Profiling Competitive Rural Regions in Canada: A Focus on Self-contained Labour Areas

Enhancing competitiveness of rural regions has become a priority for rural
development agencies in Canada and across OECD countries. Competitiveness,
as defined by the former federal Rural and Co-operatives Secretariat, is the
capacity of a rural area to attract and retain investment, people and jobs
while maintaining viable economic activity and stable or rising standards of
living for the inhabitants in the area. This study provides a demographic and
socio-economic profile of “competitive regions” by focusing on the capacity
of a region to retain and attract people, as measured by population change
between 2001 and 2006. For this reason, this research used the concept of
self-contained labour areas (SLAs) as defined by Munro et al., 2011 and looked
at the competitiveness among regions within two peer groups: larger SLAs
(population of 100,000 or more) and smaller SLAs (population of less than
100,000). Within each of the two peer groups, three levels of competitiveness
were defined based on the average population growth of the peer group. This
study provides an overview of the SLAs in the two peer groups and the three
competitiveness levels within those groups, together with a demographic and
socio-economic profile of these areas.