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Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation  E-Newsletter
February 2018


Showcasing Emerging Rural Researchers and Initiatives 

Since its founding in 1989, the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation strives to be a catalyst for rural development discussion and networking. As part of this mandate, the Foundation devotes the annual February edition of the newsletter to showcasing emerging rural researchers and community-based organizations. Highlighting the work of our community builds connections and facilitates knowledge mobilization. 

This year’s edition showcases 15 rural researchers and community-based organizations and their work to address some of the issues being faced by communities and governments today, including immigration, climate change, innovation, and refugee settlement/integration.  

We encourage to you connect with these writers by sharing your knowledge, expressing an interest in their initiatives, or connecting them to other folks who could benefit or contribute. 

A Comparative Study of Emotions in Labor Immigration in Quebec, Canada and Auckland, New Zealand 

Adriana Leona Rosales-Mendoza |
PhD Student, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, México

Temporary and permanent migration forms part of the worldwide dynamic, constituting a problematic issue of complex dimensions. My personal interest is studying how emotions are expressed by two different types of international immigrants. I theorize on the emotion concept, insofar as deeper comprehension would permit a grasp of how these two groups of people can submerge itself in the local culture, especially how do they express their emotions in workspaces and in their daily lives, in the context of the territorial space in which they live.

Attracting Immigrants to Smaller Canadian Cities: The Capacity of Local Networks

Marc Yvan Valade |
PhD (Cand.) in Policy Studies, Ryerson University

This study investigates the effectiveness of third-tier city stakeholder networks in the context of immigrant attraction and retention. The goal is to identify network-level and contextual factors that affect the effectiveness of concerted partnerships in addressing community issues. One factor is policy capacity, that is, the capacity to foresee community challenges, analyze their root causes, design appropriate policy strategies, implement them, and learn. 
Three networks are examined in different provinces that host specific immigration and settlement policy applications: Brandon, MB; Rimouski, QC; and Sudbury, ON. Each case study comprises a mixed-methods design drawing on social network analysis, qualitative interviews, and archival sources. Data collected supplements an evaluation grid tailored to assess the effectiveness of each network according to twelve varied criteria, including the scope and strength of their strategy. This approach allows weighing factors responding to distinct and balanced expectations, for instance those of service delivery organizations, funders, the community as a whole, and immigrants themselves. Results over conditions of effectiveness in each case are compared to draw analytic generalizations that confront the existing empirical research on public network effectiveness. Expected completion: December 2019.

Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science

Nathan Kerrigan |
Coventry University 

Nathan Kerrigan is a research assistant in the Violence and Interpersonal Aggression (VIA) theme as part of the Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science within Coventry University. Nathan's research interests span a number of different areas within Rural Sociology (including globalisation and social change, race, ethnicity, racism and social exclusion) and Rural Criminology (including crime prevention, informal social control, hate crime and targeted violence and the spatialisation of crime, criminality and victimisation).  He has extensive research experience in rural communities and has published articles, book chapters and British parliamentary evidence on issues affecting rural areas within the 21st Century. He is also a reviewer for the journals, Journal of Rural Studies, Sociologia Ruralis and Journal for Rural Sociology. Nathan has recently finished a monograph on the parallel between Brexit and the way rural communities enact informal social control to protect their local identity from wider issues of social change entitled, A threatened rural idyll: informal social control, exclusion and the resistance to change in the English countryside. 

Coal in Coronach: A Living Heritage Project 

Kristin Catherwood |
Heritage Saskatchewan

The Coal in Coronach living heritage project was an initiative led by the provincial non-profit organization Heritage Saskatchewan. Its aim was to document the intangible cultural heritage of the coal industry in Coronach (a town of 700 in south central Saskatchewan) from the early days of independently owned underground mines, through the establishment of a strip mine and power plant, and up to the present day where the question must be asked: what will happen when there is no longer a coal industry in Coronach? Family farms and ranches are the mainstay of the region, but without the coal industry, many of these operations could not be sustained. As well, the businesses in Coronach and other nearby towns are dependent on the economic stability that 300 permanent, well-paying jobs provides to the region. With only about a decade left of of the industry in the area, this project's goal was to approach this difficult reality through a lens of heritage. It resulted in a publication written by local people, including students, and a documentary produced by Heritage Saskatchewan in early 2017. Plans are underway to follow up with the community a year later. 

Community-Based Research: Fort St. John

Michael Lait |
Community Development Institute, University of Northern British Columbia 

The Community Development Institute (CDI) works with communities across northern British Columbia to develop and implement strategies for economic diversification and community resilience. The CDI's initiative in Fort St. John is a partnership with municipal government to promote sustainable economic growth and improve the quality of life. 

In the first stage of this initiative, we are designing a Community Indicators Program (CIP) that will measure and track progress towards community goals. The CIP is being prepared through stakeholder collaboration with residents, community groups, municipal leaders, and public health officials.  In the second stage, the CDI  will prepare a Social Framework for Fort St. John, informed by the CIP, that will help guide municipal decision-makers through the identification of community values, local social networks, and gaps in social services. 

Having recently moved to Fort St. John from Ottawa, I have become interested in the sociology of resource frontier communities, in particular the class relations and housing markets of oil and gas boom towns. Fort St. John also provides an interesting case study of the social impacts of hydroelectric dams, with the controversy over the Site C dam on the Peace River.

I welcome any inquiries as well as opportunities for collaboration.  

Climate Resilience on Maritime Farms

Bernard Soubry | 
Doctoral Student, University of Oxford

Bernard's M.Phil and doctoral theses investigate the impacts of climate change on agricultural production systems in the Maritime provinces of Eastern Canada, as well as possible pathways for transformational adaptation of the food system in the region. His research highlights the importance of including rural knowledge in assessments and governance-building. He works closely with farmers and other stakeholders to build mechanisms which will help actors speak across levels and sectors; communicate local knowledge; and build adaptive capacity from the farm to the provincial level.

Contextualizing the Delivery of a Public Health Nurse  Home Visiting Intervention Program in Rural Canada

Karen Campbell |
Doctoral Student, McMaster University 

The primary objective of my study is to explore the influence of rural geography on the implementation of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)  program in British Columbia. Issues associated with geography may affect how NFP is realized and contextualized in rural communities. Specifically, caseload requirements, face-to-face nurse-client home visits interspersed with telecommunication, regular consultation between rural nurses and their supervisors, and the logistics of supervised joint home visits may need to be implemented differently because of geographic considerations; however, this is yet to be studied or understood. An understanding of how NFP is contextualized and modified for successful delivery within the rural context in Canada is necessary to advance the health of rural mothers who are living in situations of economic or social disadvantage. Using a qualitative research methodology, I will examine the experiences of public health nurses and supervisors delivering NFP in non-urban communities to provide an understanding of how the program is implemented within the context of rural geography. The overarching research question for this research study is: how do public health nurses and their supervisors experience implementing the NFP program in rural communities of British Columbia, Canada? 

First-of-a-Kind Eco-Cooperative Project in BC’s Fraser Lake Offers Vision of Empowerment

Shellie Gleave |
Fraser Lake Eco Co-Operative Project

Driven by a desire to take their economic future into their own hands, community members of a rural town have joined forces to launch the first “Eco Co-op” of its kind in central B.C. 

Impacted by business closures and the instability of an extractive mainstream economy, supporters of “The Fraser Lake Eco Co-Operative Project” aim to overcome adversity by building community resiliency together. 

Now at the call-to-action and partnership-building stage, this regional initiative involves three small communities and two First Nations. Residents see the co-operative model as a chance to diversify economy through skills training and resource-based opportunities, and to increase availability of local products to community members at affordable cost.

Plans to develop this Community Service Co-operative/Training Centre gained momentum in 2017. “We built our vision around shared values like sustainability, ecological stewardship, innovation, culture and creativity,” says lead coordinator and Community Economic Development practitioner Shellie Gleave. “This includes education and capacity building. We want to support local talent while creating new options for employment, better health and empowerment.”

The Eco co-operative continues to gain support and interest in its replication potential. For more information, contact Shellie Gleave  or visit the Fraser Lake Eco Co-Operative Project on Facebook.

Hacking the Rural Renaissance: Understanding Models of Rural Innovation Ecosystems and Their Implications for Public Policy and Community Development Practice

Ashleigh Weeden |
PhD Student, University of Guelph

The Government of Canada opened its Innovation Agenda consultations by stating: “Innovation is a Canadian value…. [It] will create jobs, drive growth and improve the lives of all Canadians…. We have the talent, the drive, the dedication and the opportunity to succeed. So, what’s next?” However, it often seems like “what’s next” are policies that fail to recognize, support and leverage innovation in the diverse rural communities that feed our bodies and fuel our economies. For my doctoral research program, I plan to use a comparative case study approach to examine how different rural communities successfully leverage innovation systems for community economic development and identify key drivers for rural economic resiliency by exploring: (i) the influence of spatial, relational, and structural dimensions in the development of place-based rural innovation ecosystems; (ii) the influence and role of infrastructure investments; and (iii) the influence of provincial/national policy frameworks on rural community capacity to leverage place-based innovation ecosystems. My goal is to identify key drivers for future-oriented rural economic resiliency, explore opportunities for supporting place-based, rural-specific innovation systems, and support policies that integrate innovative rural communities as critical nodes in a rapidly changing and increasingly digital global economy.

Ontario Wool Production -  History and  Revitalization

Helen Knibb |
Doctoral program in Canadian Studies, Trent University

Doctoral research examining the history of Ontario wool production, and the potential for its renewal and re-localization as a strategy in rural revitalization. 

The investigation includes a) historic infrastructure, local knowledge, sheep breeds and husbandry practice; b) needs, barriers and infrastructure issues facing wool producers and processors in Ontario today;  c) managing the wool clip, (past through present), and issues of quality and controls;  d) the wool value chain and  alternate business / social enterprise production and processing models;  e) the value proposition for Ontario wool and regional branding, leveraging historic precedent and, f) the alignment with, and distinctions from,  emergent, local food systems.

Note: Helen Knibb is a Research Assistant on the Ontario Wool Study led by Dr Nicole Klenk.

The Ontario Wool Study

Nicole Klenk |
Departments of Physical and Environmental Sciences and Political Science, University of Toronto

The Ontario Wool Study (OWS) is a three year project sponsored by the Ontario Sheep Farmers and SSHRC, examining the needs of Ontario wool producers and the potential for farm diversification and re-localized wool production as a factor in regional development. The study consists of three phases: 1) a needs assessment of actors along the value chain; 2) the development of a web-based searchable map of wool producers and mills in Ontario; and 3) capacity-building and knowledge exchange events focused on wool qualities, wool processing standards, breeding and husbandry to improve the wool clip, and alternative social enterprise models. 

Permanently Precarious?: The Effects of Temporary Resident Status and Two-Step Immigration in Manitoba

Jill Bucklaschuk |

My research examines the links between immigration, citizenship, and social inequality by exploring temporary migrants' lived experiences of social exclusion as they work and live in non-traditional immigrant destinations in the Province of Manitoba. Using data drawn from in-depth interviews with temporary migrants, including those who have become permanent residents through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, I focus on revealing how precarious legal status influences the nature of migrants' interactions with institutions, how they make (or do not make) plans for the future, and how they both engage with and are disengaged from society. In a policy context that allows two-step migration for lower skilled temporary migrants, I investigate the intersections between citizenship, inequality, and precarious work to articulate explanations for the pervasive negative effects of non-permanent status on individuals and families. Also essential to this research initiative is the role that large agricultural industries (ie. the hog processing industry) play in initiating and driving migration to smaller centres and, more importantly, the ways in which such work impacts those with precarious legal status.

Provision of a Comprehensive Curriculum to Rural High School Students through Technology: A case study of a provincial virtual school in Canada

Nadeem Saqlain | 
PhD Student, Memorial University 

 Newfoundland and Labrador has always been a province of small schools many of which are situated in remote and isolated rural places. There are 262 schools in the province and 165 (63%) are rural with an average enrolment of 147 students. Almost 30% of these schools have less than 100 students. Approximately 80 of these small rural schools are all-grade schools providing education from kindergarten to grade twelve. The high school contingent of these all-grade rural schools would be very small, in most cases under 25 students. Providing appropriate and adequate curricula programming for the students of these small rural school has been a perennial challenge for the rural educators in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as elsewhere. Center for Distance Learning & Innovation (CDLI) was created with the mandate of providing learning opportunities for all students  as a way of equalizing educational provision in rural schools, particularly those in more remote and isolated places. Over the past 15 years an increasing number of rural schools have come to rely upon CDLI for basic graduation requirements and programming. My research project has main focus on CDLI.

Refugee Settlement in New Brunswick

Mikael Hellstrom |
University of New Brunswick Saint John

The government of New Brunswick has seen the Syrian refugee crisis as an opportunity to reverse a negative demographic trend, as the province is the only one in confederation with a declining population. However, while changing the demographic trend is an imperative for the province, the existing infrastructure for immigrant and refugee reception was challenged by the increased influx. At the same time, many newcomers, both immigrants and refugees, have decided to leave New Brunswick for larger Canadian cities like Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, primarily because they feel that employment opportunities are lacking locally. 

Smart Parkland

Barb Scully |
Parkland County

When the Smart Parkland program started 9 years ago the goal and objective was to create an open access broadband model that allowed for wireless internet service providers access to tower infrastructure at an affordable rate that in turn would create more broadband access for the residents, businesses and agricultural producers. The project quickly evolved when it was recognized that without the additional pillars to formulate programming, partnerships and events the infrastructure was only the starting piece. We could give our rural community internet access but if we didn’t give them the tools and resources to increase quality of life it didn’t have the same impact. Smart Parkland addresses the need that rural communities were at a distinct disadvantage from our urban counterparts. We also realized that there was a large digital divide between rural and urban. With our rural residents having the broadband access and resources that accompanied it, it would begin to level the playing field on areas such as access to education, health, economic development and quality of life. By creating an culture of innovation through the use of broadband we are establishing a resilient rural community with a commitment to the people who are here.

Syrian Refugees in Canada: Apply Gender Analysis for Syrian refugees’ settlement and integration in Rural Ontario

Rana Telfah |
PhD Student, University of Guelph

For newcomers to Canada, the settlement and integration process is dynamic and complicated, but it is especially difficult among refugees. The profile of Syrian refugees shows that they will face barriers to resettlement and integration in host communities. The barriers they face are structural, as most refugees permitted into Canada on humanitarian grounds lack necessary language skills and social capital. Most Syrian women also lack the proper education in their language and work experience. Rural Canada is facing population decline, Therefore, the presence of Syrian refugees in small and medium cities in rural Canada is fulfilling the needs of these areas. However, literature has shown that small communities, which are different than urban centers, face challenges that may negatively affect the retention of refugees.In the Canadian context, Syrian refugees have specific capacities. Specifically, Syrian women with strategic and practical needs present pressure at the market, community, and state levels. This research is applying gender analysis to the settlement and integration of Syrian refugees in rural Ontario.


Call for Contributions to 2018 CRRF Rural Conference

CRRF_logo_jan18Do you have a rural development story or a skill to share? The 2018 Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation Conference is all about bringing together practitioners, policy makers, community leaders, and researchers interested in rural issues. This conference is a unique opportunity to share your own successes, learn from a diverse group of individuals, and hear the latest on issues that matter to communities and people who call rural Canada home.

The conference organizing committee is accepting abstracts for oral presentations, panels, capacity building sessions, and posters for the upcoming conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, from October 10 to 12, 2018. This year’s theme is Health and Shared Prosperity. With sub-themes including: (i) accessing health, (ii) feeding success, (iii) prosperous labour forces, (iv) sharing prosperity, and (v) eco-health. Details regarding the submission of oral presentations, panels, capacity building sessions, and posters can be found at The deadline for content submission is April 2, 2018.

CRRF Membership 


The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) is a member-based organization. Now in its third decade, CRRF is a proven rural resource, dedicated to active collaboration, undertaking, facilitating and advocating research for the ongoing development of Canada’s rural communities and environments. As an informal, volunteer-run organization dedicated to the welfare of rural Canada it provides a host of benefits to an expanding membership. 

CRRF offers both a one-year membership ($30) and a five-year membership ($100), with membership running from January – December. To check out if your CRRF membership is up to date, please click here. Thank you to those individuals who have recently updated their memberships. If your membership has lapsed, you can you click here to renew your membership. Our membership platform recently migrated to a new system. We believe all the 'bugs' are out of the system, however, if you encounter any difficulties in registering please contact CRRF at

Update from the Board - Supporting Rural Initiatives Across the Country

What do health, food security, seniors, business development, forestry, social enterprises, and rural sustainability and resilience have in common? First, these are all important topics to rural places and the people who live there. Second, CRRF is currently supporting projects on all of these topics (and more!). 

As an active member of Canada’s rural landscape, CRRF is often asked to provide letters in support of proposed projects, including participating in grant applications for research projects, and supporting proposed events and collaborations. Typically, we offer “in-kind” support, such as provision of expertise and advice from CRRF members and knowledge mobilization efforts. Did you know that, in 2017, the CRRF board provided a total of eight letters of support to different initiatives across the country and so far in 2018 we have already approved three requests?

What type of projects do we support? First and foremost, we support projects that have a focus on rural places and are relevant to the communities and people who live there. While projects may focus on a particular case study location, the results must be tangible and transferable to other rural environments across our country or beyond. We also look for projects where CRRF can be actively involved and enhance the outcomes of the project by helping to share findings and making connections.

Requests for a letter of support can be made by any CRRF member. We ask that the request be made in writing and include a detailed description of the proposed project and how it relates to CRRF’s mandate. Requests are reviewed by our Executive Committee, considering factors like our capacity and the long-term implications of the project to rural Canada. For more information you can email any CRRF board member.
Sarah Breen, 
CRRF President
Each month, the CRRF Board of Directors will provide updates on the Foundation's activities and opportunities throughout the newsletter. Stay tuned for future updates from the CRRF board! 

New Rural Routes Podcast - Opioid Crisis in Rural Canada


The opioid crisis impacts hundreds of thousands of lives across North America and rural areas are increasingly at risk. To investigate the impacts of opioids in rural contexts, we’re presenting a special two-episode edition of Rural Routes, featuring stories from both individuals and institutions with experience on the frontlines of the rural opioid crisis. These difficult and sometimes inspiring stories address important questions about the fight against opioid addiction; are rural communities disproportionately affected? How are individuals and institutions working, or not working, to help communities heal? Is enough being done? In this we hear stories of personal challenge and determination from Stephen Miller, a recovering user and vivid storyteller, and Susan Boone and Brian Reese, whose personal experiences led them to organize a community-based harm reduction program on a small island off the coast of Newfoundland.

Add your voice to BC's Rural Development Strategy!

The BC Government, under the new Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development, will be developing a long term Rural Development Strategy aiming to build rural capacity and support sustainable futures. Ministry representatives are partnering with community organizations to host local engagement sessions. For those who are not included in these engagement sessions, you can visit to provide input. Each week a new discussion topic will be posted and anyone can provide comment.

Check out Recent RPLC Webinars on YouTube

RPLC LogoDid you miss a recent webinar hosted by the Rural Policy Learning Commons? If so, do not fret! Recordings of recent webinars can be found on Rural Policy Learning Commons' YouTube channel. Recent webinars include: 
You will find over 50 recorded webinars on the Rural Policy Learning Commons' YouTube Channel. Check it out today! 

Ask an Expert

Ask_An_ExpertCan't find the answer to a rural specific question? Perhaps it is a question related to best practices or about funding programs? Maybe your question is about finding a connection to another organization that has started a similar initiative to yours. Regardless of the topic, send your questions to the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation! We can pose your question to over 2,000 members and supporters from across Canada. Our stakeholders represent local development practitioners, government policy and program officials, researchers, and private businesses. We are sure someone in our network will have an answer or be able to point you in the direction where you can find more information.

To submit a question click here:

Rural Newsletters from Across Country 

Rural Reports and News from Around the Country

Island MLAs lead the Me First charge (The Eastern Graphic) 

A new project to help rural communities support newcomers has launched in Grey Bruce, Ontario (Bayshore Broadcasting)

Follow CRRF/FCRR ... 

Keep up to date on all CRRF/FCRR activities, news, and updates from across the country regarding rural and regional development by following CRRF/FCRR on our social media platforms. You can follow CRRF/FCRR on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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Upcoming Rural Events

February 21-22, 2018
Niagara Falls, Ontario

February 22-23, 2018

February 25-28, 2018
Toronto, Ontario 

March 1-2, 2018
Kingston, Ontario

March 7-9, 2018
London, Ontario

March 19, 2018
London, Ontario 

April 12-14, 2018
St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

More rural events can be found at

Do you know of an upcoming rural or regional development event? Let us know and we will add it to our list of events (

Contribute to the E-Newsletter

Do you have a story about rural or regional development? A new publication, toolkit, or website? CRRF would love to hear about it! We continually look for new ideas and stories to share. Send your ideas to

Follow CRRF on Social Media

Did you know you can follow CRRF on both Facebook and Twitter? Add us today to keep up to date with activities, news, and upcoming events. 

The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) is a charitable institution committed to bettering the lives of rural Canadians. For more information about CRRF please visit You have received this communication as a past participant to a CRRF sponsored event.

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Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation/Fondation canadienne pour la revitalisation rurale
201-1070 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H2R1

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