Rural communities and regions throughout Ontario are confronted with rural economic development challenges and opportunities related to labour force planning. Communities and businesses frequently raise the challenges associated with aging populations, out-migration of young adults, and difficulty in obtaining skills labour. Regardless of the community-specific dynamics, the commons message is that economic productivity potential is hindered by the lack of skilled labour. To address these labour force challenges, which negatively impact rural economic development, many rural communities have turned to or are exploring immigration as a potential solution. Rural immigration is not the single purview of any one entity. Businesses, local government, economic development practitioners, and government need to collaborate to successfully attract, settle, and integrate new immigrants. The purpose of this proposed initiative is to enhance knowledge mobilization and knowledge transfer from existing research findings to rural communities throughout Ontario to enhance their ability for labour force planning and economic development.
This proposed initiative will achieve five objectives: (i) to mobilize research findings on rural immigration, labour force, and rural economic development to key stakeholders across rural Ontario: local government elected officials and staff, economic development practitioners, labour planning boards, non-profit organizations, immigrant service agencies, and businesses; (ii) to create relevant resources to facilitate knowledge translation and mobilization; (iii) to create a forum for immigration, economic development, and labour planning discussions among rural community actors; (iv) to evaluate the effectiveness of the knowledge mobilization and knowledge translation activities; and (v) to provide capacity building opportunities to graduate students in knowledge mobilization and knowledge translation.
- Understanding the Dynamics of Rural Immigration: The Case of Perth County (2019 | Smith). Presented at the 2019 Metropolis Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Immigrant Service Provision in the Guelph-Wellington Area (2019 | Yoharaja). Presented at the 2019 Metropolis Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Doing Immigration Differently in Rural Areas (2019 | Gibson). Presented at the 2019 Metropolis Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Rural Immigration and Welcoming Communities: Implications for Workforce Development (2018 | Gibson) Presented at the Western Region Workforce Summit, London, Ontario.
- The Role of Housing in the Integration and Wellbeing of Foreign Labour in the Canadian Agri-Food Sector: Experiences of Mexican Seasonal Agricultural Workers in Canada (2020, William Louis Helps)
- Recovery for Rural Canada: Impacts of COVID-19 podcast hosted by The Recovery Project in partnership with the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa
- COVID-19 Social Impacts on Rural Communities webinar hosted by the Arrell Food Institute, One Health, and Food for Thought on the social impacts associated with COVID-19 in rural communities across Ontario
This initiative is funded through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.