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CRRF E-Newsletter
December  2015
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Emerging Rural Researchers


Each year the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) is committed to promoting emerging rural researchers. The annual rural conference continues to attract many emerging researchers. Our conferences are enhanced by these researchers sharing their research findings and contributing to important rural policy discussions. For nearly the last decade, CRRF has hosted the New Researcher Forum at the fall conference. This is an opportunity to bring emerging researchers together to chat about common opportunities and challenges. For the past two years, CRRF has enjoyed the partnership of the Rural Development Institute in delivering the Forum. New this year was an opportunity to deliver a rural policy capacity building initiative with 20 graduate students from across Canada. More on this exciting initiative will be featured in the January e-newsletter. 

In keeping with this commitment to promote and assist emerging rural researchers CRRF has dedicated this e-newsletter to showcasing the latest rural research being conducted by students from across the country. This year, CRRF is delighted to share the work of twelve researchers. These researchers are tackling key issues being encountered by rural communities, policy makers, and private businesses. For each student we have included a brief description of their research and included their email address. If you wish to receive more information about their research initiatives please do not hesitate to contact them directly! 


Christie Basalle

Master of Planning candidate, University of Guelph

Stagnated policy frameworks are detrimental to progressive and desirable rural community development. Through an initiative which seeks to fully rewrite key policy documents authored in the late 1980’s, the design of successful public engagement strategies targeted specifically to rural environments has required extensive analysis of the local barriers to participation. While demography, geography and industry have emerged as identifiable constraints, the most notable obstacles have been citizen attitudes and resistance to change. Based on the ideology that long-range strategic planning in the midst of an economic downturn is undesirable and inappropriate, the direction assumed by the Municipality has been to plan for prosperity in a time of decline. The combined academic and professional project seeks to not only promote the physical revitalization of the area through the adoption of new land use plans, but also aspires to empower local citizens by augmenting their mindsets through education and enhancing their overall willingness to participate in shared decision-making opportunities. A media article outlining the Municipality’s undertaking and rationale can be accessed at the following link:  

Joshua Barrett

Master of Arts candidate, Memorial University 

Commuters and Communities: How Employment Mobility Affects Community Development in Source Communities

Rural communities have a long history of mobility. Whether it’s for employment or accessing goods and services, rural residents have often been required to travel outside their communities to meet their daily needs. But what are the implications for communities that have large mobile workforces? The purpose of this Masters research, which is part of the On the Move Partnership: Employment-Related Geographical Mobility in the Canadian Context 7-year SSHRC funded project, is to study the impacts of employment mobility on community development in source communities, focusing on the workers involved in Newfoundland’s nickel processing sector. Using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews as primary data collection methods, this research focuses on how mobile workers invest in their communities, spend time in their communities, and how attached they are with their communities.

Brian Beaton

PhD candidate, University of New Brunswick

Indigenizing Training in Remote First Nations with the Use of ICT

My PhD thesis question is: how are remote First Nations developing culturally appropriate and sustainable skills training, and to what extent do they use digital technologies to support these activities, all in the context of decolonization? Colonial training and employment programs addressing the needs of industry create an ongoing challenge for First Nations. My PhD research will address a significant challenge facing most remote and rural First Nations: the communities need to develop appropriate skills training and entrepreneurship programs. Many of the solutions available including the influence and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) are often deeply rooted in colonialism, racism, and prolonged engagement with the extractive industries affecting their traditional territories. Broadly my research will identify the requirements and components for effective, community-based training and skills initiatives in small, remote First Nations in Canada using ICT.

Stephen Booth

PhD candidate, University of Guelph

Troubled Waters. The Communities and Cultures of the Restigouche Watershed in the Context of their Survival and Conservation of the Atlantic Salmon

In the context of the self-declared dependence of three communities upon a diminishing resource, the Atlantic salmon, the research has focused on gathering the narratives of the Mi’gmaq people of Listuguj, Quebec, the settler communities of the watershed, both Anglophone and Francophone and those of the non-resident sport fishers, with emphasis on the importance and meaning of the place and its salmon, their understanding of themselves and of the other communities as conservators of the salmon and their differing epistemologies. Why and how does the symbolic power of the salmon engender or overcome conflicted practices? To what extent are there distinct communities of practice? How might weak links between conflicted communities become strong ties? How might an evolving sense of their agency in salmon management aid both the Listuguj First Nation Government and a non-indigenous, locally base NGO, to overcome conflict through shared resources and goals? 

Sarah-Patricia Breen 

PhD candidate, Simon Fraser University

Training, Engagement, and Retention: A ‘Learning Region’ approach to Rural Youth

Youth are vital for resilient rural regions. The training, retention, and engagement of youth is particularly important for rural development. It is critical that rural regions understand these topics and identify appropriate strategies.


This project explores the training, retention, and engagement of rural youth, focusing on the following objectives:

  1. Identify and define issues related to rural youth training, engagement, and retention;
  2. Explore existing approaches;  
  3. Help create a ‘learning region’ action plan for how regional actors can collaboratively address these issues. 

This project is a collaborative effort between the Lower Columbia Initiatives CorporationSimon Fraser University, and Selkirk College’s Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute to support workforce development research in the West-Kootenay Boundary Region of British Columbia. The final products of this research will be made publically available through the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute.

Jon Hall

Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development, Cape Breton University

An Economic Development Proposal for Depleted Rural Communities

Once lively towns in Alberta are depleted with empty main streets and vacant homes while interest in locally grown, healthy foods is creating demand at Farmers’ Markets. By providing small acreages in a condominium structure, individual farmers could own their land and contribute to a cooperative that would provide marketing and support to their farm operations. The farm families would live in the adjacent municipality where decent housing is cheap, easily financed and provides access to amenities.

Interviews with families who had started a small-acreage farm to supply the local Farmers’ Markets revealed that non-family financing was unavailable; small acreage farms were not available for sale and, once established, they felt isolated and excluded from the existing community.

The proposed condominium/cooperative farm with in-town housing could bring economic opportunities for young, retired, or immigrant farmers; increased taxes for dying towns; customers for main street business; and students for local schools. Click here to access a copy of this study.

Alanna Jones

Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development, Cape Breton University 

Getting Out the Vote: Strengthening the Community Approval Process for the Garden River First Nation Community Trust, A Case Study

The Garden River First Nation (GRFN) Community Trust, was established so Trust Property (monies) would be held as a long-term asset with the intention to benefit all of its Band members; to increase their social and economic position. The process for deciding which projects are to receive trust revenue funding is determined by vote.  Band members (those aged 18 years and older) must meet a minimum participation rate for the vote to be considered.  Since 1997, the Trust has held twelve votes, with only five being valid.  The purpose this paper is to research the voting habits of the GRFN electorate in order to better understand how to generate greater voting participation rates for the future.  The research supports the literature that the more educated an individual is, the more likely he/she is apt to participate in the voting process.

Paul Kraehling

PhD candidate, University of Guelph

Planning the Resilient Rural Community: The Case for Using Green Infrastructure as a Foundation

PhD research is underway exploring new (or rediscovered) opportunities in utilizing the goods and services of nature a.k.a. green infrastructure (GI) to assist in planning and developing resilient rural communities. An attempt is being made to partner ‘living green’ with ‘grey’ infrastructure to serve as a foundational design tool.

Rural areas often face significant challenges - insufficient financial resources, infrastructure deficiencies, inadequate community facilities. In addition, bigger picture ideas such as climate change impacts and biodiversity loss are often debated but actions seldom implemented. 

The southern Ontario landscape is being used as a case study area as this area has a multi-functional but often use contested/conflicted land base. Issues abound – intensity of resources extraction, forms of urban development, adequacy of environmental protection.

Research compiled to date has documented that a GI holistic planning form in the province is not evident. This is in sharp contrast to several other parts of the world, (e.g. the EU, USA) where GI is used in many facets of community development – cultural identity, community structure, environmental factors, biodiversity, biological solutions to technical problems, recreation. Further background available at

Sarah Minnes

PhD candidate, Memorial University

Enhancing Source Water Protection in Rural Regions: Exploring the Role of Governance and Capacity Building

My primary goal is to examine the implementation of Ontario’s source water protection policies and the potential transferability of the model for other rural contexts within Canada. This research will also address the research gap related to improved water governance structures and capacity building in rural regions experiencing drinking water challenges. The research will ask: i) What have been the successes and challenges with source water protection planning and implementation of source protection plans in Ontario? ii) Did the source water protection planning process in Ontario build capacity for water and watershed governance, particularly in rural areas?  iii) What would be the potential benefits and challenges for rural regions in other provinces in Canada if they were to adopt a similar planning and implementation process? 

Adam Power

Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development, Cape Breton University 

Should Adult Service Centres Move From a ‘Vocational Services’ Model to An ‘Employment Agency’ Model?

Adult Service Centres (ASCs) are notably located throughout Nova Scotia, providing supports and services with persons who identify with a disability. There are currently 30 ASCs in Nova Scotia, many in rural areas, and each provides a range of programs related to vocational training, employment supports, life skill development, recreational activities, and social enterprise. The current study sets out to examine the current state of ASC employment programs, as well as find out what ASC management feel their organization needs in order to adopt an ‘employment focused’ framework. A questionnaire has been developed for distribution among the 30 centres.

The findings of the current study support the hypothesis that ASCs are well positioned to adopt an ‘employment focused framework’. Many ASCs are already providing employment programs that are well developed, but may need more resources to improve service delivery. Financial pressures continue to be placed on ASCs and the sector appears to have grown significantly since the Services for Persons with Disabilities (2008) report.

Kyle Rich

PhD candidate, Western University 

Kyle’s research interests include the social dynamic of sport, recreation, and physical activity. In his previous work, he explored the cultural components of sport and recreation events and programs, and has developed materials for the Canadian Red Cross Swim Program ( and the Community Cup ( Kyle’s Doctoral research involves a participatory action research project with the Municipality of Powassan Recreation Committee. The project will examine sport and recreation delivery in the community and it’s relationship to community development in the rural context. Through an iterative process, the project is also working to improve sport and recreation delivery by identifying areas for improvement, developing new programs, facilitating partnerships with existing groups, and evaluating outcomes of these changes. For more information, check out the municipal recreation page ( and Kyle’s Bio (

Heather Sansom

PhD candidate, University of Guelph

Sport-for-Resilience: Understanding Rural Youth Resilience through Participation in 4-H Horse Programs

Rural communities in Canada are changing in ways that include widening socioeconomic gaps with the result that rurality is considered a unique socio-economic determinant with negative impact on physical health and psycho-social development.  This leads to need for youth programming that promotes both physical activity and psycho-social resilience needs. 
Sport-for-development (S4D) explores sport as a vehicle for psycho-social development. Yet, few S4D studies focus specifically on resilience, or rural needs.   

My doctoral research specifically examines resilience in rural youth participating in 4-H nature-based physical activity (horse clubs).  4-H is one of North America’s oldest organizations mandated to develop leadership, business and civic engagement skills in youth through participation in a variety of activities.

Bay of Islands Holiday Music 

The Bay of Islands is hosting the 9th annual seasonal music webcast and you are welcomed to listen online! There are over 3,000 holiday songs to enjoy throughout the holiday season. The station has singing, instrumentals, whistling, power tools doing carols, and so on.  The artists range from sedate choirs in serious robes to bands like Twisted Sister and Jimi Hendrix! Check out the Bay of Islands Holiday Music at

2015 State of the Basin Report Released


From voter turnout to wildfires, consumer confidence and property values, the State of the Basin reveals conditions and trends, as well as residents' perceptions, about the state of our rural region.

2015 marks the fifth release of the State of the Basin, an initiative of the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI) at Selkirk College. The State of the Basin monitors indicators of economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region.

Regional statistics are the focus of the annual State of the Basin Snapshot Report, while a Trends Analysis for each indicator breaks down regional findings to smaller geographic scales. The regional focus of the State of the Basin draws attention to the fact that many of our communities experience common opportunities and challenges. It also encourages collaboration in finding solutions and celebrating successes.

To download the State of the Basin report or indicator-specific Trends Analyses, visit the State of the Basin.

New Project: Rural Innovation in Manitoba to Strengthen Agri-food Industry

The Rural Development Institute (RDI) has received $182,000 in funding from the Canada and Manitoba governments through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial initiative, for a two-year research project examining Rural Innovation in Manitoba.

Focusing specifically on the agri-food sector, and on barriers to commercialization, the research aims to close the “innovation gap” and help unlock the value of rural Manitoban ideas and knowledge.The research will address the systemic barriers that affect the commercialization cycle as experienced by innovators and stakeholders in the Manitoba agri-food industry. Researchers will also investigate southwestern Manitoba’s innovation culture and risk-adversity within the context of the province’s agri-food industry.

Further information on this new initiative can be found at:

Rural Reports and `News from Around the Country

Become a Member of CRRF Today! 

January is the start of the CRRF membership year. 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). Membership runs from January – December.

If your membership has lapsed, you will receive an email shortly provide instructions for how to renew your members. 

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

22 January 2016

Ottawa, Ontario 
25 January 2016

Lisbon, Portugal 
27 - 30 January 2016

Phoenix, USA
7 - 10 February 2016

Rimini, Italy
10-12 February 2016

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

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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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