Rural Response to COVID-19 [Pilot Study] 
Funder: University of Guelph
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching and extend beyond the spread of the disease and efforts to quarantine it. With emergency management efforts underway, opportunities exist to develop more effective and efficient response measures to increase the resiliency of our communities amidst this and future public health crises. Developing impactful resilience strategies requires a regional- and community-scale focus. While most Canadians live in urban centres, nearly 20% of the national population resides in small and/or rural centres. Across Canada’s rural landscape are communities facing unique realities, complex challenges, and numerous opportunities.
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Team members involved:
Miranda Ivany (MSc Student)
Jacob Papineau (PhD Student)

Learning from COVID-19 to identify supports and structures that will strengthen rural response to future disruption
Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
This research study asks: what enabling supports and structures would help small/rural communities in Northern Ontario to more effectively respond to disruption? Working with small communities in Northern Ontario, the project will include document review and interviews, then a participatory workshop to develop recommendations. Results will contribute to strengthening Canada’s public health system by identifying opportunities to better support local governments in small and rural communities to promote health and wellbeing.
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If you wish to participate, please click here to read the participation invitation.
Team members involved:
Amanda Mongeon (PhD Candidate)
Portia Derbedrosian (Research Assistant)

Rural Response to Disruptive Events
Funder: Ontario Government and County Partners
Rural communities are experiencing unprecedented challenges related to COVID-19: business closures, employment disruption, lack of revenue, and inability to maintain critical service delivery. To ensure that emergency preparedness in terms of actions that rural communities and government can take reflect their on-the-ground realities and concerns, it is critical that broad-based, community-focused data is collected and exchanged. Examining six counties from Ontario, this mixed-method project (i.e., surveys and interviews/focus groups) will examine well-being (e.g., mental health), social behaviour (e.g., employment-impacted behaviour), day-to-day living (e.g., shopping habits) and risk management (e.g., accessing existing services). Results will be coalesced into geographic regions (e.g., provincial- and/or county-level, lower and/or upper tier municipalities) to highlight (i) successful initiatives, (ii) pre-existing and newly recognized vulnerable populations within and across rural communities, and to make recommendations for how the province can continue to support rural communities to develop appropriate response plans for COVID-19 and future disruptive events.
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Team members involved:
Jacob Papineau (PhD student)
Megan Cranfield (MSc student)
Julia Di Castri (BA student)
Nicholas Vamvakaris (BLA student)
Emma Pothion (BLA student)
Ahmad Nazari (BLA student)
Finley O'Brien (BLA student)

Evaluating energy integration in rural Manitoba development plans
Funder: Social Science and Humanities Research Council – CGSM and the University of Guelph
Rural communities are at the forefront of Canada’s clean energy transition. Federal commitments to net-zero will require vast amounts of new energy infrastructure in rural places that land-use planning frameworks are not equipped for. Examining rural municipalities in Manitoba, this mixed-methods research reviews local development plans (the same as official plans) using a plan quality evaluation framework and interviews municipal officials, planners, and utility staff. Findings will help identify barriers and opportunities to the integration of energy planning into rural land-use planning frameworks.
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Team members involved:
Michael Kvern (MSc student)