Rural communities are under threat: many farms fail to provide an income for farm families; there can be limited job opportunities; and often, rural communities have poor access to services that support the most vulnerable in society. We must: put in place structures that support vibrant and dynamic rural communities; open up employment opportunities in tourism, niche trade and renewables; and create access to essential services through innovative and collaborative service delivery.
The Government of Ontario should:
• Develop a strategic action plan for agri-food – and ensure that it is delivered to create jobs in rural communities.
• Support the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy production in rural areas.
• Promote collaborative delivery of services to ensure that public services are available in rural areas. This would include integrating community transport and more traditional public transport options.
• Invest in greater infrastructure coverage for broadband and mobile telephone coverage.
• Acknowledge the differing patterns of division in rural areas and ensure this is addressed in a comprehensive Rural Development Plan.