As Canada’s population continues to grow, rural Canada is facing a population squeeze. As per Statistics Canada’s Census data, the rural population (% of total population living in rural communities) has declined from more than 50% in mid 1900s to less than 20% as of 2016. As investment and jobs continue to grow in urban areas, mega-farms and the allure of major urban centres is pressuring rural communities to develop strategies to retain their residents.
The ARDN works with rural communities and stakeholders to help build social needs assessments, which in turn help communities identify their current social assets, as well as a strategy for what must be developed moving forward. Developing this understanding of a community’s strengths and weaknesses allow for more directed economic development and partnerships as communities seek to solve their most crucial issues and provide best-value services to their residents.