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March 2017
New with ROI
Updates on the work of the Rural Ontario Institute

Youth Engagement Showcase at ROMA

As part of this year's Youth Engagement Showcase, two early-bird entrants were chosen to share their stories at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association's annual conference, ROMA speaks.

Jentje Steenbeek, a 29 year old from Bayfield, ON, and Kora Wilcox, a 17 year old from Elliot Lake, ON, presented at the Counteracting Youth Out-Migration session held on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. To hear how and why Jentje and Kora are involved in their rural communities, watch the video below:

The Youth Engagement Showcase closed on February 28, 2017.

An advisory panel will be evaluating the submissions and will identify compelling stories to be profiled on the ROI website, with a photo and description that showcases the youth’s accomplishments and the community of support around them. Four of the nominees who meet the criteria and are profiled on the ROI website will be randomly selected for a $250 prize that will be donated to an organization of the nominee’s choosing.

Watch the Youth Engagement Showcase Stories page for the addition of profiles for this year's engaged youth.

Community Wealth Transfer & Business Succession Planning Forums coming up

Forums on Community Wealth Transfer and Rural Business Ownership Succession Planning will take place in Hanover, ON, on March 21 and Belleville, ON, on March 23.

At these forums, you will learn how others are tackling community wealth transfer and rural business ownership succession challenges in the US and in several national and provincial initiatives. The events will also include discussions of how organizations such as community foundations, economic development agencies, financial institutions and municipalities might better collaborate to keep wealth from leaving and work together to facilitate business succession to a new generation of entrepreneurs/owners.

Presenters include:
  • Ryan Gibson, LIBRO Professor of Regional Economic Development, University of Guelph
  • Cyndi Lindsay, Director of Member Services, Community Foundations of Canada
  • Greta Leach, Director of Community Development Philanthropy, Nebraska Community Foundation
  • K.C Belitz, Columbus Nebraska Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Russ Christianson, Aron Theatre story (Belleville only)
  • Peter Cameron, ON Co-op, Shared Value Platforms
  • Laura-Lee Brenneman, Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Warren Sheydwasser, Entrepreneur and President,

The Rural Ontario Institute is offering the forums with the support of many partners. This includes Grey County and the City of Belleville as local sponsors and Ontario East Economic Development Commission as a promotional partner.

The full program can be seen here.

Tickets for each forum are $35.00. Click below to register.

Focus on Rural Ontario Factsheets released

The 2016 Focus on Rural Ontario FactSheets were released in February, with two different sets being released this year. The first set looks at the change in the age structure of the non-metropolitan population and its correlation with employment rates and level, while the second focuses on several aspects of precarious employment in rural Ontario.

Focus on Rural Ontario is a series of two-page fact sheets providing socio-economic data and trends for rural Ontario geographies.

To browse through the fact sheets and accompanying charts, click here.

Recent Census Data Release and Rural Demographics Update

Retired statistician “emeritus” Ray Bollman has shared his Rural Demographic Update with the Institute and many other grateful researchers across the country. We have posted his update to our website where you can find many charts and tables on trends in population change from 1966 to 2016 by province for the various categories within Rural Small Town Areas. Find it here.

The Institute is also now working with Ray and OMAFRA to provide a more detailed look at Ontario rural demographic change and we hope that will be ready to publish in a month or so. We expect to integrate that information into our Focus on Rural Ontario series. Stay tuned!

Making the Business Case for Community Transportation Forum

The Ontario Community Transportation Network will be holding an in-person forum: Making the Business Case for Community Transportation on March 9, 2017 in Minesing, ON.

This event will bring those working on or thinking about Community Transportation (CT) together to learn new insights, share stories and network.

Presenters include:

  • Rachelle Hamelin and Irena Pozgaj-Jones, County of Simcoe
  • Chris Zeilinger, Community Transportation Association of America
  • Ranjit Godavarthy, Small Urban & Rural Transit Center, North Dakota State University

Date: Thursday March 9th, 2017
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm (approx.)
Location: Simcoe County Museum - 1151 Highway #26 (Minesing, ON)
Fee: $25 (includes lunch).

Click here to register.

U of G student shares his experience working with ROI
From October to December of last year, ROI had a student from the University of Guelph, Matt Colley, interning with us. We asked him to write about the experience:

Working at Rural Ontario Institute has been an excellent experience to learn and understand how the non-profit sector functions. I feel privileged to have been part of an organization dedicated to promoting action on issues and opportunities facing rural and northern Ontario.

I was able to work at improving the Institute’s resource database and contribute to the Youth Engagement Showcase, which helps recognize the impact youth are having in their community.

It was an encouraging atmosphere that allowed me to grow and better understand my career interests.
This internship has been an excellent learning experience and has helped me take the first steps in my career in the planning and development field. I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me and I hope to continue my relationship and support of Rural Ontario Institute into the future.
Maverick Mentality to be showcased at Wm. A. Stewart Lecture

The William A. Stewart Lecture, the friend- and fundraiser that will kick off AALP Class 16's final seminar, will take place on April 6th at the Lamplighter Inn in London, ON, at 7:00 pm.

The keynote speaker for the evening is Kevin Stewart, from AGVISION Media.

Kevin has spent nearly thirty years researching the success habits of mavericks, disruptive thinkers, entrepreneurs, farmers, professional and Olympic athletes, authors and adventurists. He has compiled the traits of these disruptive thinkers and identified them as the Maverick Mentality which he will share during his keynote address.

The evening will also include a panel of Mavericks who will share how they're changing the face of Ontario agriculture. The three panelists are: Dylan Sher, creator of Before the Plate; Teresa Van Raay, AALP alumnus; and Ann Vermeersch, current AALP 16 Class member.

Tickets are $75 and are available for purchase here.

The event will also be live streamed. Tickets are $30, and are available here.

AALP application deadline coming up

The registration deadline for the Class 17 Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program intake is coming up on March 17, 2017.

In this 19-month program, participants examine social, political, environmental and economic issues as they relate to agriculture, the agri-food industry and society.

Learning is done in a variety of formats including lectures, discussion forums, formal briefing sessions, study tours and practical application.

To learn more and to apply:

News from around rural and northern Ontario
Headlines and happenings
OAAS announces change in President and smaller Board
Judy McFaul, Russell Agricultural Society representative and past Board Member from District 1, is the new president for the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS). Over 150 voting Agricultural Societies confirmed McFaul's position at the organization's annual Convention and also accepted a newly revised Constitution.

Member Societies approved additional changes to the Constitution which follows up on last year's constitutional changes that resulted in a move to 15-member Board of Directors. This change will take effect February 2017 and is the result of a working governance committee supported by Rural Ontario Institute staff.

Rural Economic Development Program now open

Ontario's Rural Economic Development (RED) Program is now open for applications with the intake period running until March 31st.

The RED Program helps rural communities remove barriers to community economic development.

With the support of the program, rural communities are better positioned to attract investment, create jobs, enhance economic growth and make everyday life easier for rural Ontarians.

For more info and to apply, click here.

Community Labour Market Report Series launches in NW Ontario

North Superior Workforce Planning Board – Your Local Employment Planning
Council and Northern Policy Institute are collaborating to provide northern communities with greater access to labour market information at the very local level.

The Community Labour Market Report Series by Amandine Martel and José-Karl Noiseux, provides local labour market indicators for communities in the NSWPB region, to assist leaders and organizations in the decision-making process. The goal of these reports is to provide community members with a better understanding of what is happening in their community.

Reports from the series will be available over the next few months, and will be accessible for download at: and The first two reports on Aroland First Nation and Greenstone are now available.

Save the dates

March 9, 2017
Ontario Community Transportation Network Forum: Making the Business Case for Community Transportation. Simcoe County Museum, Minesing, ON. Register here.

March 16-18, 2017
19th National Metropolis Conference. Looking Forward: Migration and Mobility in 2017 and Beyond. Le Centre Sheraton, Montreal, QC. For more info and to register, click here .

March 21, 2017
Community Wealth Transfer and Rural Business Ownership Succession Forum. Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre, Hanover, ON. Register here.

March 23, 2017
Community Wealth Transfer and Rural Business Ownership Succession Forum. Parkdale Community Centre, Belleville, ON. Register here.

March 23, 2017
Canadian Association of Farm Advisors - Farm Succession Update: 3 Circle Model In-Depth. Hilton Garden Inn, Ottawa, ON. For more info and to register, click here.

March 24, 2017
2017 Stewart Lane Commemorative Lecture. University of Guelph, Guelph, ON. To register, please RSVP by March 17 to Debbie Harkies. For more information, click here.

March 30, 2017
Ontario Farmland Trust. 2017 Farmland Forum: The Future of Farming and Farmland Protection in Ontario. Mariposa Inn and Conference Centre/Best Western Plus, Orillia, ON. Register here.

April 6, 2017
William A. Stewart Public Lecture and Reception. Lamplighter Inn and Conference Centre, London, ON. In-person tickets available here. Livestreaming tickets available here.

April 13, 2017
Farm & Food Care 2017 Conference. Myths and Food Fantasies: The search for easy answers can be hard to digest. Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, ON. For more info and to register, click here.

April 24-26, 2017
Agriculture Institute of Canada Conference 2017. Agricultural Innovation in a Changing Envinronment. Delta Hotel, Winnipeg, MB. Register here.

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