June 2, 2023, in Rocky Harbour, N.L. Hon. Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development (4th from the right), John Buck, CEDEC President/CEO (6th from the left), and Indigenous leaders and rural experts.

CEDEC leads discussion on rural and remote workforce challenges and opportunities

John Buck, President and CEO of CEDEC, led a panel discussion at a two-day Federal–Provincial–Territorial (FPT) meeting in Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Organized and Co-chaired by the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, federal Minister of Rural Economic Development, the meeting provided federal, provincial, and territorial ministers, Indigenous leaders, and rural economic development experts to engage in a series of wide-ranging discussions about improving rural economic development policy and programming.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Buck identified some of the major challenges to be faced and opportunities to be leveraged to address rural and remote workforce development, notably (a) an aging rural workforce, (b) out-migration, (c) shifting skills requirements, (d) transportation, (e) available and affordable housing, and (f) defining and measuring skills.

A highlight of the FPT meeting was Minister Hutchings’ launch of the redesigned website canada.ca/rural which will “guide rural Canadians to the programs, services and resources most relevant to them.”

Canadians in rural and remote communities all across the country—from small towns to isolated islands—are important contributors to Canada’s success. This week’s meeting was the first of its kind. A collaborative coordinated approach to helping rural communities thrive means tackling key themes like economic growth and development, opportunities in the clean economy and climate resilience, and workforce challenges and opportunities.