In early June, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, federal Minister of Rural Economic Development, organized and co-chaired a meeting on rural economic development, attended by federal, provincial, and territorial ministers, Indigenous leaders, and rural economic development experts. Delegates spent two days discussing how to improve rural and remote economic development policy and programming, with the goal to catalyze action to advance a path forward for rural economic development priorities in Canada on shared areas of importance.
The Rural Development Network's CEO, Dee Ann Benard, participated in a panel designed to explore the key drivers for rural revitalization and economic opportunity from a community perspective, including identifying ways to seize economic growth through a variety of economic drivers such as tourism, infrastructure, housing, and supporting small to medium-sized enterprises.
Ms. Benard urged the Ministers and their representatives to focus on allowing rural Canada to have more autonomy in deciding what approaches to take and how dollars should be spent.
Rural revitalization can be supported by: Improving data collection, supporting more holistic approaches to community development, building capacity, ensuring that there is municipal funding for implementation (not just planning), and allowing more flexibility and longer timelines to achieve goals.
A highlight of the FPT meeting was Minister Hutchings’ launch of the redesigned website, which will “guide rural Canadians to the programs, services and resources most relevant to them.”
Photo information: June 2, 2023, in Rocky Harbour, N.L. Hon. Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development (4th from the right), Dee Ann Benard, CEO of the Rural Development Network (2nd from the right), and Indigenous leaders, rural experts, and other Ministers.