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OTTAWA, March 16, 2001 – The Government of Canada continues to assist Rural Canadians in adjusting to an ever-changing landscape. Andy Mitchell, Secretary of State (Rural Development)(Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario) today announced $110,500 in funding for three research projects.

"The projects being funded are clear examples of one of my guiding principles as Secretary of State for Rural Development – they are local solutions for local challenges, implemented locally," Mr. Mitchell said. "Our approach is based on strong partnerships with local decision makers."

The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation will receive $50,000 for their project, Building Capacity in Agricultural Communities. Another $50,000 will be used by WESTARC Group Inc., affiliated with Brandon University, for its project, the Rural Adaptation and Succession Support Program. As well, an agricultural producer organization, New Brunswick Partners in Agriculture, is receiving $10,500 for the Rural/Farm Child Care Research Project.

Funding for the three projects will be provided by the Canadian Agricultural Rural Communities Initiative (CARCI), established to enhance the sustainability of agricultural rural communities, particularly those affected by the changes in the agricultural sector.

The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) has been working with 32 rural communities under the New Rural Economy Project. It will conduct a survey on the changing economic and social conditions of four communities within the project where agriculture is an important aspect of the local economy. The survey will be conducted among producers, organizations, businesses, and households.

"The Building Capacity in Agricultural Communities project will help local people in each community identify the changes affecting them, and to develop solutions and opportunities from these changes in order to build more vibrant rural economies," said Dr. Bruno Jean of the Université du Québec à Rimouski, and CRRF president.

WESTARC (Western Training and Applied Research Centre) concerns itself with the applied research, training and economic development needs of communities and organizations in western Canada. The purpose of its CARCI-supported project is to identify the need for a program that will help stem the departure of farm families from rural communities and to help those communities attract new families.

"The study will identify means to enable rural communities to retain young people in both the business of agriculture and in the community," said Les Routledge, Executive Director of WESTARC. "It will also explore options for retiring farmers to remain in their home community in whatever capacity they choose."

The New Brunswick Partners in Agriculture is an agricultural producer group dedicated to the advancement of New Brunswick farm families through education, communication and advocacy. Its Rural/Farm Child Care Research Project will provide information and knowledge to help increase health and safety awareness for children and families, enhance the economic employment situation for farm/rural families and child-care providers, reduce stress situations, especially for farm women and their families, and develop future sustainable rural communities.

"This project will allow us to gather information in order to make recommendations for future action in the area of rural child care," said Gabriele Kretzschmar, treasurer of the New Brunswick Partners in Agriculture.

"Working with community leaders," said Mr. Mitchell, "the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the quality of life of rural Canadians and providing opportunities to help rural citizens meet the challenges of a changing economy."

CARCI has been allocated $9.3 million over three years from the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development (CARD) fund. The initiative responds to CARD's rural development priority. The $60-million-per-year CARD fund is the Government of Canada's initiative to foster the increased long-term growth, employment and competitiveness of Canada's agricultural and agri-food industry and agricultural rural areas. CARD supports change by providing measures to assist the sector in adapting to structural changes and capture market opportunities.

For more information, contact:

Steve Young
Andy Mitchell’s Office
(613) 759-1087
Aline MacDougall
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Rural Secretariat
(613) 759-7388

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