With baby boomers retiring, young people moving to urban centres, and many local administrations and businesses confronting uncertainty, small towns face significant changes. Relying on government and big business to provide services and investment is increasingly difficult, and the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated many of these challenges. But it has also renewed appreciation for locally owned businesses. Together, this means small towns have a unique opportunity to change their approach to service delivery, business retention, and investment attraction. Drawing on examples from western Canada, this presentation offers insight into small towns that have adopted a new, co-operative approach to accessing and attracting the services they need.
Kyle White is the Governance and Education Lead with Co-operatives First. His work focuses on developing and delivering educational and development services for Co-operatives First. Originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, Kyle has worked his way across Canada focusing on community economic development in rural and Indigenous communities. With degrees in Geography and Public Policy, Kyle’s educational background has focused on community development, governance, and organizational policy. Aside from his work with Co-operatives First, Kyle is an active volunteer with several Saskatoon-based non-profits and serves on a variety of boards.