RICH, NELSON and HALL: COVID-19 accelerated many changes impacting rural communities — we need to support their resilience

Kyle Rich, Assistant Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University; Grace Nelson, Research Assistant, Applied Health Sciences at Brock University; and Heather Hall, Assistant Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo, had a piece recently published in The Coversation where they provided recommendations for how to support rural Canadian communities through policy and practice.

They write:

“Rural Canada is vital to the socio-economic fabric of this country. 

 Rural communities are places of employment, food production, energy generation, resource extraction, environmental stewardship, cultural production and leisure. They are also home to millions of people. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has illuminated many new and existing inequities, which are shaping the realities of life in rural Canada. 

 In our work with the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation, we co-edited the 2021 State of Rural Canada Report. The report provides a snapshot of key rural issues while also highlighting opportunities, recovery and resiliency in each province and territory.

 Rural resilience in changing times

 Rural communities across Canada are facing unprecedented changes — from demographic shifts and economic restructuring to the impacts of climate change and weak rural development policies and programs.

 The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many changes impacting rural communities. For example, communities without reliable broadband could not easily shift to remote work and education.

 However, the researchers who authored chapters in our report illustrate the many ways rural people and organizations have demonstrated resilience to challenges and change.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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