Virtual conference links Northern decision makersTuesday, March 12, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
A group of Northern Ontario community figures, offering different types of expertise from various sectors, will take part in the first annual Northern Ontario Leadership Conference (NOLC) April 2-4.
The gathering will take place online in the form of a virtual conference centre.
Event Manager Frank Roch, joined by Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren, told reporters by teleconference Tuesday, “The conference will bring together decision makers, community builders and industry leaders from different sectors to engage in discussions, share information, and continue the process by identifying how we can make Northern Ontario an even better region to call home.
“Our goal is to create conversations that will hopefully continue long after the end of the the NOLC.”
Among those who will participate is Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) Executive Director Tom Vair.
He will be joined by Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, Northern Ontario School of Medicine Dean Dr. Roger Strasser and North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) CEO Louise Paquette, and many other key figures in the business, health care, mining, social services, economic development, technology and education sectors.
Along with officials from the five major Northern Ontario centres (Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Thunder Bay), figures from smaller communities will also take part, including those from First Nations communities.
Horwath has confirmed she will participate.
Invitations have been extended to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Opposition Leader Tim Hudak, though it is not yet known if they will be part of the discussions, designed to focus on challenges and opportunities unique to Northern Ontario.
Those wishing to register for the April event may get more information at this website.
Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren said, “We are looking for discussion in terms of ideas and solutions,” not “hand-outs” from the upper levels of government.
Roch said Day One of the agenda, April 2, will be dedicated to issues concerning young people and information technology entrepreneurs, a topic Tom Vair of the SSMIC will certainly be involved in, along with many of his counterparts from similar information technology job incubation offices from elsewhere in Northern Ontario.
Three young people who have experienced success as information technology entrepreneurs will give presentations that day.
There is no fee for participating in Day One discussions.
There is a fee of $99 for participants for the remaining two days of the NOLC.
Laughren said there are many positives in the information technology sector, while mentioning many of the challenges Northern communities face, especially in regards to infrastructure needs.
Laughren said his community, like all others in the North, will be keeping an eye on upcoming provincial and federal budgets and the effect they will have on the region.