Canadian Regional Development: A Critical Review of Theory, Practice and Potentials

This cross-Canada project is designed to investigate Canadian regional development in theory, policy and practice. To achieve this we are comparing the policies and practices in four provinces: Québec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and British Columbia, and in specific regions in each province. We are examining regional development through five key themes of what has been referred to as “New Regionalism”. First, we want to see if policy makers and practitioners are now re-focusing on place itself as a starting point for development. Second, we are interested in the extent to which power and development decision-making is shared among different groups at all levels: a key ingredient of governance. We are also interested in the role that knowledge and innovation play in the development process and how rural-urban relationships are managed. Finally, we want to know the extent to which a wide variety of sectors and issues are integrated into regional development practices.

The research team wishes to answer the following types of questions. How has regional development policy and practice changed from the 1980s? Are provinces doing it differently? Are we adapting to changing realities such as globalization and technological change? If so, are we sharing new insights across our provinces and regions?  Answering these questions will inform policy-makers and make concrete contributions to regional development across the country, including providing summaries of our findings back to our study regions. At the same time we want to re-inform and update the regional development theories and concepts that are taught in our universities and colleges based on recent experiences in Canadian policy and practice.

For more information on this project visit