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Social and Environmental Justice


This final report draws together the insights from the three-year Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (2016-2019) study. The quote above succinctly draws together the vision behind this project: Enhanced, efficient service cooperation that contributes to a sustainable and prepared infrastructure system, while protecting the environmental capital upon which rural economies frequently depend. The purpose of the research project was to 1) assess the potential of inter-community service cooperation (ICSC) as a possible tool to address the impacts of climate change (CC) in small (500-7500 pop.) Ontario rural communities south of the Sudbury region and 2) understand the extent to which such cooperation and the impacts of CC are, or could be, embedded within the community’s infrastructure (asset) management processes (AMP). While the conclusions of this report are generalized to represent an overall picture of Ontario rural municipalities, each jurisdiction is distinctive with its own history and geography. Thus, any policy or practitioner recommendations must take into consideration local circumstances, needs and preferences.

This report begins by defining key terms. It then undertakes a brief SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) assessment to draw out key project insights. The SWOT analysis is based primarily on reports written from each of the three stages of the project: key informant interviews, survey and case studies. The questions that guided the SWOT analysis are provided in Table 1. The goal was to identify the range of factors that can either limit or enhance an Ontario rural municipality’s ability to undertake service cooperation, with a particular focus on the impacts of CC on its infrastructure and the role of asset management. In this SWOT analysis, the strengths and weaknesses are internal to, and under the control of, the municipality while the opportunities and threats are part of the external environment that can have a direct or indirect impact on the municipality.