The Politique nationale de la ruralité (PNR) is an outstanding tool that has provided rural areas with hope, strength and practical support.
This study confirms that actors in the health system are not the only ones to have an impact on health determinants. The PNR affected every sphere of the lives of individuals and communities. Beyond the impacts of the 462 projects identified in the three regional county municipalities (MRCs) and the six municipalities that were part of this study, these effects can largely be attributed to the key role played by rural development agents, particularly in devitalized communities. There is a broad consensus as to their professional expertise and ability to mobilize and support communities through processes that are in line with the action principles of community development (citizen participation, empowerment and intersectoral collaboration).
MRCs will need to develop a vision for the sustainable economic and social development.
The PNR confirmed the role of MRCs in the development of their territory, providing them with the necessary resources and levers. But the PNR no longer exists. As our findings justify recommending the consolidation of the PNR, development actors at different levels (local to national) and from different sectors (regional economic development, culture, employment, health, etc.) are called upon to protect, or even extend, the benefits of the defunct PNR. It is essential to ensure the continued presence of rural development agents and to support their collaborations with other development agents and health and social services centres (CISSS) community organizers.
Finally, MRCs will need to develop a vision for the sustainable economic and social development of their territory and ensure the continuity of initiatives that are often run on a day to day basis by overworked volunteers.
Paule Simard, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
Deposit of the research report: January 2016