The Liberal government's long-awaited Northern Policy Institute is finally starting to take shape.
Ten appointees from seven Northern Ontario communities were named Feb. 1 to serve on the inaugural board of directors.
Selected to the board is: Florence Bailey (Sioux Lookout), Martin Bayer (Sudbury), Thérèse Bergeron-Hopson (Timmins), Harley d’Entremont (North Bay), George Macey (Marathon), Hal McGonigal (Sault Ste. Marie), Doug Murray (Thunder Bay), and Madge Richardson (Thunder Bay).
Lakehead University president Brian Stevenson and Laurentian University president Dominic Giroux will serve as voting ex-officio members of the board.
The first meeting takes place at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie on February 20 when a chair and vice-chair will be elected. The board will be tasked with finding an executive director.
The government officially announced the creation of an institute late last August with a $5 million commitment, but Northern Ontario municipal groups and chambers of commerce have been demanding an independent policy think-tank since 2011.
In a release, the government said the purpose of this organization is to “develop and promote proactive, evidence-based and purpose-driven policy options that deepen understanding about the unique challenges and opportunities of Northern Ontario in addition to advancing the sustainable development and long-term economic prosperity of the North.”
The members were chosen from 70 nominations and expressions of interest with selection process being based on a “skills matrix that considered experience relevant to (the institutes) purpose, background, geography and interests.