With an aim to "create and attract jobs, reverse the out-migration of young talent, close the infrastructure gap, and foster more housing starts," North Bay City Council will be asked Tuesday to back a motion by Coun. Mac Bain and seconded by Coun. Johanne Brousseau.
A resolution in support of the Ontario Real Estate Association’s 15 recommendations found in its Small Towns, Big Opportunities — Unlocking Growth in Ontario’s Rural and Northern Communities report will be sought at Council's regular meeting.
A sampling of those recommendations:
- Develop a strategy to move provincial bureaucracies and agencies located in the urban core to rural and Northern Ontario.
- A focus on equitable infrastructure funding in rural and northern communities by revamping the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) formula.
- In a bid to keep the younger generations at home in rural and Northern Ontario, satellite campuses affiliated with Ontario post-secondary institutions should offer micro-credential programming.
- A government-designed financial incentive program to encourage recent graduates to relocate to rural and Northern Ontario.
- Develop a rent-to-own program for affordable housing that will provide an alternative to potential home-buyers and help retain the workforce in rural and northern communities.
The motion states, despite socioeconomic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a notable difference has emerged in the way Ontarians conduct business and work. There is less of a need to report to work in an office setting for many and the necessity to live near one's workplace has diminished. This has resulted in a trend of out-migration from urban centres and has created renewed opportunities for many communities in rural and northern areas.
The provincial government "can capitalize on this momentum to help rural and northern small towns turn this short-term rebound into long-term growth, thereby raising the quality of life, average incomes, and future prospects of the millions of Ontarians who reside outside of the GTHA," reads the motion.
If passed, copies of the resolution will be forwarded to Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure; Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines; Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance; Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs; the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA); the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM); and, Minister Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing.
Tuesday's committee meeting is cancelled, so the regular meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., available via live stream.