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Think-tank report highlights four points to attracting newcomers

Decision-makers lay out steps to building welcoming communities in Northern Ontario

As it prepares for its upcoming Magnetic North Conference in June, the Northern Policy Institute is highlighting some lessons learned from the last incarnation of the conference in 2022, lessons about how to make northern communities more welcoming to newcomers. 

Since 2020, the Northern Policy Institute has brought decision-makers from across Northern Ontario together on an annual basis to exchange ideas on Northern Ontario’s population growth and retention initiatives.

“Throughout the last three years, it has become clear that an abundance of work is being done to combat racism, further reconciliation, welcome newcomers, and retain the population across Northern Ontario,” NPI said in a news release about the 2022 report. “However, connection, coordination, and communication within and between communities and organizations is essential to maximizing the impacts of these efforts.”

The June 2022 Magnetic North event drew some 200 delegates representing more than 90 organizations “to lay out a plan for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, anti-racism, attraction, and retention in Ontario’s northern regions. Participants came from all parts of Northern Ontario and attended virtually or in person in Sault Ste. Marie.”

The report from the conference highlights “core themes” that were emphasized at the event. These are: 

  1. The Welcoming Portals have the potential to greatly help those looking to move to or are already residing in Ontario’s Northern regions. They require dedicated resources to update and maintain;
  2. Small communities are ready and willing to accept an influx of migrants. Still, local services must be in place to ensure successful attraction and retention;
  3. Many population growth initiatives are ongoing in Northern Ontario communities. Yet, collaboration and communication within and amongst organizations throughout Ontario’s Northern Regions must be prioritized, and
  4. Reconciliation is a fundamental pillar underpinning population growth and prosperity in Northern Ontario. Therefore, any initiative and project affecting Indigenous peoples must involve their voice at the onset.

NPI said the steps above “are meant to guide organizations looking to work collectively to create and maintain welcoming communities in Northern Ontario.”

You can read the 2022 report here.

The 2023 Magnetic North Conference will be held June 12-14 in Sudbury.

To read the report, please visit: