First ever Rural Strategy puts focus on economic growth in Northwestern Ontario and Rural Canada

Kenora MP Bob Nault
Kenora MP Bob Nault

KENORA – Bob Nault, on behalf of the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, announced the launch of Canada’s first ever Rural Economic Development Strategy and new Connectivity Strategy.

“The Rural Economic Development Strategy represents the voice of rural Canadians across the country,” stated Nault. “It is the first of its kind, which reflects the challenges, priorities, and tremendous opportunities for ridings such as our own.”

The Strategy outlines ways to maximize federal investments to improve the quality and resiliency of community infrastructure, create good jobs, support trade and investment, and strengthen skills of workers. The Strategy sets the stage for long-term strategic investments to respond to the specific needs of rural communities. It also commits the Government of Canada to adopt a rural perspective when making decisions on federal programs, policies, and initiatives.

The Strategy cites high-speed Internet access as essential for rural and remote Northerners and Canadians to thrive in the digital economy. High-Speed Access for All is the Government’s plan to ensure that all Canadians have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. It also commits to improving mobile wireless coverage where Canadians live and work, and along major highways and roads. Through the Connect to Innovate program, the Government is extending high-speed Internet service to 900 rural and remote communities

“As Northerners, we know the potential the North holds; from our entrepreneurs to natural resource development, and much more,” concluded Nault. “Combined with the ingenuity of local people, this first-ever National Rural Strategy will help create a prosperous, thriving rural Canada and make the North even stronger.”

“Canada’s rural communities play an important role in our country’s social and economic well-being. By working to provide high-speed Internet and greater mobile access to rural Canada, working with our partners and finding ways to maximize federal investments; we will help unlock rural opportunity for all. Together, these strategies will serve as a roadmap for the long-term success and prosperity of rural Canada,” Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development.

Quick facts

  • The Government has proposed an ambitious plan to ensure that every household in Canada, no matter how rural or remote, has access to high-speed Internet and mobile wireless services.
  • Through Budget 2019, the Government has proposed historic investments of up to $6 billion for high-speed connectivity.
  • Through the Connect to Innovate program, the Government is extending high-speed Internet service to 900 rural and remote communities – of which 190 are Indigenous – with an impact on over 380,000 households. More than the 300 originally anticipated.  Budget 2019 investments will provide an additional top-up to the successful program.
  • Through the $180-billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, Canada’s rural and northern communities are benefitting from a renewal of public infrastructure that includes investments in roads, bridges and highways; water treatment systems; cleaner, more affordable sources of electricity; storm-water systems and natural barriers that reduce the risk of flooding brought on by extreme weather events.
    • $2 billion of this funding is earmarked specifically to support infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities; and
    • $400 million is being delivered through the Arctic Energy Fund to deliver cleaner, more affordable electricity to residents living in Canada’s territories.