Lou has lived most of his life in rural parts of Ontario, first in Dufferin County and later in Carling Township, a small community near Parry Sound. Having attended the University of Toronto for his BA in political science, he is keenly aware of the rural/urban divide that shapes this province. He has also spent time living abroad in Spain and Mexico, which has enabled him to learn more about rural and urban life in other countries. This combination of experiences led him to pursue an MSc in Rural Planning and Development and later a PhD in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph.
Lou’s primary research interest is the role of temporary migration in agriculture and its implications for human rights and workforce development. This focus informed his MSc thesis project on the conditions experienced by Mexican participants in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and continues with his doctoral research into the role of such programs in a post-COVID-19 world. Other research interests include rural economic development and immigration, comparative public policy, and the effects of borders in rural and remote areas. He has contributed to projects exploring rural policy lenses, local planning for climate change, microbrewery development in Southwestern Ontario, and the philanthropic practices of rural community foundations. His research has been presented both in Canada and abroad, including at the 2019 OMAFRA Rural Symposium, the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México’s 2019 Migration Symposium, and the 2020 CRRF Virtual Conference. Currently he is working on projects concerning workforce development for Ontario agricultural cooperatives, the impact of COVID-19 on Ontario farms, and the strategies of rural community foundations.
Through his doctoral studies, Lou is acquiring skills that he hopes to apply to a career in research. To learn more about some of Lou’s research, click here.