NPI launches regional survey on community inclusivity
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Northern Policy Institute (NPI) has launched a series of surveys in Northern Ontario to track changes and variations in inclusivity patterns among different communities.
This is the first of six annual surveys. NPI President & CEO, Charles Cirtwill shared, “The NPI survey results will be released each year, likely in the fall. The intention is to track changes over time in attitudes towards First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples, newcomers, and people of color. Communities across Northern Ontario have made real commitments to reconciliation, attraction, settlement, welcoming, anti-racism, and anti-discrimination. These surveys will be one tool to measure the impact of those efforts.”
The surveys conducted this year will focus on welcoming attitudes towards newcomers, and the 2022 surveys will look into reconciliation and welcoming attitudes towards Indigenous Peoples, shared NPI’s media release. It added that the two surveys will alternate each year until 2026. Cirtwill shared that the surveys are planned to be spread out over six years, considering the fact that efforts to combat racism, change attitudes, and improve community conditions, all take time.
“Growing the population in all regions of Northern Ontario will require making the area welcoming for both newcomers and for those that already live here,” shared Cirtwill, adding, “Communities across Northern Ontario have made reconciliation, welcoming, and population growth their number one priority. This survey will help us track whether their efforts are having an impact.”
NPI is running this survey in partnership with Environics Research for The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), a federal community-driven program aiming to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities. Environics Research will be doing randomized telephone surveying in Thunder Bay, Timmins, North Bay, Sudbury, and Sault Ste. Marie, the ‘Big Five’ northern communities selected to take part in RNIP.
NPI’s surveys aim at the “Big Five” communities, as well as those living in remote communities. The online survey for local views on newcomers in their community is available for 4 weeks from June 22 until July 16, at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N2HQRZX.
“It is absolutely critical that the maximum number of people in rural and remote communities respond to this survey. All too often their viewpoints are buried by regional or provincial results driven by opinion in Thunder Bay or Toronto. The more people respond from smaller communities the more accurately we can show the differences between communities. Assuming certain communities are more welcoming than others, the annual results will be another tool for those communities to differentiate themselves from competitors. Welcoming communities are more attractive as a place to invest and to live – a virtuous economic circle built on the hard work of fighting racism and discrimination in your community,” Cirtwill concluded.