The research investigated emergent trends in rural/agricultural real estate and migration within the Algoma region since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine what types of impacts these will have on different facets of the local agri-food sector. It was hypothesized that a combination of factors such as labour shortages, heightened real estate prices, and a sudden increase in demand for local food has been putting unforeseen pressures on the agri-food sector which could create conditions less conducive to capital investment and business expansion.
Perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, including those from the Anabaptist farming community, commodity growers (e.g. cash crops, cattle), food processors, planners from local municipalities and townships, as well as small farms that provide for specialty/niche markets were taken into consideration.
This research shows multiple areas that can be attended to in order to increase the localization of profits, to increase efficiencies in the local agri-food sector, and to thus increase the development and building of a stronger local economy that will also then be more sustainable.
Lauren Moran, David Thompson, and Dr. Laura Wyper
As part of the Northern Ontario Tourism Development and Recovery Strategy in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic study, which sought to understand how tourism-based economies have grown under both normal circumstances, two surveys were conducted to identify the strengths and barriers to growth of the tourism industry.
With one survey focused on the experiences of visitors to the region and the other focused on the experiences of tourism-related enterprises, the surveys were conducted from April to May 30, 2021, and focused on the preceding 12 months’ of respondents’ experiences.
This study was conducted with the support of Algoma University’s Institutional Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Dr. Nusrate Aziz, Dr. Tamanna Rimi, Dr. Sean Meades, Graham Slater
NORDIK Institute, The Sault Community Career Centre, and the Welcoming Communities Initiative joined in partnership to produce a baseline survey to identify and eliminate gaps in programs and services, consolidate community resources, and address current and pending labour shortages through Immigration Strategy.
In 2009, a ‘learning circle’ methodology was used to develop an Environmental Scan on Urban Aboriginal Economic Development (UAED) for Sault Ste. Marie. The Environmental Scan explores the history of UAED and its current context in this locale. While educational initiatives such as the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Centre and Aboriginal specialized programs and services offered at Algoma University, Shingwauk University and Sault College are positively impacting low educational attainment levels in Sault Ste. Marie,; along with the positive efforts contributed by the Indian Friendship Centre and Métis Nation of Ontario in filling in the service gaps of mainstream organizations, more Aboriginal specific services that meet the cultural and social needs of the urban Aboriginal community need to be provided by mainstream organizations. Collectively, the urban Aboriginal economy can grow in Sault Ste. Marie.
Derek Rice, Ian Brodie, Natalie Waboose
NORDIK Institute was contracted for the Soup Kitchen Community Health Centre project with three deliverables: to complete and submit an application to the Sault Ste. Marie Community Development Corporation (CDC) Local Initiatives Fund (LIF); complete and submit an application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation; and to start a community engagement strategy. The CDC LIF awarded the Soup Kitchen $10,000 based on the strength of the application and the engagement strategy saw the commencement of a pre-feasibility study, as well as the development of organizational by-laws, policies and a comprehensive strategic plan.
The Sault Ste. Marie Public Library and NORDIK Institute collaborated together to determine the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of the Public Library on the City of Sault Ste. Marie. The study demonstrated that the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library branches respond to the neighbourhoods in which they are located and are highly valued by community members, businesses, and service organizations. The research shows that the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library creates almost 100 jobs, generates more than $4.5 million in economic returns to the community through its programs and circulation, and is valued at $603 for every open hour. The Library supported the overall health and well-being of the community through early childhood development; increased literacy; and decreased social isolation for all strata of society.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Amanda Parr, Adela Turda
In summer 2009, the NORDIK Institute approached the Sault Ste. Marie & District Labour Council to conduct a research study on the impacts of Sault Ste. Marie trade unions on the social economy of Sault Ste. Marie. The purpose of the project was to explore the nature and extent of labour’s involvement in the social economy of Sault Ste. Marie, as a way of celebrating and making more visible the major contribution that the labour movement has made to the City of Sault Ste. Marie. Unions are an integral part of the community, and continue to contribute positively to the social economy through their relationships with community groups and organizations, as well as through the activities of their membership. These contributions have transformed leaders in the labour market to act in solidarity with others in the community. Labour’s contributions highlight similar principles to the cooperative movement, which include solidarity, democratic decision-making, skills building, and the prioritization of people before profit.
David Thompson, Dr. Gayle Broad, Arnie Harnish, Al Fraser
This was a community project in Fort Albany First Nation to promote activities that brought together youth, adults and elders in dialogue about land, water and traditional territory. An advisory group composed of community representatives developed a strategy for a ‘community mapping’ process that centers on valuing Mushkegowuk (Cree) practices and knowledge. NORDIK, through collaboration with the advisory group, developed a series of training and research activities, including a CESD community-based “off-site” university accredited course on community based research, mapping and land/water issues.
Dr. Sheila Gruner, Edmund Metatawabin
For more information on the project, including image galleries and the “Paquataskimik is Home” documentary, visit the Paquataskimik website.
The Neighbourhood Resource Centre (NRC) located on Gore Street in Sault Ste. Marie, provides person-centred and accessible services, for a wide variety of needs, and a safe space for socialization. Agencies through the NRC, work collaboratively, respond quickly and create opportunity for connection with community members accessing the Centre. However, The research demonstrated deficits in awareness of the specific services and /agencies attending the NRC and the need to improve deliberate, on-going outreach needs to be improved upon. Perceptions of the police presence was also a concern and community member/business relationships will need more time and effort to improve.
Lauren Doxtater, Dr. Gayle Broad
In May 2003, the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program of Algoma University undertook a study of the non-profit sector in Sault Ste. Marie, to determine its contribution to the overall economy of the City. The study explored In order to determine what contribution the non-profits were making to the economy, the areas of revenue generation and disbursement; direct and indirect job creation; community capacity building through volunteer and staff development; and social capital development were explored. The study indicated that in In addition to the significant contributions to the City’s economy and concrete jobs created job creation, the non-profit sector provides substantial contributions to the quality of life of Sault Ste. Marie’s citizens. Findings indicate and t that this sector of Sault Ste. Marie’s economy could be grown through strategic investment.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Steffanie Date