Rural Ontario Institute to conduct pilot test in Goderich

Rural Ontario Institute logo. (Provided by Rural Ontario Institute)

The Rural Ontario Institute is conducting a pilot test that will look at indicators for rural community well-being, services, and quality of life. 

They’re currently working with four rural communities to create a pilot wellbeing dashboard to display selected indicators and related data. The four communities taking part in the pilot project are Tay Valley Township, the town of Prescott, the town of Goderich, and the city Temiskaming Shores.

ROI Data Analyst Danielle Letang said there are other systems, but in many cases, the data they recommend is not suitable for rural use. “There are other systems available that are supposed to help people with an assessment of quality of life or well being, but most of them have been focused or designed for urban areas, where they rely on labour-intensive data collection and analysis,” she said. 

She added that the standard they’re creating is meant to address those challenges by providing a standardized approach specifically for rural communities; it encourages the use of readily available data sources. “It provides sort of a common platform, so common definitions and methods with that rural focus. But the idea here is that the standard would help rural communities establish a baseline for their community, measure their progress over time on key issues and then also compare themselves to other similar communities, said Letang. 

Letang said right now, they’re building a pilot version of a dashboard and then asking the communities in the pilot to give them some feedback to make sure the dashboard is user friendly and functional. They expect to complete the first phase of the project in March and they’re inviting communities that would be interested in being part of the project to contact the Rural Ontario Institute so they can be involved in the second phase. That is expected to start in April. More information about the project can be found on the Rural Ontario Institute website.