Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

March 20, 2005 11:55 ET

AAFC: Government of Canada and Community Colleges Partnering For Rural Community Development



MARCH 20, 2005 - 11:55 ET

AAFC: Government of Canada and Community Colleges
Partnering For Rural Community Development

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 19, 2005) - The
Honourable Wayne Easter, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Agriculture and Agri-Food with special emphasis on Rural Development,
today announced funding to research an innovative approach to helping
rural communities diversify their resource-based economies.

"The Government of Canada is investing $1 million over three years into
this research project, through the Rural Secretariat's Models for Rural
Development and Community Capacity Building Program," said Mr. Easter.

The Secretariat is partnering with the Association of Canadian Community
Colleges (ACCC) to test the usefulness of "rural knowledge clusters" in
supporting community and regional economic diversification in three
different rural areas of Canada. Knowledge clusters bring together the
local community college, community organizations, government, employers,
workers and others, to create a hub of expertise in a specific industry.

"Many rural communities depend on a single natural resource. When this
resource is exhausted or the demand for it drops, the community
suffers," notes Mr. Easter "This model can help communities move away
from their dependence on one resource and develop a more diversified and
stable economy."

"This is an important initiative that will further regional and rural
economic development across Canada," added David L. Emerson, Minister of
Industry and Senior Co-regional Minister for British Columbia. "It will
support training and job development, enhancing British Columbia's
growing tourism sector."

The Association of Canadian Community Colleges will be coordinating the
project with direction and guidance from the project steering committee
made up of representatives from each test site, the ACCC and the Rural
Secretariat. The three colleges and areas involved are:

College of the Rockies, East Kootenay Region, British Columbia - The
knowledge cluster model will be used to help in diversifying the
region's economy by further developing the tourism industry.

College Boreal, Northeastern Ontario - The knowledge cluster model will
be used to help the region take advantage of the full wood-based value
chain, making the transition from a commodity-based forest industry to a
value-added forest industry.

Nova Scotia Community College, Annapolis Valley and the District of
Clare, Nova Scotia - The model will be used to help move from a
traditional primary industry and natural resource-based economy through
the promotion and incorporation of the region's geomatics expertise,
technologies and best practices.

"Canadian colleges and institutes already play an important role in
their rural communities. They contribute to socio-economic development,
provide skills upgrading, training, research and business development
support services," explains Gerry Brown, President of the ACCC. "The
three colleges involved in this research project will be further
expanding this role by supporting community and regional economic
diversification initiatives through the transfer of knowledge, skills
upgrading, research and business support."

In addition to helping governments with their decision making, the
information collected in this research project will benefit the
individuals, organizations and communities involved with the models and
with other projects aimed at community development and capacity building.

Funding for this research initiative comes from the five-year,
$55-million renewal of the Canadian Rural Partnership, 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.


Models for Rural Developmentand Community Capacity Building

Across the country, communities, organizations and governments are
carrying out different approaches to building sustainable rural
communications. Which of them work best? Under what circumstances? Can
they work in other rural communities?

These are the types of questions the Government of Canada wants to find
the answers to through its research initiative called Models for Rural
Development and Community Capacity Building (Models Program).

We are taking rural community development initiatives that worked well
in one community or part of the country, and trying them in two or three
other areas. We want to see if these initiatives will work in other
communities and in what types of communities they will work (e.g., Do
they work best in very isolated areas, areas that are closer to cities,
or towns somewhere in between?) We also want to see what can be done to
improve their chances of success, and what should be avoided.

The communities participating in our research will play a key role in
designing, carrying out and evaluating the initiatives.

What we'll be doing with the information we gain

Federal, provincial and territorial governments develop many programs,
services and initiatives for rural, remote and northern areas. The
information we gain through our research activities will help government
design rural initiatives so they have the greatest benefit to

The information will also be useful for any individuals, organizations
or communities interested in carrying out rural community development
work. They can take advantage of ideas and lessons learned in other

Getting more information on the Models Program

As more project models are set up in rural communities and we begin to
see the results of these projects, we will be posting information on our
Web site. For more information:

- Visit the Canadian Rural Partnership Web site ( www.rural.gc), click
on Research in the left menu, then click on Models for Rural Development
and Community Capacity Building in the Index.

- Call 1-877-295-7160 (toll-free).


Contact Information

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