National Newswatch

Rural-focused meeting was a first of its kind.

Ottawa-A website intended to help rural and small town Canadians find federal government services of particular use to them has been relaunched after a redesign to make it more helpful, Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, has announced.

The meant to guide rural Canadians to the programs, services and resources most relevant to them, Hutchings told a meeting with provincial ministers and rural development experts in Rocky Harbour, Nfld. The upgrade was based on feedback gathered during the last year and website will evolve in the future.

“Canadians in rural and remote communities all across the country—from small towns to isolated islands—are important contributors to Canada’s success. However, more can be done to support rural Canada, with its unique challenges and opportunities.”

Hutching said the meeting was a 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.

“When rural, remote and Indigenous communities succeed, Canada succeeds. It’s as simple as that. I am grateful for all those who attended, in person or virtually, this important meeting on rural economies. We had many positive and engaging discussions this week. I am looking forward to continued dialogue and progress on this front. We will continue to work with every level of government to achieve results for rural Canadians.

“When it comes to helping rural Canadians get connected, the Government of Canada is on track to exceed its goal of providing high-speed Internet access to 98 per cent of Canadian households by 2026 and 100 per cent by 2030. Today, 93.5 per cent of Canadian households have access to high-speed Internet, compared to just 79 per cent in 2014. We know that connectivity is the number one issue for growth across our country.

The government, working closely with partners, is investing in rural Canada to ensure programs and policies are developed with rural realities in mind, Hutchings said.

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