Contact North

Contact North

Contact North (French: Contact Nord) is Ontario's most extensive distance education network.[1] Contact North provides access to education and training opportunities to secondary (high school) and post-secondary (college and university) students Northern Ontario, Canada through distance education.

Through a network of 94 access centres in Northern Ontario and using technology, students are linked to the college or university of their choice. Headquartered in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, Contact North's leading-edge communications network is used by a growing number of educational institutions, non-profit organizations, private sector companies and municipal, provincial and federal government departments. The organization has access centres serving 94 communities distributed over 800,000 square kilometers in Northern Ontario.[2]



In 1986, Contact North was established by the Ontario government to provide fully bilingual access to courses and programs offered by colleges, universities and high schools to residents of Ontario's northern communities. Contact North/Contact Nord remains primarily funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.[3]

In 1992, through funding from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, almost every secondary school in Northern Ontario was equipped with Contact North audiographic teleconferencing equipment. This equipment gave all schools electronic access to more than 100 other schools in communities across Northern Ontario and beyond. It also allowed high school students a chance to tour museums, galleries, and other organizations electronically, which the student would not otherwise get a change to visit. Some of these places include Art Gallery of Ontario, located in Toronto, and the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa.[4]

In 2007, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities announced the launch of a distance education network to provide access to post-secondary education opportunities for residents of small and rural communities across Southern Ontario. The new network was developed to operate under a model similar to Contact North, and Contact North was asked to help in facilitating the startup of the project. Originally called the Eastern and Southern Ontario Distance and Education Network, the new network became[5]

In the spring of 2008, Contact North recorded a 32.5% increase in registrations, supporting 5,108 registrations in 287 college, university and secondary school courses. Contact North supported 480 registrations in literacy courses and training sessions during the same period.[6]

In the fall of 2009 Contact North unveiled as a video-sharing website for partnered colleges and universities to post media.

Participating institutions

Contact North works with 13 colleges and universities, mostly in Northern Ontario. Through a combination of audioconference, videoconference and e-learning technologies, students access programs and courses offered by Algoma University, Cambrian College, Canadore College, Collège Boréal, Confederation College, Lakehead University, Laurentian University, Nipissing University, Northern College, Sault College, Saint Paul University, the University of Ottawa and the University of Sudbury.

Access centre locations

All of the 94 access centres are located in small, remote and rural communities. Each centre has staff who can assist students with the technology or with registering for courses. All centres are equipped with computer workstations, Internet, e-learning and audio conferencing capabilities. Videoconferencing is available in 51 access centres (indicated with a *).

Executive officers

Contact North is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of members that:

  • have senior-level experience with the needs, interests and concerns of Northern Ontario's colleges and universities;
  • are members of the First Nation and Francophone communities;
  • have direct familiarity with and are knowledgeable about English and French school boards;
  • are comfortable working and partnering with the private sector.

Board of Directors

President and Chief Executive Officer:

  • Maxim Jean-Louis serves as President and Chief Executive Officer and as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Board of Directors
  • Chantal Lajoie serves as Manager, Client Services and Assistant to the Board of Directors


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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