Conferences, Workshops, and Roundtables

The Community Development Institute at UNBC hosts conferences, workshops, and roundtables to address issues of importance to the communities of northern British Columbia. This section of the website connects to those activities so that we can continue to inform the people and decision-makers across northern BC.

Presentation to the Federal/ Provincial/ Territorial Housing Research Working Group


On May 25, 2020, Marleen Morris, Co-Director of the Community Development Institute at UNBC presented a preliminary report on Rural Housing in Canada to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Housing Research Working Group. Understanding that housing is a critical building block for community and economic development, the CDI has focused its research on understanding the issues, needs, and potential of rural and northern housing. Based on our team’s long-standing background in housing, and through a number of commissioned housing studies in northern British Columbia communities in recent years, the CDI began to recognize patterns across rural housing issues that spans all provinces and territories across Canada. The data collected tells a consistent story of an existing or imminent housing need and crisis throughout rural Canada.

Roundtable with Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development 


Greg Halseth, UNBC Professor of Geography, Canada Research Chair in Rural and Small Town Studies, and Co-Director of the Community Development Institute was invited to participate in a virtual round table with Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development on May 21, 2020.

The round table discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural regions of the country and strategies for economic and community recovery.

Energizing our Future

Community Open House


The CDI hosted the Energizing Our Future community open house at the North Peace Cultural Centre September 18 through 21, 2019.

The interactive event presented the key themes the CDI formulated from meetings with industry, business, community and non-profit groups, residents, and First Nations to develop a Social Development Framework and an Economic Development Framework for Fort St. John. Residents were invited to the open house to provide their input and feedback on the information presented.

Energizing Our Future - Final Poster


Senator Woo visits the Community Development Institute

The Community Development Institute at the University of Northern British Columbia was honoured to host a visit to northern BC by member of the Senate of Canada, Senator Yuen Pau Woo on July 16, 2019. The visit was an opportunity to learn about issues important to the people, communities, and economies of northern British Columbia, to explore channels through which the Senate can use this knowledge in their work, and to consider new roles for the Senate of Canada.

The Senator met with industry leaders, not-for-profit representatives, First Nations leaders, and local government representatives. His visit began in Prince George and continued to the CDI office in Fort St. John.

Senator Woo also presented at the Leaders Lab Speaker Series. His session "A glimpse behind the scenes into the everyday life of a Senator!" shed light on how Senate reform has led the Senate in a direction that is less partisan; more diverse in background, gender, and qualifications; and more effective in its role as the chamber of sober second thought.


On the Move: Labour Mobility and Community Capacity

On May 7th and 8th, 2019, On the Move Project Director Barb Neis, and OTM participants Greg Halseth, Professor at UNBC; Sean Markey, Professor at SFU; and Marleen Morris, Director, Community Development Institute at UNBC met with BC Ministers and members of the Opposition to present and discuss findings from the seven-year On the Move Partnership investigation into labour mobility.

As a continuation of the work that began in 2012, the Community Development Institute and the On the Move Partnership (OTM) have been conducting comprehensive studies of the spectrum of employment-related mobility in Canada from extended daily commuting to long distance travel to work, including across provincial or even national boundaries, and the related absence from home.

To learn more about the stages of this project, please click here.


The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development visits UNBC

On March 7, 2019, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development for the Government of Canada attended a series of rural development round table meetings with local elected representatives and academic faculty at UNBC. The purpose of these meetings was to hear contributions and insights to further assist the Minister in her mandate to develop a Canadian rural development strategy and agenda.

Northern BC Housing Conference

Housing Solutions for Changing Communities

The Community Development Institute (CDI) at UNBC hosted the Northern BC Housing Conference: Housing Solutions for Changing Communities at UNBC on November 18, 2016.

Housing Solutions for Changing Communities focused on identifying housing opportunities in the region and creating a space for new ideas to take shape. The conference was of interest to builders, developers, planners, government, economic development organizations, realtors, lenders, and non-profit organizations.

View the Conference Program

Thursday, November 17, 2016

CDI Community Speaker Series
Legacies and Possibilities: How Community and Economic Change are Shaping the Housing Landscape

Speaker: Dr. Greg Halseth, Professor -Geography Department, UNBC

During the evening of November 17, CDI Co-Director and UNBC Professor Dr. Greg Halseth spoke about housing's relationship with resource communities in northern BC. This free lecture was part of the CDI Community Speaker Series.

7:00 - 9:00 pm at UNBC in room 6-205/211

Equitable and Just Communities Panel

Prior to Dr. Halseth's lecture, attendees were welcomed to a panel hosted by Inspiring Women Among Us.

Planning decisions shape the form and function of communities, and are thus integral to building equitable and just communities in northern BC. This panel explored unique perspectives, experiences, and stories about working in different communities to promote inclusive places, processes, and communities.

5:00 - 6:00 pm in 6-205/211


We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our sponsors, who recognize that a healthy housing market contributes to the overall wellbeing of northern BC communities.

Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsor


Northern BC Housing Study Sponsors


Friday, November 18, 2016

Housing Solutions for Changing Communities

To begin the day, the CDI presented the findings of the Northern BC Housing Study, which was funded, in part, by BC Housing.

The Northern BC Housing Study, the first of its kind in the region, profiles housing needs in ten communities throughout northern BC.

This was followed by six concurrent workshops that inspired innovative ways to think about housing opportunities.

Notice for Registered Professional Planners: We are pleased to announce that attending this conference can count towards 5.0 PIBC Credits for Registered Professional Planners.

Workshop Topics

Pre-Fabricated Building Components

  • Chris Drouillard, Homeowner and Marketing Consultant, Trinity Post and Panel
  • Ken Harper, President and CEO, Trinity Post and Panel
  • Steve Tresierra, Chief, Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band

Mixed Market/Non-Market Housing

  • Debra Yip, Affordable Housing Consultant, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Armin Amrolia, Executive Director -Development Strategies, BC Housing
  • Danna Locke, Director -Regional Development, BC Housing

Ageing in Place: Opportunities for New Construction and Renovation

  • Shelley Sim, Councillor, District of Clearwater
  • Gwyn Symmons, Principal, CitySpaces

"Flex" Housing Design

  • Gwyn Symmons, Principal, CitySpaces
  • Elizabeth Tang, Knowledge Transfer Consultant, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Passive Housing

  • Lori Ackerman, Mayor, City of Fort St. John
  • Rob Bernhardt, CEO, Passive House Canada
  • Dr. Guido Wimmers, Chair -Master of Engineering Program, UNBC

Housing from a Planner's Perspective

  • David Block, Director of Development Services, City of Terrace
  • Aileen Prince, Capital, Housing & Lands Manager, Nak'azdli Whut'en

Conference Location

The conference was located in Building 6 at the Prince George campus of the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation Annual Conference

September 25-27, 2014

The Community Development Institute at UNBC hosted the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation’s (CRRF) annual conference from September 25-27, 2014 in Prince George.

The conference theme, New Realities, New Relationships explored the changing relationships across industry, local and senior levels of government, and community organizations as new development opportunities and challenges emerge.

More than 170 rural and industry leaders, community and economic development practitioners, government policy-makers, researchers, and students gathered to discuss issues at the heart of rural and resource sector development in BC and Canada.

The conference included two days of plenary sessions and workshops featuring national experts in rural and resource sector development, along with local and regional presenters. Special guest speakers included Keith Storey, Bill Reimer, Ken Shields, Jason Fisher and Greg Halseth. Prince George-McKenzie MLA, Mike Morris, and Dr. Ranjana Bird from UNBC, also spoke at the conference. Participants had the opportunity to embark on local and regional tours exploring the innovative ways that rural BC is adapting to a changing reality.

2014 Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation Conference Poster

2014 International Symposium in Aging Resource Communities: Population Dynamics, Community Development and the Voluntary Sector

Tumbler Ridge, August 23-28, 2014

The Community Development Institute (CDI), in partnership with the Trent Centre for Aging and Society at Trent University, the District of Tumbler Ridge, and a wide variety of community groups, hosted the 2014 International Symposium in Aging Resource Communities: Population Dynamics, Community Development and the Voluntary Sector.

The Symposium brought 17 international experts from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, the UK and USA together with community members from northern BC to exchange ideas and foster links to understand the ways in which voluntarism shapes and is shaped by the interactions among older people and their aging communities, and how resource-dependent communities are responding to the challenges and opportunities of population aging.

The Symposium program focused on the links between population aging, community development, and voluntarism. UNBC participants included Greg Halseth, Neil Hanlon, and Laura Ryser.

Funding for the Symposium was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada.

View the Symposium program

YOUth commuNITY (YOU-NITY) Talks: Volunteering

February 25, 2014

The CDI co-sponsored YOUth commuNITY (YOU-NITY) Talks: Volunteering with the Immigrant & Multicultural Services Society of Prince George. The event was part of their "Setting the Stage for Girls and Young Women to Succeed" program.


The goal of You-Nity Talks: Volunteering was to encourage community involvement and leadership among young women. The event provided an opportunity to share information, tell stories, and build connections among the participants and the volunteer organizations that were present. After a few short opening remarks, including a video message from Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, the participants engaged in table conversations about volunteer and leadership opportunities. Around 50 people attended the session.

The afternoon was a great success. Many ideas were brought forward that community organizations can incorporate into their volunteer programs in the future. The youth also benefited from hearing about the qualities that make great volunteers, and from connecting with organizations that do fun and meaningful work in the community.

UBCM 2011 - CDI Presentations

The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) is a province-wide organization that represents the interests of local governments in BC.  Each year it holds an annual convention. In 2010, Greg Halseth from UNBC's CDI gave two presentations to the UBCM Convention, and he was invited back again in 2011.

UBCM Convention Brochure

UBCM Convention Presentation

Age-Friendly Communities

"Creating Age-Friendly Communities" - With the senior population projected to double over the next 20 years, there is an immediate need for local governments to ensure that they are planning for this aging demographic. Through presentations by provincial and local government officials, this session will offer information and ideas to assist communities in determining how age-friendly they are, what can be done to make their communities more age-friendly, and what resources are available. Best practices and projects will also be shared at this session to motivate local governments to action.

Age Friendly Communities PowerPoint

CDI Reports

Multi-Sectoral Collaboration and Economic Development: Lessons from England's Regional Development Agencies

New Forest Economy

"The Forest Economy: A Vital Economic Resource for all BC Communities" - BC’s forest economy remains a vital economic foundation for BC communities. This session will look at the opportunities that the new forest economy presents for strengthening local economies. Forest industry icon, Irving K. Barber will lead our panel joined by John MacDonald, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates and Greg Halseth from UNBC’s Community Development Institute.

They will share the body of information and data they have assembled about the new forest economy. It is their belief that the principal opportunities will emerge not from large-scale operations, but from small-scale, community-based operations that encourage a diversified and integrated approach to utilizing forest resources. Our presenters will have an opportunity to engage in discussion with our panel of community representatives as well as delegates throughout this half day session.

New Forest Economy PowerPoint

For more information about the UBCM please see:

Understanding Indigenous Economic Development in Northern, Rural, and Remote Settings

November 24-25, 2010

As part of its work with the University of the Arctic’s Thematic Network on Local and Regional Development, UNBC’s Community Development Institute (CDI) and the Aboriginal Business and Community Development Centre jointly hosted the “Understanding indigenous economic development in northern, rural, and remote settings” workshop. The goal was to produce a rich dialogue that could enhance our understanding of key barriers and opportunities related to successful indigenous economic development both on reserves and in urban Aboriginal communities.

The workshop brought together thirty-one individuals, institutions, academics, and practitioners who are actively involved in indigenous economic development in the North, and three of the University of the Arctic’s Thematic Networks – Local and Regional Development, Northern Governance, and Northern Tourism – were represented.

Speakers and observers were invited from around BC, Canada, and Norway.  With their presentations, speakers identified and challenged the framework of current indigenous economic development, and pointed out key barriers to successful development, and actions and supports needed to achieve change.

The workshop will result in an electronic-book publication co-edited by Greg Halseth, Tor Gjertsen, and Julia Schwamborn featuring presentations from the two-day workshop and the discussions that evolved from these presentations. The electronic-book will be published through the Community Development Institute’s peer-reviewed Publications Series.

Workshop Poster
Workshop Program
Workshop Presentations
List of Participants
E-Book PDF

Bridges: A Festival of Arts and Culture in Our City

June 11-13, 2009

In 2009, the Community Development Institute worked in partnership with Rob Budde from UNBC’s English program to host the Bridges festival. The festival developed from an initiative at Thompson Rivers University under a Community-University Research Alliance program grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The purpose of the festival was to bring together representatives from arts and cultural organizations, local cultural facilities, local education institutions, independent artists, as well as interested members of the public to celebrate the ‘culture of our city and culture in our city’.

Bridges festival materials

Space to Place: The Next Rural Economies Workshop

May 15-16, 2008

Within all developed economies we find that rural and small town communities are experiencing considerable change. They are changing as a result of resource industry restructuring, demographic aging and youth out-migration, the restructuring of both public and private sector services, and the ongoing implications of urbanization. Within this context, communities and policy makers are working to meet challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. To be effective, both local and public policy decision makers need a clear understanding of the pressures driving change, the opportunities inherent in such changes, and the creative responses of similar rural and small town areas. To this end, the Community Development Institute at the University of Northern BC (UNBC) and the Enterprise Program at Simon Fraser University (SFU) are co-hosted the “Space to Place: The Next Rural Economies Workshop”.

This workshop brought together twenty-three rural and small town scholars from eight OECD countries to discuss possibilities about what our next rural economies will look like.

Older approaches to community and economic development focused upon a ‘space-economy’ with attention to comparative advantages and overcoming the cost of distances. This approach is being replaced by recognition of the growing importance of ‘place-based economies’ where the unique attributes and assets of individual places now determine its attractiveness for particular types of activities and investments.

Workshop Program

Workshop Program

Registration Form

From Bookshelf to Bottom Line - Northern Economic Forum

October 26-28, 2005
September 13-15, 2006

In response to the findings of the Northern BC Economic Development Vision and Strategy Project, and with funding assistance from Western Economic Diversification and several northern Community Futures Development Corporation offices, the CDI hosted two northern economic forums. The purpose of the forums was to bring together economic development officers and decision-makers to talk about issues of mutual interest and to share updates from various community economic development strategies and initiatives.

Full Report (66 pages, 293K)

Front Pages of Report (12 pages, 133K)

Forum Background Readings (22 pages, 447K)