Category Archives: Economic Development

Registration is now open for the 2019 Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum!

tomatoesIf you have agriculture economic development in your portfolio, don’t miss this opportunity to hear about the latest trends, network, learn from your peers, and talk about the future of the industry.  The theme of this year’s Forum is “Embracing the Future: Agriculture and Technology”.  Come and hear about leading edge research and development that is taking place in Ontario, as well as get a glimpse into what the future could hold. Continue reading Registration is now open for the 2019 Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum!

Trade mission to Japan & South Korea presents new opportunities for Ontario agri-food businesses

Ontario’s agri-food sector is a power house in North America, and a key contributor to the province’s economy, supporting more than 837,000 jobs and contributing $47.7 billion towards the province’s GDP. To maintain Ontario’s leadership in the agri-food sector, the province has launched the Market Access Initiative – targeted cost-share funding available to help businesses and organizations across the Ontario supply value-chain that have been directly impacted by trade restrictions.

This initiative is only a small part of what the province is doing to help navigate trade challenges. Over the next two weeks, Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade are leading an Ontario trade mission to South Korea and Japan.

Continue reading Trade mission to Japan & South Korea presents new opportunities for Ontario agri-food businesses

Zen and the Art of Business Retention and Expansion

It seems simple, right? Interview a bunch of businesses, and then do what they told you to do. There! A Business Retention + Expansion (BR+E) project!

If only.

BR+E projects are complex, multi-stakeholder efforts with many moving parts. They need a strong foundation, good partnerships and a healthy dose of flexibility.


At the Ontario East Municipal Conference, three economic developers shared their hard-won wisdom about managing a successful Business Retention + Expansion project. All three had recently completed county-wide BR+E projects with various levels of involvement from lower tier partners. Continue reading Zen and the Art of Business Retention and Expansion

Getting Ready for Ag Week – Know your regional stats!

October 7-13 is Ontario Agriculture Week; a time dedicated to celebrating the abundance of food our farmers produce, the people our industry employs, the rural communities we support and the economic engine we fuel. Many communities recognize that agriculture benefits regional economies, however, clearly communicating the contributions of the sector can be challenging. Presenting data in a compelling way and bolstering community-agriculture relations is helping communities draw attention to the crucial role agriculture plays in local economies.

Regions of Peel and Chatham-Kent offer examples, illustrating how communities can leverage data and improve the regional understanding of agriculture.

Continue reading Getting Ready for Ag Week – Know your regional stats!

Three must read reports for EcDev professionals regarding the changing Canadian workforce

In the face of an aging population, climate change and an increasingly digitized world, the Canadian workforce is being pressured to adapt in preparation for the future. While common assumptions may assert that immigration, environmental challenges and technological advances will be the greatest factors influencing the future of work in Canada, the breadth and depth of these changes may not be well understood.

The following are three must-read reports for economic development professionals looking to gain greater insight into the changing landscape of the Canadian workforce. Continue reading Three must read reports for EcDev professionals regarding the changing Canadian workforce

Tips for Completing your Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Application

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 September 9, 2019.

Applicants are required to read the program guidelines before completing an application form. 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.

In advance of the intake closing, the slide deck below is focused on providing some helpful tips to consider in completing your application.

The tips noted above are meant to support you with the development of a complete application.

If you missed our program webinars earlier in August, you can access a recording of one of the sessions here (please note, you may need to install Adobe Connect to view).

For more assistance on designing your project, assessing eligibility, and working through the final checks before submission, contact your Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor. For more information on the program including guidelines, applications, and approved projects, please visit

Place to Grow Guide for Applicants

Ontario’s government is helping to grow the province’s agri-food and agri-products sectors by launching the Place to Grow: Agri-food Innovation Initiative – a program which will help drive innovation, reduce red tape, and address industry priorities. This new initiative, which is comprised of ‘Funding for Sectors‘ and ‘Strategic Solutions‘, will support agriculture and food value-chain partners address emerging sector challenges and opportunities to create sector wide benefits.

Funding for Sectors

Programming Overview

Funding will support agriculture and food value chain partners by offering cost-share funding opportunities to address identified industry priorities and outcomes for Ontario in the following areas:

Protection & Assurance Environmental Stewardship Economic Development

How to Apply

Eligible applicants can apply for Funding for Sector programming beginning August 15th at which time all program details and forms will be available through the CAP website at: This cost-share intake will remain open until Sept. 27, 2019.

Strategic Solutions

Continue reading Place to Grow Guide for Applicants

Location, Location, Location!

Choosing a location is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs make when planning or relocating their business venture.

Here’s a request we received from a retail client: “I might have an opportunity to move on to the main street, but I need more information for my business partner. He doesn’t seem to think it will make that much of a difference.”

Here is our advice:

Know your customer

Continue reading Location, Location, Location!

The Rural Economic Development (RED) is Accepting Applications

What is the RED Program?

Rural Economic Development (RED) is a cost-share funding program that supports projects that remove barriers to economic development in rural communities.

What are RED Outcomes?

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

  • Jobs retained or created
  • Investments attracted or retained
  • Businesses attracted, retained and/or expanded
  • Enhanced strategic economic infrastructure
  • Regional partnerships that drive growth

Who is Eligible for RED?

Continue reading The Rural Economic Development (RED) is Accepting Applications

Learn the fundamentals of BR+E on September 19, 2019 in Blyth, Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Business Retention and Expansion program (BR+E) is a structured, four-stage approach focused on ensuring that local businesses in rural communities survive and thrive.

When communities take on a BR+E project, they take meaningful steps towards retaining and expanding businesses by getting a clear understanding of issues facing local businesses and then capitalizing on opportunities.

As part of the program, OMAFRA offers comprehensive BR+E training to:

  • individuals who are interested in managing or coordinating a community level Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) project.
  • economic development professionals who will be involved in the implementation of a BR+E project.

Continue reading Learn the fundamentals of BR+E on September 19, 2019 in Blyth, Ontario