This article features some highlights from the second day of the 28th Annual Rural Policy Conference of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) held from October 12 to 15, 2016 in Guelph.
Lessons from a First Nation Community
The program started with a plenary presentation by Andrée Cazabon and Angelica Mckay on
“Lessons learned in a remote First Nation Community during a unique reconciliation trip to their homes.”
Ms. Cazabon is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose fifth film, “Third World Canada,” documents the living conditions of children and families on a First Nations reserve. She is taking this film to various audiences to promote reconciliation and to raise awareness.
Ms. Mckay is a member of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (kitchen-ooh-may-koosib I-nni-noo-woog – or K.I. for short) community on Big Trout Lake in north western Ontario, which was the community featured in the film by Ms. Cazabon. She is in Grade 11 in Sioux Lookout, Ontario and is one of the youth leaders who organize an annual reconciliation trip to her community. Angelica and the other youth leaders were responsible for bringing the first ever overnight Royal visitors to an Indigenous community – welcoming the Countess of Wessex and the Premier of Ontario in 2014.
Alessandro Alasia (Statistics Canada) spoke on plans to update and improve the self-contained labour areas (SLA) that were delineated for an earlier census period. Each SLA can be viewed as a functional economic area in the sense that any economic development investment will be “contained” within this area because each SLA is delineated such that very few individuals commute into (or commute out of) the SLA. Thus, any job created locally will be available to local workers.
Patrick Charbonneau (Statistics Canada) spoke about the project to estimate the population numbers each year for each census subdivision (i.e. each incorporated town or municipality).
Brian Murphy (Statistics Canada) spoke about using taxfiler data to publish annual demographic and economic data for each community with a population of 10,000 or more (and the average for all communities in a province with less than 10,000 residents).
Paul Knafelc (Community Benchmarks) spoke about the taxfiler data that he has tabulated for each census division (county) in Ontario to show, among those individuals who moved to your census divisions, what share of individuals reported a gain in income and what proportion reported an income decline.
Nelson Rogers (Community Ingenuity) and Bob Leitch (Sonoptic) spoke about their project to help communities to help themselves by accessing relevant community data.
Finally, I presented an overview of a forthcoming “Small Area Data Guide” to be published by the Rural Ontario Institute, as part of their Rural Community Vitality Measurement Initiative.
Why data matters
“Finding, and then using, data for your community or region can really improve the design of local programs.”
For example, Mr. Knaflec compared census divisions that could easily attract in-migrants but needed to work on retention programs because they were losing many out-migrants from their region. Other regions lost very few out-migrants but need to focus on increasing their number of in-migrants.
“Good data matters when it comes to the design of strategies for attraction and / or retention of workers.”
Ray Bollman on site at CRRF conference – Day #2!
 See Munro, Anne, Alessandro Alasia and Ray D. Bollman. (2011) “Self-contained labour areas: A proposed delineation and classification by degree of rurality.” Rural and Small Town Canada Analysis Bulletin Vol. 8, No. 8 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 21-006-XIE) (www.statcan.gc.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?catno=21-006-X&CHROPG=1&lang=eng).
 See Section 8.4 in Statistics Canada. (2016) Population and Family Estimation Methods at Statistics Canada (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 91-528-X ISBN 978-1-100-23160-0).
 Statistics Canada. (2015) Annual Income Estimates for Census Families and Individuals (T1 Family File): Family Data – User’s Guide (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Catalogue No. 13C0016).
Statistics Canada. (2015) Annual Income Estimates for Census Families and Individuals (T1 Family File): Senior Data – User’s Guide (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Catalogue No. 89C0022).
Statistics Canada. (2015) Annual Income Estimates for Census Families and Individuals (T1 Family File): Individual Data – User’s Guide (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Catalogue No. 13C0015).