Week of April 16, 2018
Last week, our government released the Prosperity and Growth Strategy for Northern Ontario (PGSNO), a comprehensive economic development and job creation plan for the region. The strategy supports the implementation of the National Innovation and Skills Plan and other federal priorities to ensure that our riding, and all of Northern Ontario, fully benefits from economic and job creation opportunities. With input from more than 1,000 stakeholders, the strategy will guide federal activities and investments in our riding for years to come.
One of the unique challenges for us in the North is that the ‘one size fits all’ approach to regional economic development will simply not work. This key consideration was outlined and emphasized in the strategy; individual characteristics and challenges of each community must be taken into account.
The PGSNO focuses on three key areas: supporting innovation, growing companies, and building stronger communities.
To continue strengthening our communities and building the North, we must attract families and businesses to the region and give them incentive to stay. We must continue to improve our infrastructure; safe and reliable roads and airports, high-speed internet, recreational and social infrastructure.
One recent example is Red Lake’s municipal airport. More than $10 million in federal funding has been allocated for upgrades to the airport’s runways and terminal.
Also, to ensure Northwestern Ontario is kept up to date with ever-changing technology, a must for businesses to operate in the 21st Century, the federal government invested more than $40 million in internet infrastructure upgrades here in the riding last year alone. That total will continue to grow as Budget 2018 set aside $100 million over five years, with a particular focus on supporting projects that relate to LEO satellites and the next generation of rural broadband. That is in addition to the $500 million announced in Budget 2016 to extend and enhance broadband service in rural and remote communities.
FedNor, the Government of Canada’s economic development organization for Northern Ontario, continues to support innovation in our riding. Recent federal funding for Patricia Area Community Endeavours Inc. (PACE) in Dryden goes towards encouraging local business and community economic development.
In addition, the riding has recently seen one of its largest investments to date: a historic $1.6 billion was announced to connect 16 First Nation communities in the Kenora riding to the province’s electrical grid. Projects of this magnitude will create significant economic development opportunities, both in the short- and long-term, which will see benefits to the entire region.
The PGSNO demonstrates our government’s continued commitment to collaborating with Indigenous leaders, municipal and provincial governments, business owners and other stakeholders, to bolster the development and growth of the economy in Northwestern Ontario. I believe that we need to focus on the needs of today and tomorrow in order to grow our local economies for generations to come.
The Prosperity and Growth Strategy is the first step and the one to put us on the right path for the future.
For further information, please contact the offices below: