Monday, December 3, 2018

Rural services lagging

Services for rural and remote regions lag urban municipalities in Ontario, says a new report from the Rural Ontario Institute and Ontario 211 Services.

Transportation, low-cost dental services, seasonal programs such as utility assistance and school supply programs are mentioned in the report which also notes that there are big differences among rural municipalities and that further study on these issues is required.

“We know that there are people out there who are falling through the cracks,” says Karen Milligan, executive director for Ontario 211 Services. 

“If the data that we collect from callers about their needs, and the barriers to accessing services can be shared with decision-makers, we believe it can have an impact on service delivery planning and investment.”

“We hear from many stakeholders that different types of places need to be supported to develop their own solutions to service delivery challenges because the context is so different depending where you are,” says Norman Ragetlie, executive director of the Rural Ontario Institute. 

“Clearly, in rural places, distances are greater and service providers fewer and farther between. 

By working with 211, capacity is being built for both local agencies and government organizations to better understand those differences and to respond to them.” 

Project participants from Ontario Trillium Foundation will host an ongoing forum on its website to continue to analyze these and other topics to inform potential solutions for unmet needs in Ontario.