Rural Development Institute and Rural Policy Learning Commons recommend infrastructure investment to Senate committee

May 17, 2017

BRANDON, Man. – A new report by the Rural Development Institute (RDI) at Brandon University (BU), the BU-housed Rural Policy Learning Commons (RPLC) and the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) recommends an overhaul of infrastructure funding for rural areas of Canada.

The report was presented to the Senate of Canada’s Committee on National Finance this month by Dr. Ryan Gibson, a University of Guelph professor and member of the CRRF and RPLC. The report pointed to the current model of infrastructure funding through conditional grants for capital projects as burdensome. It states that the current model is unable to respond to the challenges and diversity of rural Canada. The report suggests that long-term, flexible funding would encourage local autonomy and accountability, while allowing for operations, maintenance and improvements.

“When RDI and BU spearheaded the launch of the Rural Policy Learning Commons in 2014, we saw the partnership as a way to bring together people from around the world with the common goal of creating sound policy that would benefit rural and northern communities,” said Dr. Ashton, Director of RDI.

“It’s very rewarding to see that happen, as scholars from post-secondary educational institutions across Canada and  provincial and regional government have collaborated to reach  some of Canada’s most influential decision-makers with valuable analysis.”

Dr. Gibson, the primary author of the report, graduated from Brandon University’s Master of Rural Development program and contributed to RDI research projects.

The full report can be read at:

The Rural Development Institute is a not-for-profit research and development organization designed to promote, facilitate, coordinate, initiate and conduct mult-disciplinary academic and applied research on rural issues.

Through collaboration and networking, the Rural Policy Learning Commons adds to the research of rural policy as it applies to governance, infrastructure and services, human capital and migration, and natural resource development. The RPLC is a seven-year initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation is a national charity that contributes to the revitalization and sustainability of rural Canada through collaborative research for rural leaders in the community, private sector, and in all levels of government.


For more information, please contact:

Dr. William (Bill) Ashton
Director, Rural Development Institute

Rob Henderson
Marketing Communications Officer