Remote and isolated community

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"Remoteness (location)" redirects here. For other remote locations, including uninhabited locations, see Extreme points of Earth § Remoteness.

A remote, isolated, or "remote and isolated" community is one that lacks the transportation links that would otherwise be considered normal. The definition of what is "remote" or "isolated" varies substantially between regions of the world. Defining and identifying remote and isolated communities is often done by governments so that special considerations can be made to provide services to these difficult-to-reach places.

In responding to the avian flu outbreak of 2009, a Canadian government body (the Remote and Isolated Task Group [RITG] of the Public Health Network H1N1 Task Force) published the following working definitions:

Remote: describes a geographical area where a community is located over 350 km from the nearest service centre having year-round road access. Isolated, by the Canadian government definition, means a geographical area that has scheduled flights and good telephone services, but is without year-round road access. Note that not all homes in a community have phones, and that flights may be cancelled or delayed due to weather.


In the above quote, the definition of isolated is borrowed from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and the definition of remote is borrowed from Health Canada.[2]

Canada also has fly-in (only) communities that completely lack road, rail, or water connections and rely entirely on bush aviation. Other remote communities lack road and rail but have water access, such as the Newfoundland outports, and those that have road access part of the year on ice roads, or can only be reached by gravel road. One academic measure of remoteness used in Canada is "nordicity".

The Australian Bureau of Statistics classifies its communities according to a "remoteness structure", with six categories: Major Cities of Australia, Inner Regional Australia, Outer Regional Australia, Remote Australia, Very Remote Australia and Migratory.[3]

Healthcare in remote and isolated communities[edit]

See also: Rural health

In Canada, there were 76 nursing stations and over 195 health centres servicing remote communities in Northern Canada or on Indian reserves in the south. In about facilities, registered nurses are employed by Health Canada, a ministry of the government of Canada. In the other communities, nurses are employed by the Band Council.[4]

Policing in remote and isolated communities[edit]

Policing in remote areas presents many challenges, most obviously logistical, but also social and even psychological.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had 268 "isolated posts" in 2009. Isolated posts are defined by the Treasury Board of Canada as communities that face "unique challenges" related to small populations, harsh climates, and/or limited access by commercial transportation or all-weather roads.[5] All posts located in Canada's three northern territories are considered isolated as well as many in the ten provinces. Many of these posts are "fly-in only"; the police force has its own RCMP Air Services, which does everything from ferry prisoners to court to bring in new computers to offices. In 2009, in the territory of Nunavut there were 25 detachments, all fly-in (no roads), and only one RCMP airplane.[6]

The New Zealand Police in Northland had 380 police personnel in 21 stations in 2009, in a relatively impoverished rural community with a large Maori population (32%).[7]

The Australian Institute of Criminology reports that cannabis use in Northern Australia is very high (two-thirds of men and one-fifth of women) and rising, placing demand on local police forces.[8]


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