North bouncing ‘back faster’ compared to other parts of Canada – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – June 15, 2021)

While COVID-19 has rocked communities across Canada, many in Northern Ontario are faring better than elsewhere.

“As we cope with the challenges of the pandemic’s second and third waves, these impacts are becoming more regional in nature — a reflection of the vastness of this country and its diverse population,” said Anil Arora, chief statistician with Stats Canada, during a virtual presentation hosted by the Northern Policy Institute on Monday.

“Northern Ontario has not been hit as hard by the pandemic as my home province of Alberta, for example,” he said, adding the region has also seen “business activity bounce back faster” than in the rest of Ontario.

Of Northern cities, Thunder Bay experienced the biggest economic blow last spring, with “13 per cent of businesses shuttered, compared to five per cent in Greater Sudbury,” he said. “A year later, business activity has rebounded, led by Elliot Lake — with only a two per cent net drop in active businesses, which matches the national average.”

That progress is “followed closely by Greater Sudbury, North Bay and Thunder Bay, all doing better than Ontario as a whole, which is still struggling with a five per cent decline due to extended lockdowns in Greater Toronto,” said Arora.

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