University of Guelph Study Looks at Life in Elgin County and St. Thomas after COVID-19

September 27, 2021

For Immediate Release

Central Elgin, ON – The University of Guelph is working with the County of Elgin, the City of St. Thomas and Southwestern Public Health to study how the pandemic has changed life for residents, including their health, well-being, social life, finances and day-to-day living.

This information will be collected through a 20-minute Elgin St. Thomas Response to COVID-19 Survey, which is available online now until October 29, 2021 at Paper copies with prepaid return postage will be mailed to Elgin County and St. Thomas households this week.

The study is part of a University of Guelph research project on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted rural and small urban communities across Ontario. Elgin County and St. Thomas municipal and community partners will receive study results and data for use in program planning and COVID-19 recovery initiatives, particularly those that relate to housing, mental health and addictions support, and income and food security.

The Aylmer-Elgin-St. Thomas Community Safety and Well-Being Plan was finalized in June 2021. The purpose of the Plan is to ensure our communities are safer and more inclusive places where all residents thrive. The Plan identifies five (5) priority areas of focus including Education and Skills Development, Housing Security, Mental Health and Well-Being, Public Safety, and Substance Use and Addiction. The data collected through this survey will be invaluable to the implementation of this Plan.

The lead researcher for the Elgin St. Thomas Response to COVID-19 study is Leith Deacon, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Environmental Design & Rural Development, University of Guelph, 519-824-4120 ext. 52521,
Financial support for this project is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). It is also supported by the County of Elgin, the City of St. Thomas and Southwestern Public Health.

For more information about the survey or to take it online, visit


For additional information, please contact:

Warden Tom Marks

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