Throughout Canada, rural communities are seeking new forms of governance to address challenges and opportunities associated with changing social, economic, and environmental dynamics. Rural communities are deliberately seeking localized means of decision making and planning by identifying various strategies to address these ever-changing dynamics. Bill Reimer (2004), a leading Canadian rural researcher, suggests that ‘new governance’ is the revolution that no one noticed.

The purpose of the research is to increase the understanding of the influence of people, relationships, and geography on rural regional governance models. The four main questions to be investigated are:

  • Is the collaborative governance framework, proposed by Ansell and Gash (2007), appropriate for understanding rural regional governance?
  • How do individuals, community-based organizations, and other key stakeholders influence the rural regional governance process or processes?

How do spatial dimensions (regional boundaries) and place-based relationships influence the formation and operation of rural regional governance models? (iv) What is the relationship between historical/legacy government(s) and rural regional governance models?