Category Archives: Organizational Development

Save the Date: ‘Health and Safety in the Workplace’ Webinar for Food and Beverage Processors

Looking to learn more about programs and supports available to protect worker/employer health and safety in the food and beverage processing sector? On December 16, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., OMAFRA is hosting a free webinar for processors to help them guard against the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in the workplace.

This webinar will provide valuable information on what you need to know as an employer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will learn more about:

  • Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Program
    • TFW Program 2022
    • Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA)
  • Food Processing Skills Canada Programs
    • Student Work Placement Program 
    • Succeeding at Work Language Stream
    • Labour Market Research 
  • COVID-19 Prevention and Control
    • Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP)
  • Supports available through OMAFRA to protect worker health and safety
    • Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program (EAWPP)
    • Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)

We have invited experts from Service Canada, Food Processing Skills Canada (FPSC), and the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS).

To register, please visit: ‘Health and Safety in the Workplace’ Webinar.

Register for the webinar today!

Informative Resources for Potential Entrepreneurs in the Food Industry

The Government of Ontario is offering new educational resources to assist and guide those who are interested in starting a food business. These resources are intended to inform potential entrepreneurs about various components of starting and operating a food business, as well as to help them discover whether the food industry is right for them.

Key Components of a Business Plan

The first resource offers information about the key components of a business plan, including operations, finance, human resources, marketing and more. It presents many considerations for each of these key components, allowing readers to generate an accurate and fully-encompassing plan for their future business.

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Tips for Hosting a Successful Virtual Annual General Meeting

With the ongoing pandemic, Annual General Meetings (AGM) are being held in a virtual environment using video conferencing. Video conferencing is a good option when meetings can’t be held in-person. Participants still have the ability to be heard and seen in real-time using online meeting platforms.

Now more than ever, it is very important to plan for your AGM well in advance. This includes setting the date, time, downloading or purchasing the necessary online meeting platform, and sending meeting materials and links to attendees at least a week before the AGM. Although you may be hosting your AGM within the comfort of your own home, you still want to maintain a professional presence.

Here are some tips on conference call/video etiquette:

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Using Focus Groups for Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E)

A thorough Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) exercise can take several months to complete. However, there may be times when an economic development practitioner may need to gather data quickly. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with the County of Simcoe and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury to address this challenge as they developed their COVID-19 Recovery Plans. Instead of the usual one-on-one business interviews, we used a series of virtual focus groups to collect the business information they needed to develop recovery strategies within a short timeframe.

Our focus groups consisted of a small group of people that would typically be engaged in a BR+E exercise. We used a short-list of questions (no more than four questions per hour of focus group discussion) targeting immediate and long-term opportunities and challenges.

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The Importance of Collaborating to Support Economic Recovery

COVID-19 has brought with it, unprecedented challenges for the economy that can be difficult for individual businesses to tackle alone. To help communities during these times where much remains unknown, organizations need to work together and collaborate to achieve effective outcomes.

This three-part blog series will discuss how organizational development can support economic recovery through leadership and team efforts.

Recovery will be complex and will likely involve issues that are too large for any one organization to solve alone. Recovery efforts will require the collective efforts of new partners and stakeholders across multiple sectors. Every participant will need to identify and use their strengths to contribute towards a solution that will result in a noticeable impact. Collaboration requires some degree of effort from everyone.

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Become a Local Food Broader Public Sector Champion

Ontario’s local food industry impacts our economy, our environment and our culture. The local food value chain includes farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, restaurants, other food service organizations like the broader public sector, who are working to provide quality products to Ontarians.

In March of 2019, the Government of Ontario established the final goal of the Local Food Act, 2013: to remove red tape barriers and open the door for using more local food across the broader public sector (BPS). To support the goal’s success, the government developed many tools and resources including the Broader Public Sector Champions Program. Organizations are encouraged to share their local food procurement baseline with the province. Then create and track targets for increasing local food purchases, and voluntarily report back to the province how they are meeting their local food goals.


Certificates of Recognition from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will be awarded to participating institutions each June during Local Food Week.

What Does This Mean for you?

Broader Public Sector organizations receive funding from the Government of Ontario but are considered outside the governing body. BPS organizations that can participate in the local food Broader Public Sector Champions Program are hospitals, municipal long-term care facilities, school boards, universities or colleges, school boards, and child care centers.

As a BPS organization, you can get started today! Click here to fill out the baseline survey, or visit the Broader Public Sector Champions Program page on the OMAFRA website for more information.

Knowing where our food comes from makes it easier to support those who grow, harvest and make it, we strengthen our communities, support a sustainable environment, create jobs and boost the economy.

Let us know what local food options are available at your local healthcare centre, university, school, or childcare centre in the comments below or on Twitter @RegionalEcDevON.



Tips for Encouraging Volunteer Success- Happy National Volunteer Week!

This week is National Volunteer Week! National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers. Without volunteers’ dedicating their time and talent, many organizations simply would not exist.

Volunteers can be extremely helpful to any organization. They can help manage the workloads of other employees to make the work easier and less stressful for everyone involved. Volunteers can provide objective feedback and they can engage with locals to attract more attention to the organization or the community initiative.

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Statistics Canada Releases the Results from the Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian businesses are becoming much more innovative and as a result are increasing competitiveness, economic growth and social wellbeing. However they say, there must be sufficient data available to advocate for the creation of policies that support innovation. Sufficient data is gathered by the Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy (SIBS) which is the primary source for innovation data in Canada. The measurement of innovation is the performance of the business enterprise sector, looking at strategic decisions, innovation, activities and operational tactics.    Continue reading Statistics Canada Releases the Results from the Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy

Preparing for Your Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meetings (AGM) are meetings that are held annually for the members or ‘owners’ of an organization. The meeting allows the board of directors to demonstrate how they have governed the organization over the past year and an opportunity for members and directors to talk with each other.

All AGMs should cover the following topics:

  • Present the activities of the board for the previous year
  • Present the audited financial statements
  • Run elections for the board of directors
  • Appoint the financial reviewer for the next fiscal year

There are three key steps to a successful AGM

  1. Planning & preparation
  2. Successful execution of the AGM
  3. Follow-up/evaluation

Notice of Annual Meeting

Make sure you give plenty of advanced notice of the Annual General Meeting. The notice should include a draft agenda and other supplementary information that may be needed during the meeting. Notices can be sent by traditional mail or sent by email. Be  sure you have permission from the member before sending email notifications.

Other ways  to promote your AGM to a broader audience include:

  • Social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc
  • Unpaid media
  • Other organizations
  • Special invitations to sponsors, vendors, exhibitors, community groups, local dignitaries

Annual Report

The annual report  gives members, volunteers and sponsors reasons to support your organization based on important facts, changes that have been made, or new policies. The report includes:

  • Achievements and challenges
  • Vision and mission
  • Audited financial statement
  • Board of Directors and staff list and contact information
  • Performance measurements

Make your annual report interesting and have hard copies available as well as a digital version on your website.

Examples of Annual reports

Audited Financial Statement

An audited financial statement is a review of the organization’s financial statements such as income statement, cash flow statement or balance sheet, that have been audited.agm

  • Balance Sheet: Assets and Liabilities of the organization (including land and buildings)
  • Income Statement: Profit/Loss for the current fiscal year
  • Cash Flow Statement: shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents

AGM questions

Be prepared for potential questions that may be asked during your AGM by having a discussion with your board of directors: Are there any issues that the membership will want to know about? Are there any significant changes in the financial position of the organization? Have there been new or updated policies or procedures?

Have the information you need at hand and have trained staff in place to answer the questions. Make sure everyone on the board knows the answers to financial questions; the Treasurer is not the only one accountable for the finances. Furthermore, be honest and transparent when addressing major issues and explain the actions the board will take to remedy the situation.


Prepare a very detailed agenda for your AGM. Consider the length of the meeting, anticipated discussion time, motions to be made etc to minimize potential omissions and errors.

Sample AGM Agenda

  • Call to order
  • Establish quorum
  • Approval of minutes of previous AGM
  • President’s Report or Report of Board Activities
  • Financial Statements: Treasurer’s report, Auditor’s report
  • Executive Director or General Manager report
  • Election of directors
  • Resolutions/Motions requiring approval by the membership (constitution or by-laws)
  • Optional – Guest Speaker
  • Meeting Adjournment

Meeting Logistics

Determine the meeting logistics in advance: setting the date, time and location. Also, look for sponsorships for speakers, refreshments and door prizes. Know who is chairing the meeting in advance; note that the president does not have to chair the meeting. Create a member sign in to help confirm quorum, also have a member package that includes minutes, ballots, annual report etc. Have someone assigned to be the parliamentarian for the meeting, to answer question on the constitution or procedures of the meeting.

Engage Members

tablAGM’s are a great opportunity to engage members. Create name tags for everyone attending and set up the room with round or rectangular tables, and have the chairs face each other to encourage friendly conversation. Include refreshments as well as having a break for networking.  


Have your nomination process planned out in your constitution or by laws, whether you allow nominations on the floor or in advance. Include written policies/procedures, term for directors and an application process.

Always prepare in advance for an election, have the written policy/procedures ready and have the ballots prepared. Create an opportunity for nominees to address their membership either written or verbally. There are two different ways to give nominees an opportunity to address membership.

  1. If you have a nomination form, use this information as the bio for each nominee.
  2. If there are nominations on the floor, have each nominee speak for a few minutes.

An AGM is about motivation and celebration; remember to give recognition to volunteers, sponsors, leadership and youth. Also, celebrate the achievements and milestones and conclude with a meaningful motivational speaker.

After the AGM remember to evaluate the event with a short write up. Send out a survey to your members or have them complete one before they leave to give you some feedback for your next AGM.


5 Steps to Successfully Recruiting Volunteers

Asking people to volunteer is not an easy task, but by recruiting volunteers it can provide benefits such as: helping spread the work among members of the organization, keep the organization alive, bring in new ideas and get work done.

By following these five steps, recruiting volunteers does not have to be a problem!

Step One: Define the Job

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