Ministry overview

Ministry’s vision

The Ministry of Northern Development (MND) strives to make Northern Ontario strong, healthy, and prosperous by contributing responsible economic development support to communities and businesses, and by promoting the region and its assets internationally. The ministry advances economic development in Northern Ontario through collaborative partnerships and solutions that reflect the unique needs of northerners.

Ministry’s mission

To advance economic and community development in Northern Ontario through collaborative partnerships and solutions that reflect the unique needs of northerners and to deliver safe and efficient transportation infrastructure services to the public and industry.

Ministry mandate

To build the Northern Ontario economy by incentivizing strategic economic opportunities and fueling transformational change by ensuring northern and Indigenous communities can attract, secure, and maximize long-term economic benefits.

Ministry programs

The Ministry of Northern Development carries out its mandate under two activities: Ministry Administration and Northern Development.

Ministry administration program

The Ministry Administration Program provides executive direction and strategic business and resource planning services, which is integral to effective and efficient ministry operations. Advice and services in the areas of strategic human resources planning and management; fiscal controllership; and financial governance. The program provides core strategic support in the areas of corporate/strategic policy, procurement, records and information management, communications, and the administration of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act. Professional support services such as legal and audit services are supported by this program.

The program measures success and achievements against performance indicators, including ensuring the ministry is meeting legal obligations to offer services in French, having a complete and updated emergency management program, and implementing opportunities to increase administrative efficiencies.

Northern development program

The ministry leads, delivers, and co-ordinates government programs and policies aimed at supporting economic growth and business development, and addresses infrastructure and transportation network needs in Northern Ontario. To support the development and implementation of strategic policies and programs, the ministry undertakes research and collects and analyzes regional information. This analysis focuses on opportunities to support the Northern Ontario economy that will ultimately strengthen and diversify Northern Ontario communities and businesses. To ensure the North’s voice is reflected in the policies and priorities of the government, the ministry works in collaboration with various partners, including all orders of government, industry and business, municipalities, Indigenous communities and organizations, and other public and private sector institutions.

The Northern Development Program has several Key Performance Indictors to measure program achievements. Many of the measures apply to one or more of the following program streams that the ministry delivers:

Northern transportation networks

The ministry plans and delivers an efficient core transportation network to meet transportation needs in the North, promoting economic development while safely and efficiently moving people and goods. The ministry supports strategic investments in infrastructure through programs such as the Northern Highways Program, Local Roads Boards, and the Winter Roads Program.

Indicators that northern economic and social development are supported through the safe and efficient movement of people and goods in Northern Ontario are used to measure the program’s successes and achievements.

Northern Business Development and Support

The Business Development and Support program promotes and delivers programs, services, and funding to assist business start-ups, expansions, inward investment, trade, and innovation efforts. A network of integrated area teams, with offices in 21 communities across the North, serves as the focal point for private sector clients and northern stakeholders/partners for the delivery of programs and services in support of economic development.

In addition, the ministry helps local companies grow and expand their businesses globally by facilitating export and promotes development opportunities in Northern Ontario internationally to help attract new investment in the region.

The ministry builds a stronger northern economy by making strategic investments through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The NOHFC provides financial assistance to projects that stimulate growth, job creation, and develop a skilled workforce. The NOHFC continues to implement programs that target existing and emerging markets, support more projects in small rural communities, address the skilled labour shortage, and make it easier for more people and businesses to apply.

The Northern Energy Advantage Program (NEAP) supports Northern Ontario’s largest industrial electricity consumers to reduce costs, sustain jobs, and maintain global competitiveness. The program has been expanded to allow for the participation of new mining and forestry operations coming into production in the future, and to create an Investor Class Stream that will encourage companies to undertake transformational investments such as reducing greenhouse gasses and transitioning to clean technologies.

Key Performance Indicators are used to measure jobs created and sustained and investments and opportunities in the North.

Northern Community Support

The Community Support program promotes and delivers programs, services, and funding to build community infrastructure and assist communities in undertaking economic development projects. Advice and funding to support services in unincorporated areas without municipal structure are also provided.

The Northern Ontario Resource Development Support (NORDS) Fund provides support to municipalities in Northern Ontario to help invest in municipal infrastructure impacted by resource development.

Key Performance indicators measure community economic development in Northern Ontario.

2023–2024 strategic plan

The ministry’s strategic plan contains clearly focused goals and desired strategic outcomes that will guide MND and will focus efforts to advance the achievement of our mission and priorities.

MND is committed to economic development, job creation, responsive customer service, and fiscally responsible service delivery. MND continues to use evidence-based decision-making throughout its strategic planning and priority setting. As a result of these efforts, the ministry is improving its ability to measure its performance more accurately in achieving outcomes and value-for-money.

The ministry is undertaking several initiatives throughout 2023–2024 to advance the government’s priorities in Building Ontario’s Economy.

Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) is a Board-governed agency, chaired by the Minister of Northern Development, that provides financial assistance to projects that stabilize, diversify, and foster economic growth in Northern Ontario. Approved funding of an additional $50 million over two years to bring funding back to historical levels will enable the continued delivery of programs that support the advancement of emerging economic opportunities in Northern Ontario.

Northern Highways Program

Approved funding of $220 million over eight years for the new Highway 6 Little Current Swing Bridge replacement project will continue to promote economic activities on Manitoulin Island by safely and efficiently moving people and goods. On behalf of the ministry, project delivery and oversight are undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation.

Winter Roads Program

Approved funding of an additional $5 million per year will offer safety and operational improvements to the winter roads network for Far North First Nation communities, tribal councils, and the Town of Moosonee. The funding will support the purchase, delivery, and installation of bridges and culverts.

The winter roads season has been getting increasingly shorter due to the adverse effects of climate change. Ice bridges, timber crossings, and bailey bridges are the most vulnerable components of the winter roads network. The replacement of these water-crossings with more permanent structures will lengthen the winter roads season, improve road safety, and mitigate environmental and wildlife impacts.

Ministry performance measures

Existing Performance Measures
Item2020-21 Achievement2021–2022 Achievement2022–2023 Target2023–2024 Target
Number of jobs created and sustained by funded projects.3,1241,7923,0001,800
% annual change in the number of jobs in the North.-0.48%-4.98%1%1%
Annual value of multi-factor productivity index.106.91105.5114.56114.56
% Completion of Emergency Management Program Legislative Requirements100%100%100%100%
New 2023–2024 Performance Measures
Item2023–2024 Target
% of Staff with LEAN White Belt Training.33% of staff
% of designated bilingual positions filled with incumbents with the right level of French proficiency.
 
66%
% Client satisfaction of northern economic development programming.85%
% of client satisfaction with the services provided by staff.87%
Total Ontario-wide exports in mining and forestry (metal-ore, non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying, forestry and forestry by-product exports $)$25 billion
Ratio of partner investment dollars leveraged by NOHFC investments to support community economic development in Northern Ontario. 31
% of highways in good condition.75%
% of bridges and culverts in good condition.80%

Ministry core commitments and key deliverables

As the regional ministry for Northern Ontario, MND supports provincial initiatives in the North and addresses unique regional needs. The ministry leads government programs aimed at growing the economy, building strong northern communities, and creating sustainable job opportunities in the North.

Through a network of regional offices and strategic program and policy development, MND ensures northerners have access to government programs and services, as well as a voice in government decisions affecting the North. To address northern infrastructure needs, MND works with partner ministries, municipalities, and Indigenous communities to expand and maintain the northern highways system, roads in unincorporated areas, resource access roads, and winter roads to remote First Nation communities.

Key Northern Development Program initiatives in 2023–2024 include:

  • Lead, deliver, and co-ordinate government programs and policies aimed at supporting economic growth and business development, and address infrastructure and transportation network needs in Northern Ontario.
  • Support the development and implementation of strategic policies and programs by undertaking research to support the Northern Ontario economy that will ultimately strengthen and diversify Northern Ontario communities and businesses.
  • Ensure the North’s voice is reflected in the policies and priorities of the government, by working in collaboration with various partners, including all orders of government, industry and business, municipalities, Indigenous communities and organizations, and other public and private sector institutions.
  • Planning and delivering an efficient transportation network to meet transportation needs in the North, promoting economic development while safely and efficiently moving people and goods.
  • Promote and deliver programs, services, and funding to assist business start-ups, expansions, inward investment, trade, and innovation efforts aimed at achieving sustainable success.
  • Promote and facilitate opportunities for Northern Ontario companies to grow and expand globally and to attract new investment in the region.
  • Promote and deliver programs, services, and funding to build community infrastructure and assist communities in undertaking economic development projects.
  • Provide advice and funding to support services in unincorporated areas without municipal structure as described under the Northern Services Board Act.

Key Ministry Administration program initiatives in 2023–2024 include:

  • Continue to support digital improvements to the Freedom of Information (FOI) request process to improve response rates and provide Ontarians with better access to information.
  • Support Ontario Digital Service and Open Government priorities by continuing to share data and information openly, promoting transparency and opportunities for innovation.
  • Advance the ministry’s modernization efforts through ongoing hiring controls and vacancy management, development, and implementation of organizational changes to support the government’s fiscal commitments and better align workforce capacity with priority outcomes.
  • Play a critical role in establishing and supporting the implementation of financial processes and centralized initiatives, such as the further growth of MND’s risk profile for Enterprise Risk Management and other ongoing horizontal streamlining initiatives across the Ontario Public Service.
  • Lead the ministry’s efforts to create and nurture a respectful, equitable, accessible, diverse, and inclusive organizational culture and workplace that is anti-racist and free from discrimination and harassment for all employees through key initiatives such as senior leadership diversification and anti-racism action planning.
  • Lead the ministry’s recovery and renewal efforts, including:
    • Making Ontario’s programs and frontline services more convenient, more reliable, and more accessible. MND has committed to moving from 12% to 100% of services online over three years, providing clients with information at their fingertips anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
    • Launching a paper digitization initiative, which will make information available digitally to clients and staff who need it.
    • Continuing to enable our workforce with the technology needed to deliver services remotely where needed.
    • Continuing to advance culture change within the ministry, promoting modern, flexible, and empowered practices leading to improved employee experience results.
Ministry Planned Expenditures 2023–2024 ($M) (Consolidated)
ItemAmount
Operating$226.9
Capital$498.4
Total$725.3
Operating and Capital Expenses $725.3 $M
ItemAmount%
Ministry Administration Program$6.61%
Northern Development Program$718.799%
Total Operating and Capital by Type $1,318.2 $M
ItemAmount%
Capital Assets$592.945%
Capital Expense$498.438%
Operating Assets$0.00%
Operating Expense$226.917%

Includes consolidation and other adjustments

Detailed financial information

Combined Operating and Capital Summary by Vote

Operating Expense
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2023–2024 $Change from Estimates 2022–2023 $%Estimates 2022–2023 footnote 1 $Interim Actuals 2022–2023 footnote 1 $Actuals 2021–2022 footnote 1 $
Ministry Administration Program6,513,800459,7007.66,054,1006,935,3005,547,896
Northern Development Program206,130,200(5,044,400)(2.4)211,174,600206,483,700198,665,881
Total Operating Expense to be Voted212,644,000(4,584,700)(2.1)217,228,700213,419,000204,213,777
Statutory Appropriations166,01465,01464.4101,000101,000(89,023)
Ministry Total Operating Expense212,810,014(4,519,686)(2.1)217,329,700213,520,000204,124,754
Consolidation & Other Adjustments - Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation14,258,700(559,800)(3.8)14,818,5006,151,00034,911,850
Consolidation & Other Adjustments - General Real Estate Portfolio(190,300)(43,000)N/A(147,300)(934,400)(216,816)
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments226,878,414(5,122,486)(2.2)232,000,900218,736,600238,819,788
Operating Assets
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2023–2024 $Change from Estimates 2022–2023 $%Estimates 2022–2023 footnote 1 $Interim Actuals 2022–2023 footnote 1 $Actuals 2021–2022 footnote 1 $
Ministry Administration Program1,000N/AN/A1,000N/AN/A
Northern Development Program2,000N/AN/A2,0002,000N/A
Total Operating Assets to be Voted3,000N/AN/A3,0002,000N/A
Statutory AppropriationsN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Ministry Total Operating Assets3,000N/AN/A3,0002,000N/A
Capital Expense
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2023–2024 $Change from Estimates 2022–2023 $%Estimates 2022–2023 footnote 1 $Interim Actuals 2022–2023 footnote 1 $Actuals 2021–2022 footnote 1 $
Ministry Administration Program2,0001,000100.01,0001,000N/A
Northern Development Program106,503,00015,050,00016.591,453,00093,198,20088,505,997
Total Capital Expense to be Voted106,505,00015,051,00016.591,454,00093,199,20088,505,997
Statutory Appropriations392,071,80012,488,5003.3379,583,300379,582,300358,275,404
Ministry Total Capital Expense498,576,80027,539,5005.8471,037,300472,781,500446,781,401
Consolidation & Other Adjustments - Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation(146,300)179,400N/A(325,700)(4,000,000)(40,000,000)
Consolidation & Other Adjustments - General Real Estate PortfolioN/AN/AN/AN/A(647,600)N/A
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments498,430,50027,718,9005.9470,711,600468,133,900406,781,401
Capital Assets
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2023–2024 $Change from Estimates 2022–2023 $%Estimates 2022–2023 footnote 1 $Interim Actuals 2022–2023 footnote 1 $Actuals 2021–2022 footnote 1 $
Ministry Administration Program2,0001,000100.01,0001,000N/A
Northern Development Program592,917,500100,263,10020.4492,654,400585,754,400583,057,008
Total Capital Assets to be Voted592,919,500100,264,10020.4492,655,400585,755,400583,057,008
Statutory AppropriationsN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Ministry Total Capital Assets592,919,500100,264,10020.4492,655,400585,755,400583,057,008
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)725,308,91422,596,4143.2702,712,500686,870,500645,601,189

Historic Trend Analysis Data

Historic trend analysis
 Actuals 2020-21 footnote 2 $Actuals 2021–2022 footnote 2 $Estimates 2022–2023 footnote 2 $Estimates 2023–2024 footnote 2 $
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets) 582,537,270 645,601,189 702,712,500 725,308,914
Percent changeN/A11%9%3%

The increases to the ministry’s 2023–2024 allocation is primarily related to investments in the Northern Energy Advantage Program and Winter Roads Program and increases to the Northern Highways Program amortization expense.

Additional financial information

Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)

Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)

NOHFC programs help to empower business creation and growth, leverage private sector investments, enhance community quality of life, and address the skilled labor shortage across the North. They also help to advance strategic projects that align with other government priorities, such as the Critical Minerals Strategy.

ItemEstimates 2023–2024Interim Actuals 2022–2023Actuals 2021–2022
Operating Expense14,258,7006,151,00034,911,850
Capital Expense(190,300)(4,000,000)(40,000,000)
Total NOHFC Consolidation Adjustments14,068,4002,151,000(5,088,150)

Ministry organization chart

  • Minister of Northern Development
    • Parliamentary Assistant
    • Deputy Minister
      • Legal Services Branch
      • IT Services
      • Communications Services Branch
      • Corporate Management Division footnote 3
        • Financial Planning & Controllership
        • Human Resources Business Branch
      • Northern Development Division
        • Transportation, Trade and Investment Branch
        • Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation
        • Regional Economic Development Branch
        • Strategic Initiatives Branch
      • Strategic Policy Division
        • Ring of Fire Policy Coordination
        • Corporate Policy Secretariat footnote 4

Appendix: 2022–2023 annual report

Building a stronger northern economy

Strategic investments through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)

The NOHFC is an agency of the Government of Ontario that promotes and supports economic development across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects – big and small, rural and urban – that stimulate growth, job creation, and develop a skilled workforce.

  • For 2022–2023, the NOHFC approved over $130 million in funding support, leveraging an estimated additional investment of $345 million, towards over 830 projects in Northern Ontario.

NOHFC will continue to support municipal, Indigenous, not-for-profit, and business applicants through the programs launched in February 2021, which target existing and emerging markets, support more projects in small rural communities, address the skilled labour shortage, and make it easier for more people and businesses to apply.

Northern Energy Advantage Program (NEAP)

The Northern Energy Advantage Program (NEAP), formerly the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program, launched on April 1, 2022. NEAP supports Northern Ontario’s largest industrial electricity consumers with competitive, stable, and predictable electricity price rates. The program helps improve their competitiveness and ability to secure investments, while continuing to create and sustain good jobs in Northern Ontario.

With ongoing funding of up to $176 million per year by 2025-26, program eligibility has been expanded to include companies that focus on long-term growth activities related to critical minerals and the battery electric vehicle supply chain, and to allow for the participation of new mining and forestry operations coming into production in the future. A new Investor Class Stream has also been created to encourage companies to undertake transformational investments such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to clean technologies.

  • In 2022–2023, NEAP is estimated to provide more than $120 million in funding to assist 21 mining, forestry, and manufacturing companies, representing 28 facilities across Northern Ontario.

Northern Ontario Resource Development Support (NORDS) Fund

In December 2021, the Ministry launched the new NORDS Fund, which will share the benefits of resource development with municipalities in Northern Ontario. Beginning in 2021–2022, the NORDS Fund will provide an additional $15 million of annual funding over five years to help support investments in municipal infrastructure impacted by resource development.

Strengthening northern transportation

Northern Highways Program

Through the Northern Highways Program, the ministry continues to strengthen the North’s economy by improving critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. This program also aims to make highway travel safer and more efficient. Northern Ontario has more than 11,000 kilometres of provincial highways, about 60 per cent of the provincial highway network.

  • More than $623 million was committed for the Northern Highways Program in 2022–2023, including $479 million for rehabilitation and nearly $144 million for expansion projects.

Winter Roads Program

Ontario’s investments have supported the construction and operation of an approximately 3,170 kilometre road system connecting the Town of Moosonee and 32 remote First Nation communities without year-round road access to the provincial road and rail system.

These vital connections to all-season roads make it easier to bring in essential goods and services such as food, medical, and construction supplies to remote communities. The winter road network serves a total resident population of about 24,000.

  • The government invested $8 million to assist in building winter roads in the Far North in 2022–2023. This included $2 million dedicated to replacing dangerous ice crossings with bridges and culverts.

Ministry performance measures

Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures ($M) 2022–2023 footnote 5
COVID‑19 ApprovalsN/A
Other Operating218.7
Other Capital468.3
Staff Strength footnote 6 (as of March 31, 2023)153.0