Well, this has been a busy week when it comes to news of economic significance for northern Ontario. Here are some of the items that caught my interest with some occasional commentary. Have a nice weekend!
Mining report card shows Ontario has room for improvement. Northern Ontario Business. February 28th, 2017.
According to this report out of the Fraser Institute, Ontario has dropped to 18th place globally as an attractive place to do business in a mining company survey and ranking.
Sault Locks to open on March 25. Northern Ontario Business. March 2nd, 2017.
Here's why health care funds for First Nations children aren't being spent. CBC News. March 3rd, 2017.
As is often the case, coordination and transactions costs are important elements in government and economic policy. First Nation's health is under federal jurisdiction while health care is a provincial responsibility and most health services are provided under provincial jurisdiction and therefore require travel to access if you live on a remote reserve - yet travel costs are often not covered by Health Canada.
Thunder Bay shipyard owners reveal their plans. Tbnewswatch. February 28th, 2017.
Apparently, Thunder Bay's shipyard facility - a facility with a long and storied history dating back to the early 20th century - will soon be up and running again and creating 25 full-time jobs.
New garbage limit excludes apartment buildings and business. Tbnewswatch. February 28th, 2017.
This is quite an interesting story relating to municipal public finances. The City of Thunder Bay is looking to save money by reducing the current limit of containers for residential garbage collection to two. Apparently, these changes along with others will eliminate one truck and two positions through attrition resulting in savings of $150,000. Needless to say, I am not particularly impressed with savings of $150,000 on a annual tax levy that is growing at over 3 percent a year and is approaching 200 million dollars. Reducing the garbage limit is something that has been done in many other cities but it has been accompanied by substantial expansion of convenient recycling options. This is not the case in Thunder Bay. However, what is even more interesting to me is that businesses and apartment buildings are being excluded from the limit. What this means is that residential ratepayers - who are now responsible for two-thirds of the tax levy - are seeing a 33 percent reduction in their service - while other ratepayers are seeing no change in their service level. This essentially means that residential ratepayers are going to further subsidize the garbage service collection of non-residential rate payers.
A brief history of mining in Greater Sudbury. Sudbury.com. March 2, 2017.
Check out the historical footage on the accompanying video.
Timmins economic outlook predicts population decrease. Timminspress.com, February 26, 2017.
Mayor unable to confirm possible OPG job losses. nugget.ca, March 1st, 2017.
And of course, what I think is the biggest story of the week given the energy intensive nature of northern Ontario economic activity...
Ontario cuts hydro bills by 17%, but ultimately it will cost ratepayers $1.4 billion a year more. Financial Post. March 2, 2017.
Essentially, Ontario electricity policy has become a case of either pay more now or pay more later with the distribution of payment over time a function of the temporal distance until the next election. Editorial reaction is not particularly positive. And, businesses are excluded from these hydro rate reductions apparently. Besides, I just received a letter from my local hydro utility dated March 2nd that has "re-adjusted" my monthly billing amount and in an odd coincidence my new monthly bill just went up 17 percent!