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Summit aims to unlock region's vast potential

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With more than 87 percent of Ontario's landmass, one of the most diverse populations in Canada, and holding a treasure trove of mineral wealth, forestry resources, natural attractions, water, and energy, Northern Ontario is the future of the province's economy and prosperity.

The time has come to set the stage for that development.

Comprised of forward-thinking, highly-motivated northerners, Transforming Ontario's North (TON) on Sept. 11-13 will host the definitive summit to unlock Northern Ontario's vast resources and play a formative role in securing the province's economy in the coming decades.

Employing an inclusive approach, the summit will bring together indigenous and non-indigenous communities, business leaders, experts, legislators, and regulators in a northern, grassroots driven approach.

The outcome will be a visionary set of well-informed and articulated recommendations.

“The TON Summit's goal is to engage the northern grassroots with all tiers of government and business to chart future economic development using a hybrid conference format that generates the holistic feedback community planners need to maximize the north's full potential,” said Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis.

The TON Summit is fully endorsed by the Northern Policy Institute, a non-partisan, federally-registered charity that provides fair, balanced, objective, and evidenced-based analysis of policy issues that impact Northern Ontario.

The summit has evolved from the typical plenary and speaker approach utilizing a unique format that will engage experts and audience together in a facilitated, informed dialogue.

The audience will be comprised of three main pillars of economic development: regulators, regional leaders, and the economic development practitioners from both community and business sectors.

More than 50 percent of Northern Ontario's diverse population lives in five larger urban centres. The rest of the north resides in one of the 300 rural communities, including 106 indigenous communities.

The summit will engage both the rural and urban north grassroots with the agents of economic development, namely government, business, regulatory agencies, and entrepreneurs.

Facilitated dialogue will lead to identification of key priorities in overcoming challenges and embracing opportunities in the path ahead for Northern Ontario.

Participants will help shape the development of priority statements and attestations guiding economic development initiatives that ultimately lead to an evolutionary and engaging accord on sustainable growth and prosperity in Northern Ontario.

Participating entities will sign the formative and guiding document born out of summit exchanges and dialogue.

“Through the TON Summit, we are striving for exceptional results,” said Mayor Politis, whose community and organizing committee are hosting the event at the Tim Hortons Event Centre in Cochrane.

"We know the time has come for this type of cohesive approach.

“We have a government with stated support for economic development and is prepared to work toward shared goals,” he noted.

“This summit is the first step in ensuring a shared vision and a logical, co-ordinated approach to achieving mutual goals and objectives.”

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