Category Archives: Economic Development

Tourism Industry Groups Now Available in Analyst

In many rural Ontario communities, tourism plays a significant role in the business and employment sectors; we know this via feedback from our clients and in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) on Analyst-related projects.

With these factors in mind, we continue to adjust Analyst to better meet the needs of our clients. As a result both Regional Tourism Organizations (RTO) and tourism industry pre-generated groups are now available within the tool. Continue reading Tourism Industry Groups Now Available in Analyst

Rural Ontario Leaders Awards Launch

Rural communities are an essential part of our cultural and economic fabric and our government is committed to ensuring they remain vibrant places where our children can learn, grow, work and play. That’s why our government is launching the Rural Ontario Leaders Awards, to help celebrate the achievements of those who are dedicated to helping improve the quality of life and economic development of rural Ontario. Continue reading Rural Ontario Leaders Awards Launch

Intake 2 of the Rural Economic Development Program is Open for Applications

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program helps rural communities remove barriers to community economic development, through support for planning and implementation projects that benefit rural Ontario.

The program is now open and will accept applications until September 29, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. (Eastern).

As part of continuous improvement, several minor changes have been made to the RED program guidelines and application since the closure of the first intake: Continue reading Intake 2 of the Rural Economic Development Program is Open for Applications

Teeny Tiny Summits Create a Big Impact!

Small communities have particular needs and assets when it comes to building strong economies. This was the topic of conversation at the June 28-29 Teeny Tiny Summits, which drew over 200 volunteers, staff, local councillors, and support organizations.

Participants were treated to an inspiring dialogue with keynote speaker Peter Kenyon, a social capitalist and community enthusiast. Over the last four decades, Peter has worked with more than 2000 communities all over the world seeking to facilitate fresh and creative ways that stimulate community and local economic renewal. Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summits Create a Big Impact!

Budgeting for Downtown Revitalization?

Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization Program (DR), this entry will take a look at the estimated costs a community could expect to incur, and strategies to manage the cost of the initiative.

Like all economic development activities, downtown revitalization is a long-term and ongoing process. OMAFRA’s DR program is a comprehensive four-stage process aimed at moving from foundational strategic directions and actions to tangible results in a two to three year timeframe. The first year is largely focused on the development of a strategic plan and actions for downtown revitalization. An additional one to two years is a realistic expectation for the community to see initial outcomes, monitor progress, and start making strategic adjustments as needed. This process is expected to generate two types of costs: Continue reading Budgeting for Downtown Revitalization?

What Running Has Taught Me About Setting Goals

I enjoy running … most of the time.

To help stay motivated I sign up for races. Without a race to train toward it’d be easy to skip runs on cold-rainy days. This year, surrounded by 15,0000 other runners, I ran the Ottawa half-marathon, for the second time. Races are wonderful motivators, they are hard, and they test you on so many levels. The results of a race (your finish time) are black and white, no questions asked. Continue reading What Running Has Taught Me About Setting Goals

Refresher for Downtown Revitalization

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization Program takes a comprehensive four-stage approach to support the efforts of rural communities who want to revitalize their historic downtowns. As part of the program, OMAFRA provides the Downtown Revitalization Coordinator’s Manual, which is designed to support communities that have identified downtown revitalization as an economic development priority. As with many of OMAFRA’s other program resources, the Downtown Revitalization Coordinator’s Manual is now available online, at no cost,  just fill out the form on the OMAFRA website. Continue reading Refresher for Downtown Revitalization

Thoughts from the Main Street Now Conference

Place seems to matter more than ever, and Main Street areas across the United States are finding ways to re-assert their economic importance despite emerging ‘disruptive’ advancements in retail (e.g. e-commerce). That was the underlying theme in many of the sessions I attended at the recent 2017 Main Street Now conference in Pittsburgh, pit 22Pennsylvania. Attended by more than 1,600 people, the annual conference brings together key private and public sector decision makers to share successes and challenges in preservation-based downtown revitalization.

After a few weeks to collect my thoughts, here are the ideas that continue to resonate with me on ways to improve downtown districts: Continue reading Thoughts from the Main Street Now Conference

Input-Output Predictive Scenario Report

AnalystUsing Analyst’s Input-Output Scenario report you can predict the expected impact of a business loss or gain in your community in terms of  jobs, sales, or wages, and how that event would impact other industries regionally. It gives you the ability to “shock” an economy and measure the impacts.

It also gives you the predictive ability to see:

  • The effect of a new company locating in the local regional economy,
  • The effect of adding jobs to an existing industry sector (such as a major company expansion)
  • The effect of losing a company/losing jobs from the local regional economy

For example, if we wanted to understand the impact of an animal feed mill’s in rural Ontario. We would go through the following steps to get the information that will help us understand the impacts.

First Step: choose a region Continue reading Input-Output Predictive Scenario Report

Driving the conversation forward with youth in Perth County

Across rural Ontario, where youth out-migration to urban centres is a concerning trend; finding new ways to engage young people in their communities is increasingly important. More needs to be done to incorporate the voice of youth in local planning and development processes. 

“Youth will only return home if they feel they have left something behind”

Jacinda Rudolph of LaunchPad at Rural Ontario Summit, 2016

Perth County is one community that is making progress on this front. The county knows that the success of tomorrow’s workforce is deeply dependent on being able to stop the out-migration of its youth population, and they are taking an active approach to ensuring this trend stops.

The communities of Perth County are taking innovative steps to incorporate the voice of youth in the narrative of community development.

“Youth are important contributors to our economy and to our communities’ overall quality of life,” says Meredith Forget, Economic Development Officer for Perth County. “Youth are entrepreneurs, performers, volunteers, mentors, community leaders, employees to small businesses and consumers in our local economies. Youth have a significant impact on the vitality of their communities, and we are looking for ways to support them – in growing, learning, working and making a home in rural Ontario.”

The Perth4Youth Strategic Planning initiative is wrapping up after many months of hard work, community consultations and action planning. This initiative to date has been led by Perth County’s four lower tier municipalities and the cities of Stratford and St. Marys, with support from their respective municipal councils.

To enrich data gathering efforts for the broader Perth4Youth initiative, a unique youth focused, civic engagement process was developed and implemented. This process has brought together multiple community and educational partners to deliver a unique applied learning opportunity for students, and a medium to better express and capture the community’s youth voice. This initiative creates the opportunity to incorporate data collected by youth, for youth, into community based strategic planning.

Three energetic and motivated students from Listowel District Secondary School (LDSS) students took on this project last semester as part of their coursework in this their 4th and final year of high school.

This youth engagement pilot was designed to:

  • Engage students in their communities, and foster an appreciation for the value of civic engagement and municipal governance
  • Support students along the way in “learning by doing”
  • Gather data to inform the Perth4Youth strategic planning process and future community action to support youth.

In carrying out their in-school consultations with their peers, the LDSS student team produced: Continue reading Driving the conversation forward with youth in Perth County