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University of Guelph researchers with Perth County participants standing and kneeling together  at a focus group

Attracting immigrants to rural Ontario

As a way of ensuring their long-term viability, Ontario’s rural communities should do more to attract and keep newcomers in their municipalities – and a University of Guelph professor has developed some recommendations on how to best do that.

Changing demographics are leaving many rural areas struggling with declining populations, and although immigration is a key solution, most of the province’s immigrants prefer to settle in large urban centres like Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton or London.

Out of the Classroom and Into the Field

In 2010, Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) dean Rob Gordon met with Aileen MacNeil, director of the Agriculture Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) regarding the challenges the branch was facing with finding qualified employees. While scribbling ideas on a napkin at a restaurant, the two agreed on a partnership where OAC students could learn new skills under the mentorship of both OMAFRA staff and University of Guelph (UofG) professors.

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