Welcome to the Rural Ontario Institute

The Rural Ontario Institute develops leaders, initiates dialogue, supports collaboration and promotes action on issues and opportunities facing rural Ontario.

About Us


Coming up Tuesday, March 18th - Helping organizations to be "more like people" - Webinar and Conversation

The Rural Ontario Institute is hosting an online webinar and in-person conversation with Liam Barrington-Bush, author of Anarchists in the Boardroom - How social media and social movements can help your organisation to be more like people. Liam will discuss the lessons social movements can provide for not-for-profit organizations striving to create positive changes in their communities. Liam will challenge us to critically examine the workings of our own organizations – how we interact internally and how we interact with our communities – and will make the case for why and how they could be ‘more like people'. To learn more and register follow the links below:

In-person conversation at 10 Carden, Guelph

Online Webinar

First-ever Rural Ontario Summit being held March 3, 2014

Working to Build a Healthier, More Prosperous Rural Ontario

On March 3, the Rural Ontario Institute, in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Rural Affairs, will host the first-ever Rural Ontario Summit in Cobourg, Ontario. In-person attendance is by invitation only, but interested stakeholders and the general public are encouraged to participate in the Summit via live stream, live chat or social media.

This summit is an important opportunity to discuss the social and economic infrastructure issues that will shape the future of rural Ontario. A broad range of experts from academia, business and economic development, municipal governments and the broader public sector will contribute to this important discussion. More here

AALP Grads first to receive Advanced Standing in U of G's Masters Programs

Sylvain Charlebois, Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Management and Economics at U of G says, “This is the first time advance standing has been granted to any of our Master’s Programs. We believe that the AALP curriculum provides the real-life learning required to succeed in either of our MBA or MA programs.” Read more here.

Memorial Fund established for well-known ag entrepeneur Dean Tiessen        

AALP Class 10 grad Dean Tiessen was the victim of a senseless crime in Brazil in December 2013. His classmates have set up a Memorial Fund to keep Dean's memory alive with upcoming AALP classes. Read more here

Rural Forums on Youth Employment being held in Chesterville and Brantford

Rural Ontario Institute is hosting two Rural Forums to discuss the high-priority issue of youth employment in Ontario. They are both 1/2 day sessions and will explore collaborative approaches for improving the impact and outcomes of youth employment programs. Both Rural Forums have a great lineup of speakers as well as facilitated small-group discussions. The Chesterville Forum is Friday, February 7 and pre-registration is required by clicking here. The Brantford Forum is Tuesday, February 11 and pre-registration is available here.

Can rural Ontario learn from rural Germany?

ROI's own Norm Ragetlie and German rural consultant Jens-Martin Gutsche presented a webinar that provided an overview of rural Ontario, based on our recent Focus on Rural Ontario fact sheets and a look at some innovative rural planning happening in Germany. Watch the webinar here.

Rural Forum on Community-Based Health Solutions - Mississippi Mills, November 14/13

ROI and Community Health Ontario are hosting a day-long forum on November 14 to explore integrated, community-based solutions to rural healthcare challenges. "The physical and mental health of Canadians declines form the most urgan regions to the most rural and remote regions. At the same time, services are more time-consuming and expensive to deliver in rural areas," says David Kelly, CEO, Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addictions Programs.

Read more here.

Rural Forum #2 - Sudbury, November 28/13

Forum #2 - Healthy Aging in Rural Northern Ontario
ROI and The Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research are hosting a day-long forum on Thursday November 28 to discuss supporting aging seniors living in rural northern Ontario. KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Geriatrics, Mount Sinai Hospital  and Provincial Lead on Ontario's Seniors Strategy "Living Longer, Living Well".
More info and registration here

Board Development - New Learning Opportunities

ROI and Strive! are offering two half-day workshops on "Championship Chairing" and "Difficult Conversations in the Boardroom" on Wednesday, November 27 at the EastGen Complex, 5653 Highway 6 North, Guelph.

Click here for more information

Rural Forum #1 - Stratford, October 29/13

Forum #1 - Healthy Aging in Rural Ontario

The Rural Ontario Institute, in partnership with Gateway Rural Health Research Institute is hosting a day-long furm to explore the complex challenges of supporting healthy aging in rural seniors. A series of expert presentations will be followed by a facilitated group discussion. Have a voice in public healthcare policy development.

More info HERE.

2013 Leading Edge Summit - October 16 & 17, 2013 - Register now!

Connected Rural Communities: Tools and techniques for networked leadership
Come to the 2013 Leading Edge Summit and learn how a network approach to leadership can help address the complex challenges we face in our rural communities and agricultural industry. We will learn hands-on tools and techniques for creating, weaving and strengthening networks. 
The Leading Edge Summit is the best value going for leadership training: just $250 for the two-day session including meals and accomodation (early bird rate).
Register for the Leading Edge Summit here: http://bit.ly/stepssummit.
Welcoming AALP Class 15!

AALP Class 15 consists of 16 females and 13 males ranging in age from 23 to 59. Seven class members are primary producers of vegetables, field and cash crops, poultry, dairy, hogs, beef and sheep. Another eight of the group are actively involved in primary agriculture, while also working in the agri-business and agri-food sectors, non-government and commodity associations, provincial and federal governments and their agencies. 

Read more here

Third set of Focus on Rural Ontario fact sheets look at employment issues in rural Ontario

Rural Ontario has different employment challenges than urban areas. Three new Focus on Rural Ontario fact sheets feature employment-related information, and another looks at the Aboriginal Identity population in Ontario. Based on Statistics Canada data, these easy-to-read fact sheets highlight the changing dynamics of rural Ontario’s population, communities and economies.

Get Focus on Rural Ontario fact sheets here


New study: AALP delivers 25% social return on investment

A recent study reaffirms the tremendous value of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP) to Ontario's society and economy. Based on a survey of AALP graduates, it is estimated that for every $1 invested in AALP, the social return on investment is $1.25.

Read the full report here.


Janet Horner new Chair of Rural Ontario Institute

At the recent ROI Annual General Meeting, Janet Horner was elected as Chair of the Rural Ontario Institute. Joining her on the Executive Committee are: Jim Whaley, Wasaga Beach as vice-chair; Stig Puschel, Sudbury as secretary; Bill Bearss, Brampton as treasurer; and Rob Hannam, Guelph as past-chair.

Read more here.



ROI Blog

Apr 17, 2014Rural Broadband – Strategy for Investment of Digital Dividend Too Little?

Mar 10, 2014First-ever Rural Ontario Summit held

Mar 6, 2014More Like People - Organizational lessons from the world of activism and social movements

Feb 28, 2014New Provincial Policy Statement Released …



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