Why Northern Ontario Continues To Lag Behind In Terms Of Job Growth
The Fraser Institute issued a report about Uneven Job Creation in Ontario’s Urban Centres from 2008 to 2019 showing that Northern Ontario is struggling with job creation vs the rest of Canada and Southern Ontario. Also, The geographically scattered smaller communities in Northern and rural Ontario continue to struggle the most.
Many of these communities are reliant on partially or entirely government-funded manufacturing, mining and forestry operations that have remained fairly static over the past few decades. Migrations to larger cities and higher-paying jobs in the oil and gas sector, as well as new talent from other locations, have presented a significant challenge for these less developed communities.
It is no secret that Northern Ontario has a higher unemployment rate than the rest of Ontario. No public or private sector policy or development plan seems to have had much effect on this fact.
There are a lot of reasons for this which are linked together in some way.
One is that historically, jobs have not been easy to come by in the North. The northern economy was based on the logging and mining industries for most of its history, meaning it has never been well-suited for the development of an urban industrial base.
The second issue is one of the transportation difficulties. Northern Ontario does not have the infrastructure to support a strong manufacturing or agricultural base, and it doesn't have easy access to major markets.
The third issue is the increase in private sector investment in the South, which is happening through the North. South of Sudbury, private investment has made a significant impact on the economy, as it is a central location for east-west transportation, as well as access to markets and ideal weather conditions.
1. The Ontario government actively encourages immigration to Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario, but the South gets more than their share of skilled immigration.
2. There has been an economic imbalance between the north and south for a long time. Northern Ontario is facing it more now that the South has been attracting so many new businesses and investments.
3. Northern Ontario attracts the least amount of investment from non-government sources, particularly in the South.
4. Northern Ontario labour is tough to get but is re-inforcing the South's economy.
5. The government and Ontario in general are willing to invest in Northern Ontario, but because of its isolation, it has been left behind in infrastructure.
6. The government of Canada and the province of Ontario have not acknowledged that Northern Ontario is a distinct region, with the same issues as other provinces but in a more extreme way.
7. The way that the government deals with the North is different than they deal with other regions.
8. The North is sacrificing a lot for the South. Its natural assets are being exploited for resource extraction and shipping raw materials to Southern Ontario.
9. Northern Ontario does not have enough people to do the work for all of the industries in play, and many other industries are not working efficiently because there are not as many workers to hire.
10. Northern Ontario needs to appeal to new workers to keep up with the growth.
11. The jobs in the North are not as fulfilling as the ones in the South.
12. The North has been left behind in getting needed infrastructure. Some municipalities are better off than others, the South is better off for its private sector investment and the government investment that has gone into its cities and infrastructure.
13. Ontario has invested heavily in transportation infrastructure in the North, which has had a significant effect on job growth. But there are not enough skilled workers coming from Northern Ontario to fill many of these positions. The government must do more to attract talented workers.
14. The rural North does not have the same level of local government and cultural infrastructure as urban centres in the South. The government agencies that are employed there are often spread out. Many of them are small, with a few to a few hundred staff. They are not able to provide the same level of services to northern Ontarians as they do in the rest of the province.