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The Issue


Canada's rural communities are essential to the country's economic, social and environmental well-being. In fact, the health of Canada's urban communities is directly related to the vibrancy of our rural regions. Despite this important role, many local governments in rural Canada face formidable challenges, including providing adequate public infrastructure-roads, bridges, wastewater facilities-with limited revenues and financial capacity

Local governments in rural Canada recognize that strategies to eliminate barriers to economic development must be accompanied by new and innovative approaches to retain and attract people to rural communities, including youth and newcomers. They are ready to work with all orders of government to spur economic growth and improve quality of life in order to build more vibrant and sustainable rural communities.

Working in partnership with the municipal sector, the federal government must:

  • Increase the predictability and streamline the approval process of federal investments in municipal infrastructure, taking into consideration the perspective of rural communities.
  • Protect federal investments in rural affordable housing solutions, including sustaining existing social housing units and introducing incentives to increase rental housing options.
  • Ensure that rural communities have equal access to high speed Internet to support economic development and help motivate young people to stay in their home communities.
  • Develop a plan to ensure that rural communities have the capacity to cope with extreme weather and climate change, while protecting the environment and providing clean water.


FCM Resources


Federal Budget 2016

A Thriving Rural Canada 
Rising to the Moment in Federal Budget 2016.

Rural Communities

Rural Communities

The first 100 days of government

Action Plan for a Strong Rural Canada

An Action Plan for a Strong Rural Canada

An Action Plan for a Strong Rural Canada highlights actions that the federal government must take to build vibrant and sustainable rural communities in FCM's 2015 Federal Election Platform.

Rural report fact sheets

Rural report fact sheets

FCM has prepared ten fact sheets on key rural demographics and data compiled from a FCM commisioned report by Ray Bollman.

Rural Broadband

Rural broadband

Governments need to continue working on a long-term broadband plan for rural Canada.

Quick Facts

10.4 million

The number of Canadians who live in rural communities, as of 2011.


The percentage of national GDP generated in rural Canada-in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture and transportation.


The percentage of rural Canadians who have access to high speed Internet, compared to near universal access in medium and large urban centres.


The number of rural areas that lost more than 20% of their youth population to out-migration between 2007 and 2012.

Page Updated: 09/08/2016