Northern Directions 2022 - Online Poster Area

Models and guiding questions for Community-led connectivity in Rural British Columbia

Dr. Sarah Breen (Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development), Ashleigh Weeden (Ph.D. Candidate, Rural Studies, University of Guelph), and Dr. Wayne Kelly (Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Environmental Studies and Sciences, University of Winnipeg)

Rural connectivity and access to Information and Communication Technologies are critical to rural revitalization, rural revenue, and the future of rural. This infographic poster provides the findings, recommendations, and related resources from an examination of community-led connectivity initiatives in rural British Columbia. This research combined a broad literature review, community-initiative model creation and the development and application of a case analysis framework. While the community initiative evaluations and research focused on rural British Columbia, the literature review and conceptual development of the models and recommendations are applicable across rural Canada. The resulting conceptual models of community-led connectivity provide a range of options for community-led interactions within the connectivity arena, aimed at improving local connectivity. The findings from this research illustrate that successful community connectivity initiatives require substantial support, resources and local capacity and those initiatives that have these characteristics are the exceptions, not the norm. Systematic changes are needed to shift this reality to one where effective community connectivity initiatives in rural Canada are in fact the norm so these initiatives can be harnessed more effectively and widely for the future of rural revitalization and revenue.


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Rural Futures - Mobilizing Knowledge and Sustaining Partnerships at the University of Guelph

Blake Glassford (University of Guelph, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development), Wayne Caldwell (University of Guelph, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development), Katie Clow (University of Guelph, Population Medicine), Ryan Gibson (University of Guelph, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development), Belinda Leach (University of Guelph, Sociology and Anthropology), and Sara Mann (University of Guelph, Management)

The future of rural places, people, and environments is critical to the province of Ontario. A recently launched initiative, supported by the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, explores ways to amplify the knowledge mobilization of rural research conducted at the University of Guelph and rural-based organizations across Ontario. This poster shares insights collected from rural partners, an inventory of student and faculty produced rural research generated at the University of Guelph, and plans for future knowledge mobilization activities. Dialogues with rural partners illuminated valuable insights into the barriers preventing rural knowledge from reaching its intended audiences. While their knowledge-related needs differ significantly, every respondent noted the need for deeper collaboration between rural actors and a resource to help identify and facilitate opportunities for rural Ontarians. As a center for rural knowledge, the project team has collected and analyzed thousands of rural-related research items generated at the University of Guelph since 2010, identifying 5,112 articles. Building on the insights of rural partners and the inventory of rural research, the initiative is building plans to support new knowledge mobilization activities, including an online pathfinder tool, online repository of rural research, and more, strengthening Ontario’s rural communities and the agri-food sector in the process.


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State of Rural Canada 2021: Opportunities, Recovery, and Resiliency in Changing Times

Kyle Rich (Brock University), Heather Hall (University of Waterloo), and Grace Nelson (Brock University)

The chapters in this report have provided insight into the state of rural in every province and territory across Canada. In order to navigate the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery (as well as future challenges), a strong understanding of resilience and how we can build and support capacity for adaptation and innovation in rural Canada are necessary. The recommendations for supporting rural resilience include: (1) Invest in rural policy and development, (2) Support rural capacity to plan for resilience, (3) Enhance regional collaboration, (4) Take decisive action on Truth and Reconciliation, and (5) Plan for sustainable rural futures.


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Business succession using collective models - an opportunity for the North

Cooperation Council of Ontario (CCO)

Rural and remote areas in the North are under constant threat of business closures, resulting in a loss of services. The reasons for this are varied: a shrinking customer base, an aging population and a lack of labour. In the next decade, it is also expected that a large number of SMEs will be in a situation of transfer of ownership, and many of them currently have no succession plan. The risk of a lack of successors is much more pronounced for small businesses and much higher in rural areas. Many villages in Northern Ontario are at risk of an insurmountable spiral of decline and devitalization. To combat this trend, there is a growing role for social enterprises in repreneurship, that is, taking over businesses or transitioning a business using a collective model. The Cooperation Council of Ontario is offering a poster presentation on succession through the social and solidarity model. We will present interesting data on succession, collective models, as well as the steps towards a successful collective succession, the causes of failure to avoid and sectors to consider in the North.  


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