Trends in Service Delivery: Examples From Rural and Small Town Canada, 1998 to 2005

Greg Halseth, Laura Ryser


During the past two decades, social and economic restructuring in rural and small
town places across Canada has been accompanied by changes in the availability of
local services. From retail to social, health, and government services, changes in
local availability are occurring at the same time as such services are increasingly
needed to support local economic revitalization in response to economic change.
Drawing upon a seven year study of service availability in 19 rural and small town
places, this paper explores two key questions. The first concerns trends in service
availability over time. The second concerns patterns with respect to the location of
those services. The findings highlight general trends towards service reductions
and regionalization. The implications from these findings may be significant as
both outcomes have the potential to erode crucial local supports necessary for
economic renewal and transition in rural and small town Canada.

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.