Communities across rural Ontario are exploring new strategies for economic development opportunities. In partnership with the Ontario Good Roads Association, rural planning and development students in the economic development course discussed the future of rural economic development with over 150 municipal leaders from across Ontario. Building on Michael Fenn’s report on the six megatrends impacting rural Ontario, students facilitated a series of small group discussions based on the six mega trends:

    1. Technological Trends and the Pace of Technological Change
    2. Urbanization, Globalization and Connectivity Trends
    3. Social and Demographic Trends
    4. Economic and Workforce Trends
    5. Environmental and Energy Trends
    6. Political and Fiscal Trends

These small group discussions identified both opportunities and challenges experienced within rural communities. At the conclusion of the session, municipal leaders were invited to ‘vote’ on the most pressing topics identified during their discussions.

Voting – 24 FEB 2019
Sarah Naomi – 24 FEB 2018
Ryan – 24 FEB 2019
Rachel Koren – 24 FEB 2019
Ourlaine – 24 FEB 2019
Matt – 24 FEB 2019
Lou – 24 FEB 2019

During the Ontario Good Roads Association conference students also had the opportunity to meet with Ernie Hardeman, Minster of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Students discussed the role of the provincial government in facilitating economic development in rural communities.

Further information on the Ontario Good Roads Association 2019 Conference can be found at Recent social media communications about the event can be found below.