The best solution to address poverty in rural and northern communities is to cultivate vibrant communities. The concepts of equity and justice underpin discussions about poverty, and those implications, in rural and northern communities. It is time to move beyond ‘fix-it’ solutions, toward a fundamental policy shift that reflects historic and systematic inequalities associated with residency in rural and northern communities. Manitoba presents a unique situation in that more than half of the province’s population resides within its capital city, Winnipeg, Manitoba. This creates policy and programming challenges; programmes designed to be implemented within an urban setting do not always translate into appropriate rural and northern policy goals. The health and vitality of rural and northern communities hinges on federal and provincial policy agendas that seek to alleviate inequity stemming from geography, demographic, social and economic differences, while encouraging sustainable community development. This submission speaks to projects undertaken by the Rural Development Institute and its partners related to community and regional development.