8.1 Preamble

This Plan has been prepared under the Places to Grow Act, 2005. It is a long-term framework to guide planning and decision-making over the next 25 years. This Plan sets out a vision and a series of policies that are designed to build stronger and more prosperous communities that are well-equipped to take advantage of new and emerging economic opportunities. Successful implementation of this Plan will require collaboration and partnerships that build upon the unique strengths of the North, its people, and its economy.

Some of the policies in this Plan will be supported by short-term actions that are implemented in the near future, both to achieve immediate outcomes and to lay the foundation for longer-term directions. Other policies will be supported by longer-term actions that are implemented over the course of several years.

While this Plan is a Government of Ontario plan, and the Ontario Ministries of Infrastructure and Northern Development, Mines and Forestry will lead this Plan's overall implementation, its success will be a collective effort, involving all communities, all orders of government, and all sectors of Northern Ontario. It will require collaboration within and among provincial, municipal, and federal governments, Aboriginal communities and organizations, Francophone organizations, industry, businesses, labour organizations, community organizations, and education and research institutions.

Ontario will work to engage the federal government as a key partner and explore opportunities to align federal policy and investment planning with the policies of this Plan, and to support this Plan's implementation.

Aboriginal communities and organizations will play a key role in economic, infrastructure, labour force, and community planning both within Aboriginal communities and as partners in broader regional initiatives.

All communities in Northern Ontario will play an important role in the implementation of this Plan. They will be the driving forces at the local level with respect to economic, infrastructure, labour force, and community planning. All communities in Northern Ontario will be responsible for the implementation of this Plan through decisions that conform to this Plan and amending official plans to conform with this Plan.

Business and industry and their associations will be important contributors to economic development planning, including regional economic plans and sectoral development strategies. Their leadership and innovation across all sectors and all business areas will be essential to Northern Ontario's success.
Educational institutions will be the key partners in developing the skills and capacities of Northern Ontario residents, and leading the research that will position the North for economic success.

The Province will continue to engage northerners so that their views and aspirations shape this Plan's implementation. This work will include dialogue and information sharing to build understanding of this Plan's directions and to actively involve northerners in this Plan's delivery. This engagement will be supported by monitoring and performance measures that provide a continuing assessment of the status of this Plan's implementation.

8.2 An engaged and informed population

8.2.1 The Province will work to implement the policies of this Plan in a manner that is responsive to Northern Ontario through:

  1. establishing a northern policy institute
  2. seeking out the views and aspirations of Northern Ontario residents and businesses
  3. using a variety of consultation mechanisms, in both English and French, such as regional public meetings and online consultation
  4. including individuals and organizations that possess expertise related to Northern Ontario's strengths, needs, and opportunities, where appropriate, on technical working groups, public boards, agencies, and commissions.

8.2.2 The Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry will involve northerners in the implementation of this Plan, and will provide information to build understanding of this Plan and facilitate informed involvement in the implementation of this Plan.

8.3 Co-ordinated and collaborative decision-making

8.3.1 A co-ordinated approach will be taken within the Province to implement this Plan.

8.3.2 Provincial ministries will work to implement the priorities and policies of this Plan in developing new programs or capital investments or when implementing existing programs or initiatives.

8.3.3 The Province will work collaboratively with other partners including the federal government, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and organizations, Francophone organizations, businesses, industry associations and community stakeholders to implement this Plan.

8.3.4 The Province will work with the federal government and municipalities to integrate regulatory and other approvals processes, where appropriate.

8.4 Monitoring and performance measures

8.4.1 The Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry will jointly monitor overall implementation of this Plan and report on what progress provincial ministries and municipalities have made to implement the policies in this Plan.

8.4.2 The Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry will work with external partners to develop a set of performance indicators to assist in Plan monitoring and reporting as set out in Policy 8.4.1.

8.4.3 Success in achieving this Plan's outcomes will, in part, be measured by assessing progress in:

  1. attracting investment and business growth in Northern Ontario
  2. diversifying the North's economic base
  3. supporting education and skills development of the North's workforce
  4. increasing the involvement of Aboriginal peoples in the northern economy
  5. improving the connectivity of the northern population though information technologies.

It is further acknowledged that long-term progress in these areas requires sustained, co-ordinated efforts by the Province and all its external partners.

8.4.4 The Province is further committed to the development of performance measures for ministry-specific initiatives that support implementation of the policies in this Plan.

8.5 General implementation

8.5.1 This Plan, including preamble sections, policies, definitions, schedule and appendices should be read in its entirety and all relevant policies are to be applied to each situation.

8.5.2 Terms in italics are defined in the Definitions section of this Plan. The definitions apply to these italicized terms regardless of whether the terms are singular or plural.

8.5.3 In the Definitions section, sources have been cited where the definitions are the same or have the same content as the definitions provided in the policy or statute cited.

8.5.4 Unless otherwise stated, the boundaries and lines displayed on Schedule 1 provide general direction only and are not to scale.

8.5.5 Where this Plan indicates that further analysis and assessment will be carried out but the analysis has not been completed, all relevant policies of this Plan continue to apply and any policy that relies on information that will be available from further analysis should be implemented to the fullest extent possible.

8.5.6 Where policies contain a list of sub-policies, the list of sub-policies is to be applied in its entirety unless otherwise specified.