Designing and implementing policy for rural and northern regions has long been a contentious issue, particularly since the challenges are variable and complex. The remote locations, smaller populations, and place-based identities of these regions create unique challenges when compared with urban centres. While rural regions and urban centres remain interdependent through their labour needs, food production, resource development, energy demands, and pressures of climate change, too often urban-based policy decision-makers ignore or misconstrue rural challenges, conditions, opportunities, and aspirations. In effect, the prosperity of urban centres and the potential of rural and northern regions are reduced by policies insensitive to the social and economic well-being of the latter. This is even more important as the North grows in strategic importance.
Some studies have addressed this tension, yet much more is required to ensure that policy-makers are cognizant of the characteristics of rural and northern places. The Rural Policy Learning Commons (RPLC) is designed to meet this challenge by networking international scholars with policy-makers and citizens in a manner that will nurture future generations of policy analysts and practitioners. We will add to existing research knowledge, increase opportunities for partners to exchange insights, build a cohort of highly qualified policy analysts, mobilize this knowledge to the wider population, and increase our capacity to develop appropriate policy for rural and northern conditions.

  • Briefs
  • Articles
  • Reports
  • Books/Chapters
  • Fact Sheets
  • Projects

Our partnership rests on many years of collaboration among researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, and citizens within the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF), the Rural Development Institute (RDI), and the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies program (ICRPS). CRRF has been holding annual conferences and workshops since 1988, initiating research, and engaging with policy-makers regarding the conditions in rural and northern Canada ( In concert with CRRF, RDI has been conducting community-focused research, meeting with regional leaders, and publishing rural-relevant materials ( ICRPS has organized annual two-week Institutes since 2004 – where about 30 graduate students and practitioners meet with about 20 faculty members from 12 trans-Atlantic partner institutions to study the challenges of rural policy and explore options for improvement (