Building the Future: A Report on the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit

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As a result of the 2016 summit, Ontario has published a Rural Ontario Summit report which includes the ideas, feedback and best practices identified at the summit. Through the report, the province identifies ways for communities to take action on youth retention and attraction in rural Ontario.

Table of Contents

Message from the Minister

I am pleased to introduce this report on the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit.

With a theme of "Building the Future," the summit brought together more than 235 Ontarians from more than 50 communities across the province on June 29, 2016, for a discussion on how our government, rural communities and their residents can work together to help attract and retain youth in rural Ontario.

It was a pleasure to meet many of the 170 attendees who took part in person at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ontario. Dozens more participated online and had the opportunity to interact with the in-person audience.

Following our first Rural Ontario Summit (held in Cobourg in 2014) and in preparation for our 2016 Summit, I was pleased to host 11 roundtable sessions, bringing Ontarians of all ages together from 80 communities across the province. This allowed me to do what I love most in my role as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: to visit the back concessions and kitchen tables of our rural communities and hear first-hand what we can do better to build rural Ontario up. And who better to hear this from than Ontarians themselves?

The 2016 summit also provided a unique opportunity for rural, urban and Indigenous Ontarians to share their ideas with our government and with each other on how to build stronger rural communities and how to support a vibrant future for rural Ontario.

This summit was a day of exploration - where we were able to discuss issues that affect youth in rural Ontario and explore ways to build communities for youth looking to find opportunities to work, live, play and build a bright future in rural Ontario.

Without a doubt, the summit provided an unprecedented opportunity to discuss and share ideas with a diverse group of people - a cross section of individuals and community and business representatives from this great province that understand and share a commitment to making a positive difference in communities across rural Ontario.

The 2016 Rural Ontario Summit Report documents the experiences from that day - highlighting the events, people, and ideas who shared in the spirit of true collaboration.

Going forward, it is my sincere hope that the Rural Ontario Summit, and the dialogue it has ignited, will continue to resonate with rural Ontarians, and help to inspire positive action in rural communities across the province.

Our government's priority is to help strengthen rural Ontario - to bring together the ideas and energy of rural youth and the experience of government, business and community leaders and organizations - to work together to lay the foundation for long-term economic success and growth in rural Ontario.

Working together, we are building the future of a bright and vibrant rural Ontario.

The Honourable Jeff Leal
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Minister Responsible for Small Business

About this Report

The following pages provide a summary of the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit and a platform for how we look to further the issues discussed during that day around the theme of Building the Future.

This report documents the 2016 Summit, highlighting the events, people, ideas and experiences shared in a spirit of collaboration from both in-person attendees and those who participated online. With a focus on youth, the report incorporates background information on the original 2014 Rural Ontario Summit as well as a summary of presentations and speaker feedback from the 2016 event.

The inclusion of an array of photos brings the vibrancy of the day to the reader, and various participant profiles highlight the commitment and creativity of the summit's youth participants.

The report concludes with recommendations for the continuation of the conversation on the future of attracting and retaining youth to rural Ontario, as our province looks forward to hosting our 2018 Rural Ontario Summit.

About the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit


On March 3, 2014, the first ever Rural Ontario Summit -Toward a Sustainable Rural Ontario- was held in Cobourg. The summit featured discussions by a diverse group of rural municipal and business leaders, entrepreneurs, community organizations, academics, youth and representatives from Indigenous communities. A host of informative and engaging speakers focused on four key themes for the summit:

  • Promoting innovative business development initiatives and creating investment-ready communities
  • Providing opportunities to enhance our rural workforce, including youth, immigrants and rural residents
  • Addressing the challenges rural communities sometimes face in promoting sustainable economic growth and job creation; and
  • The importance of rural health care to support strong rural communities

Throughout the day, these themes shaped insights for government action and helped to form the focus of the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit: youth retention and attraction in rural Ontario. (More information about the 2014 Summit is available on the OMAFRA website).

In preparation, the Honourable Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, held 11 roundtables across the province. These roundtable discussions brought together multi-generational groups of rural Ontarians to identify issues of concern to youth in rural communities. Representatives from 80 communities across Ontario weighed in, with youth representation included in each of these gatherings. (For a list of communities who participated in these roundtable sessions, and the discussion questions they used to shape their discussions with Minister Leal, see Appendix E.)

Several themes emerged from these discussions including: the need for accessible educational opportunities; the shortage of affordable housing; the need for improved transportation options; improved health and mental health services; better broadband service; the need for more job opportunities for youth; and the shortage of young farmers in the province.

In preparation, the Honourable Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, held 11 roundtables across the province. These roundtable discussions brought together multi-generational groups of rural Ontarians to identify issues of concern to youth in rural communities. Representatives from 80 communities across Ontario weighed in, with youth representation included in each of these gatherings. (For a list of communities who participated in these roundtable sessions, and the discussion questions they used to shape their discussions with Minister Leal, see Appendix E.)

Several themes emerged from these discussions including: the need for accessible educational opportunities; the shortage of affordable housing; the need for improved transportation options; improved health and mental health services; better broadband service; the need for more job opportunities for youth; and the shortage of young farmers in the province.

The 2016 Summit Theme - Building the Future

On June 29, 2016, youth ranging in age from 15 to 29, along with leaders from municipal governments and Indigenous communities, rural businesses and community organizations, gathered in Stratford for the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit - Building the Future. They gathered to explore the challenges that rural communities face in retaining and attracting youth. Participation was broadened through access to a moderated webcast for those who wished to take part and were unable to travel to Stratford for the day.

The 2016 Summit provided an opportunity for youth to think critically about the issues that impact rural Ontario and the elements that make a community attractive to younger Ontarians. Together, with other summit participants, they worked in an environment that encouraged collaboration and the sharing of ideas to solve problems and presented their solutions.

To anchor discussions throughout the day, the 2016 Summit focused on four key pillars of how vibrant rural communities can attract and retain youth:

  • Opportunities for Education and Training: Quality education and training are key for youth to build a bright future. With the growing importance of lifelong learning, access to education and training opportunities will continue to be important throughout adulthood.
  • Creating Jobs and Entrepreneurship: Job opportunities serve as a magnet for workers of all ages to move to a community, but it can sometimes be a challenge to attract and retain business owners. Entrepreneurs can help create those opportunities with business ideas big and small.
  • Building Strong Social Infrastructure: Social infrastructure, broadly defined, is the web of social services that are funded by governments (municipal, provincial and/or federal) to support the development and health of a community. From the roads on which Ontarians drive to the schools that educate our youth, from community centres that host activities and programs to clinics that take care of our health, quality social infrastructure supports the well-being of a community and its residents.
  • Engaging Youth in Civic Leadership: Opportunities for civic engagement help strengthen social bonds and give citizens the opportunity to help shape where they live. From citizen councils to public consultations, from working groups to volunteer organizations, there are plenty of avenues for municipalities and community organizations to engage their residents and vice versa. Youth must be engaged in those opportunities and be provided with the chance to demonstrate leadership on matters important to them. This will help to strengthen the bond that youth have with their communities and will act as a catalyst to retain or attract youth back to rural Ontario.

Building Up Rural Ontario

In his opening remarks, Minister Leal reflected on what he heard during the 11 roundtables he held across the province.

He also highlighted some of the key actions the Ontario government has taken to build rural Ontario up:

  • More than 30 government programs help youth build skills, find a job or start a business;
  • Predictable, stable, annual funding through the Ontario Community Investment Fund will grow over three years from $100 million in 2016 to $300 million by 2019, providing rural municipalities with funding to build and repair roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure;
  • Almost $120 million has been invested since 2007 to expand connectivity in rural and Northern Ontario through a number of broadband programs, including the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN).

"Ladies and gentlemen, because of your energy and ideas and the dedication you have shown to your communities and to this province - I am positive that the future of rural Ontario is going to be one of opportunity and optimism - the future truly looks bright." - The Honourable Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, from his opening address to the summit

The Summit Hall

Summit participants were assigned to tables that included representation from a cross-section of ages, experience and perspectives, and from different parts of the province. At each table, a youth facilitator was assigned in advance to lead discussions throughout the day. This helped ensure that conversations would be lively, insightful and offer new and diverse perspectives to participants. (See Appendices B and C.)

With a mix of humour, creativity and youthful insights, event emcee Blake Fly helped lead the day's discussions and kept everyone on schedule. Blake's style ensured that the summit's diverse audience would be engaged and inspired to participate.

Youth from across the province who could not attend in person were invited to register and participate in a moderated webcast of the summit where they could contribute directly through the online platform as well as participate in conversations using Twitter. Web participants had their own moderator, Ashleigh Weeden, who skilfully facilitated the conversation between what was going on at the Stratford Rotary Complex and the discussions which were happening online.

Social media helped facilitate discussions throughout the day between both in-person and online participants. The #ROS16 hashtag brought people together and ended up being one of the highest trending topics on Twitter that day.

"When I walked into the summit (venue), I was nervous. Intimidation hit me and I (initially) refrained from exploring conversations with people around the Trade Show. As a youth, I expected to receive many questions. But when I explained I was going into my senior year of high school, I instead heard about the vast amount of potential they saw in me. My energy immediately changed and I did not fear to speak for the rest of the day because there, my voice as a youth was listened to... even after an egg salad sandwich." - Youth participant

The Trade Show Hall

The summit included a trade show which was developed to provide participants with a direct experience of the range of employment, social and recreational programs and services available in Ontario. Trade show participants included provincial and local government representatives as well as community organizations and not-for-profits, which aligned with the four pillars of the summit. The trade show hall included an area where attendees could enjoy a light breakfast, snacks and lunch, which included Ontario-sourced ingredients provided by local business, Linley's Food Shop.

Delegates were invited to explore the seventeen tables set up by summit partners, each offering a meaningful engagement opportunity. (For a list of all of the trade show partners who participated, see Appendix D.)

TextBack Surveys

The summit provided a tool that allowed immediate feedback from all participants: the TextBack Survey. Using their own mobile phones, participants were able to respond to survey questions following each session via text message.

TextBack results throughout this report provide a sense of how delegates were responding to the sessions during the summit.

"It's important for me to talk to people who have been in the different fields that I'm interested in. Listening to other people's perspectives at my own table influences the way you think about things." - Summit participant

Opportunities for Education and Training

Access to quality education and training are important in the lives of young people and for a community. With the growing importance of lifelong learning, education and training opportunities continue to be important throughout adulthood. Some rural communities have the benefit of a university or college in their community, while others have no such formal institutions.

"I'm feeling very encouraged that they're asking youth to participate. I'm feeling that they really want to know what's going on." - Summit participant

The first session of the day showcased the range of educational and training resources available to youth, with a focus on opportunities that may be available in small and remote communities.

The importance of developing strong connections between youth, their communities, and accessible training and education, both in formal and informal settings, was stressed. It is vital for youth to be able to learn the skills and gain experience for jobs available in their region, and for education institutions to work with communities and learn to tailor educational programs for region-specific jobs.

The session also addressed the reality that many rural youth leave home to attend university or college, and how communities can work with local training resources and employers to bring them back to their community.


Four speakers addressed the audience on ways to strengthen the connection between rural Ontario and opportunities for youth to acquire education and training. (For more information on these speakers, see Appendix C)

Highlights from these presentations included:

Jacinda Rudolph
Project Manager, Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre (Hanover):

Jacinda highlighted how an adolescent's positive development depends in large part on the quality of the experiences provided. Jacinda expanded on how community organizations, such as the Launch Pad in Hanover, can improve youth training experiences by exploring the following the Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y framework:

Q: Question! Engage with youth, local businesses and municipalities-ask them about their interests, needs and commitment to future leaders.

U: Understand! Know your community.

A: Attract, Access! Accessibility and exposure to different activities/experiences are very important for youth.

L: Leverage! Leverage the resources you have and create opportunities.

I: Innovate, Include! Include youth in the planning and delivery of youth programming.

T: Training! Training is a two-way street!

Y: Youth! Youth are the focus of the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit!

Debra Brown
Executive Director, 4-H Ontario (Cambridge), and Logan Emiry, 4-H Ambassador (Sudbury)

Debra presented the history and values of 4-H, a non-profit organization spanning 70 countries around the world and across Canada, that focuses on developing skills in leadership, business, self-confidence and other areas. She focused on the following programs and services that 4-H Ontario provides to youth across the province:

  • Leaders Building Leaders: In 4-H, volunteers are role models. 4-H volunteers help youth discover their interests, build and practice skills surrounding their interests, and demonstrate these skills in their communities.
  • Employment Readiness: This is one of the key needs in rural Ontario. 4-H's Career Conference provides youth and young adults the opportunity to network and gain employment readiness skills - a win-win situation for both youth and employers.
  • Knowing Your Neighbours: 4-H builds relationships with local professional businesses in order to connect them with local youth. This helps young people to picture themselves working locally in the future.
  • Transportation and Mobility: Due to financial or transportation barriers, some rural youth choose their local college or university. 4-H helps make them aware of options for local post-secondary education opportunities. For example, many post-secondary institutions do have satellite locations in rural areas. Online options are also available to students from high school to graduate studies.
  • Experiential Learning: We need to open ourselves up to creativity. While we can learn from one another, what works in one community may not translate to another. There is always the need for self-discovery to learn what works best for a local community.

4-H Ambassador Logan joined Debra on stage and helped energize the audience with a 4-H favourite - the Alive - Alert - Awake - Enthusiastic song. Logan also highlighted some important points about his own experiential learning through 4-H:

  • Being involved in your community is really important!
  • Education and training opportunities are available through 4-H including conferences and leadership camps.
Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux
Vice Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives, Lakehead University (Thunder Bay)

Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux spoke about the experiences of Indigenous youth and how they can be better connected with their communities and their roots. She highlighted a number of programs that are offered in Ontario for Indigenous youth:

  • Canadian Roots Exchange: The Canadian Roots Exchange brings youth together from all backgrounds and gives them the opportunity to explore Canada from coast to coast. It is a learning opportunity and an educational experience for youth as well as the adults who travel with them.
  • Aboriginal Mentorship Program (Lakehead University): This program brings faculty and students from Lakehead University to visit and engage with youth in grades 6 to 12 at their schools in North Western Ontario. The program also brings some of these youth back to the university setting where they can begin to see and think about what the post-secondary education experience might be like.
  • Coordinating Learning Access Network (CLAN): CLAN is a network about education and about employment. When trying to re-engage people from rural and remote communities with employment, especially youth, it is necessary to align these individuals with meaningful activities. CLAN creates multiple pathways to learning and employment, works with engineers, educators, and the mining and forestry industries, to discover needed skill sets that would be of benefit to potential employees.

Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux ended her talk by touching on the important notion of leading by example in order to engage youth in collaboration and community change. "If you do it, they will do it; be with them," she concluded.

Table Discussions

Once the speakers had completed their presentations, facilitators were asked to lead a discussion at their table while Ashleigh engaged with the online participants.

The following questions were provided to help guide the discussion:

  • What did you learn from the presenters?
  • Do you have a college or university in your community?
  • Why is access to post-secondary education and training so important for students?
  • What other opportunities for training and education exist in your area?
  • In what ways have you benefited from education and training that occurred outside the classroom environment (e.g. distance learning)?

This first table discussion was a good opportunity for groups to get to know each other and to reflect openly about what they had just heard.

"The 2016 Summit has been a great experience in terms of the diversity at my table. We have councillors, members of 4H, people who attract workers. It's been great to share ideas." - Summit Participant

Overall, this first session of the day helped to demonstrate the importance of exposing youth to meaningful and locally-relevant opportunities for education and training. Youth and community members were excited to be part of a conversation that helped to re-focus the idea that education and training is about more than just going to school and learning to do a job.

Education and training is part of a never-ending learning process that allows us to better understand ourselves and the world around us. It is important for communities to help foster informal training and education channels to complement formal education institutions.

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Creating Jobs and Entrepreneurship

Job opportunities serve as a magnet for workers of all ages to move to a community, but it can often be challenging to attract and retain significant business owners to create the jobs needed for communities to thrive. Entrepreneurs can help create those opportunities with business ideas both big and small. Some sources, such as Forbes magazine, estimate that by 2020, 40 per cent of the workforce will be made up of self-employed freelancers and entrepreneurs.

This second session of the summit aimed to expose youth to ideas surrounding entrepreneurship and different kinds of enterprises. This session was also designed to increase their understanding of how entrepreneurs benefit rural communities, and vice versa. Participants learned how to approach starting a new business and where to go for support.

Modelled on the popular CBC television show Dragons' Den, each table was asked to work together to come up with a start-up business idea. They would then get the chance to pitch their concept to a panel of small business experts.

Blake Fly set the stage by speaking about the concept of entrepreneurship and the different benefits it can provide:

  • What is an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurs identify problems and needs. They design, launch and devise solutions to those problems/needs, and can serve as mentors and leaders in the community.
  • Entrepreneurship in rural Ontario: Blake explained how entrepreneurs can benefit rural communities by helping to create jobs and deliver services. They can also drive innovation in a community and bring tourists to a region. Rural Ontario can also be a benefit to entrepreneurs. Compared to large cities, the cost of living is often lower and the lifestyle may be more attractive, whether it's proximity to nature or that sense of community you find in smaller towns.
  • What are the types of enterprises that entrepreneurs can use as models? We can easily think of businesses that make money and that enrich the owners. We call those for-profit because they are focused on making a profit. Not-for-profits are focused on achieving a societal impact - for example, improving the environment or tackling homelessness. Their primary focus is making their community or world a better place, though they still need to get funding or generate revenue to operate. Social enterprises are a mixture of for-profits and not-for-profits as they generally are in the business of selling goods or services, but making a profit is not their only or primary goal. They are also focused on achieving social or environmental impacts.

Create Your Pitch Activity

Each table worked as a team to develop a start-up idea. In order to help create their pitch; the groups were encouraged to answer the following questions:

  • The Opportunity: What market does your business capture? What is the opportunity you are tapping into?
  • The "Wow" Factor: What is different about your product or service? How will it stand out from the competition?
  • The Fundamentals: What type of enterprise are you launching? Who is your audience? How are you going to generate revenue to grow your enterprise?

"It's really great to see panellists speaking and helping us in the sessions." - Summit Participant

Ideas were passed around while table facilitators took notes and helped guide the idea creation process. The expert panel members went from table to table to check on the groups and coach them on their pitches. This exercise was valuable as it exposed those who had little to no experience in entrepreneurship to learn from others and, perhaps, plant the seed for them to one day launch their own enterprise.

"The range of ideas has been great; I think this is a really cool exercise" - Summit Participant

Online participants, through the moderated webcast, were also given the opportunity to pitch their start-up ideas to Ashleigh Weeden and to vote on their preferred pitch. Ashleigh then presented the online pitch to the summit audience.

Expert panel members called on individual tables based on some of the favourite pitches they had heard. Table facilitators presented their team's pitch to the audience and expert panel.

Highlights of the presentation include:

  • Micro-Modular Tiny Housing Company: One of the table groups presented their pitch for a social enterprise which would aim to serve the distinct need in western Ontario for entry-level housing for people entering the workforce. There are a lot of jobs available in the region, but wages do not correspond to current housing prices. This company would work with private developers to build small housing and charge a very small margin in order to allow people to get into their first home and access the housing market. This company would aim to tie into green energy initiatives and programs that are available.
  • Technological Training in a Box: Ashleigh Weeden presented to the summit, on behalf of the online group, a not-for-profit which would identify and address the gap in training and education for youth in technological literacy. This company would deliver services out of youth centres like Launch Pad and give youth the opportunity to leverage technological tools in order to develop skills, develop business pitches, become entrepreneurs, connect with employers and participate in the modern economy. Leveraging some of the existing infrastructure for training and education, this start-up would aim to contribute to the goal of making sure all rural Ontario youth are developing the skills they need to participate in today's changing world.

"Ashleigh did a fantastic job of moderating the online community and made everyone feel connected throughout the event. Even though I was several kilometres away from the event this method of communication made me feel as if I was present at the main location." - Online participant

Feedback from the Experts

The panel of experts offered feedback to each group that presented (including the pitch offered by the online participants). Moderator Blake Fly was quick to note a distinction between the investors on Dragons' Den and the summit expert panel in that the summit panel focused on offering constructive and positive feedback to each group using their own experience as entrepreneurs and business people. The expert panellists commented on how well the groups worked together and included, in their feedback, important considerations when launching a business, such as target audience and timelines.

Genny Smith (Huron County)

Genny is one of the core founders of EngageHURON. Genny has a vision and focus for youth retention and attraction in Huron County. In her presentation, she made several suggestions about how rural entrepreneurs can succeed:

  • Consider and identify potential sources of competition when designing a new business idea.
  • Consider various timelines for your new business. What is the short-term plan for the next month? Over the next six months?
  • Remember to look out for potential zoning issues. Different municipalities and communities have particular zoning rules that may act as obstacles to start-ups, depending on their activities.
  • It is important to choose a great name for your business-hopefully one that speaks true to what your enterprise is all about!
Tara McCaulley (St. Thomas)

Tara is a community builder from St. Thomas and is the Manager of the Elgin/St. Thomas Small Business Enterprise Centre.

  • When choosing a name for your business, choose a name that celebrates your business's rural roots.
  • Make sure you have ongoing support. It is important to stay close to a support system leading up to your launch and to look for supports to put in place for a year or two after you have launched.
Emily Morrison (Lucknow)

Emily established the entrepreneurship program at Brock Youth Centre upon graduation and has now returned to the family farm in Lucknow where she is currently working full-time for Huron County, coordinating marketing and promotions for the 2017 International Plowing Match.

  • Recognizing that it can be difficult for youth to access mentorship and expertise, focus on bringing those opportunities to you.
  • It is important for new businesses to actively think about where their support will come from. Be sure to look for other sources of support beyond municipal funding.
Sandra Abballe (Vaughan)

Sandra Abballe is the creator of Succulent Chocolates and Sweets Inc. and a part-time instructor in the Baking and Pastry Arts Program at Humber College.

  • Good communication and collaboration in a team can lead to success.
  • It is important for start-ups to identify their target market, it is important to fully understand the opportunity that your business has to help solve a particular issue or problem.
  • It is important to know your competition in order to succeed, but there may also be opportunities to collaborate with your competition.
Cole Jones (Kitchener)

Cole Jones is creator of Local Line, the transaction platform for wholesale food businesses. Today, Local Line has hundreds of customers including chefs, farmers, wholesalers, hospitals and more, in three provinces and five states.

  • For businesses that plan to expose youth to travel opportunities, consider linking youth with communities that can shed light and expertise on issues that are important to their own community or region.
  • It is not only essential for start-ups to focus on building on their ideas, but to spend time on perfecting and articulating a great business pitch in order to get people and funding on board.
  • Some sectors (like the agri-food sector) are becoming more and more digitized. There are opportunities for businesses to bring supply chains into accessible online systems.
  • When thinking about businesses that aim to provide youth with digital tools and resources, understand what is available in terms of technological infrastructure.

"We had some great options come across the table from aquaculture to a company based on the Uber model." - Summit participant

As an entrepreneur himself, moderator Blake Fly recognized that it takes a lot of hard work to start a business and the hard reality is that oftentimes entrepreneurs fail. Entrepreneurs learn from those failures to improve upon their next enterprise to succeed. There are very few things more rewarding than taking a business idea and turning it into reality.

Overall, this second session of the day helped to demonstrate the importance of rural businesses and enterprises. It also showed that youth can become entrepreneurs themselves to provide solutions for their rural communities. Youth were excited to be part of an exercise that encouraged them to think innovatively and were reminded of the importance of leveraging support in order to improve the chances of success.

Youth with an entrepreneurial spirit are a big part of the future of rural Ontario and their communities can play a part in helping them discover the array of opportunities that they can access in order to build a successful enterprise.

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Building Strong Social Infrastructure

Social infrastructure was broadly defined to include the web of public services and institutions that are funded by any level of government (federal, provincial or municipal) to support the development and health of a community. Examples of social infrastructure include: schools, hospitals, public transit systems, affordable housing, libraries and community centres.

Blake Fly began the session by defining the concept of social infrastructure and helping the audience wrap their heads around the vast array of services offered by all governments. He then went on to explain the activity that would help participants think creatively about social infrastructure and the resource limitations that governments face when introducing new programs and services.

"I think it's a great opportunity for rural youth to share ideas. I don't think there are enough opportunities for rural youth from different communities to speak with one another, transportation being a problem. Access to this kind of opportunity is awesome." - Summit participant

Options for Social Infrastructure

After his introduction on social infrastructure, Blake provided instructions on the session's activity. He asked each team to select one of the following areas in which they would like to see social infrastructure developed for an ideal community:

  • Health care
  • Education, training and skills development
  • Public transportation
  • Sports, recreation and youth
  • Tourism and arts and culture
  • Connectivity services (e.g. broadband)
  • Housing

Table facilitators then helped their teams come up with three options for social infrastructure initiatives - one no-cost, low-cost and high-cost each - and to consider the return on public investment (ROI) for each option.

After teams came up with their options, Blake called on tables to present their options and analysis on the ROI of their social infrastructure initiatives. Ideas ranged from mental health services and youth-oriented community hubs to public transit and tourism promotion.

"How can we better our community together and who can we use to help support it? We can make rural Ontario exciting, we can make it a destination, we can make it a place businesses want to come and be a part of. It's not just about city centres, it's about showcasing Ontario and everything that we have here." - Summit participant

Here are connectivity services options presented by one group:

  • No-cost option: Creating a program for youth volunteers to help teach older members of the community how to use technology and create partnerships with community groups who can benefit from the service.
  • Low-cost option: Partner with companies that can supply technology to the youth group looking to bring it to older community members. Groups can seek funding for transportation and support around the initiative.
  • High-cost option: Investing to install high-optic fibre cables throughout the community to connect all citizens to high-speed internet and to close existing access gaps.

Ashleigh Weeden led a similar exercise, using the TextBack Survey platform, to have online participants select a social infrastructure area. Through this vote, the online audience selected sports, recreation and youth as their area of choice. Ashleigh then presented the best ideas for each option:

  • No-cost option: Creating volunteer activities for youth to be involved in cultural events using existing infrastructure, such as schools and gyms. For example, hosting community walk-to-school days to bring people together and get them active.
  • Low-cost option: Creating a program to have existing recreation facilities employ youth, enabling them to gain work experience and build a sense of social belonging.
  • High-cost option: Building and operating a state-of-the-art recreation centre which is available and accessible to all citizens in the community.

This exercise helped participants consider the range of options that can be used to improve a community and address problems. Sometimes low-cost options can be very effective solutions. Other times, communities need to invest in higher-cost social infrastructure to address issues. Some of the ideas shared during the session will hopefully spark new initiatives in rural communities.

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Engaging Youth in Civic Leadership

Opportunities for civic engagement help strengthen social bonds and give citizens the opportunity to help shape where they live. From citizen councils to public consultations, from working groups to volunteer organizations, residents and community groups have numerous opportunities to engage in rural Ontario.

The excitement and creativity of the day enabled youth to see themselves as important contributors to their communities and that they can make a difference. What better way to end the day than with a session that would provide examples of how youth can engage in civic life back home!

Through a moderated panel discussion, guest speakers were invited to reflect on the concept of civic leadership and how communities can best engage youth in civic opportunities. Blake Fly served as the moderator for the panel, which included guests with a wide array of backgrounds.

"I've never before looked at my community as being filled with so much potential as what I can now see." - Summit participant

The four panelists were:
  • The Honourable Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry (MPP for Cambridge);
  • Johanne Baril, Mayor of the Municipality of Val Rita-Harty;
  • Phil Winters, Manager of renewable energy portfolio, Eaton Canada (formerly Cooper Industries) , founder and CEO of E*Gen Power Inc, and co-owner of Winterbrook Hops (Caledon);
  • Mitch Case, President of the Métis Nation of the Ontario Youth Council and youth representative on the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (Sault Ste. Marie)

"For someone who is a youth here, it's a great networking experience, I'm learning a lot from people at my table who have a lot of great experiences and stories to share." - Summit participant

Blake Fly posed a series of questions that asked the panelists to reflect on their own experiences and to provide advice to the audience, with a particular focus on the youth in attendance.

What is civic leadership?

  1. It means volunteering
  2. Being involved in your community
  3. Being involved in the political process
  4. Engagement and participation
  5. It's about stepping up

What tools can be used to engage citizens and encourage civic leadership in rural communities?

  1. Register, educate and turnout to vote
  2. Social media
  3. Two-way communication between youth and political leadership is important
  4. Political leaders need to come prepared when communicating with youth because young people have access to information at their finger tips
  5. Seek out mentoring and learn from other people and other groups
  6. Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing can mobilize new funds
  7. Evaluation enables you to track your progress

How can rural municipalities and community organizations leverage civic engagement to build stronger communities?

  1. It's sometimes a little more difficult in a rural area so it takes some more creativity
  2. Engaging with neighbours in a grassroots way and making the space for connection to happen. Communities can leverage civic leadership by telling the stories of the past communities on the land, and by enabling youth to leave their imprint on their communities
  3. Creating local business opportunities for youth as a long term retention strategy

How can civic engagement be made more accessible for youth?

  1. There needs to be flexibility with time: organizations need to be more flexible with meeting community stakeholders, especially youth.
  2. Meaningful engagement, not just tokenism.

What are the little things people can do in their own communities to encourage participation?

  1. Ask a young person what they are good at and engage them at that level. This develops them in their community and allows them to feel valued through their contribution.

Be informed, not entitled. Being informed entitles you to an opinion. Share it wherever you can.- Summit participant

If you want to make your communities flourish you have to get very savvy and learn to collaborate" - Summit participant

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Closing the Summit

Arthur Potts, the Parliamentary Assistant (PA) to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and former Parliamentary Assistant to Minister Leal, offered some insights to close out the summit, reflecting on the importance of local engagement with rural Ontario. (For background on PA Potts, see Appendix C.) He also noted that it is important for governments to encourage rural entrepreneurs to succeed by, for example, building up the cider industry and micro-distilleries across the province.

PA Potts expanded on the idea of entrepreneurialism and shared some of his personal experiences as an entrepreneur. Growing up, he heard that for every ten businesses created, only one succeeded; PA Potts' objective was to start several new businesses and hope that at least one would succeed. He reiterated that entrepreneurs contribute to solutions and address needs, as well as being a job-creating force.

In addressing the question of youth retention and attraction directly, PA Potts echoed Minister Leal's comments about the importance of not only thinking about retaining youth but also appealing to urban youth and new Canadians. There are many reasons that living and working in rural areas is attractive and it is important to showcase these opportunities in rural communities.

Finally, PA Potts shared the Ontario government's commitment to three initiatives that will continue the dialogue that began with the 2016 Summit:

  1. Publishing the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit Summary Report.
    Through the ideas, feedback and best practices shared at the summit, this report will serve as a guide for engaging other Ontarians on building the future of rural Ontario.
  2. Creating a one-window website to assist rural Ontarians in accessing important government resources.
    Work is ongoing to deliver on this commitment to make the Ontario government more accessible to rural Ontarians.
  3. Hosting a third Rural Ontario Summit to take place in 2018.
    Work has already begun on the 2018 Summit, which will continue the conversation that began with the Ontario government's first two summits. Details will be posted on the OMAFRA web site when available.

Valuable Lessons from the Summit

The 2016 Rural Ontario Summit, and the roundtables which Minister Leal held in advance, served as an opportunity for lively discussions and for valuable feedback to be shared and collected that will help shape the future of rural Ontario. The dialogue that took place at the 2016 Summit provided key insights for government, community organizations and rural Ontarians. For example:

  • Rural youth are full of potential and communities should encourage their young residents to be engaged and help them succeed.
  • Bringing youth together with their elders to share their experiences and discuss community needs can help build common understanding to find innovative solutions for the collective good of communities.
  • Good, sustainable jobs are crucial to attracting and retaining youth in rural communities
  • A better connected rural Ontario can help youth and communities reach their potential. Whether it is through enhanced broadband access or public transportation, there are many ways to continue building up rural Ontario.
  • Mental health resources are a social infrastructure need which should be addressed.
  • Celebrate and showcase youth who are positively contributing to their communities and helping build the future of rural Ontario.

Summit Success: being exposed to people who have similar feelings about the importance of community and especially staying around where you grew up, and seeing the value in that." - Summit participant

"I feel like out of what happened today, there will be networks and friends and peers developed out of it." - Summit participant

"This opens up my eyes to everything that our province is able to do for us." - Summit participant

"All the interactions and the exercises on the four themes is fantastic." - Summit participant

Ongoing Dialogue for Building the Future

The relationships built at the summit were an investment for tomorrow. It is important to see the 2016 Summit as not a moment in time, but as part of an ongoing conversation.

As the Ontario government works toward the 2018 Rural Ontario Summit, Ontarians are encouraged to stay informed and share their ideas for building rural Ontario up.

In preparation for the 2018 Summit, which will focus on the theme of rural economic development, Minister Leal will once again be traveling to rural communities across the province to host roundtables to discuss the future of rural Ontario. These roundtables will be centred on rural economic development, a theme that has consistently recurred at both the 2014 and 2016 Rural Ontario Summits.

The Ontario government is also launching the Rural Ontario Leaders Awards to celebrate the contributions of rural communities, businesses, organizations and individuals in building a strong future for rural Ontario. Award recipients will be announced at the 2018 Summit.

Here are other ways to keep in touch:

  • Check out and engage with the #RuralOn hashtag on Twitter - stories, events and conversations are all at your fingertips. To relive the excitement of the 2016 Summit, check out #ROS16.
  • To learn more about the 2018 Summit, please visit the OMAFRA website where details will be posted shortly.

"The Summit was an exceptional day of engaging rural youth, service providers and the Ontario government on issues affecting our rural areas today. As a young professional under 30, and a table facilitator, I listened to insightful leaders, while contributing my own views on rural youth retention. One participant contributed: 'People always talk about rural as a place to retire. I see it as a place to raise a family. If you grow up in a small town that is how you feel. It takes a village. It takes a community.' What an excellent opportunity to network with our rural community." - Summit participant


Appendix A: 2016 Rural Ontario Summit Agenda

Welcome and Introduction

8:00 Registration and Trade Show

8:45 Welcome and Instruction by Blake Fly, Master of Ceremonies

9:15 Welcome by the Honourable Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Opportunities for Education and Training

9:30 Jacinda Rudolph (Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre)
Debra Brown and Logan Emiry (4-H Ontario)
Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux (Lakehead University)

10:00 Table Discussion

10:30 Break

Creating Jobs and Entrepreneurship

10:45 Team Activity Instructions and Introduction of Expert Panel: Genny Smith (Engage HURON), Tara McCaulley (St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation), Emily Morrison (International Plowing Match 2017), Chef Sandra Abballe (Succulent Chocolates and Sweets Inc.) and Cole Jones (Local Line)

11:00 Create Your Pitch Activity

11:45 Pitches to Expert Panel

12:30 Lunch

Building Strong Social Infrastructure

1:30 Getting Familiar with Social Infrastructure and Team Activity Instructions

1:40 Options for Social Infrastructure Activity

2:25 Team Presentations

3:15 Break

Engaging Youth in Civic Leadership

3:30 Introduction of Panel: The Honourable Kathryn McGarry (Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry), Johanne Baril (Mayor of Val Rita-Harty), Mitch Case (Métis Nation of Ontario Youth Council) and Phil Winters (Winterbrook Hops)

3:35 Civic Leadership Panel Discussion

4:15 Q&A Session with Panel

4:45 Summit Wrap-Up and Closing

5:30 Building the Future Reception

Appendix B: 2016 Rural Ontario Summit Moderators

Blake Fly
Moderator and In-room Master of Ceremonies

Blake has been a TEDx conference host, a featured TEDx speaker and is the author of The Campus Life Guide. He's even shared the stage with the CBC's Rick Mercer. Blake spent nearly a decade living, learning and leading in university residences as a residence advisor and then as a residence manager of one of the country's largest student buildings. Blake is known for his creative approach to community building. He transfers his lessons from campus life to his daily life.

Ashleigh Weeden
Moderator/Online Moderator

Ashleigh Weeden is an award-winning community engagement practitioner. As a writer, facilitator and community developer, she works with progressive public servants and engaged citizens to take the lid off local government, so everyone can play inside city hall.

Ashleigh currently lives and works in Owen Sound, where she leads Grey County's Connected County Initiative, building collaborative community partnerships aimed at leveraging broadband connectivity for sustainable and innovative community economic development. She also provides communications and community engagement support to the Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus's South West Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) initiative, which will build an integrated, ultra-high-speed, fibre-optic network, to serve all of western Ontario.

Ashleigh holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Victoria, an Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Development (Political Economy and Administrative Change) from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Public Participation from the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).

Appendix C: Speakers/Panel Members

Sandra Abballe

Sandra is the creator of Succulent Chocolates and Sweets Inc. and a part-time instructor in the Baking and Pastry Arts Program at Humber College.

Debra Brown

Debra is Executive Director of 4-H Ontario and understands the importance of applied learning as a tool for rural education. She has long been involved in the communities in which she lives and has spent her career creating programs and experiences with youth. Debra treasures her memories of 4-H as a child and returned to 4-H in 2012.

Johanne Baril

Johanne was elected Mayor of the Municipality of Val Rita-Harty during the 2014 Ontario Municipal Elections, her first term as a municipal elected official. Her ultimate goal is diversifying her small, northern, rural and mainly Francophone community by breaking down silos, increasing Indigenous consultations and cultivating regional partnerships in order to develop the vast potential of northeastern Ontario's economy.

Mitch Case

Mitch is President of the Métis Nation of Ontario Youth Council (MNOYC) and youth representative on the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Mitch is passionate about increasing the number of youth involved in all aspects of the MNO and was proud to lead the MNOYC in becoming one of the most active councils in the MNO, bringing forward more resolutions than any other constituency in the MNO over four years.

Logan Emiry

During his eight years as a 4-H Ambassador from Sudbury, Logan has travelled the province, country and the world, learning about and advocating for Canadian agriculture. Growing up in a rural area has led Logan to become a very involved member of his community, high school and 4-H club.

Cole Jones

Cole is the creator of Local Line, a transaction platform for wholesale food businesses. Today, Local Line has hundreds of customers including chefs, farmers, wholesalers, hospitals and more, in three provinces and five states.

Jeff Leal

The Honourable Jeff Leal is Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Minister Responsible for Small Business, as well as the MPP for Peterborough. He was first elected to the Ontario Legislature as the MPP for Peterborough in 2003. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in June 2014, and Minister Responsible for Small Business in January 2017. Jeff has served previously as the Minister of Rural Affairs, Chief Government Whip and as Parliamentary Assistant to the ministers of Aboriginal Affairs, the Environment, Energy, Economic Development and Trade and Training, Colleges and Universities.

Tara McCauley

Tara is a community builder from St. Thomas, Ontario and is the Manager of the Elgin/St. Thomas Small Business Enterprise Centre.

Kathryn McGarry

The Honourable Kathryn McGarry is Ontario's Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. McGarry was previously Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation. She was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2014 as the MPP for Cambridge. Minister McGarry is very active in her community, particularly as an advocate for health care and cultural heritage. She is a founding member of the Hospice of Waterloo Region, and a past president of Heritage Cambridge. She received the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 2009, and a Bernice Adams Memorial Award in 2011 for her community service.

Emily Morrison

Emily established the entrepreneurship program at Brock Youth Centre upon graduation and has now returned to the family farm in Lucknow where she currently is working full-time for Huron County, on coordinating marketing and promotions for the 2017 International Plowing Match.

Arthur Potts

Arthur Potts is the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and former Parliamentary Assistant to Minister Leal. He was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2014 as the MPP for Beaches-East York. PA Potts holds a BA in Political Philosophy from the University of Toronto, and an MA in Industrial Relations from Queen's University. Prior to being elected, Arthur was a government relations expert.

Jacinda Rudolph

Jacinda is Project Manager, for the Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre for youth aged 12 to 18, in Hanover. Jacinda is passionate about helping youth develop their technical and interpersonal skills and has translated that enthusiasm into Launch Pad programming. For more information, visit Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre.

Genny Smith

Genny is one of the core founders of EngageHURON, a Huron County-based youth recruitment, retention and sustainment group. Genny has a vision and focus for youth retention and attraction in Huron County.

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux is the Vice Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives and a Research Affiliate of the Centre for Health Care Ethics at Lakehead University. She is also adjunct Assistant Professor for the Faculty of Anthropology. Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux is a member of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation in Lake Simcoe and a member of the governing circle of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

Phil Winters

Phil currently manages the renewable energy portfolio for Eaton Canada (formerly Cooper Industries) and is founder and CEO of E*Gen Power Inc., an Ontario solar project development firm. He is also co-owner of Winterbrook Hops in Caledon.

Appendix D: Trade Show: Participating Partners

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development can help you get the education and training you need to build a rewarding career after high school. You can choose from university and college programs, apprenticeships and many other kinds of training and education.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is committed to the success of Ontario's rural communities and its food and agriculture sectors. The ministry is the originator of both the 2014 and 2016 Rural Ontario Summits, and featured a range of tools and supports for rural youth at its display.

Ministry of Children and Youth Services

The ministry is working with government and community partners to develop and implement policies, programs and a service system that helps give children the best possible start in life. This prepares youth to become productive adults and make it easier for families to access the services they need at all stages of a child's development. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services was a natural partner in the second Rural Ontario Summit.

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

The ministry provides services for successful economic and social integration of newcomers, which maximizes the benefits of immigration and promotes greater social inclusion, civic and community engagement, and recognition among all Ontarians.

Ontario Trillium Foundation

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada's largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)

Through AMO, Ontario's 444 municipalities work together to achieve shared goals and meet common challenges. AMO's advocacy focuses on ensuring that provincial policies and programs respect municipal authority. AMO develops a variety of advocacy positions on all matters that impact Ontario's municipalities. These positions are in the form of backgrounders, policy updates, reports and submissions and more to inform our membership of current issues affecting the municipal sector.

Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO)

AMCTO represents excellence in local government management and leadership. AMCTO has provided education, accreditation, leadership and implementation expertise for Ontario's municipal professionals for more than 75 years. With over 2,100 members working in municipalities across Ontario, AMCTO is Canada's largest voluntary association of local government professionals and the leading professional development organization for municipal administrative staff.

Municipal Finance Officers' Association of Ontario (MFOA)

The Municipal Finance Officers' Association of Ontario (MFOA), established in 1989, is the professional association of municipal finance officers with more than 2,300 individual members. It represents individuals who are responsible for handling the financial affairs of municipalities and who are key advisors to councils on matters of finance policy.

Stratford Tourism Alliance/Perth County Visitors Association (on behalf of the town of Stratford)

The Stratford Tourism Alliance (STA) Corporation is a private sector, non-profit incorporated body with industry membership and City of Stratford representation. The booth displayed Stratford tourist attractions that would be of interest to participants of all ages

Perth Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC)

To help your business succeed, Perth CFDC welcomes clients at all stages of the business development process. Whether you just have an idea or have a complete plan, CFDC can help coach you toward the next step!

Stratford Perth Business Centre (SCC BIA)

The SCC BIA aims to maintain Stratford City Centre as an active and viable area as well as beautify the city centre and to encourage preservation of the city centre's architectural heritage.

Rural Ontario Institute (ROI)

Established in 2010, the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) was created through the amalgamation of The Centre for Rural Leadership (TCRL) and The Ontario Rural Council (TORC). ROI delivers programs that develop strong leaders who are critical voices around opportunities and key issues facing rural Ontario.

Ontario Arts Council (OAC)

For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2015 -16, the Ontario Arts Council funded 1,676 individual artists and 1,125 organizations in 209 communities across Ontario for a total of $50.5 million.

Four County Labour Market Planning Board

The Four County Labour Market Planning Board plans and promotes local labour market strategies to meet the challenges of a changing economy.

Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance

By bridging the gap between the food and travel industries, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance is strengthening the links between the viticulture, agriculture and aquaculture sectors to the hospitality sector to promote the growth of food tourism. The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance's work lies in developing strong relationships between growers, chefs, processors, restaurateurs, accommodation providers, distributors, government and industry organizations. But above all, they act as the leading voice to share Ontario's culinary stories with passion and pride.

Canadian Mental Health Association - Huron Perth Branch CMHA)

As the nationwide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience and support recovery from mental illness.


The four H's stand for head, heart, hands and health. In Ontario, 4-H members aged 9 to21 come together with volunteer leaders to create a 4-H club, where members learn about a selected topic through hands-on activities and mentorship.

Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre

A decade-long in the making, the Launch Pad represents an innovative collaboration between governments, private enterprise, educational institutions and community members. Created for and with Hanover's youth, the Launch Pad officially opened its doors in 2015 and offers a unique environment for young people to access technology, skills building opportunities, arts and recreation and contribute to ongoing community building initiatives. Launch Pad participated in the first-ever "Teeny Tiny Summit" on March 30, 2016, in Seeley's Bay; an event dedicated to community economic development in Ontario's smallest places and co-sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Parks and Recreation Ontario

Parks and Recreation Ontario is a non-profit association that advances the health, social and environmental benefits of quality recreation and parks through evidence-based practices, resources and collaborative partnerships.

Appendix E: Pre-Summit Roundtable

Locations and Communities Represented by Participants (all dates 2016)

1) City of Welland (February 29)

  • City of Welland
  • Town of Grimsby
  • Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Town of Lincoln
  • Town of Pelham
  • Township of Wainfleet
  • Township of West Lincoln
  • City of Thorold
  • City of Port Colborne

2) City of Belleville (March 7)

  • City of Belleville
  • Town of Greater Napanee
  • Municipality of Centre Hastings
  • Municipality of Tweed
  • Township of Stirling-Rawdon
  • Township of Tyendinaga

3) Town of Penetanguishene (March 21)

  • Town of Innisfil
  • City of Orillia
  • Town of New Tecumseth
  • Town of Penetanguishene
  • Town of Collingwood
  • City of Barrie
  • Town of Midland
  • Town of Wasaga Beach

4) Town of Perth (April 4)

  • Tay Valley Township
  • Town of Perth
  • Town of Smiths Falls
  • Township of Drummond North Elmsley
  • Township of Montague
  • Loyalist Township
  • Township of Lanark Highlands

5) City of Owen Sound (April 11)

  • City of Owen Sound
  • Township of Southgate
  • Municipality of Meaford
  • Town of Hanover
  • Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula
  • Town of Saugeen Shores
  • Town of South Bruce Peninsula

6) Town of Simcoe (April 18)

  • Norfolk County
  • Haldimand County
  • Township of Norwich
  • Town of Tillsonburg
  • Municipality of Bayham
  • Town of Ingersoll
  • Town of Aylmer

7) Bancroft (May 2)

  • Town of Bancroft
  • Municipality of Centre Hastings
  • Limerick Township
  • Marmora and Lake Municipality
  • Wollaston Township

8) City of Timmins (May 12)

  • City of Timmins
  • Town of Cochrane
  • Township of Black River-Matheson
  • Town of Iroquois Falls
  • Town of Kapuskasing
  • Town of Kirkland Lake
  • Town of Smooth Rock Falls

9) Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury (May 30)

  • Town of Aurora
  • Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury
  • Town of East Gwillimbury
  • Town of Georgina
  • Township of King
  • Town of Uxbridge

10) City of Peterborough - June 16, 2016

  • Township of Asphodel-Norwood
  • Township of Cavan-Monaghan
  • Township of Douro-Dummer
  • Township of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen
  • North Kawartha Township
  • Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan
  • Township of Selwyn
  • Municipality of Trent Lakes
  • Curve Lake First Nation
  • Hiawatha First Nation

11) City of Kingston - June 27, 2016

  • City of Kingston
  • Township of Frontenac Islands
  • Township of South Frontenac
  • Town of Gananoque
  • Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands
  • Township of Rideau Lakes
  • Township of Athens
  • Front of Yonge Township
Core Discussion Questions for Roundtables
  • What conditions help attract youth to a rural community?
  • What barriers do youth face remaining in or relocating to rural Ontario communities?
  • How can municipalities engage youth in civic leadership roles?
  • Does your municipality have a youth strategy and/or job strategy?
  • What Government of Ontario programs are helping your community retain and attract youth?

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 06 October 2016
Last Reviewed: 24 July 2017