CONFERENCE BOARD ENABLES NORTHERN COMMUNITIES TO BE STUDIED AS NEVER BEFORE

OTTAWA, Feb. 9 /CNW/ - The North is part of Canada's image as a northern country, but many Canadians know very little about it.

What is the population of the North? What kinds of communities exist in the North? Are Northerners more likely to be young or old, male or female? What percentage of Northerners speak an Aboriginal language?

The Conference Board of Canada helps answer these questions—and many more—with its new Northern Community Research Tool (http://www.centreforthenorth.ca/tool). For a description and demonstration of the tool itself, click http://www.centreforthenorth.ca/tool_howto.

Launched today through the Conference Board's Centre for the North (http://www.centreforthenorth.ca/), the tool allows users to customize their study of communities in Northern Canada, which is made up of the three territories and the Northern regions of seven provinces.

"The tool will allow users to study the North as never before, and challenge some of the misconceptions about Canada's North," said Derrick Hynes, Director, Centre for the North.

"A commonly-held southern perspective is that the North is all the same - made up of communities that are small, remote, underdeveloped and resource-based. Northerners beg to differ. Northerners see communities that are both small and large, remote and central - in short, Northern communities are very different."

The perspective of the Centre for the North is that the truth lies between these two images. The Northern Community Research Tool allows users to investigate similarities and differences across communities, and across 'types' of communities.

The tool is used in a two step process - selecting first an indicator and then a range. Information about some 800 Northern communities can be extracted for nearly 90 indicators, classified under the following headings:

  • Demography - age, gender, Aboriginal identity and language, population;
  • Economy - income, economic diversity, unemployment rate, employment by industry;
  • Education - college and high school graduation, literacy rates, schools;
  • Geography - latitude and longitude;
  • Health - employment in health care sector, prevalence of chronic diseases, mortality rates, infant mortality, life expectancy, birth weight, obesity, smoking;
  • Housing -value of dwelling, number of residents per home, households in need of major repair; and
  • Society - lone-parent families, voter turnout.

The tool is hosted on the site of the Centre for the North (http://www.centreforthenorth.ca/).  Now into its second year, the Centre for the North is a Conference Board of Canada program of research and dialogue. Its main purpose is to work with Aboriginal leaders, businesses, governments, communities, educational institutions, and other organizations to provide insights into how sustainable prosperity can be achieved in the North. Over its five-year mandate, the Centre for the North will help to establish and implement strategies, policies and practices to transform that vision into reality.

The Centre for the North has produced more than a dozen Here, the North maps (http://www.centreforthenorth.ca/blogs/herethenorth), three foundational reports (http://www.centreforthenorth.ca/whats_up), and a bi-annual economic outlook for the three territories.

SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA

For further information:

Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448
E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA

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