“The news release is ready,” said Laurentian University president Dominic Giroux, Jan. 14. “In the coming days, we hope to announce the composition of the founding board.”
Giroux said he doesn't want to provide a specific date for when the announcement will be made.
The institute, an independent, not-for-profit organization, was launched Aug. 31. It will monitor the implementation of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and make provincial policy recommendations for the region.
The province has provided $5 million to cover some of the policy institute's costs.
Giroux and Lakehead University president Brian Stevenson were appointed by the province as special advisers for the institute's implementation.
When the institute was launched, he said he wanted to have its inaugural board in place by October, and start searching for the organization's founding executive director in September.
However, it took some time to comb through the 70 applicants who asked to serve on the board, Giroux said.
“We narrowed it down to eight individuals,” he said. “We're very impressed with the calibre of northerners who volunteered.”
The Northern Policy Institute's board will meet for the first time in February, and its first task will be to search for a founding executive director, Giroux said.
The organization has the potential to play an important role in influencing provincial policy affecting the north, he said.
The “relatively modest” resources provided to launch the institute aside, Giroux said the quality of the people coming up with policy recommendations will be paramount.
“I'm confident with the calibre of the founding board, if we have a productive search for the founding executive director, then there's a lot to be said for the potential of the policy institute,” Giroux said.