A new report launched Tuesday, Sept. 28 is outlining the innovative ways rural Canada has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kyle Rich, Assistant Professor in Brock University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, was part of the research team behind “State of Rural Canada (SORC) 2021: Opportunities, recovery, and resiliency in changing times” which maps the impacts of the pandemic across rural Canada, as well as some of the innovative ways rural communities have responded.
“What’s really interesting is the way different provinces and territories are dealing with different issues,” said Rich. “In the west, it’s really important to talk about oil and gas and changing economies. When we look to the east, we’ve seen very different levels of migration there with people migrating to the Atlantic provinces. In the north, we have a whole different set of issues that communities are facing.”
Rich said the report looks at what the key issues have been over the past five years and then how the communities have responded by mobilizing resources to affect change or build resiliency.
The report was launched Tuesday as part of the online Creating Inclusive Economies: Building Bridges Between Public, Private and Civil Society Sectors conference, which Rich emceed.
The two-day conference is bringing together Canada’s public, private and civil society sectors to discuss new ways to collaborate to enhance rural Canada’s economic and social well-being. It’s co-hosted by the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) and the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC) and is supported by TELUS, the presenting conference sponsor. The conference and the SORC report were also supported through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
The conference’s more than 150 participants will discuss how public, private and civil society sectors can work together to ensure that rural economic development is a key component of, and contributor to, Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery strategy.
“If we learned one thing from the pandemic, it is that innovation through collaboration is the key to economic and social progress and success,” said John Buck, President and CEO, CEDEC. “As we look to our post-pandemic economic future, we have an opportunity to leverage the innovative capacity and combined resources of the public, private and civil society sectors to enhance rural economic development differently, in a more inclusive manner.”
Kathleen Kevany, President of the CRRF, said the 2021 edition of the SORC report, which is updated every two years, has shown how the country adapts to change.
“What we’ve found is that rural communities across Canada have demonstrated resiliency in the face of the pandemic, economic restructuring and climate change, among other hardships, and that adaptation to change is key for rural communities to rebound post-pandemic towards more vibrant and sustainable rural futures,” she said.
Watch the launch of the State of Rural Canada 2021 report here.