to the State of the North 1 – Hon. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines

Decision Devolution to Northern Regions

David MacKinnon, Senior Fellow, NPI
David Robinson, Professor, Laurentian University
Trina Foster, Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation

Day 2 – Thursday September 28th, 2017

Response to the State of the North 2 – Vic Fedeli, PCPO (on behalf of Patrick Brown, Leader of the Opposition)

A First Nations Perspective – Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon, Mushkegowuk Council Growing Together in our Shared Economy

Dawn Madahbee Leach, Waubetek Business Development Corporation
David Abbott, Vice President of Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
Jamie Saulnier, CEO of Running Deer Resources

Response to the State of the North 3 – Gilles Bisson, ONDP (on behalf of Andrea Horwath, Leader of the ONDP)

Capstone Speaker – Mr. Aime Dimatteo, Director General, FedNor

For a more detailed agenda, visit

Media Interviews: Northern Policy Institute President & CEO, Charles Cirtwill is available for comment.

To arrange an interview, please contact:

Katie Elliott
Communications Coordinator
[email protected]

About Northern Policy Institute:

Northern Policy Institute is Northern Ontario’s independent think tank. We perform research, collect and disseminate evidence, and identify policy opportunities to support the growth of sustainable Northern communities. Our operations are located in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, and Sudbury. We seek to enhance Northern Ontario’s capacity to take the lead position on socio-economic policy that impacts Northern Ontario, Ontario, and Canada as a whole.


NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More