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True North: How “Northern” is Northern Ontario?


July 26,  2016 | Dr. Mike Commito
In his commentary "True North: How "Northern" is Northern Ontario?", author Dr. Mike Commito argues that how a region is defined or perceived has serious impacts on how we approach issues and ultimately make policy decisions, including the calculation of income tax, isolation pay and upkeep of infrastructure.
The concept of nordicity was developed in the 1970s as a measurement tool to assess the northernness of a community.

Based on ten physical and socio-economic variables, including latitude, annual temperature, and proximity to industry and infrastructure, it formed the basis for the Federal government’s index system for calculating northern working and living allowances for its employees.

Because of the implications that come with the term "northern", Commito used the most current data available to test the concept of nordicity on five locations today; Timmins, Kenora, Sault Ste. Marie, Red Lake and Moosonee. Of the locations Commito studied, findings reveal all have become less "northern" in just under forty years.

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