Urban Commitments to Reconciliation: Current Problems


March 16, 2023

Individual Municipal Issues

Measuring Realities of Racism in Northern Ontario

Nationtalk: While racism and discrimination are still prevalent in Northern Ontario, the latest reports by Northern Policy Institute in partnership with Environics Research show that, for the most part, northern communities are welcoming.

In February 2022, Northern Policy Institute and organizations across Northern Ontario launched a data-collection exercise to measure individual experiences and attitudes across the regions. The reports with those findings, “Tangled Lines: Unraveling the Racism and Discrimination Divides in Northern Ontario,” are now available. Each report focuses on one of the five largest centres in Northern Ontario: Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, North Bay and Greater Sudbury.

The majority of residents who responded to the survey stated that, not only is their community welcoming, but that these welcoming efforts will continue over the next 10 years. As well, most respondents in the five communities, save for Thunder Bay (responses were split), indicated that relations between people of different racial backgrounds were generally good.

However, while findings varied between the five communities, there were several noted areas of concern that were shared, such as: individual prejudice was found to be a bigger issue for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples compared to discrimination built into laws and institutions. Furthermore, when compared to treatment of white people at work, school, public places and in dealing with police and the courts, the experiences of visible minorities and Indigenous peoples differed. Notably, treatment for Indigenous
peoples was relatively more negative, even compared to visible minorities.

“These reports, alongside the numerous initiatives that focus on anti-racism and discrimination, are crucial for keeping communities accountable,” says Charles Cirtwill, President and CEO of Northern Policy Institute. “By tracking attitudes over time, we can measure the effectiveness of anti-racism and discrimination efforts.”

Based on the findings, the reports provide several recommendations:

1. Continue public education about racism and discrimination in all spaces;
2. Identify who is not around the decision-making table and why; and,
3. Spotlight best practices and implement where possible.

Follow the link to read the reports:https://www.northernpolicy.ca/racism-survey- summary-2022


Media Interviews: NPI President & CEO Charles Cirtwill and NPI Senior Policy Analyst
Mercedes Labelle are available for comment. To arrange an interview, please contact:

Lalit Bhojwani
Media and Marketing Officer
807-343-8956 ext. 508

About the Author:
Rachel Rizzuto is the former Research Manager for Northern Policy Institute. Originally from the United States, Rachel attended the University of Guelph and the University of
Waterloo, earning her B.A. (Honours) and M.A. (co-op) in Political Science, respectively. Throughout her academic and professional careers, Rachel has pursued the study of
community and economic development, an enthusiasm borne out of travel throughout rural and urban China. Rachel provides research expertise and passion for seeing
northern and rural communities thrive.

About Northern Policy Institute:

Northern Policy Institute is Northern Ontario’s independent, evidence-driven think tank. We perform research, analyze data, and disseminate ideas. Our mission is to enhance
Northern Ontario’s capacity to take the lead position on socio-economic policy that impacts our communities, our province, our country, and our world.

We believe in partnership, reconciliation, collaboration, communication, and cooperation. Our team seeks to do inclusive research that involves broad engagement and delivers recommendations for specific, measurable action. Our success depends on our partnerships with other entities present in or passionate about Northern Ontario.

Based in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, and Kirkland Lake, NPI is active in every region of Northern Ontario. During the summer months, we have satellite offices in communities
across Northern Ontario staffed by teams of Experience North placements. These placements are university and college students working in your community on issues
important to you and your neighbours.

About Environics Research:

At Environics Research, our unique understanding of motivations, attitudes and behaviours allows us to work with clients to help them form solutions. Utilizing a range of
well thought out frameworks, we not only collect, organize and simplify information, but also provide relevant insights that our clients can act on.

North Bay


Sault Ste. Marie




Thunder Bay