Northern Policy Institute: Information At Your Finger Tips

Aug 4, 2022 | Community Partners, DATA AND RESOURCES

Written by: Jelise Keating

What is Northern Policy Institute (NPI)?

Northern Policy Institute is an “independent think tank” that identifies policy opportunities to support the growth of sustainable communities in Northern Ontario. They have operations in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, and Kirkland Lake. Their website of resources and data was made to help organizations and the northern population make informed decisions and further their reach in communities.

Let’s break down the website to help you better navigate the information you might be looking for.


How do you best take in information? In NPI’s publications, you can read briefing notes, research reports, policy bytes, or even scroll through previous presentations. Use their search engine to find publications and research based on keywords, authors, categories, and dates.  Not sure where to start? Here are some publication suggestions:

Let’s start with Briefing Notes:

I recommend “French-language postsecondary education in Ontario” by Dr. Stéphanie Chouinard highlighting the financial crisis at Laurentian University, the enrolment crisis at Université de l’Ontario français, and the importance of having a French post-secondary education network. Dr. Chouinard covers historic demands, possibilities, and challenges for developing a French post-secondary network.


If you are interested in the impact COVID-19 had on businesses in Northern Ontario you might find Lindsey Champaigne’s April 2021 Business Impact Survey Results insightful as she explains her findings from surveys gathered in Thunder Bay. This commentary includes graphs displaying business owners perspective for long-term prospects, accessibility to federal relief programs, and COVID-19 policy for employees and customers.

Research Reports:

Just the Tip of the Iceberg by Hilary Hagar

This report discusses the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) which is a program designed to “gives participating communities greater autonomy in deciding their immigration and economic future by enabling them to select desired newcomers”. This pilot is a 3-year economic stream designed to attract and retain newcomers. Hagar assesses the start-up stages of RNIP with a specific focus on five Northern Ontario communities chosen to participate (Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, Sudbury, and North Bay).

Research Resources


Throughout the pandemic many people were lost and unsure of how to access or apply for government aid or if they even qualified. Under NPI’s ‘COVID-19’ tab they have made it easy to find all available resources of help and public information. Find out what resources are available for you from the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, Chamber of Commerce, BDC, and more. Need more info? Find various links on the studies of coronavirus across various organizations.


Have your heard of Schreiber? How about Yellek or Seine River Village? There are many communities in Northern Ontario that you may or may not have heard of or been to before. Through NPI’s communities map, organizations are not only able to find communities and directions but also outline if they are within their region of service. Each location tag on this map has a different colour to represent the region they belong to. To better see an outline of regions jump to the infrastructure map under the map tab at the top of their website.

Residential Schools

In light of recent events happening at residential schools across Canada it is important to provide support for those who have been affected. NPI has provided the number for the Survivors Society and Crisis Line to support all who in need of support through these difficult times. Uncovering the truth is not an easy task but we stand in support of all our Indigenous brothers and sisters

This section also provides information on all residential schools located in Ontario.


Infrastructure Map

When applying for grants it is useful to have all the information about the community you serve. With the infrastructure map Northern Ontario is broken down into smaller sections.

–    Economic regions

–    Census Districts

–    Cities

–    Township

–    Towns

–    Municipalities

–    Villages

–    Indigenous reserves or settlements

As well as what is available within the areas

–    Highways

–    Local service board

–    Winter roads

–    Passenger Rail Services and Stops

–    Freight Railways Lines

–    Seaports

–    Airports

–    and more

This gives organizations an overview of what is available in their census districts and cities.

Northern Ontario Boundary Map

For a map focused on community, administrative and service providers the Northern Ontario Boundary Map is everything you need. This map pinpoints the locations of business centres, public health units, immigration services, employment training, school boards districts, and Tribal Councils. With this map organizations are better able to view where these resources are sparse or far away from specific communities.  If there is any information not present on the map, send NPI information via email to

NPI’s Beneficial Programs

Community Accounts is an information system for Northern Ontario that provides information about local areas and Northern Ontario as a whole. This information covers community, regional, and provincial data on key economic and social indications.

Using single comprehensive sources of data such as well-being indication and community profiles. This system creates tables and charts for easy comparisons and analysis along with interactive maps that break down into as small as townships and settlements.

Data Consortium

Provides data at the lowest level, giving organizations access to municipal, provincial, and federal data sets that include information such as household surveys and Canadian business patterns. The cost of this program starts at $250 per year for organizations serving small communities with an annual budget below $125,000. The highest cost is $1,000 per year for organizations serving large communities with an annual budget of about $250,000.

With the data sets provided organizations are better able to make impactful community decisions, proposals for funding, and respond to current issues.

Not confident in data analysis? Northern Policy Institute provides training sessions called ‘Data 101’ with a trained data analyst.

Northern Policy Institute is an ally for organizations as they eliminate the challenges of collecting data and information across Northern Ontario. By identifying barriers and opportunities for growth using a variety of tools and data sets we as organizations are better equipped to serve our communities. When you do not know where to start just type in and find all the information you need.