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CRRF/NRRN/NRE2 Annual Conference 2006

"A Rural Canada Meeting of Minds"

Gatineau, Québec
and Township of Lanark Highlands, Ontario
October 26-28, 2006

Back to CRRF Conference Page


Questions from recipe cards

(Updated 15 March 2007)


1. Bill: Many rural communities are highly political (small P and big P), resulting in alliances and loyalties to identified groups. How does this complicate the ability to build social capital and cohesion and are there lessons learned from the NRE?  Eg. Board of directors reluctant to give up their seats to a younger generation.

(Bill) There are several different bases for social cohesion and social capital. We have identified 4. They can provide alternative options for local reorganization and action if one of them is relatively closed. The bureaucratic norms guiding a municipal council, for example, may be circumvented or modified by building associative-based relations.The associative-based relations, in turn, may help to build trust within bureaucratic norms.


2. Laura: Recommendations for policy on communications seems counter-intuitive, should we not know more about the target markets (and segments) of rural communities before we suggest communication vehicles; I am certain one size does not fit all. 

(Laura) I am assuming that the question came from the following statement in my presentation:  

Communication infrastructure should also receive special attention to support out-reach programs, such as those in education and health, as well as to support networking and partnership development between rural and urban areas.  

I agree that it is important to know which methods are best to reach the clients that you are targeting your services towards.  It is important to know how clients learn about your programs and services.  Drawing from some other work being done in northern B.C. on seniors’ needs, we found that seniors, for example, learn about services in a variety of ways (radio, T.V., newspapers ads and articles, e-mail, the Internet, word of mouth, meetings, etc).  There is tremendous diversity within this target audience.  These communications avenues will need to be maintained, or in some cases, developed.  I also acknowledge that what works well in one place may not work well in another.   

Having said that, people we spoke with highlighted the importance of a range of communication tools in order to develop and access services.  These policy recommendations are intended to help service providers / voluntary organizations to develop and deliver their services.  These are also intended to support current policy initiatives by government that call for partnerships in order to obtain funding.  These are also situated in a context where government offices, industry, and other services are being regionalized - a trend that occurred in all of our sites across Canada.  If voluntary groups or service providers are going to work together to deliver services, they are going to need communication infrastructure in order to develop and maintain these relationships that exist both within and outside of their community.  Such infrastructure could be meeting places, community radio, public Internet access, local newspaper, etc.  We were not specifying that one form of communication was necessary and should be applied in each place.  We were merely acknowledging the important role that communication infrastructure (in any form) plays in facilitating collaboration.

(Anna) Not sure if this was meant for me – this question is spot on – any communications vehicles need to be generated by community members for the greatest chance of success. However, we also feel that any increase in communicative capacity is going to provide tools for knowledge mobilization as well as bridging and bonding (Granovettor, Flora)


3. Anna: Please explain "imagination" as a constraint to … (can't read)…and communication.What do you mean by "government support" for traditional media - forms and new media forms? Have you studied current government "support" for traditional media forms?     Ivan? 

(David)  Imagination…. What we are referring to here is that because new forms of communication technology are so new, most people and organizations have not thought creatively or outside the box about how they might use them innovatively or productively. For example, many people have never experienced or used chat room technology, and the only insights they may have about it involves media stories about adults posing as teens and trying to lure young people into bad situations. So people have not “imagined” that chat rooms could link you up with people working on similar problems and issues, and you think “why would I talk to someone in place XXX…. They don’t know my situation, it costs too much (time, money) to talk to them…. But for the smaller number who have used it, they may be thinking more imaginatively.

(Anna) [imagination] Communication capacity, especially in relation to use of new forms of communication (Internet) is under-utilized. How these forms of communications can be used (or better used) will require the understanding that these forms are worth investing time/energy in. There are a number of reasons
why traditional forms are preferred, but imagining new approaches for the technology will expand acceptance. In a changing economic climate, connecting with local residents and external markets is key to adapting in the new economy.

(Anna) [government support] We believe that the three levels of government can provide greater support for all forms of communications, not simply broadband expansion. Providing equipment, training and start-up funds for local newspapers, newsletters, radio stations or local cable stations ought to be prioritized.

(Anna) [traditional forms] That’s a good point. Our research does not track how governments have supported traditional media forms. What we have learned is which forms are in place in a community and which ones are not.


4. Laura: Data on the voluntary sector suggests local partnerships have decreased, non-local increased. Are local voluntary organizations losing their local legitimacy and support by focusing too much on looking outside for resources and support? 

(Laura) Maintaining partnerships is difficult at both scales.  The development of non-local partnerships may be ‘assisted’ by the regionalization of some organizations or institutions. 

Having said this, I don’t think that voluntary organizations are losing their local legitimacy.  Having local partnerships provides a foundation upon which additional partnerships can be built.  People have gained experience with working with others.  Furthermore, local voluntary organizations still function as a focal point for clients to go to.  There is a lot of literature about partnerships between the public and non-profit sectors where government programs deliver services locally through the voluntary sector (Berman and West 1995; Lowry 1995).   

Berman, E. and J. West. 1995. Public-private leadership and the role of non-profit organizations in local government: The case of social services. Policy Studies Review 14 (1/2): 235-246. 

Lowry, R. 1995. Non-profit organizations and public policy. Policy Studies Review 14 (1/2): 107-116.


5. Laura: What are the two or three most effective innovations for rural/ non-adjacent or rural remote communities to address declining populations and provide necessary services? 

(Laura) Since we began the innovative services and voluntary organizations project in 2003, we learned how groups were using technology, partnerships, or local assets in order to continue to deliver services, and, therefore, hopefully retain residents as well.  It is too soon to fully evaluate how effective these strategies have been.  However, I would like to provide a couple examples.

McBride, British Columbia 

McBride, B.C. is located approximately 2.5 hours east of Prince George.  McBride Secondary School has adopted innovative technology and has created partnerships to expand learning opportunities for youth in the community.  In the past, McBride Secondary School has been challenged to attract and retain instructors who have been unable to teach their specialty due to lower enrolment numbers.  This impacted the courses that they were able to offer to their students.   

In response, McBride Secondary School developed a partnership with high schools in Prince George to use videoconferencing to expand the courses they can offer students.  For example, one year, a teacher in McBride taught Physics to students at Kelly Road Secondary in Prince George, while one of the Kelly Road Secondary instructors taught French 12 to students in McBride.  Last year, a teacher at Prince George Secondary School taught English Literature 12 to students in McBride.  As a result of these partnerships, they have had to change their scheduling of classes to be synchronized with Kelly Road and PGSS in Prince George. 

Videoconferencing is also being used for mathematics instructors in McBride and Valemount to share resources and expertise.  Without the videoconferencing option, the high school may not have been able to tell teachers that they could come to McBride to teach their specialty (to combined student numbers in McBride and Prince George).  This also functions as a ‘community’ facility where the local economic groups, industry, and non-profit organizations have used the video conferencing equipment for meetings or even to conduct job interviews.  However, more outside partners need to buy into the videoconferencing concept to expand the opportunities and to get new courses at the high school. 

Mackenzie, British Columbia

Mackenzie is located approximately 2 hours northeast of Prince George.  In Mackenzie, the high school taken advantage of local assets and has a specialized Forestry program where students are trained in all elements of the Forestry Industry – from silviculture to harvesting.  The Forestry Program owns its own woodlot and the board for the program has members from the local industry, including Canfor and Abitibi-Consolidated, and the provincial Ministry of Forests.


6. Laura: Is there an emerging cynical approach to "partnerships" which is essentially about a "quid pro quo" and /or "using" the so called partner as ….(can't read)....more than a "meat ticket"?

(Laura) If I understand correctly, the question proposes that people are creating partnerships as a rubber stamp to get funding rather than to create more meaningful partnerships.   

 While this is always a danger within the ‘funding game’, for the organizations that we work with, I don’t believe this is the case.  We were able to obtain lots of information about what partnerships were used for.  Partnerships should provide mutual benefit, as well as shared responsibilities and decision-making (Nicholls, 2005; Pongsiri, 2002; Lesky, O’Sullivan, & Goodman, 2001).  Each organization provided multiple responses about the use of partnerships.  Mutual benefit was received for donors through publicity (Miraftab, 2004).  There was shared responsibilities as both partners under took fundraising or provided training.  Partnerships also provided expertise to support decision-making processes.  Furthermore, some participants noted that without certain advice, donated space, financial support, or in-kind support, they would not be able to deliver their service.  Therefore, they considered the other organization a partner in preparing and delivering the program or service. 

Table: What are partnerships used for? - % of responses.


Response                                                                                      All Partnerships 


Networks                                                                                              56.5

To expand networks                                                                        30.4
To promote programs offered                                                        30.4
Client referrals                                                                                  17.4
Partners participate at events                                                        13.0
Links to resources for organization                                                8.7
Links on local gov’t websites                                                          4.3
Meeting to update initiatives                                                           8.7

 Resources                                                                                           78.3

Financial donations                                                                         43.5
Access to human resources (sharing volunteers,
  access to municipal staff, donated time by
  local technicians)                                                                           26.1
In-kind support (donated materials, supplies,
  furniture, gift donations, equipment)                                          26.1
Donated space (office space, halls, meeting rooms)                  30.4
Moral support (including letters of support)                                 8.7
Other organizations coordinating charity events                       13.0
Advertising resources                                                                       8.7
Joint purchases of equipment                                                          8.7
Tax breaks / no cost building lease                                                 8.7
Applying for grants for non-registered charities                          4.3
Summer youth employment programs                                            4.3

Expertise                                                                                               82.6

Obtaining advice                                                                              56.5
Sharing information                                                                         52.2
Decision-making / brainstorming /
  problem solving                                                                              26.1
Research to develop services                                                         26.1
Educational opportunities (workshops & training)                    13.0
Information on regulations                                                               8.7 



Source: INE Innovative Services and Voluntary Organizations Survey 2003 and 2005. 

Lesky, S., O’Sullivan, E. & Goodman, B. (2001). Local public-non-profit partnerships: Getting better results. Policy & Practice, September, 28-32. 

Miraftab, F. (2004). Public-private partnerships: The trojan horse of neo-liberal development? Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24 (1), 89-101. 

Nicholls, C. (2005). Promising Practices in Community Partnerships: Lessons Learned from the Canadian Rural Partnership. Ottawa: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. 

Pongsiri, N. (2002). Regulation and public-private partnerships. The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 15 (6/7), 487-495.


7. Ivan: So, rural citizens think their local media should support projects and initiatives that they feel will help the community? Press objectivity is less important than the social development role of the media for rural people?


8. Anna: Who gets represented in local communication? Is it the local notables or the ordinary people? 

(David) Depends on the medium and the message. For communities with community newspapers there are letters to the editors, coverage of local sports and events, etc., all of which are typically “ordinary people”.

(Anna) Both, it actually depends on whether we are working with data from households or key informants. We have tried to hear from a variety of local people.


9. Anna: What is the appropriate role for Federal and Provincial/ Territorial governments in supporting communities to use new communication technologies?

(Anna) Greater access to broadband Internet, provide training for tech support.


10.     Communication Theme: Please tell us more about the internet chat groups? 

(David)  A full paper is available at: A flyer is available at  Basically we conducted an experiment. We invited people from our NRE sites working on similar issues (tourism, recreation, economic development, etc) and we invited them to join us on-line for a text-based discussion. We started small and slowly, with a free piece of software that did not have to be downloaded. We found a number of challenges, including time zones, lack of interest and time among participants, lack of prior contact with one another, lack of social capital (prior to or as a result of), etc. We were basically trying to see if we could establish an on-line learning community within the context of rural capacity building.

(Anna) Sure! This is available in detail in a paper available on our website.


11.     How do you build a strong champion? Describe positive role models. What made certain projects work well? 

(Bill) Our governance research suggests that communities build champions. Champions require resources, social support, and networks to turn their vision into action. 

(Laura) Community development activities over time help to build and test social capital and social cohesion.  Whether it is at an organizational, local, or regional level, long-term networking has allowed groups to build knowledge and capacity, as well as to know who to turn to during times of stress.  For example, when the Quintette mine closed in Tumbler Ridge (2000), the Energy and Mines Minister Dan Miller felt that the town would close (Halseth et al. 2003).  But many local residents had lived in other mining towns that had closed, and they did not want the same fate for Tumbler Ridge.  Within six days of the closure announcement, the local council had an emergency action plan.  They convinced the provincial government to provide the necessary support for transition.  The Tumbler Ridge Revitalization Task Force emerged that had representation from Tumbler Ridge, the provincial government, other towns (Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, and Fort. St. John), the regional district, the school board, and the health board.  Education, health, and social services were stabilized through an emergency services agreement.  This in turn provided stability for a local housing sale that would provide a local tax base.  Special funding was also obtained for industry adjustment, and to retrain displaced workers.  Local women formed a coffee house session to help women cope with stresses associated with the closure.  All of this was possible because they had worked together many times before and knew who to turn to quickly and mobilize into action.

Halseth, G., L. Sullivan, and L. Ryser. 2003. Service provision as part of resource town transition planning: A case from Northern British Columbia. In Opportunities and Actions in the New Rural Economy, edited by D. Bruce and G. Lister, 19-46. Sackville, New Brunswick: Rural and Small Town Studies Programme.

(Anna) Dedication of a few individuals and tireless energy poured into projects is what made things work. There is a problem with volunteer burnout however and achieving ‘buy-in’ within a community for a new vision requires personal investment of time/energy.


12.     What are the lessons learned? How could they further policy and research?  Where would you recommend targeting funding? 

(Bill) Funding should be targeted to social as well as physical infrastructure.

(Laura) Many of the sites we work with have an aging population.  As more services are regionalized, policy makers will need to evaluate how seniors, the disabled, or those living in poverty are going to access these services.  Transportation options, subsistence support while visiting regional centres, and home care costs should receive special attention if services will only be offered in regional centres. 

Programs to assist with rural revitalization will need to keep the shift towards a regionalization of services in mind.  While funds are typically allocated to sites; benefits, demands, and evaluations may now need to be at that regional scale. 

Government program and policy design must account for this shift in scale from local to regional.  They must support opportunities for innovation.  Support is also needed for organizations partnering to deliver services and undertake innovations.

Given the importance of human resources to organizational activities, local groups and government policies should invest in volunteer training and develop organizational learning habits to build capacity and transfer skills amongst voluntary groups.  This ensures that if out-migration occurs, the capacity remains within the organization.  These needs are ongoing and assist with continued capacity renewal. 

It is also important to encourage and support the development and training of a board of directors given the potential expertise, resources, and accountability that they bring to an organization.   

Diversifying board membership and general membership through gender and different sectors in the community is another key to resilience.  Such diverse sources of membership can draw upon different networks to attract new members, resources, or expertise over time.  These efforts also need to be ongoing to support capacity renewal. 

In an era of service restructuring, program designs should facilitate collaboration not only locally, but at a regional level.  This is important as collaboration leads to increased networks and sharing of information that may result in other service delivery options.  Recognition of the regional scale of collaboration must be accompanied by program funding commensurate to the task.  Local governments and service providers can also facilitate collaboration by providing access to meeting space or teleconferencing equipment. 

Long-term programs are needed to facilitate collaboration and partnerships as these relationships take time to develop and maintain.  There is a need for common sense funding application and reporting procedures that support the long-term viability of these groups.

As corporations are ‘scaling up’, it will be important for communities to work together (rather than compete) to develop economic opportunities.  Places need to work together to develop regional transportation or communication infrastructure that will provide a foundation for attracting industry.  Funding will be needed towards this.  However, funding should also be targeted towards networking opportunities to allow communities to develop cooperation and a regional economic development strategy.  For example, Western Diversification has provided funding for the Northern Economic Forum.  This forum allowed communities and aboriginal groups to come together to explore opportunities in ports and transportation, tourism, mining, and oil and gas.  The final report may be obtained at the link below.


13.     What facilitates or motivates or organizes between the four normative groups when they work together? 

(Bill) This is a great question for research. For example, we find that bureaucratic - market/associative relations require flexible approaches to fairness (competition) and accountability otherwise the bureaucratic requirements undermine the voluntary basis of associative ones. Crises can often provide a milieu where the normative differences can work together. Recognition of the various normative systems and their differences helps to overcome the differences (eg. Child care at municipal meetings, support for grant proposals).


14.     If one pillar is totally dysfunctional, how does this affect the relationship between all four pillars?


15.     Can we or have we developed a template for doing community capacity audits and especially the "Social capital" audit?  If so…..what learning can be developed to fill in the audit gaps?

(Tom) Teitelbaum, Beckley and Nadeau have a workbook on exactly how to do this that is available on our NRE Environment Theme website (


16.     Why do some rural communities never seem to progress?  How can a more local tax generating structure be accomplished-so more tax revenues can be directed locally


17.     How can local government access more taxation dollars to help with local priorities (eg. Allowing different taxation powers-keeping some of the income tax percentage, etc) 


18.     Bill: what is good rural policy, based on Canadian and international examples? 

(Bill) The NRE requires rural policy that is inter-sectoral, flexible, and sensitive to local assets and liabilities. Programs such as Canada Futures and Leader in Europe are good examples of these principles at work.


19.     What does this research mean via access policy implementation?  How can you (researchers) assist community leaders to deal with the pressure of the big box stores opening and seeing entrepreneurial, locally owned business closing? What is the economic gain and social loss?

(Anna) Local communities have the power to block large box stores from entering, but there must be the local will to resist changes which will impact the local economy in a negative way. The larger problem lies in reminding residents of the value of keeping local businesses viable and with peak oil, there will be a
need to re-define local exchange networks and rebuild the supply line of goods and services. Greater involvement of community residents at council meetings and making sure that the information of the impacts of a displaced community core (Main street) is accurate and available is half the battle.


20.     Comment: your project is not so much about economy as restructuring in communities. Hoes does the new rural economy generate new business ,products, jobs etc instead of giving our resources to China and importing cheap products in return through the big box stores?

(Tom) Our environmental values survey touched on this indirectly. People seem to have a diconnect between their behaviour and their attitudes. This is certainly true for the environment, but I think it is also true about where we buy our stuff (e.g. Big Box stores, versus locally owned stores that favour locally or domestically produced goods). The solution is to do research that highlights these cognitize disconnects. It must be done delicately, however, so as not to appear harsh or judgemental.


21.     How do you ensure funding for volunteer organisations?  How do you ensure paid employees? 

(Laura) There is no response that will be universal for all groups.  Funding is (and will continue to be) a difficult challenge for the voluntary sector.  Voluntary organizations pursued a wide range of fundraising opportunities, such as: 

·                                           local, provincial, and federal grants and program funding;

·                                           grants in lieu of taxes;

·                                           putting items (i.e. soaps and books) in local retail stores to sell;

·                                           golf tournaments;

·                                           membership fees;

·                                           personal funds from members;

·                                           private donations;

·                                           corporate donations;

·                                           book exchanges;

·                                           walk-a-thons;

·                                           advertising; and

·                                           revenue from services provided.   

There is literature emerging that also talks about the privatization or commercialization of the voluntary sector (Hughes and Luksetich 2004; Hodgkinson and Nelson 2001).  This movement is a response by the voluntary sector that reflects difficulty obtaining government funding.  Organizations are increasingly pursuing revenue from services provided.  However, this applies additional pressure on the clients (i.e. seniors, those living in poverty) to pay for these services, and may not be a viable option in remote rural locales.   

Having said this, if government policies increasingly call for voluntary sector involvement to deliver services, then these policies should also provide long-term support for information, training, and funding in order to develop stability of these organizations and their services. 

But.... if an organization has limited funds, there are other ways of ‘ensuring’ that you have the resources needed to deliver services.  As noted earlier, groups developed partnerships where another organization shared volunteers or provided access to municipal staff or local technicians.  Groups have obtained free access to space to hold meetings, conduct training, and to deliver workshops.  They may not have had money to purchase items, but voluntary groups obtained donations of furniture, equipment, and building supplies.  If they did not have enough money, they pursued joint purchase agreements with government and corporations for items such as playground equipment, office equipment, or even handicap doors. 

Unfortunately, without some form of funding, it will be difficult to hire paid staff.  Paid staff provide a stable element to a voluntary group.  Some groups begin by hiring part-time paid staff (supplemented with volunteers) and develop more paid staff over time. 

 However, if a group does not have their own paid staff, there are other ways to fill in human resource gaps.  As noted earlier, groups form partnerships with other voluntary groups, service providers, businesses, or government groups to gain access to additional staff for fundraising activities, repairing computers, training volunteers, etc. 

Hodgkinson and Nelson. 2001. Major issues facing America’s nonprofit sector. The Nonprofit Review 1 (2): 113-118. 

Hughes, P. and W. Luksetich. 2004. Non-profit arts organizations: Do funding sources influence spending patterns?  Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 33 (2): 203-220.


22.     How do you encourage and expand imagination

(Tom) One way to do this is to show people examples of things that have worked in other places. This has been a key organizing principle of the NRE project. Many rural communities face similar types of problems. Imagination is critical in solving them. However, we don’t have to re-invent the wheel in every
instance. Many ideas that work in one place, might work in others too. Sharing the information, and sharing experiences – community resident to community resident is the best way for this information transfer to occur. Seeing other places and how they have solved their problem might also stimulate imaginations to find different solutions. The key is to help people see beyond their normal set of solution strategies and to stimulate them with new ideas and new information and imaginations will take off.


23.     How do you encourage/foster greater community engagement? - foster new leaders; broaden base of participation/volunteers; foster youth participation 

(Laura) There needs to be places for people to meet (i.e. access to free space at a local school).  Routine, ongoing, and open opportunities must be provided for youth to engage in the community (i.e. local youth council, youth reporters / column for the local newspaper, youth programs on the local radio station).  In School District 57 in B.C., high school students are required to complete a designated number of volunteer hours in order to graduate.  To develop more leaders and build resiliency, it is important to draw new members and board members from a wide range of sectors in the community and from both genders.  Each group will have different networks that can be mobilized when needed.  One of our groups has representatives from industry, law enforcement, education, government, social services, etc.  When a board member steps down, it is up to that member to find a replacement that represents their sector.  Some communities have developed unique benefits for volunteers in order to encourage civic engagement (i.e. free car wash tickets, discounts at local retail stores and restaurants, volunteer recognition awards).


24.     How do you break the culture of entitlement? - go from entitlement to a culture of responsibility/entrepreneurship

(Tom) It has to be from education and from example. Community needs to be instilled in children from an early age and they need to see grown ups engaged. This is a wide and deep social problem. I don’t think the culture of entitlement is regionally unique. I think it is more generational. Our NRE work has tried to highlight examples of communities that have been entrepreneurial (Cap a L’Aigle) and ones that have tried to educate their citizens well (Mackenzie through community radio). The education that matters is often experiential, not book learning“.


25.     When does government get the biggest impact in CED investment?


26.     How do you get leaders to go back to their community and transfer their knowledge in the language of the community? 

(Laura) I would like to provide two comments.  One about how leaders (community representatives) may translate their knowledge into a language that everyone understands, as well as how we as researchers can work with local representatives to transfer this into a language that everyone can understand.  

As researchers, we have to work with a range of community leaders to ensure that our research is applicable to local circumstances in a language that is appropriate.  In Tweed, we conducted a workshop with our community representatives (leaders) to translate aspects of our capacity model (including human, social, financial, and environmental capital) into events that were happening in the participating sites.  This exercise helped our research team and community leaders to translate the research into a language that residents could understand.   

To apply the model, Tom discussed the transition in Pine Falls, Manitoba.  The first pulp mill on the Prairies was located in Pine Falls.  However, Abitibi-Price wanted to close the mill.  A local buyout was organized through second mortgages, wage roll backs, forfeit of vacation time and gifts, and purchased shares.  There was a deal with the provincial government to obtain access to timber.  Outside investors were found which made the banks happy as they have 55% of the shares and they are people with expertise in the industry.  The rest of the shares were owned locally.  In 1994, Pine Falls took over and prices for pulp and paper commodity prices spiked - demonstrating good timing for their venture.  In five years, they made a profit and sold it to Tembec.  Tom asked each group to provide other examples of how they got something done in their community. 

Carolyn Golightly was the representative from Tumbler Ridge.  She provided her example of dinosaur camps.  These dinosaur camps evolved after the discovery of dinosaur footprints near Tumbler Ridge (environmental capital).  In its second year, they were attracting kids from California, Nevada, Newfoundland, and Ontario.  During the first year, there were 67 kids.  Approximately 75% of these kids were from Tumbler Ridge.  In the second year, there were 114 kids with 25% of these kids from Tumbler Ridge.  It provides a use for an empty college during the summer months.  It also encourages youth to become interested in science.  Their next goal was to expand the Junior Ranger program and use the lodge at Gwillim Lake.  They are also hoping that forestry graduates from the college in Chetwynd could become instructors for their program.  Dino camps are operated on a cost recovery basis.  The human and social capital is the logistics and expertise of Rich McRae and organizations willing to work together.  However, the timing was right.  Dino camps had already been done once in Saskatchewan, so the curriculum was there.  The college provides in kind support with space.  They received $10,000 from the Vancouver Foundation to use as seed money.  The financial support and business relations provide the financial capital and bureaucratic parts of the model.  During the first year, the School District provided a mail out with the students and sent faxes for teachers to announce.  However, during the second year, they did not do this.  Carolyn figures this is why they had lower than desired numbers for the second year even though they were still higher than the first year.  The Rotary donates funds to this program as it falls within that organization’s mandate to support youth programs. Parents stay and golf. There has been an increase in museum membership. It also promotes post-secondary education programs. 

When our community representatives return to their community, we encourage them to provide presentations to local council and submit articles to the local newspaper about their experience.  This is only the beginning.  The transfer of this knowledge takes time and will be ongoing as leaders interact with others to communicate and apply what they’ve learned in different settings.  I just received an email from our representative from Tumbler Ridge this year (Rose Colledge) who has been able to apply things she learned from the Gatineau conference to her job with TR Cares.

We write community reports with as little academic jargon as possible.  While we do community presentations, we have also worked with local residents to communicate our research findings.  For example, one of the residents in Tumbler Ridge was hired to write newspaper articles.  In a different project in McBride, B.C., we conducted the research to ensure anonymity.  Then the data was turned over to a local resident who wrote the report.  This also helped to build local capacity.  Another one of our colleagues organized an NRE day in Springhill to highlight the project results to local residents (including presentations, posters, etc.)  Having said that, we have had leaders tell us that they prefer that we come to the community to present findings to local groups because of our non-partisan nature.

(Anna) You can assist by accompanying them and calling a special meeting to share findings or generate new discussions about the future direction of community development. Further information can be shared with them on a regular basis and posted in a local newsletter, newspaper or website.


27.     Who determines who gets resources as a leader?  Who determines who the leader will be?  How so you define capacity?


28.     Tom Beckely: Westwind example - did Canadian forestry service/NRCan help at all?  Are their 'clues' to id the 'right' person to 'invest' in?  How do you pick the 'right' person?

(Tom) I don’t believe that CFS had a large role in Westwind, if any. They tend to be sensitive about stepping into areas of provincial jurisdiction.

As for who to invest in, I think there will always be risk, as with any investment, but as I mentioned in the talk, when it comes to investing in human capital, I think investing in people who express a strong desire to stay, or those who are deeply enmeshed in rich social networks. Those are the folks who
are less likely to flee somewhere else with their human capital that the community might have invested in. I think there are specific programs that could be applied where loans or grants are given but with provision of community service (e.g. you get 5 years of educational support for an education degree with the proviso that you will teach two or three years in the community).


29.     In the research, it appears to have been prov/fed involvement at a much greater involvement than municipal, therefore it has been said 'change' needs to be bottom-up.  Yet the first line of 'policy' involvement is the least involved, also they are the hardest to convince. 

(Laura) If we focus on funding alone, a greater proportion of voluntary groups received funding from the provincial government, followed by the municipal government and the federal government.  Voluntary groups are pursuing and receiving fewer government grants and program funding at all levels.   

I am not sure that municipal government is always hardest to convince.  In fact, with the voluntary groups that we spoke with, municipal governments have provided many other types of support that are not provided by other levels of government.  Examples include being able to lease a building for $1 or for free, receiving letters of support by local government for funding applications, the use of municipal staff and equipment, and the donated use of municipal meeting rooms and teleconferencing equipment.  Some local governments have also run newspaper ads on behalf of voluntary groups to promote activities to recruit new staff or members.  Remember that municipal governments have the most limited sources of revenue, the most legislated spending tasks, and little room to maneuver.   

Table: Sources of revenue - % of responses.



2003        2005


Government funding - overall            58.6         44.8
 Federal government funding             27.6         20.7
 Provincial government funding        37.9         34.5
 Municipal government funding        34.5         24.1
Community funding                             69.0         58.6
Membership funding                           65.5         55.2
Revenue from services provided        27.6         51.7 

                                                               n=29       n=29


Source: INE Innovative Services and Voluntary Organizations Survey 2005.


30.     How can governments support community involvement and governance in development and decision-making?  What are the barriers faced by community leaders?  Who can remove them and how?


31.     How can site representatives go back to the community and apply the results?   Similarly, how can NRE results data be made available (access and interpretation) to communities and policy makers at all levels?


32.     How do we get the public to embrace working together with other communities?

(Anna) We have found that NRE communities are keen to share information and learn from each other. Bridging with other communities is the only way to survive in the New Economy, but the value of this action needs to be recognized by people on both sides.


33.     How do we resolve differing expectations of new residents? 

(Bill) Integrate them into the local community in multiple ways. Seguin did it by reorganizing their governance structures so that there was more participation in the issues faced by the Municipal Council; Cap-St-Ignace did it by assigning ‘God-parents’ from within the community who mentored newcomers and invited them to local events; Winkler did it by establishing groups that provided bridging services for banks, businesses, government organizations, recreation, and leisure groups.

(Anna) Greater communication between the new and old residents is vital. Many new residents bring resources with them that the whole community could benefit from.


34.     How can we get our younger residents to become more involved with community volunteering?  How do we make them feel that they have a stake in where they live? 

(Laura) As noted in an earlier response, routine, ongoing, and open opportunities must be provided for youth to engage in the community (i.e. local youth council, youth reporters / column for the local newspaper, youth programs on the local radio station).  In School District 57 in B.C., high school students are required to complete a designated number of volunteer hours in order to graduate.  However, there have been other success stories about how small towns have engaged youth in community development.  For example, in McBride, B.C., local high school students worked with the community development project coordinator, to develop a community website.  The website features information on local businesses, non-profit organizations, and service providers.  These students are now equipped with web development skills and data collection techniques.  In Valemount, B.C., the local youth centre provided a venue for youth to routinely meet.  When significant forest restructuring was taking place in Valemount, the youth centre provided a focal point for peer counselling.  Youth were also sponsored by the local community to attend national conferences.  Both Mackenzie, B.C. and Tweed, Ontario have local radio stations that offer opportunities for youth involvement.  In fact, one of Mackenzie’s radio station’s objectives was to partner with the College of New Caledonia and Mackenzie Secondary School to provide opportunities for students interested in acquiring communications skills, including announcing, producing and copy writing for broadcast.  In the past, students have developed reporting skills and their own youth programs, such as ‘princess power hour’.  Other places have developed youth week that includes a youth council where youth debate similar issues faced by their municipal council.  This helps them to feel that they have a stake in issues, and that decisions made today will impact their future.

(Anna) This is a problem across Canada. Providing meaningful places for them to interact together on their own (youth night at the community centre, a skate park, etc. along with innovative new ways of employing them (provide training for computer maintenance, website development and maintenance etc.) is key.
The youth need to be able to see a place for themselves in the community over the long term – they also need to be given more responsibility in the community to recognize the value they add to it.


35.     What surprised the researchers the most throughout the project?  What strategies did they use to engage communities? 

(David)  Most surprising – how difficult it is to coordinate a large number of researchers working in very specific communities in a very large and detailed set of projects. It is difficult to coordinate everything and ensure that everyone goes according to plan and on time.  Strategies – lots of examples, including: working with and getting to know the local paper editor so they will do lots of stories and press releases about the project; getting local council to adopt, either formally or informally, a process for contact with municipal office and making sure their staff understand what level of commitment and assistance has been agreed to; being kind and courteous with citizens and volunteer groups; giving information back directly to people who participated in the research; responding to inquiries for information and help from within the community (a two-way street).

(Anna) I was amazed how much time we could spend in a community and still understand only a fraction of what is going on in these diverse, evolving, adapting spaces. I was surprised at the number of similar issues being tackled by different communities all on their own and just how much they had to say to each other when brought together at a conference or meeting.


36.     What is the role of aboriginals in rural Canada?

(Tom) We made significant efforts to engage the Aboriginal sites in our initial 32 communities. Some bore fruit for awhile, but we never succeeded in establishing the same types of relationships with Aboriginal communities and eventually our resources (both human and financial) were allocated to other


37.     What are the skill sets that are needed for sectors in mining, oil, gas, etc?


38.     What steps are being taken to effectively communicate key findings to rural organisations, municipalities, and communities across rural Canada? 

(Laura) Our research findings are posted on the NRE website (, as well as Greg Halseth’s (Services Theme Leader) website:  We encourage our fellow colleagues working with other sites in the NRE project to distribute the reports to local government and to provide copies in local libraries.  Site profile reports for participating sites in Quebec and New Brunswick were translated into French.  As well, all participating service providers and voluntary groups obtain a copy of our executive reports.  There have been articles in local newspapers, as well as local radio interviews.  More recently, we distributed copies to employees with the Rural Secretariat, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and the Ontario Rural Network.  Our findings have also been presented at annual conferences (i.e. CRRF, Western Canadian Association of Geographers, Canadian Association of Geographers).


39.     To what extent have the NRE2 research been adopted and implemented by either local or provincial political systems? 

(Laura) After the Quintette mine closed, we conducted the Tumbler Ridge Transition Survey.  Some thought that Tumbler Ridge was going to become a retirement community and that youth programs would be eliminated.  While many retirees moved to Tumbler Ridge during the housing sale, young families and couples also moved there.  As a result, our findings indicated that the population reflected the provincial average, and did not become a retirement community.  While new senior programs were needed, they also needed to maintain youth programs.  Residents were asked about which types of recreational or educational courses they were interested in.  In turn, this provided information for planning the delivery of local services.  For example, the local college developed computer / Internet programs for seniors.  

As a result of our work with the NRE project in Mackenzie, we have been asked to conduct additional research for the municipal government and service providers.  For example, we were asked to conduct a senior needs’ assessment.  The study targeted residents 50 years of age and over to gauge both present and near future needs for housing, health care, community services, transportation, and even recreational services.  The results of this study are supporting current efforts by local service providers, as well as the municipal and provincial government, to plan for future needs.  Greg Halseth has also been involved with the Rural Secretariat in an advisory capacity.  This allowed ideas stemming from the NRE project to be incorporated into the federal draft rural policy framework.


40.     Will copies of the se presentations be make available to participants?


41.     How do we define success?  How will we know when a rural community has been revitalised?


42.     Why aren't economic drivers for rural development forming the basis for rural research (instead of social factors)? 

(Laura) There are many other researchers who have examined economic drivers for rural development.  This includes the consolidation of industry, the impacts of technology changes and mechanization, labour shedding, changes in commodity prices, diversification, and transportation developments.  I’ve included a sample of this literature below for a range of economic sectors (i.e. forestry, mining, fishing, agriculture, etc.).   

Furthermore, many residents we speak with understand that if commodity prices plunge and the industry introduces cutbacks or closure, they have little power to impact this decision.  Many of these industry changes have also been accompanied with service cutbacks and closures.  In response, common questions we receive include: 

·         how can we respond to these changes?

·         how can we provide support to residents to cope with these changes (retraining, counselling, social services) with fewer resources?

·         how can we provide a foundation to attract and retain residents and businesses?

·         how have other places successfully completed the transition? 

Services provide a foundation for community and economic renewal.  Part of our research has described how the retention of education and health services, for example, provided a foundation for attracting young families and retirees to Tumbler Ridge after the Quintette mine closed (Halseth et al. 2003).  Johnson and Rasker (1995) have explored how services, physical and recreational amenities, and communication infrastructure have attracted businesses that no longer have to be located in cities.  For the Services Team, we wanted to respond to local concerns by exploring how innovative services providers and voluntary organizations are building capacity and resiliency in order to maintain services often with fewer resources.  This is important because such services provide the necessary support to help residents cope with change (retraining, counselling, planning, etc.) until the economic crisis is over or until they figure out the next direction for their community.  This does not diminish the importance of work that others are doing (i.e. exploring economic drivers).  Instead, our work is intended to support their work and provide a contribution of knowledge as to how places can respond to restructuring.   

Aldrich, L. and Kusmin, L.  1997.  Rural Economic Development: What Makes Rural Communities Grow? Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 737.  United States Department of Agriculture. 

Barnes, T. J.; and R. Hayter.  1994.  Economic Restructuring, Local Development and Resource Towns: Forest Communities in Coastal British Columbia.  Canadian Journal of Regional Science  17 (3): 289-310.

Barnes, T. and R. Hayter.  1992.  The little town that could: Flexible accumulation and community change in Chemanius.  Regional Studies  26: 647-663.

Effland, A.  2000.  When Rural Does Not Equal Agricultural.  Agricultural History  74(2): 489-501.

Halseth, G., L. Sullivan, and L. Ryser. 2003. Service provision as part of resource town transition planning: A case from Northern British Columbia. In Opportunities and Actions in the New Rural Economy, edited by D. Bruce and G. Lister, 19-46. Sackville, New Brunswick: Rural and Small Town Studies Programme. 

Hayter, R.  1997.  High-Performance Organizations and Employment Flexibility: A case of in situ change at the Powell River paper mill, 1980- 1994.  The Canadian Geographer 41(1): 26-40. 

Hayter, R.  1979.  Labour Supply and Resource-Based Manufacturing in Isolated Communities: The Experience of Pulp and Paper Mills in North-Central British Columbia.  Geoforum.  10: 163-177. 

Hayter, R. and J. Holmes.  1999.  Continentalism in an era of globalization.  A perspective from Canada’s resource periphery.  In: The New Industrial Geography: Regions, Regulation and Institutions, edited by T. Barnes and M. S. Gertler, 176-201.  London and New York: Routledge.

 Humphrey, C.  1990.  Timber-Dependent Communities.  In: American Rural Communities, edited by A.E. Luloff and L. Swanson, 34-60.  Boulder: Westview Press, Inc.

Johnson, J. and R. Rasker.  1995.  The Role of Economic and Quality of Life Values in Rural Business Location.  Journal of Rural Studies 11(4): 405-416.

Leadbeater, D. 1998.  Single-Industry Resource Communities and the New Crisis of Economic Development: Lessons of Elliot Lake.  Final Report of the Community Response Sub-Project.  ELTAS Analsys Series No. 1A15.  Department of Economics, Laurentian University. 

Luloff, A.E.  1990.  Small Town Demographics: Current Patterns of Community Development.  In: American Rural Communities, edited by A.E. Luloff and L. Swanson, 7-18.  Boulder: Westview Press, Inc. 

Machlis, G. et al.  1990.  Timber, Minerals, and Social Change: An Exploratory Test of Two Resource-Dependent Communities.  Rural Sociology  55(3): 411-424. 

Nord, M. and A. Luloff.  1993.  Socio-economic Heterogeneity of Mining-Dependent Counties.  Rural Sociology  58(3): 492-500. 

Ofori-Amoah, B. and Hayter, Roger. 1989. Labour Turnover Characteristics at the Eurocan Pulp and Paper Mill, Kitimat: A Log-Linear Analysis. Environment and Planning A 21: 1491-1510. 

Robson, R.  1991.  A Short History of Mining Communities.  In: Long Distance Commuting in the Mining Industry: Conference Summary, edited by M. Shrimpton and K. Storey, 28.  Centre for Resource Studies, Queen’s University. 

Sinclair, P.  1992.  Atlantic Canada’s Fishing Communities: The Impact of Change.  In: Rural Sociology in Canada, edited by D. Hay and G. Basran, 84-98.  Toronto: Oxford University Press. 

Stauffer, B.  2001.  Resource Development Patterns of the British Columbia Salmon Canning Industry, 1870-1970.  Unpublished Thesis: Master of Arts.  Prince George: University of Northern British Columbia. 

Swanson, L.  1990.  Rethinking Assumptions About Farm and Community.  In: American Rural Communities, edited by A.E. Luloff and L. Swanson, 19-33.  Boulder: Westview Press, Inc. 

Williamson, T. and S. Annamraju.  1996.  Analysis of the Contribution of the Forest Industry to the Economic Base of Rural Communities in Canada.  Ottawa: Industry, Economics and Programs Branch, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada. Working Paper No. 43.


43.     Comment bâtir la complémentarité rurale-urbaine?


44.     Comment pouvons-nous améliorer ou mieux développer nos structures existantes dans nos villages et faire en sorte que les personnes qui y sont puissent en tirer profit et y demeurer en créant des emplois, par exemple des infrastructures usines?


45.     Profil individuel : Comment faire la sorte d'identifier les capacités fondamentales nécessaires chez un individu pour pouvoir être ensuite en mesure de devenir un acteur 'éclairé ' pour faire une différence dans une petite communauté ?


46.     Comment concevoir les outils et processus nécessaires pour fournir aux individus la formation et le support pour mobiliser et animer leur communauté ? 


47.     Comment renforcer la gouvernance locale ? 


48.     Baisse d'intérêt de la population: Devons-nous élargir la communauté pour augmenter nos forces ?


49.     Devarennes (Jean Lambert): Est ce que l'autorité portuaire existait avant le début du projet NÈR ou elle a été créée grâce au momentum du projet ?  Si non, comment le projet a  pu favorisé un rapprochement entre les deux communautés.


50.     Pénurie de main-d'œuvre : Comment prévenir cela et adapter le marché du travail aux changements ? Comment aider les communautés sur cette gestion ?  Meilleure compréhension outils.


51.     Thèmes à fouiller : Adaptabilité, manque de moyens, dévalorisation de métiers, formation


52.     Que faire, comment faire travailler les 20-25% des municipalités qui demeurent déstructurées.


53.     Mieux comprendre cet état ?  Quels outils développer pour aider les communautés ?


54.     Cycle : de monde, de bénévoles, de pauvreté, d'engagements, pauvreté économique, pauvreté sociale.


55.     Mieux comprendre les modèles tertiaires de développement ? Comment ils sont construits et s'ils font ? Exemples : modèle de grandes entreprises forestières, modèle agricole.


56.     Comprendre l'évaluation des effets pour mieux prévoir et travailler les réalités.


57.     Phénomènes des retour des babyboomers, nouveaux retraités dans des milieux ruraux èa haute valeur de paysage et touristique.


58.     Quels sont les effets pour ce milieu de cette surbanisation ?


59.     On peut pas empêcher, mais comment s'y préparer, comment réagir ?


60.     Quelle réalité on doit tarvailler dans ces cas-là ?


61.     Phénomènes : valeurs foncières, lente accès auterritoire pour nouveaux arrivants.