FedNor needs to see some reworking to better help the North. Thats according to a new research report from Northern Policy Institute, who says allowing it to stand on its own two feet will put the group in a better positions. The research showed five areas that can be improved. Among them is moving away from giving out different sized grants to a large number of projects, and instead supporting a smaller number with larger investments.

The five key recommendations are:

  1. FedNor should be structured to allow for greater operational discretion and autonomy from Industry Canada.
  2. FedNor should abandon its current project-centric approach of allocating disparate grants to a wide number of projects in favour of supporting a small number of larger investments designed to build the capacity of value-added and knowledge-intensive economic clusters.
  3. FedNor should adopt formally the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario as the policy framework for the region.
  4. FedNor should institutionalize a collaborative approach to program delivery by developing comprehensive five year formal partnership agreements with Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) for larger investments that support the emerging priorities targeted in the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario.
  5. Because Northern Ontario is not one homogenous region, the partnership agreements should focus on supporting SMART programs identified through a comprehensive process of consultative strategic planning by five regional economic zones or sub-regions. These sub-regions should be a partnership   with the region’s five major cities and their surrounding communities to coordinate the development and delivery of economic development programs.

Photo: Greg Rickford, the Minister of FedNor, in Timmins.