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  Ministry of Rural Aairs Rural Roadmap: The Path Forward for Ontario April 2014  Table of Contents Leer from the Premier 2Leer from the Minister 3Introducon 4Invesng in People 5 What we’ve heard 5 Rural health care 5Aging 5Skills training and youth 5Aracng and integrang newcomers 6Supporng Absrcinal people in rural Ontario 6 What we’re doing 6 Improving access to rural health care 6Addressing aging 7Improving skills training and addressing youth employment 8Aracng and integrang newcomers 11Supporng Absrcinal people in rural Ontario 12 Moving forward 13 Improving access to rural health care 13Addressing aging 13Improving skills training and addressing youth employment 13Aracng and integrang newcomers 14Supporng Absrcinal people in rural Ontario 14 Invesng in Infrastructure 15   What we’ve heard 15What we’re doing 15Moving forward 17 Invesng in Business and Regions 18 What we’ve heard 18What we’re doing 18Moving forward 23 Connuing the Conversaon 24 What we’ve heard 24 What we’re doing 24Moving forward 25 Moving Forward: A Summary 26 Ministry of Rural Aairs 26Other government iniaves 27  The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario 2 Ontario is dened by the strengths of its diverse communies.Whether you live in a city, town, hamlet or a rural concession, we all have a shared interest in building our province’s future prosperity.As Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food, I rmly believe that a strong rural Ontario is essenal to that economic success.Rural Ontario is home to an advanced manufacturing sector and a growing and increasingly diversied retail sector. It is also home to Ontario’s agri-food sector, which currently generates $34 billion in gross domesc product and sustains 740,000 jobs – that is about one in every nine jobs across the province.I believe more can be done to create an even more robust rural economy. That is why I issued a challenge last fall to double our agri-food sector’s annual growth rate, and to create 120,000 new jobs by 2020. The Ontario government will support the sector to meet this challenge.That is why my government is pursuing a six-point economic plan that will drive economic growth across Ontario.Invesng in advanced skills, training and educaon and improving infrastructure are key pillars of this plan.Government is doing its part to grow a stronger rural economy. Working together with our rural partners, we need to form a unied front to ensure rural issues remain at the forefront.That’s why we created the Ministry of Rural Aairs in February 2013.As head of this porolio, Minister Je Leal has travelled across the province to meet with rural stakeholders and gather feedback. Together, we are making sure the voice of rural Ontario is heard at the Cabinet table.In addion, last month, the ministry and the Rural Ontario Instute organized the Rural Ontario Summit in Cobourg. This inaugural event brought together rural leaders from many elds to discuss health care, educaon, economic development and other issues of importance to rural Ontario.I want to thank Minister Leal both for his passion and reless commitment to improve the lives of rural Ontarians. And through this report, Minister Leal and his ministry have launched a long overdue discussion that will create stronger, healthier rural communies. Sincerely,Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario Leer from the Premier  Leer from the Minister The Honourable Je Leal,Minister of Rural AairsRural Ontario, to me, embodies opportunity.It is made up of hundreds of small communies with residents and businesses working collaboravely. These partnerships build the foundaon for a strong, local economy. Overall, the strength of our provincial economy depends on the connued success of our small and rural communies.Working together, we have made a lot of progress over the past decade. Since 2003, rural Ontario has beneted from the hundreds of schools and hospitals that have been built or renovated. In addion, 68 Family Health Teams are providing high-quality care to over 458,823 rural Ontarians. In terms of infrastructure, we have built or rebuilt more than 7,900 kilometres of roads, constructed over 950 new bridges and provided millions of rural Ontarians with high-speed internet access. But there is sll work to be done. Today, rural Ontario is compeng in a modern, globalized economy. Never before have we had the opportunity to reach so many new markets. But with that opportunity come challenges.For this reason, your provincial government has adopted a realisc, pragmac approach to support rural communies. This includes promong economic growth and creang  jobs; modernizing roads, bridges and other crical infrastructure; providing access to high-quality health care; and improving educaon and training opportunies.In March 2014, we held the rst-ever Rural Ontario Summit in partnership with the Rural Ontario Instute. This was an important chance to discuss the challenges and opportunies rural Ontario faces and help guide the road ahead. This summit was the culminaon of a year of work engaging with rural residents, gaining a beer understanding of the challenges they face and learning from the successful iniaves and strategies developed in rural communies across Ontario. This report outlines a number of priories for the next year. These priories will serve as building blocks for the provincial government’s long-term rural planning. Stac reports sit on shelves and collect dust. Your government understands that good public policy must be collaborave and focus on your ideas, needs, challenges and opportunies. Rural planning must be dynamic. This will enable the government to implement strategies for Ontarians living and working in rural communies. We all have a role to play in strengthening rural communies. This includes your provincial government’s commitment to connue working on behalf of Ontario’s rural residents, businesses and municipalies to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed in today’s economy. Sincerely, Je Leal,   Minister of Rural Aairs 3

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