Examples of Economic Recovery Teams

In the past couple months, Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) has hosted a 2-part webinar series discussing emergency economic task forces. The series covered key economic challenges and successes from both rural and urban perspectives. Fellow EDCO members Craig Kelley – Director of Property and Development with the County of Renfrew, Rebecca Mustard – Manager of Economic Development with the City of Kawartha Lakes, and Martin Bohl – Sector Manager with the City of Brampton shared insights on their local efforts to support their community in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Structuring an emergency economic task force was discussed as a means to support local businesses and guide the community back toward a thriving economy.

Why are economic task forces beneficial?

  • Action Plan Concept. The meeting at the white office tableThey allow economic developers to aid in stabilizing the local economy during an outbreak and help to plan for recovery.
  • They support analysis of the local economy and businesses which provides useful information to municipalities when determining next steps.
  • They provide an opportunity for collaboration amongst different community members, stakeholders/partners and parties to achieve a stronger outcome.
  • They acknowledge community needs and allow for the creation of new resources and funding programs to support the local economy.

During the webinars, the three speakers discussed the process of how their task force came about and the challenges they faced along the way. Although, economic development efforts differ with each community, below are some common themes when structuring an economic task force:

  • Study examples from other communities
    • Study task forces from various communities and borrow successful concepts that can be applicable in the creation of your task force.
  • Collaboration
    • The three Recovery Task Forces are currently being driven by economic development staff members. Recognize the importance of integrating elected officials and other groups like public health units, planners, community members etc. into the process to share knowledge and create more effective supports.
    • Develop a Terms of Reference so that the different groups understand the scope of work anticipated.

terms of ref.

  • Think regionally
    • In the case of Renfrew, they created one group to represent the County.
  • Host frequent virtual meetings with task force members
    • As a result of COVID-19, the information and resources available are constantly changing. Meeting on a frequent basis is crucial to ensure that all members of the task force have the same information. Be sure to include discussion any ongoing projects and efforts during these meetings.
  • Keep messaging on the importance of public-health-first during recovery
    • Public health has become the number one economic driver to recovery. Recognizing that economic development efforts are and will continue to be guided by public health decisions moving forward is important to consider in the development of projects.
  • Stay engaged with your community through online platforms
    • let's connect webpageDeveloping an active business resource webpage, community newsletter, and/or social media page is a great way to share new resources and opportunities with your community. This will also create the sense of inclusivity and allows for engagement from your audience.
  • Look for funding from different sources
    • It can be difficult to find funding especially if your community is experiencing a major loss of revenue. Some ways to offset this loss are:
      • dipping into reserves and unallocated funds to fuel projects that weren’t planned
      • rewriting budgets to reallocate resources, and/or
      • establishing partnerships with community organizations.
  • Economic Recovery as a piece of larger recovery efforts
    • In the Brampton example, The Economic Support Task Force, is one of four task forces that have been created to support their recovery efforts (Social, Seniors and Youth are the other three)

To access the materials from the speakers and learn more about the economic development efforts discussed, visit the EDCO COVID-19 Support webpage (scroll down to the Links and Resources section): https://edco.on.ca/COVID-19-Support

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