This research examines the current labour shortages being experienced in rural Ontario with an aim to identify potential solutions in the form of policy and practice. The research will used a mixed methods research approach to connect with rural business owners from a variety of economic sectors, newcomers (both new Canadians and new resident in rural), and rural economic development agencies. Specific research methods will include a content analysis and evaluation of rural workforce strategies, case studies of innovative practice selected through a positive deviance framework, and key informant interviews/focus groups. The research will focus on the three main sources of human capital: newcomers from urban, immigrant newcomers, and temporary migrants. The research will identify innovative solutions to attract, retain, and welcome newcomers to enable rural businesses to meet their employment requirements.

Project Team and Partners

  • Dave Guyadeen, University of Guelph
  • Heather Graham, University of Guelph
  • John Dale, University of Guelph
  • Louis Helps, University of Guelph
  • Niju Mathew, University of Guelph
  • Paul Nichol, Community Futures Huron
  • Paul Sitsofe, University of Guelph
  • Ryan Gibson, University of Guelph
  • Sarah-Patricia Breen, Selkirk College
  • Silvia Sarapura, University of Guelph



This research is funded by the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Government of Ontario and the University of Guelph.