Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

March 20, 2005 11:38 ET

AAFC: Emerging Network Strengthens B.C.'S Rural Communities



MARCH 20, 2005 - 11:38 ET

AAFC: Emerging Network Strengthens B.C.'S Rural

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 19, 2005) - Wayne
Easter, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and
Agri-Food with special emphasis on Rural Development, today announced a
$115,000 investment over two years towards the creation of the British
Columbia Rural Network.

The B.C. Rural Network will be a link to people, information and
activities that support community capacity building efforts and act as a
catalyst for partnerships between rural communities in B.C. It will
support the development of knowledge, skills and local leadership
capacity to address rural issues such as service delivery, education,
attracting and retaining youth, along with other challenges faced by
rural communities.

"Communities are strengthened when they make the best use of all
resources within the community," added Mr. Easter. "This funding will
support institutions that help rural British Columbians by providing the
necessary tools for social and economic growth."

"The initiative and the willingness to work together among community
organizations is impressive," noted David L. Emerson, Minister of
Industry and Senior Co-regional Minister for British Columbia. "I am
pleased the Government of Canada is able to support the next step in
British Columbia's rural community development efforts."

At the May 2003 "Sharing Lessons Learned" forum in Prince George rural
citizens and organizations expressed a need for a broad network to
improve the exchange of information and collaboration on rural issues
that cut across all regions. At this forum, a task force was established
to initiate action on the development of a province-wide network and to
co-ordinate activities for B.C. rural organizations.

Led by the Fraser Basin Council, this network will include the Community
Futures Development Association of B.C., B.C. Community Economic
Development Network and the Pacific Community Network Association. These
initial members represent local organizations from communities
throughout the province and are committed to reaching out to other
stakeholders to expand the network.

"It is great to have the support of government to help connect rural
organizations across BC," said Gail Wallin, Manager of the
Cariboo-Chilcotin region for the Fraser Basin Council, on behalf of the
network's working group. "Although communities may all have individual
challenges, the chance to link with other communities and to connect
current rural organizations can only help strengthen the vitality of
rural British Columbia."

The B.C. Rural Network will enhance the capacity of rural and remote
communities to develop local solutions to their local challenges.

Funding for the British Columbia Rural Network comes from the
$5-million, five-year Community Capacity Building plan announced in June
2002. The Government of Canada believes that vibrant communities and a
sustainable resource base are the foundations for a strong rural Canada.


Networking Initiative

- The Networking Initiative is a contribution program which was
established to support rural community capacity building.

- The Government of Canada launched the Networking Initiative to support
rural community development partnerships and activities designed to
increase knowledge, skills, tools and mechanisms for community capacity

- Community capacity building is an on-going process that develops
leadership in a community and engages citizens in developing a shared
vision for their community. It enables a community or region to identify
its strengths and weaknesses, to mobilize internal and external
resources to meet local challenges, to develop strategies for effective
action and to increase their individual capacity to take advantage of

- The Networking Initiative funds three types of rural community
projects aimed at building community capacity: learning events,
partnerships and networks. The Initiative runs until March 2008.

- For more information, visit the Canadian Rural Partnership Web site
( or contact a Regional Program Officer through our
Canada-wide toll-free number: 1-877-295-7160.

Canadian Rural Partnership

- The Canadian Rural Partnership is the key rural policy initiative with
the Government of Canada. It co-ordinates activities among government
departments to ensure a comprehensive rural policy approach is pursued
and appropriate programming is developed to meet policy objectives.

- Listening to Canadians living in rural and remote areas is one
cornerstone of the Partnership. Responding to their needs by building
networks and providing support at the grassroots level is another.

- The Partnership's overall goal is to enhance the quality of life in
rural communities and better equip the communities to compete in a
global economy. The Partnership complements other Government of Canada

The BC Rural Network

The BC Rural Network will work with rural British Columbians to increase
their knowledge around community capacity building tools and support the
sharing and application of best practices and lessons learned. This will
be accomplished through regional community forums and a province-wide
networking forum.

- The Network will be a link to people, information and activities that
support community capacity building efforts and act as a catalyst for
partnerships between rural communities in B.C. One of their activities
is to make widely available an inventory on community best practices and
tools that can be easily replicated in communities.

- This initiative will provide a stronger rural voice on public issues
and effective policy input on rural issues.


Contact Information

    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Rural Communications
    Rural Secretariat
    (604) 666-1677 or (604) 787-6637