The Magnetic North initiative was developed after hosting two Come North conferences that focused on population growth efforts; it became clear that there is an abundance of work being done to attract, retain and welcome newcomers and current residents alike. It is the connection and coordination across the north that remains lacking and Magnetic North is intended to fill that gap.

Magnetic North is not intended to replace existing or future local initiatives. The intent is to support those local initiatives by helping them connect with, learn from, and work alongside other initiatives seeking the same or similar ends. Avoiding duplication, leveraging scarce resources, and avoiding conflicting messages will help every region in Northern Ontario grow and prosper. As each community becomes more attractive and welcoming, every community becomes more attractive and welcoming.


The report written based on the discussions and findings at Come North identified five key needs:

  1. We need a plan.
  2. We need a brand.
  3. We need to work together.
  4. We need to provide services, not websites.
  5. We need to monitor and update the plan, every year.


This project will focus on supporting the delivery of the priority action items identified at Population Growth conferences in 2021, 2022, and 2023. It will also pursue four of the remaining five Come North action items as well as support the work of other organizations seeking to deliver on any remaining 2020 priorities. The four Come North items that will be the initial focus of the project are:

  1. The Come North Planning committee should be reconstituted as a Steering Committee to coordinate and monitor progress on these action items. The new committee should have no more than 15 members and be representative of Ontario’s diverse northern regions. Northern Policy Institute should coordinate this transition.
  2. Wherever possible, immigration agencies should support and assist those working directly to facilitate reconciliation, and reconciliation efforts should actively include newcomers.
  3. Communities and organizations who have or who develop local plans or resources for attracting or retaining population should make every effort to align their messaging, content, and look with that of the regional plan and marketing effort. Local groups should contact the Timmins and Northwest LIPs for inclusion and promotion of their efforts on the portals.
  4. Come North should be repeated annually to assess progress and reset priorities. A member organization of the Steering Committee should be the lead in seeking funds to support that effort for the next three years.


The Project Officer engages involved actors and community organizations; developing online tools and other mechanisms to support and encourage collaboration, communication, and coordination; and produce progress reports and other research that updates progress and makes additional recommendations to further our efforts and maximize population growth in all regions of Northern Ontario. The Program Officer will support organizations in our community to act on the action items within their mandate to encourage a coordinated effort across the regions that make up Northern Ontario.

The Magnetic North Program Officer, and the Magnetic North Steering Committee (formerly the Come North Planning Committee), will not coordinate immigration and reconciliation efforts – they will encourage those who are making those efforts to coordinate with each other. If a municipality, or engaged organization wants to pursue individual efforts, that is their decision.

Program Officer’s Role:

• Encourage the coordination of Community Immigration and Reconciliation Strategies.
• When requested, support communities and organizations with the alignment of messaging and marketing strategies to attract newcomers and domestic migrants.
• Assess current messaging and strategies, work together to host information on user-friendly online platforms.
• Alongside Steering Committee discuss short, medium, and long-term action items.
• Collaborate with community organizations to implement action items.
• Provide feedback on implementation to Steering Committee, assess gaps in action items and provide recommendations on how to move forward.
• Produce an annual progress report assessing the outcomes of implementation.
• Produce an annual Magnetic North Conference Report to encourage strengthening efforts and collaboration to implement action items across Northern Ontario.

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