This Profile of Effective Practice is one of fifteen stories examining how innovative, community-based initiatives are using comprehensive approaches to improve social and economic conditions on a local level.
Located 739 kilometres north of Winnipeg in the ruggedly beautiful Canadian Shield is the City of Thompson, Manitoba's 3rd largest city.
Inco Mining is still the main employer and continues to be a key reason for the city's existence, but Thompson is also growing beyond its resource base. Emerging as the "Hub of the North," this city of nearly 15,000 residents now acts as a service centre for an additional 45,000 people that live in northern Manitoba.
Despite Thompson's modern roots and regional importance, several factors combine to create significant barriers to social inclusion in the city. Inco is no longer employing the same number of workers as they did during their peak years and, as in many mining communities, concerns are always present that the mine will one day shut down with little or no warning. Much of the city's infrastructure is several decades old and the housing stock is in dire need of improvement. But investors are hesitant to build housing with an ever-present risk that the mine could close, which would cut available jobs in Thompson nearly in half.
Thompson doesn't have a level of services comparable to a city like Winnipeg, and struggles to adequately support those with various barriers to secure housing and jobs. The need for a new response to these problems was clear.