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Rural Canada plays a vital role in the health of our nation -- from agriculture, to energy generation, to the abundance of resources it houses. But a recent report suggests that rural Canada is being ignored, with the paper's authors calling on government officials to re-invest in this important part of the country.

Report: Rural Canada is being left behind


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Sunday, October 4, 2015, 5:33 PM - Rural Canada plays a vital role in the health of our country -- from its people, to agriculture, to energy generation, to the abundance of resources it houses. But a recent report suggests this area is being ignored, with the paper's authors calling on government officials to re-invest in this important part of the country.

“Without question, we’ve been ignoring rural Canada,” Al Lauzon, a professor at the University of Guelph and co-author of the report, says in a statement.

“Fundamentally, we have forgotten to invest in rural areas and small towns. We have work to do, at all levels, if we want a sustainable future for rural Canada in the 21st century.”

The authors argue community development has eroded in rural parts of the country.

An aging population and work shortages are two of the major challenges. 

Other challenges, according to the report, include:

  • Climate extremes including degradation of land due to permafrost and rising sea levels
  • Risks to the agricultural industry due to increased losses from invasive pest and plant diseases
  • Climate-related changes to species distribution which can diminish biodiversity
  • Flood and wildfire hazards that can displace residents and destroy infrastructure; and
  • Extreme weather, which can have a negative impact on water quality and infrastructure

The report was produced by the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) and the Rural Policy Learning Commons. It is hoped the findings will help policy-makers identify better way to work with these regions to ensure they don't get left behind.

“There is a lot to learn from rural Canada,” Lauzon says. “People often forget how rural communities and regions contribute economically and culturally to Canada.”

The complete 103-page report can be found online.

Source: State of Rural Canada 2015

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