Here's the good news, my favorite CYYZ ATC guy was on the air from 22 to 23 UTC tonight. When our aircrafts drop below radar coverage which is 30 DME and in the descent below 10 000 feet, that's when he asks the pilots to report 20 DME from the airport. Or sometimes, the pilots WILL request a visual approach before dropping off radar which he DOES approve. If not, he only approves the contact approach even though the pilot does have the field visual. However, other controllers, for some reason, hand off the aircrafts almost shortly after being radar identified in our sector on 128.3 and will approve a visual approach when the aircraft is 40 or 30 some DME away from the airport. Don't the controllers follow some kind of consistency?
Well, there's a good chance each controller is correct. Whether an aircraft can be cleared for a visual or a contact approach is a weather dependant thing. The weather obviously changes, so both types of approaches are appropriate at different times.
Now I'm not familiar with Timmins, but there is no control tower, and so no control zone, or I assume no class D airspace. I believe there is an FSS there and that may be enough to constitute a reliable weather observer.
Generally, a visual approach will be used if the ceiling is good and the visibility is better than 5 miles or so. This may vary from airport to airport. A contact approach (if requested by the pilot) will have lower weather limits. All that is required is 1 mile vis., and a functioning instrument approach for the airport.
Again, I don't know Timmins, so uncontrolled airport procedures are not something I know a lot about, and will differ from a controlled airport environment.
Hope this helps