Rural Municipal Development and Reform in Canada: Policy Learning through Local - Provincial Collaboration

John Martin, Gary Paget, Brian Walisser


In a federated country like Canada, diversity challenges universal policy prescriptions for local governments. The success of its provincial governments, which have exclusive jurisdiction for systems of local government, depends on balancing the need to act comprehensively and systematically while dealing thoughtfully with the unique situation of individual local governments. Canada’s provinces are shifting their approach to strengthening rural governance – shifting away from more directive interventions and now seeking to facilitate capacity-building in a manner that is less state-centred, more bottom-up, and better adapted to variable local circumstances. A dialogue was organised to focus on this shift in provincial practice. It brought together more than 50 savvy and influential policy practitioners representing all provinces and most local government associations at the provincial level. Practice recommendations emerged for provinces, local government associations, and local governments focusing on concrete actions and tools but also on the potential for redefining the roles played by, and relations between, the associations and provincial governments.

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