The members of the institute’s first board were announced Feb. 1.
The ten members of the board hail from seven Northern Ontario communities and will meet for the first time at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie on Feb. 20th to elect a chair and vice-chair.
The board will immediately begin recruitment of NPI’s founding executive director.
Comprising the board are 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). As previously reported, Laurentian University president Dominic Giroux and Lakehead University president Brian Stevenson will serve as voting ex-officio members of the board.
Board members were chosen from approximately 70 nominations and expressions of interest.
The institute has been billed as an independent, not-for-profit organization based at Laurentian University and at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay aimed at developing and promoting policy options for Northern Ontario on behalf of the provincial government.
The province has provided $5 million to cover some of the policy institute's costs. Giroux said he's “very excited” about the launch.
“When you look at other jurisdictions and the rest of Canada and around the world, public policy institutes or think tanks can have a lot of positive influence,” he said. “I don't think we should underestimate the long-term impact that the institute will have over time.”
Sudbury MPP and Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci said once the Northern Policy Institute is up and running, it will have a crucial role to play.
“I think, as we move forward, this policy institute will have a profound effect on decision-making,” he said.
He added the institute could look at issues such as engaging with First Nations communities and improving the socioeconomic situation in the region.
“Anything to do with public policy strategic to Northern Ontario will be opportunities for the Northern Policy Institute,” Bartolucci said.