Thursday, 14 April 2016

Agenda for R2B2 Symposium and Research Team Meeting

Agenda_R2B2 Symposium_ final [345449]

R2B2 Symposium and Research Team Meeting

University of Guelph Arboretum, Guelph, Ontario Tuesday, April 19, 2016
8:30 am – 12:15 noon (Symposium)
12:30 pm – 3:00 pm (R2B2 Project Research Team Meeting)


Welcome to the Symposium, Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President, Research, University of Guelph
Researching Regional and Rural Broadband in SW Ontario, Helen Hambly, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development (SEDRD)
SWIFT: Genesis, Current Developments and Future Priorities, Campbell Patterson , Consultant, Campbell Patterson Communications
Regional and Rural Broadband for Development (moderator: John Fitzsimons, SEDRD)
  • Grey County, Ashleigh Weeden
  • Niagara Region, Stuart Hendrie
  • Town of Caledon, Armando Narvali
Questions and Discussion
Coffee break
Ontario Digital Futures Panel & Discussion (moderator: Helen Hambly)
  • Reza Rajabuin, Ryerson University
  • John Jung, ICF-Canada
  • Kristi Kelly, MEDEI, Infrastructure Policy Division
  • Sanjeev Gill, IBM
Questions and Discussion
Symposium – Closing Remarks Wayne Caldwell, Interim Dean, Ontario Agricultural College
Research Team Meeting (R2B2 Project Team Only)
Working Lunch: welcome and introductions (all team members & facilitator)
R2B2 Research Methodology - Brief presentation of draft research methodology, Helen Hambly
Roundtable discussion & action planning
Final summary & wrap-up

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Regional and Rural Broadband (R2B2) Research Project: 2016 Symposium and Partners Meeting

On Tuesday April 19, 2016 the R2B2 project invites interested stakeholders from various levels of government and the industry, researchers as well as community members, students to learn about regional and rural broadband development initiatives within southwestern Ontario. 

This symposium is held in partnership with SWIFT ( The agenda features presentations about rural broadband and regional development from the University of Guelph and various SW Ontario municipalities and regions.

The symposium will be held at the University of Guelph Arboretum from 08:30am to 12:15pm.  Please contact us to register in advance (  

Update (04/13/16):
Registration is now closed.
Presentations will be posted on the R2B2 blog after the symposium.

R2B2 tries out the Analyst software tool

Local and regional economic development requires an understanding of the particular attributes of localities within regions. This attention to differentiation implicates the need for relevant datasets and a wide range of data including population age groups, types of business activities, skill availability and various government services. Relevant data to answer questions about phenomena within the region can be challenging to access. With training and access provided by OMAFRA, the R2B2 project is looking at Analyst, a software tool developed by EMSI. The advantage of Analyst is summarized as follows:
“Historically, you’ve had two main options for accessing employment data in Canada. You can get solid, detailed geographic data from the census, which is released once every five years (and two years late), or you can go with high-level province data from the SEPH or the LFS, which gives you data for every year but provides no detailed regional information. [Analyst] solves the problem. Taking advantage of the strengths of these sources, we harmonize them to create a single, complete picture so you can look at detailed, up-to-date employment data. We present the forest and the trees—every year.” (EMSI Canada)
R2B2 research team member, Mamun Chowdury, participated in a two-day OMAFRA training workshop called “Foundations for Regional Economic Analysis” to learn more about the Analyst software tool which unifies labour market data collected regularly from all the major data sources within Canada including Canadian Business Patterns (CBP), 2001, 2006 and 2011 Census and National Health Survey, Survey of Economic Payroll and Hours (SEPH), Labour Force Surveys (CFS), Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS), Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS) and StatsCan’s main socio-economic database, CANSIM. Analyst gives users access to statistics on 305 industry classifications using the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System), 522 occupations from Statistics Canada’s NOC-S classification and 386 educational program types from the CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) taxonomy.  

By trying out Analyst, we aim to identify local and regional socio-economic assets and liabilities that may be relevant to broadband demand and use. A key benefit of using Analyst appears to be that it helps to explore available data and relationships among the data quickly. This enables us to prioritize areas where we might dive deeper into our analysis or compare findings to project datasets. For more information see the OMAFRA webpage on Analyst:

Smart Planet Case Study by IBM

An interesting case study of Internet uptake of relevance to rural areas was prepared by IBM in collaboration with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI). The focus of the case study was an initiative to track disease outbreaks in livestock animals and farms within food chains.

MAFRI developed a system to identify the locations of farms and animals across the province. This system identifies risks from animal to animal exposure for various diseases.  The system consists of a digital identifier (d-ID) that uniquely marks each animal and farm. It also allows users to track the movement of the animals during their transportation. This d-ID system allowed MAFRI to formulate a response strategy for possible outbreak scenarios. MAFRI has successfully used the system to contain a small outbreak of transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) - a highly contagious disease that can kill young pigs. The outbreak was contained within few weeks affecting only three farms within a cluster in the Southern Manitoba area.

This case illustrates how connectivity enables institutional and technical innovation in agriculture and agri-food systems. MAFRI’s d-ID experience has important economic implications especially as Manitoba is the largest pork exporting province in Canada. Reliable connectivity and access to information in real-time are the key elements for this system to function effectively and efficiently.

More information about this case study can be found by visiting the link below: