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Funding & Training / NOHFC Internships and Co-ops

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) is proud to be a vital component of the Northern Prosperity Plan. One of their many goals is to work with northern entrepreneurs and businesses to foster private sector job creation while supporting critical infrastructure and community development projects that build a foundation for future economic growth and enhanced quality of life.  Basically what that means is that they work with Northern Ontario businesses to create jobs that will help northern communities grow.

The NOHFC offers six unique programs to help create sustainable jobs for northerners and to foster hope and opportunity across Northern Ontario.  They can be found at NOHFC's website.

Here are just a few of the people who have found success through the NOHFC.

Christine King

Acting Manager, Georgian Bay Country

Christine King began her career in tourism in November 2005 when she joined Georgian Bay Country, the local tourism-marketing agency for the region of East Georgian Bay. Through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation’s Northern Ontario Youth Internship and Co-op Program, she was hired as Georgian Bay Country’s Marketing Assistant.

Christine always knew that she had an interest in tourism. She also knew what the Parry Sound Area had to offer as she had grown up in the region. Once she had completed her studies in Tourism Management and was armed with a broader knowledge of tourism, it seemed natural for her to return home and market the area she loves.

Under the title of marketing assistant, Christine enjoyed the many aspects of her job including the interaction with people, advocating on behalf of the tourism industry, and coming up with creative marketing and advertising campaigns for the area.

A short period of time later, Christine found herself with a lengthier job description as she took on the role of acting manager, covering for a temporary leave of absence. Now she is responsible for managing the new visitor’s centre, five employees, partnership development and much more.

As the organization grows, Christine’s position continues to become more demanding. However, she welcomes the challenge and looks forward to sharing her home town of Parry Sound with an increasing number of visitors from around the globe.


Wendy Haskim
Human Resource Specialist, West Parry Sound Health Centre

In summer of 2007, Wendy Haskim seized the opportunity to become the Human Resource Specialist of the West Parry Sound Health Centre through an internship funded in part by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation - Northern Ontario Youth Internship and Co-op Program. To prepare herself for a career in this field, Wendy pursued three years of post-secondary education, and obtained a diploma from the post-graduate Human Resources Management program with Georgian College.

Originally from the Parry Sound area, Wendy had first hand knowledge of all that the area had to offer, and returning home upon graduation to seek employment was an easy decision for Wendy to make.

As the sole employee responsible for coordinating the benefits of more than 300 employees at the Health Centre, she finds the position simultaneously challenging and rewarding. Wendy enjoys working with the staff at the Health Centre and wishes to continue in her position while also working towards acquiring her Certified Human Resources Professional certificate.



The NOHFC interns are making news! Check out articles about them, and other people who have benefitted from the Fund's help.

Naturopath back home


Kelly Wallace is eager to help overcome shortage of doctors

From a young age, Kelly Wallace knew she wanted to be involved in health care. Wallace liked the idea of helping people and making a difference in their lives and to their health. However, when it came to deciding how she would be part of the healthcare system, being a medical doctor didn't feel like the right choice.

"I have a lot of relatives who are doctors. I sort of followed them around and saw what they did, and decided I wanted to do something a little different," says Wallace, who instead decided to become a naturopath. "My mom was always into more natural approaches to things, so I learned that from an early age, as well. Looking into all the options out there, this made the most sense." Wallace, 29, who is trained in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, botanicals and herbal medicine, nutrition and lifestyle counseling, and homeopathy, has opened Wallace Integrated Health Centre in North Bay.

"Homeopathy came out of Germany and works by stimulating the body's own healing response," Wallace says. "By using minute amounts of certain ingredients that would not be as beneficial in larger doses, people's natural healing response is activated and they're going to be able to get better on their own.
"It's a very gentle and effective healing method, especially for the elderly or little children. It's safe even if a person is on a lot of other medications."

Wallace was born and raised in North Bay and is glad to be home after years away completing her training. Her first step along the road to becoming a naturopathic doctor brought her to the University of GueJph, where she earned a bachelor of human biology.

Next, she attended a four-year program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, one of only two accredited naturopathy programs in Canada (there are four in the United States).
Before becoming a licensed practitioner, Wallace had to pass a week's worth of North American exams and a separate set of tests for Ontario.

"The training was tough but good and I'm certainly very happy to be in a field I'm passionate about," she says. "I'm basically a family doctor. I treat just about all the same conditions you'd go to your medical doctor for, (such as) acute infection, ear aches, coughs and colds.

"A lot of people come in with more chronic things like allergies or skin conditions like eczema, and things that medicine is not as effective at dealing with, like irritable bowel syndrome, and we can find treatments that may be more effective."

Wallace is not alone at the health centre. In addition to naturopathic medicine, it offers massage therapy and reiki. Sara Inch, a registered massage therapist, provides the massage, while reiki sessions are available with master Karen Sarlo.

"Basically, reiki is a form of energy work or energy healing," explains Wallace. "A lot of people think of it mainly as relaxation, but it can be used for a variety of health conditions, such as a lot of pain issues, insomnia or other sleep disturbances, depression, as well as many others." While all services are available on a pay-per-service basis, therapeutic massage and naturopathic medicine are often covered through extended health care plans, as well.

Wallace was able to renovate and equip her facility at 374 Fraser St. with assistance from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation's Young Entrepreneur program. The grant of more than $20,000 helped her realize her dream of returning to the North.

"You always hear about there not being enough doctors here, so I wanted to be able to help overcome that shortage," she says. "We provide natural health care for everyone, the whole family.
"We really try to work with other health professionals to get the best care possible for people. Most people aren't seeing only one person and so they want a team approach. We try to foster that at our clinic and having multiple practitioners here helps us do that." The health centre is open Mondays and Wednesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesdays when Wallace works at Action Potential in Sturgeon Falls, which offers chiropractic, naturopathic, massage therapy and physiotherapy treatments. A grand opening for Wallace Integrated Health Centre will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 474-2727.

Living off the grid

September 1, 2007

Jennifer Demille, 31, and Tzach Elnekave, 29, are living in a remote, three-bedroom log cabin that draws no wattage from the provincial power grid.

A remote log cabin in Mattawa overlooking Quebec's Laurentian mountains has all the comforts of home. All that's missing is hydro, gas and water bills.

"We want to live a life that inspires other,people," says Jennifer Demille, 31, as she looks out at the 194 hectares of land she bought three months ago with her husband, Tzach Elnekave, 29. Their self-sufficient three bedroom home doesn't draw any wattage from the provincial grid, And in a couple of weeks, it will open to the public as Nature's Harmony - a bed and breakfast and two smaller off-grid log cabins nearby for environmentally conscious guests who enjoy the outdoors.

The house is easy to find atop a hill on Snake Creek Road off Highway 533 in Mattawa. Their heat comes from wood stoves and an automated propane furnace that kicks in if the temperature drops, and they draw their water from at least four natural springs on the property. The home's main power source comes from two 120-volt solar panels. Solar energy is passed through a controller which charges a 24-volt battery pack. The energy then passes through an inverter - a machine that converts it into 110 watts. And if the batteries don't have enough power to meet demand, a propane generator automatically kicks in to give them extra juice. "When you live in a regular house you use electricity and natural gas, and you pay for it," Demille says. "Every time we hear the generator, we hear the cash register."

The lifestyle has made them conscious of daily habits. They use cool water to wash their hands, turn down the temperature for their showers, use energy efficient lights and unplug the TV, stereo and small kitchen appliances when they're not being used because they carry a "phantom load" or standby power even when they're switched off.

"When you're living off the grid, it all drains energy," Demille says.

They plan to use their home as a demonstration model for living off the grid, although they'll have to upgrade their system as they anticipate needing more renewable energy to accommodate guests.

They have applied to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. for funding through a young entrepreneur program to help get the business off the ground, and a Northern energy program for upgrades that would generate more renewable energy.

An estimate for more solar panels, stronger batteries, a wind generator and composting toilets could cost between $36,000 and $44,000 for the main home and the two nearby cabins. It's probably too expensive to even consider hooking up the remote residence to the hydro grid, says Ingrid Thompson, corporate manager of Sun Volts Unlimited, The Parry Sound company has been in the business of alternative energy for the past 20 years and has outfitted the Mattawa home.
"There's a number of people who live off the grid. For some, it's a lifestyle choice," Thompson says. But each project is different, she adds, with details down to how many light bulbs in the building.

The Mattawa couple is also hooked up to satellite television. And when they started making telephone calls using their high-speed satellite Internet connection, Elnekave no longer had to sit on top of a ladder to make cell phone calls to reach his family in Israel.

Jennifer Demille, 31, and Tzach Elnekave, 29, sit in one of the cabins they hae yet to renovate. The couple's buildings in Mattawa draw no wattage from the power grid.

Elnekave and Demille crossed paths in early 2003 while both were travelling the world. She's from North Bay and was working in Hamilton before returning to her roots as a chartered accountant. He was searching for his path in life after serving three years in the Israeli military - two of them mandatory. Elnekave was born Nov. 19, 1977, the day former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel to meet with former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin toward a peace deal. "For me, I look back at that and remind myself that I am here to make peace," Elnekave says. His family was among the first Israelis to settle in Sinai. He was the first Israeli child born in the area while it was under Israeli control. His brother, Gil, was the last: Israel returned the area to Egypt, and the Israeli families were forced to evacuate.

"On both sides, you have politicians and extremists. It's the economy of war. People make money off war. That's a difficult side to accept," he says. "The decision I made after I left the army is that I don't want to hold a gun again. I don't want to hold a weapon." It's a decision that would shape his travels that led to Northern Ontario.

"We both feel there is something bigger to life. There was something big that we were supposed to do," Demille says.

She took time off work to travel, landing in India and letting her instincts guide her. She traveled beyond the tourist lines in Cambodia where she eventually met her future husband.

They ended up in Laos in Southeast Asia to help build an adobe mud hut - something they would like to integrate at their Mattawa venture. They parted ways a few more times before she joined Elnekave in New Zealand where he was living out of a station wagon with Ben Ben, a three-year-old mixed corgi he rescued from a pound. Creating their green destination for travellers to Mattawa seems to have given the couple their next purpose. And so does expecting their first child in January.

A Ketubah, a highly decorated Jewish wedding contract, is displayed in the living room. A Darbuka drum is tucked in one corner, and a traditional smoking pipe is in another. Upstairs, two large Thai cushions welcome guests, while the bedrooms display souvenirs from their travels.

The Ottawa River is visible a few kilometers away as the Otto Holden Dam raises the water level. Elnekave walks barefoot along paths he has cleared to the two nearby cabins that are in the process of being renovated. Standing on a small dock on Bang's Bay off the Ottawa River, the couple dreams of attracting ecotourists. They plan to offer canoeing, kayaking and hiking in the summer, and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing in the winter.

They've also agreed to share their trails and accommodations with The Den in the Glen - a Mattawa business on Highway 17 that offers dog sledding and "skijoring" - a sport that has a skiier drawn by dogs. "We're just working on getting our package together, and prices," said Lillian Loucks, owner and operator of The Den in the Glen with her husband, Charles, adding they would also like to offer cart rides in the fall.

A fire pit near the home gave EInekave the idea of how to bring their guests together around a bonfire to share what they have learned on their travels. "I want to collect instruments from around the world so we can sit-at the bonfire and play," he says. "A lot of people like me have fear of (an) audience and can be intimidated around other people. We can explore our abilities together and give people confidence."

Nature's Harmony can be reached at 2natures.harmony@gmail.com


The couple is considering more upgrades to make the bed and breakfast less dependent on the propane generator. The list includes:

  • Two, 11 O-watt Mitsubishi solar panels
  • Pole mount frames
  • Cables interconnects
  • MX60 charge controller
  • Twelve, 6-volt, industrial lead acid batteries at 24 volts (1,110Ah)
  • Battery cables
  • Whisper Wind generator system, 1000 watts
  • 65-foot pole mount system, hardware, safety disconnect, amp meter and teck cable
  • LCD display for Whisper H80

Installed, including taxes: $21,200.59

Ed gets the picture

By Kate Adams
Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nipissing MPP Monique Smith
News Release

The Ontario government is helping a young North Bay entrepreneur expand his business from still photography to include full videography services, Nipissing MPP Monique Smith announced today.

The NOHFC is providing $25,000 to Ed Regan Productions to purchase video production equipment to support the new direction the company is taking. Ed Regan Productions launched as a still photography service in 2001. The new services will strive to cater to mining, forestry, construction, manufacturing and agriculture clients.

“The government is always looking to invest in new and exciting businesses that will contribute to the northern economy,” said Nipissing MPP Monique Smith. “Ed Regan Productions will be the only specific video production business in his market area, providing one-of-a-kind services that others do not.”

“The NOHFC has helped many young entrepreneurs create new business opportunities in a variety of niches,” said Bartolucci, who also chairs the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). “The North is brimming with talented and ambitious minds, and we are proud to offer incentives to keep them here.”

This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results in the North. Other examples include:

  • Investing $1 million towards a new research complex, including new labs, research equipment and classrooms, at Nipissing University
  • Providing $1.5 million through the Enterprises North Job Creation Program to Rotacan, a North Bay manufacturer of rotary drill bits for the mining industry, to help it upgrade its facilities
  • Providing $1 million toward the cost of revitalizing North Bay’s downtown core, including upgrades to municipal services on Oak Street including sewer, water and electrical distribution systems.

These initiatives are part of the government’s Northern Prosperity Plan. It has four pillars: Strengthening the North and its Communities; Listening to and Serving Northerners Better; Competing Globally; and Providing Opportunities for All.

Hot chocolate continues to flow at Mattawa arena

By Kate Adams
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nipissing MPP Monique Smith says the hot chocolate will continue to flow at Mattawa’s town arena. Smith announced today that the province is supporting a young entrepreneur, Nanette Rockburn, with $13,500 in funding under the Young Entrepreneur Program as she takes over the canteen service at the Rodden Arena.

Full details are contained in the media release below.


The coffee, hot chocolate, snacks and other treats at Mattawa’s Mike Rodden Arena will continue to satisfy cravings of its visitors now that the Ontario government is helping a young entrepreneur take over its canteen service, Nipissing MPP Monique Smith announced today.

“The Mike Rodden Arena is a focal point for sporting events and other recreational and social activities for many residents and visitors to Mattawa.” said Nipissing MPP Monique Smith. “I am pleased that members of the Mattawa community will continue to enjoy the services of the arena snack bar for years to come.”

Nanette Rockburn is taking over the canteen counter at the Mike Rodden Arena in Mattawa from the previous operator who is relinquishing the business after having run it for 15 years. The NOHFC will provide $13,500 through its Young Entrepreneur Program for necessary upgrades and for the purchase of new equipment and fixtures.

“Supporting the creation of new small business opportunities in northern communities will help keep our youth in the North,” said Bartolucci, who is also chair of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). “Helping them grow their own businesses is a priority for us and a fundamental element of our Northern Prosperity Plan.”

This initiative is just one way the McGuinty government is supporting northern prosperity. Others include:

  • Investing $64,500 in Northern Community Investment Readiness funding to identify community and regional assets to determine barriers to investment and develop a strategic plan for linking Blue Sky communities with regional industry clusters
  • Investing $25,000 through its Young Entrepreneur Program to launch an electro-mechanical engineering robotics service for major industrial manufacturers in Corbeil.

These initiatives are part of the government's Northern Prosperity Plan for building stronger northern communities. The Northern Prosperity Plan has four pillars: Strengthening the North and its Communities; Listening to and Serving Northerners Better; Competing Globally; and Providing Opportunities for All. Since 2003, investments in infrastructure, post secondary education, research and innovation and key economic sectors have helped strengthen Ontario's economic foundations and continue to build opportunity.






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