Rural communities throughout Ontario are struggling with addressing both economic development and infrastructure. During the 2020 Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference Dr. Ryan Gibson participated in a panel discussion exploring the realities communities are confronted and the strategies being pursued across Ontario. The panel included Delia Reiche from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario, Kate Burns Gallager from the Western Ontario Wardens Caucus, and Diane Thierren (Mayor of Peterborough and Eastern Ontario Leadership Council).

During the panel discussion Dr. Gibson shared initial findings from rural communities leaders from the Building the Future project, a three-year initiative funded through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. The discussion panel an opportunity to also seek the assistance of rural community leaders and staff to identify innovative strategies that address both infrastructure and rural economic development. Copies all presentations from the conference will be made available on the ROMA website shortly.