Category Archives: Economic Development

Upcoming Webinar: Rural Ontario’s Population Growth During COVID-19: Fad or Trend?

Join other Ontario economic development and planning professionals on Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 from 1pm to 3pm for a webinar to discuss the rural economic

development impacts of the pandemic with a focus on population and housing trends.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in rural migration, demand for rural housing and rural house prices. The trend is not unique to Ontario and there are reports of similar trends occurring across Canada and the United States. While this migration has resulted in population growth and new economic development opportunities, it has also created pressures for existing rural infrastructure, housing affordability and municipal service delivery with the long-term outcomes of this migration unclear. This workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss and better understand these trends and their economic development implications.

John Anania, Manager of the Economic Analysis Unit, Economic Development Policy Branch at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Mitchell Davidson, Executive Director of the StrategyCorp Institute of Public Policy and Economy and Cody Joudry, Director of Development and Tourism, Dufferin County will kick-off the webinar with presentations on the economic development impacts of the pandemic, with a focus on population and housing trends.

A facilitated discussion with participants will follow to explore and share details on how these trends are impacting different rural areas, including but not limited to housing affordability/housing adequacy, human capital attraction/retention, business development, infrastructure development and municipal service delivery, etc.

For more information on the Webinar, please visit the Rural Ontario Institute Website.

Regional Economic Analysis Community of Practice Webinar

Join other economic development professionals on Thursday, October 21st, 2021 from 2pm to 3:15pm for a panel discussion about regional economic analysis and how to utilize data to support decision making. 

This session is designed to help participants: 

  • Gain a better understanding of existing regional and local data to support planning and recovery efforts, such as regional economic base, growth opportunities, sector impact, workforce, and its uses in strategy development
  • Learn how other communities have utilized different Analyst reports and other data to further their economic development objectives 
  • Network with others that use a data driven approach to economic development

Presentations by panelists representing the County of Simcoe and Niagara Region will cover the objectives listed above and will be followed by a discussion and Q&A segment. 

Register here.  

OMAFRA provides economic development tools, training, and technical guidance to rural Ontario communities. Learn more about the OMAFRA Analyst program

Teeny Tiny Summit

Welcoming Newcomers to Teeny Tiny Places

Key Note Speaker: Tareq Hadhad

Many of our small rural communities’ struggle to attract new residents to fill their workforce gaps and support ongoing community investment. This Teeny Tiny Summit will feature Tareq Hadhad. Tareq was once a displaced refugee who immigrated to Canada in 2015, as war gripped Syria and his home city of Damascus. Supported by a small town in Nova Scotia upon landing, Tareq and his family built an internationally successful chocolate manufacturing business called Peace By Chocolate. Tareq will share his insights on how the community of Antigonish worked together to make him and his family feel welcome, and the meaningful supports they received as newcomers to a small rural community. His story will highlight the importance of bringing newcomers to a rural community, who bring with them new skills, determination and in his case, a thriving business. Tareq will provide additional perspectives on what it’s like building a business in a small rural community and the importance of community in job creation.

The program will also include success stories from small places throughout the province, and opportunities to share and learn from other community leaders. Much of the content is focused on what can be accomplished by volunteers working together with municipalities. In small places, volunteers are a critical part of economic development. Many of the presenters and participants are volunteers.

Immediately following the webinar, be sure to join our chat by searching on Twitter for #TeenyTinySummit to connect, network and share ideas on welcoming newcomers to Teeny Tiny Places.

The Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) has committed to multi-year support of the Teeny Tiny program allowing high quality keynote speakers to be secured for this year’s webinars, including Tareq Hadhad as the kickoff keynote speaker.

Registration will open soon at https://teenytinysummits.omafrabdb-events.ca/ for the October 13, webinar.

Business Retention + Expansion Program

Introducing the Refreshed OMAFRA BR+E Coordinator’s Manual

The Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) is an action-oriented and community-based program that aims to support local business growth and community development through identifying challenges and opportunities. The Program’s Four Stage Process helps to:

  • Prepare the groundwork and project team
  • Collect and analyze immediate concerns and opportunities
  • Develop goals, action plan, and data analysis
  • Implement the plan and track progress

The BR+E program can become a key component of a community’s ongoing economic development strategies and projects and is a great approach to strengthen businesses in your community.

Coordinator’s Manual Updates:

The BR+E Coordinator’s Manual has recently been redesigned and now features a modern layout centered on visual simplicity. The third version of the Coordinator’s Manual is designed to support communities and BR+E project coordinators. The document provides details around the Four Stage BR+E Process as well as key resources and tools to assist with the completion of the stages.

Qualtrics:

Along with the modern redesign of the BR+E Coordinator’s manual, the OMAFRA BR+E Program transitioned to a new data collection and analysis tool – QualtricsXM – as of June of 2020.

Qualtrics is a renowned data analysis and visualization platform, designed to optimize data collection, analysis and visualization. The transition to QualtricsXM has been met with positive feedback from BR+E coordinators, owing to its user-friendly interface and robust batch of features.

QualtricsXM provides efficient and functional tools to help with:

  • Project Organization
  • Surveying
  • Distribution channels
  • Data Analysis and Correlation
  • Reports
  • Contacts
  • Administration

Communities undertaking BR+E initiatives with the support of OMAFRA have the option of accessing the platform at no cost for the duration of their projects.

For more information about the recent changes to the BR+E Coordinator Manual or to learn more about QualtricsXM, visit the Business Retention + Expansion Program website.

TIPS FOR APPLYING TO THE RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (RED) PROGRAM.

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program supports activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario and opens doors to rural economic development. The program is now open and will accept applications until October 1, 2021.

If you missed our program webinar, you can access a recording of the session here.

The slides below were presented during the session and provide some helpful tips to consider when completing your application.

Applicants are required to read the program guidelines before completing an application. The program guidelines provide detailed information on eligible applicants, project types, and costs, as well as the process for submitting an application and the process that will be used to assess the application.

For more information on the program including guidelines, applications, and approved projects, please visit Ontario.ca/REDprogram

Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Opens on August 30th

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program is open from August 30, 2021 to October 1, 2021. You can find all program information including how to apply on the program’s homepage on August 30, 2021.

Information Sessions

OMAFRA staff will be conducting two public webinars to provide an overview of the RED program, and discuss the process for applying to the program. Please bring your questions as there will be a Q&A period. The sessions will be on the following dates:

  • September 2, 11:00am-12:00pm EST
  • September 16, 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

Sign up on the session registration page

Ontario’s Rural Economic Development (RED) program provides cost-share funding to support activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario and open doors to rural economic development.

What are RED Outcomes?

RED applications are assessed on their ability to result in one or more of the following:

Continue reading Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Opens on August 30th

New funding Intake for Ontario Food and Beverage Processors

Canada and Ontario are investing up to $6 million in projects to help Ontario food and beverage processors improve their operations, increase their competitive edge and adapt to challenges as the pandemic begins to subside.

Applications for this program will be accepted in two phases.

The first phase of this new intake under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support projects that will enhance economic development and food safety in the sector will be accepted. Applications for phase one of the intake will be accepted starting on August 5, 2021 until September 2, 2021.

The second phase of the intake will open in September for targeted projects to improve labour productivity, efficiency and reduce waste.

Program materials including the application form and program guide are available on the OMAFRA website.

A webinar providing an overview of this food and beverage processor intake will be held on Monday August 16, at 9:30am. Sign up using the webinar registration form. This session will be recorded and available for those not able to attend.

For more information about the programming contact OMAFRA by emailing ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca or calling 1-877-424-1300.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity. This commitment includes $2 billion for programs that are cost-shared by the federal and provincial and territorial governments and are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.

12 Questions to Determine if Entrepreneurship is Right for You

Before diving into entrepreneurship in the food and beverage industry, it is recommended to do some self-reflection to determine whether it is a good fit for your personality, skills, resources, lifestyle, and preparedness. This 12-question self-assessment will help you understand how you may perform in an entrepreneurship scenario and how this change would affect your life. Take a few minutes to learn more about being your own boss and what it takes to succeed.

Continue reading 12 Questions to Determine if Entrepreneurship is Right for You

Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade (PROFIT) Workshop

OMAFRA’s Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade (PROFIT) workshop provides Ontario agri-food producers and processors with the main exporting touchpoints required for food and beverage products to the United States. 

For more than 30 years, the PROFIT workshop has grown the success of hundreds of Ontario agri-food businesses by enhancing their market knowledge to export to the U.S.

Following the successful shift from an in-person event to a virtual platform in 2020, the PROFIT seminar will be offered online again this year. The PROFIT seminar series is comprised of nine (TBC) twice-weekly sessions during July and August. It is free for participants to attend, and is being offered to anyone in the agri-food industry that is interested in learning more about exporting food and beverage products to the U.S.

Continue reading Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade (PROFIT) Workshop

Regional Economic Analysis Community of Practice Webinar

Join other economic development professionals on Thursday, June 17, 2021 for a panel discussion about regional economic analysis and how to use data to support decision making.

This session is designed to help participants:

  • Gain a better understanding of existing regional and local data to support planning and recovery efforts, such as regional economic base, growth opportunities, sector impact, workforce, and its uses in strategy development.
  • Learn how other communities have utilized different Analyst reports and other data to further their economic development objectives
  • Network with others that use a data driven approach to economic development.
Continue reading Regional Economic Analysis Community of Practice Webinar