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Northern, rural, and remote child welfare practice

Information, links, and resources related to child welfare and Northern, rural, and remote communities

Northern communities

It's important to recognize that Northern communities are not homogenous. However, certain characteristics, demographics, and issues may be more prevalent in these communities. This section provides some high-level information that offers an emerging profile of Northern Ontario:

  • The region of Northern Ontario includes 144 municipalities, 106 First Nations, and over 150 unincorporated communities in 10 territorial districts (Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timiskaming)
  • According to the data from the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) for the North West and North East regions, the population of Northern Ontario is just over 800,000 people, or about 6% of the population of Ontario
  • While data about the Indigenous population is often prone to more inaccuracies than data about the non-Indigenous population, one source indicates that approximately 13% of the Northern Ontario population is Indigenous, compared to 2.8% of the overall population in the province (Note: 13% was arrived at by combining the data for the North West and North East LHINs provided here). The majority of Indigenous people in Northern Ontario are First Nations but a significant population of Métis also reside in Northern cities and communities including Dryden, North Bay, and Timmins
  • Approximately 16% of the Northern Ontario population identify French as their first official language spoken, compared to 4.1% of the overall population in the province (Note: 16% was arrived at by combining the data for the North West and North East LHINs provided here)
  • Northern Ontario is home to many cities and small towns such as Thunder Bay and Sudbury. However, a significant amount of the population lives in rural communities. According to 2016 census data looking at the 10 territorial districts of the region of Northern Ontario as well as the census division of Greater Sudbury, approximately 37% of the population lives in a rural area (defined as an area having less than 1,000 people), and an additional 25% lives in a small population centre (defined as a community with more than 1,000 but less than 30,000 people)

Rural and remote communities

While census and other data is available at the community level, because rural communities are a part of almost every region of the province it is difficult to identify characteristics and demographics that are specific to rural Ontario. This section therefore provides only basic information about rural and remote communities:

  • According to the 2016 census, approximately 14% of Ontario's population lives in a rural area (defined as an area having less than 1,000 people) and an additional 10% lives in a small population centre (defined as a community with more than 1,000 but less than 30,000 people)
  • Approximately one third (32%) of the Indigenous population in Ontario lives in a rural area (defined as an area having less than 1,000 people), with an additional 19% living in a small population centre (defined as a community with more than 1,000 but less than 30,000 people)
  • There are approximately 30 to 40 remote communities in Ontario. Under the Nutrition North Canada program, there are 31 communities in the province eligible for a food subsidy because they lack road, rail, or marine access, while a Government of Canada website indicates that one in four Ontario First Nations (of a total 133) are remote communities, accessible only by air or ice road

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