NEOnet’s 24th AGM kicked off with a welcome from David Laneville, Chairperson for NEOnet Inc. “In 2022, NEOnet continued to drive positive change in Northern Ontario through its commitment to Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) development and digital growth. Our team worked tirelessly to advance our mission of fostering economic growth, promoting digital inclusion, and enhancing the region's overall competitiveness. We achieved significant milestones through our partnerships with various stakeholders, including government agencies, industry leaders, and community organizations. NEOnet also took important steps to ensure our long-term sustainability, investing in our staff and infrastructure to build a stronger, more resilient organization. We remain deeply committed to our vision of a connected, inclusive Northern Ontario, and we are excited to continue our important work in the years to come.” stated Laneville, “Despite these achievements, however, we are facing a significant challenge in terms of funding. NEOnet's work is critical to the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of Northern Ontario, and we rely heavily on support from our partners, collaborators, members, and communities to continue our important work. As we look to the future, we recognize that our ability to deliver positive impact will depend on our ability to secure sustainable funding and expand our reach.”
During the meeting Marie-Josée Filo, NEOnet’s Interim Director of Operations, highlighted the organizations achievements during 2022. “Through innovative initiatives and collaborative efforts, we have successfully facilitated 48 ICT outreach events, over 50 one-on-one consultations, 54 jobs created, 71 completed client projects, and over $370,000 in funding distributed to small-medium business across Northern Ontario.” Filo also spoke of NEOnet’s further contributions to regional economic impacts such as completed the COOP2021 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) project, which onboarded 12 rural communities and in turned helped develop in-depth mapping to better facilitate community planning.
“Despite the funding cuts, our organization is resilient and determined to continue doing the work we love. We’re on a mission to drive digital and technology growth in the region.” continued Filo, “The importance and influence of the ICT sector grows daily; even resource-based sectors, the traditional drivers in northern economies, are developing an increasing need for ICT skills among today’s workforce. Communities in NEOnet’s region need to become more efficient, diversify, and pursue alternatives to traditional economic development, such as those enabled and supported by ICT. Those that fail to embrace technology will continue to fall behind.”
The organization is working to continue to enhance the region’s ICT development, growing the digital economy and small business digital transformation, growing its current digital skills education portfolio and workforce development, and continuing work towards reducing the digital divide. “For years, NEOnet has advocated and actively worked to reduce the digital divide in the North. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns truly highlighted the lack of infrastructure and resources in Northeastern Ontario when it came to technology and internet access. It is, now more than ever, to ensure our communities receive accessible and equitable access to the digital landscape.” Stated Filo, who also highlighted the importance of working with government, communities, partners, and equity deserving groups.
The AGM also saw the ratification of a new board of directors:
David Laneville, Chair
Alain Lefebvre, Vice-Chair
Paula Mangotich, Treasurer
Gilles Matko, Director-at-large
Linda Semczyszyn, Director
John Bernstein, Director
Guy Guindon, Director
The Board of Directors also celebrated the contributions of Guy Guidon, Gerard Bruneau, Dan O’Mara and Sharon Jones, to the organization.
Guy Guindon has served as a NEOnet Board of Director for 20 years. Guy joined the NEOnet Board in 2003 as part of the WAN project, which brought digital imaging to our regional hospitals.
Gerard Bruneau has been a member of the NEOnet Board for over 15 years. Gerard served as both a NEOnet director and NEOnet chair for eight years, contributing both his time and knowledge.
Dan O’Mara has been a Director for 1 year and continues to be a strong advocate for better connectivity in Northeastern Ontario.
Sharon Jones has worked as NEOnet’s Project Facilitator for over 20 years.
NEOnet’s Chairperson, David Laneville, is looking forward to continuing NEOnet’s long standing legacy as Northeastern Ontario’s ICT champion and continuing to find innovative solutions to ensuring that Northeastern Ontario receives accessible and equitable ICT development. “Our work is far from done. As we look to the future, we are keenly aware of the challenges that lie ahead, particularly in terms of securing sustainable funding and expanding our reach.”
NEOnet looks forward to continuing to support Northeastern Ontario this year with new digital skills training programs, support for regional small and medium sized businesses and continuing to develop the region’s ICT initiatives.
To review NEOnet’s 2022 Annual Report, please click here - NEOnet 2022 Annual Report
Individuals who would like to join NEOnet’s Board of Directors can find more information here - Information Package
About NEOnet Inc - NEOnet Inc is a regional, non-profit organization, which was established in 1999 with a mandate to facilitate telecommunication service and infrastructure development in northeastern Ontario. NEOnet assists unserved and underserved communities in the North achieve equitable technology and broadband adoption through small business grants, education and broadband advocacy and implementation. NEOnet recognizes the economic and social implications of our increasingly digital world and the digital divide. To advance the digital economy in northeastern Ontario, we explore workforce development, community education, foster innovation, and build business technology capabilities.