Dr. Bakhtiar Moazzami has taught Economics and Econometrics at Lakehead University since 1988. He is well known for his analytical research activities particularly related to Northern Ontario. He has written many reports on Northern Ontario’s economic development challenges and opportunities. He was commissioned by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to undertake a comprehensive study of Northern Ontario’s economy as a part of the research conducted for the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario. Included in the study were the identification of growing, declining and emerging industrial clusters in the region. Professor Moazzami has also written extensively on Northern Ontario’s Aboriginal peoples and Northern Aboriginal economy. Dr. Moazzami negotiated the Musselwhite agreement between Placer Dome Inc. and five Aboriginal communities in 2001. This time-tested successful agreement is probably the only properly designed and implemented revenue sharing agreement between resource producers and Aboriginal communities in Ontario. Dr. Moazzami’s expertise and influence reaches beyond Lakehead University and Northern Ontario. He has written reports on socio-economic conditions in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Northwest Territories. He has been a regular guest speaker at the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program.
Brief summary of recent reports
1: Estimating Community Labour Indicators between Censuses, prepared for North Superior Workforce Planning Board and Northern Policy Institute, 2017.
During census years, labour market information is available down to, in many cases, the local Dissemination Area (neighbourhoods). In the years between each census however, labour market information is available more frequently but only at higher levels of geography. These levels include "Census District" (the Thunder Bay District) and Census Metropolitan Areas (the City of Thunder Bay). This means that, at present, community planners in most Northern regions can only know, with reasonable certainty, what is going on in the local labour markets once every five years. For truly remote communities, like Marten Falls, we may not even have solid information in the fifth year because too few people respond to the census. More importantly, the economic impact of business development or closure in smaller communities was impossible to assess due to the lack of reliable labour market data.
Using a variety of statistical tools, I developed a statistical model that is currently in use (available to all users) which assists Northwestern Ontario communities with the necessary information regarding their labour market indicators as well as income and employment multipliers. This data can assist them in calculating the impact of business developments or closures in their communities.
2: The changing profile of the unemployed, underemployed and non-working population in rural and urban Ontario, prepared for Ontario Council for Workforce Innovation (OCWI), 2017.
Policies aimed at improving employment opportunities in Ontario need to be based on detailed information on who the unemployed are, what their labour market characteristics are and where they reside. This report aims at providing the necessary information.
The objective of the study was to provide baseline information about the socio-economic characteristics and the changing profile of unemployed, underemployed, marginally attached to the workforce and non-working Ontarians in rural and urban Ontario during the past four decades. The study focuses on four segments of the provincial population namely Francophones, Aboriginals, immigrants and visible minorities. The report payed special attention to geography and examined whether distance from urban centres influences labour market outcome. The role of age, gender, education, family structure, ethnicity and disability on labour market outcome were explored. The study raised a series of questions such as whether there are differences in labour market performance and outcome of Francophones, Aboriginals, immigrants and visible minority populations. We asked whether a university degree guarantees employment. Does age or experience affect the likelihood of employability? Do post-secondary credentials obtained from Canada and those obtained from abroad influence job market outcome? Are domestic as opposed to foreign credentials a factor? What role does family structure play in the process? Is the likelihood of unemployment and poverty higher among lone-parent families? What is the impact of disability on labour market performance and the likelihood of employment or unemployment? Have the social assistance recipients ever worked? Who are they and who are the ones who have never worked? These are some of the questions the study investigated based on detailed microdata from various Statistics Canada sources.
3: Socio-economic impact analysis of the Ontario Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan on the communities of Constance Lake, Hearst, and Mattice-Val Côté, 2016.
Hearst and the surrounding communities are heavily dependent on an existing forestry industry. The mining sector has seen a boom in exploration activities in recent years and is a welcome addition to the economic development potential of the local communities. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan was expected to exert a significant impact on the above industries. Crupi Consulting and Dr. Moazzami were asked to assess the socio-economic impact of the Plan.
As a part of the study, all forestry, mining and power companies as well as businesses in the affected areas were surveyed. In addition, numerous interviews with the community members, as well as businesses were undertaken. All impacts were analyzed and evaluated using rigorous methodologies widely accepted and recommended by the economic literature and practice for similar types of evaluations. Specifically, the direct, indirect, and induced impacts within the local area were estimated using regional science and economic base approaches. These approaches allow estimation of employment and income multipliers, specific to the region of impact, based on the economic structure of the local economies, the patterns of companies’ expenditures and purchases, and the patterns of consumer expenditures in the affected area. The study estimated short-, medium- and long-term impacts of the Plan. The direct, indirect, and induced impacts within the entire province of Ontario were estimated using input-output modeling techniques and multipliers from Statistics Canada’s 2011 inter-provincial input-output model.
The specific impacts considered and evaluated include:
- Impact of the plan on employment in the local communities and province-wide either directly, or indirectly through supplier-purchasing relationships and re-spending of employee wages and salaries;
- Impact on employment income in the local communities and province-wide either directly, or indirectly through sub-contracting, purchasing of goods and services from local communities, etc;
- Impact on output or sales in the local communities and province-wide either directly, or indirectly through supplier-purchasing relationships and re-spending of employee wages and salaries;
- Impact on Gross Domestic Product or Value-Added produced in the local communities and province-wide;
- Impact on payments including taxes, contributions, stumpage fees and other fees to various levels of governments;
- Impact on the level of unemployment, migration, and traditional harvesting in the local communities.
4: It’s What You Know (And Where You Can Go): Human Capital and Agglomeration Effects on Demographic Trends in Northern Ontario, prepared for Northern Policy Institute, 2015
Dr. Moazzami was asked to examine past, present and future demographic and socio-economic changes in Northern Ontario during the past two decades. His report argues that Northern Ontario is one of the most important resource-producing regions in Ontario and Canada. Based on solid statistics, the report states that the region accounted for almost all the metals production and 23 percent of the non-metals production in Ontario in 2013. Dr. Moazzami argues that the region has consistently produced between 67 and 79 percent of the value of all provincial mineral production since 2006. In addition, he states that at present, a great deal of the potential mineral resources are located in the north of 50th parallel region and their development necessitates Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal collaboration.
Prior to the collapse of the forestry sector in Ontario, the region’s primary industries of logging, forestry and forest-based manufacturing produced a significant share of the province’s forest–based products. Northern Ontario has not only contributed significantly to the value of output and employment in Ontario, but has also been responsible for a significant share of provincial exports.
Dr. Moazzami argues that Northern Ontario has undergone substantial demographic and socio-economic changes during the past two decades. The forestry sector that accounted for a large share of the region’s economic base has collapsed. Rising commodity prices brought about increased investment in exploration and mining development. Other regional sectors such as healthcare-related services have expanded and thereby minimized the impact of the decline in the forestry sector.
Dr. Moazzami says that changing economic conditions influence demographic trends. The report focussed mainly on rural and urban demographics and examines how recent changes have impacted various population groups, namely total population, Francophone, Aboriginal and immigrant population. In addition, the report examined various socio-economic characteristics of the rural and urban populace. Factors explaining an earnings gap between rural and urban regions were also examined in this study.
5: Strengthening Rural Canada: The Current and Future State of Rural Ontario, prepared for Essential Skills Ontario, 2014.
In 2014, Dr. Moazzami undertook a comprehensive examination of socio-economic changes in rural and urban Ontario. The province of Ontario has experienced considerable demographic changes over the past 40 years. The provincial population grew from 7.85 million in 1971 to 12.85 million in 2011, a growth rate of about 1.55 percent per year. However, its growth rate has declined from the high of 1.68 percent per year during the 1980s to a historical low of about 1.04 percent per year during 2001-2011.
Dr. Moazzami argues that the declining fertility rate is one of the main reasons for the declining population growth rate in Ontario. In Canada, the total fertility rate reached 3.94 in 1959. It declined below the generational replacement rate of 2.1 in 1972 and reached its historical low of 1.49 in 2000. It stands at 1.61 children per woman in 2011. In Ontario, the total fertility rate reached its historical record low of 1.47 in 2002. It stands at 1.52 children per woman in 2011. This is less than half of the rate seen at the 1960 peak of the baby boom when Ontario’s total fertility rate reached a record high of 3.80 children per woman.
Dr. Moazzami argues that the low fertility rate and rising life expectancy have resulted in the aging of Ontario’s population. The baby boomers were followed by much smaller generations in number primarily due to a declining fertility rate. As a result, the share of seniors has increased from 8.3 percent in 1971 to 14.2 percent in 2011. Aging of the population is also reflected in the rising median age of Ontarians from 27.1 years in 1971 to 39.8 years in 2011.
The gap between the total fertility rate in Canada and Ontario has also been growing. The implication of the declining fertility rate is that the natural increase (births minus deaths) has become a less important factor in provincial population growth. Conversely, dependence on immigration has become an increasingly significant factor.
Dr. Moazzami shows that the cultural and linguistic make-up of Ontario’s population has also changed over time. The share of the Francophone population declined from 4.3 percent in 2001 to 3.8 percent in 2011. This is in spite of the fact that the overall Francophone population grew by 2.3 percent during that period. The share of the Aboriginal population increased from 1.6 percent to 2.3 percent during 2001-2011. Similarly, immigrants comprised 26.9 percent of Ontario’s population in 2001. Their share increased to 28.1 percent in 2011.
The study focuses mainly on rural-urban demographics and examines how demographic changes have impacted four population groups, namely total provincial population, Francophone, Aboriginal and immigrant population.
Dr. Moazzami also examines various socio-economic characteristics of rural and urban Ontario in 2011 and payed special attention to the degree of rurality. It is found that the average labour force participation rate is highest in urban areas and declines as the degree of rurality rises. The difference between the participation rate in urban and remote regions is 14.0 percent. On the other hand, the unemployment rate is lowest in urban areas and increases as the degree of rurality rises. The unemployment rate in remote rural Ontario averaged about 16.8 percent in 2011 and reached as high as 66.0 percent in some Aboriginal communities.
Other factors studied include education, earnings and labour market performance. The study also estimates return to investment in education for the four population groups in the study.
Dr. Moazzami was commissioned to undertake similar studies on behalf of Essential Skills Ontario for the province of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador.
6: Economic Impact of the Greenwich Wind Farm, prepared for Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2012.
The purpose of this study has been to quantitatively and qualitatively measure and evaluate the economic impact of the Greenwich Wind Farm on the Township of Dorion, Northwestern Ontario and the province of Ontario. The Greenwich Wind farm is located in the Township of Dorion in Northwestern Ontario and is the first wind power facility located on Crown land. This 99 MW facility became operational in November 2011. It provides power under a 20 year Renewable Energy Supply agreement to the Ontario Power Authority.
The economic impacts of the Greenwich Wind farm project have been evaluated based on the geographic areas of Dorion, Northwestern Ontario and the Province of Ontario. The impacts of the project are also classified into three phases, namely development phase, construction phase and operational phase for each geographic area. Regarding the geographic area of Dorion, only the impacts for the construction phase and the operational phase were evaluated. Local and regional multipliers are developed based on the project expenditures as well as the spending pattern of company employees and local households.
The specific impacts considered and evaluated in this study include:
- Total jobs and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Dorion and Northwestern Ontario that are attributable to the Greenwich Wind Farm either directly or indirectly through supplier-purchasing relationships and re-spending of employee wages and salaries;
- Total output, GDP, employment income and jobs in the province of Ontario that are attributable to the Greenwich Wind Farm either directly, or indirectly through supplier purchasing relationships and re-spending of employee wages and salaries;
- Total tax, rent paid to the MNR and other revenue to the municipal, provincial and federal governments resulting from the operation of the wind farm;
- The present value of the total impact of the operation of the Greenwich Wind Farm on Dorion, Northwestern Ontario and Ontario over its anticipated 20 year life span;
- A review of current, planned or potential charitable contributions;
- A review of current, planned and potential training opportunities associated with the project;
- Potential economic benefit to the First Nations communities;
- An estimate of the value of carbon credits or offsets associated with the project.
All impacts were analyzed and evaluated using rigorous methodologies widely accepted and recommended by the economic literature and practices for similar types of evaluations.