Best Practices for Downtown Revitalization

Building on the online model developed by the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice (AED COP), the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is launching an online community of practice for Downtown Revitalization in Ontario.

What is a Community of Practice? It is an informally structured group that allows practitioners with an interest in economic development or downtown development to promote leading practices, share success stories, and Continue reading Best Practices for Downtown Revitalization

Strategic Planning is a Great way to Keep your Organization on Track.

Strategic planning should be embedded into the regular operation of any organization. It helps organizations make sound decisions to guide its activities over time.

OMAFRA has partnered with the Ontario Business Improvement Areas Association (OBIAA) to deliver a free program to build organizational capacity using the Strategic Planning Train-the-Trainer (TTT) program. The program engages and trains a core team of volunteers from within the BIA to strengthen their leadership skills and build a network of support and collaboration that will assist them in creating a strategic plan for their organization.

To participate, BIAs must:

  • Be willing to participate in the strategic planning process
  • Have a commitment from the Board to the process
  • Not be in a crisis situation
  • Have five volunteers (the Core Team) that will commit to be trained to facilitate strategic planning

The program includes five hands-on sessions delivered via webinar, running on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm starting November 28, 2017 until March 2018. Volunteers will learn about each stage of OMAFRA’s strategic planning framework, and how it provides a foundation for the next stage. As homework, Core Team members will facilitate that stage of the strategic planning process with their own organization. If you missed the Lunch and Learn on October 24, the slide deck below provides an overview of the program:

Continue reading Strategic Planning is a Great way to Keep your Organization on Track.

Performance Measurement Training for Economic Developers

The Economic Developers Council of Ontario is pleased to announce this new workshop series, presented in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Performance Measurement is the process of monitoring, measuring, assessing and reporting on the progress that a plan, such as an economic development plan is making towards the desired outcomes.

What to expect:

· Full day Performance Measurement training
· Use the resource that can help you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your economic development investment.
· The training will provide a seamless, step-by-step approach to understanding, designing, communicating and measuring the performance of economic development activities.
· Participants will have the opportunity to apply skills with activities using the Measuring Up Guidebook 

Please Note: Attendance by registration only. Fee: $60 plus tax (includes a copy of the Guidebook)


Whitby, November 27th – click here

Lunch will be provided.


Lessons Learned from the Annual International Downtown Association

Themed “AuthentiCITY” the International Downtown Association (IDA) recently held its 63rd annual Conference and Trade Show in Winnipeg. The conference focused on examining the role of place management organizations in shaping prosperous downtown and commercial districts. After taking a few weeks to collect my thoughts, here are some of the key topics I continue to think about.

The uncertain future of retail: The popular media narrative of e-commerce growth signalling the end of physical “bricks and mortar” retail is easy to believe. However, sessions and speakers at the conference highlighted the nuances missing in that narrative – trends like the strong growth of e-retail but still limited overall share of Continue reading Lessons Learned from the Annual International Downtown Association

Sharing of (somewhat) International Best Practices on BR+E

I was invited to present on Business Retention & Expansion at the recent International Economic Development Council annual conference in Toronto. The session explored common denominators for success and highlighted unique attributes of the Halifax Partnership, the Ontario and the British Columbia programs.

Continue reading Sharing of (somewhat) International Best Practices on BR+E

What I Learned At The International Economic Development Council – Annual Conference 2017

It Wasn’t So Much What Was Talked About As What Was Said

The 2017 International Economic Development Council Annual Conference in Toronto marks the first time the event has been held outside the United States. The topics on the agenda weren’t all that different from what was discussed at the Economic Developers Association of Canada conference held in Niagara Falls a week or two earlier. However, for those of us from Ontario, the perspectives and discussions were quite different from what we usually hear.  I suspect that for our American colleagues the large number of Canadian, European and Indigenous speakers and attendees gave this event a perspective that was different from their past events as well.

For me, the reason to go to a conference like this is to hear a familiar problem outlined from a point of view I never considered, or to look at a case study that started out using a standard approach to a project but ended up doing something totally innovative when

Continue reading What I Learned At The International Economic Development Council – Annual Conference 2017

Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum – Registration now open

The 9th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum is being held in Halton Region on October 18-19, 2017.

The forum is tailored to all those involved in municipal economic development and planning who have agriculture and food in their portfolio. Whether it’s farming, food processing, agri-tourism, equine, or agri-entrepreneurship in focus, this is an opportunity to network and share successes with your colleagues. We’ve prepared two jam-packed days of tours and speakers to showcase the experiences and insights of agri-businesses in the Halton Region and beyond.

Registration is now open – click here

Day One

Continue reading Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum – Registration now open

3 Emerging Themes Economic Developers Should Pay Attention To

Economic developers are faced with a constantly changing environment as industry changes before our very eyes; the needs of yesterday are not and will not be the needs of tomorrow. The EDAC 2017 Conference highlighted three themes that can help economic developers stay relevant. If understood and utilized, these themes can help  economic developers capitalize on the opportunities they present when planning for future community and economic needs.

1: Talent

Many conversations around the conference focused on the need to nurture talent in order to retain and/or attract business. As noted in the Mississauga Life Sciences Sector Strategy presentation, talent is a key linkage that is critical to success across all sectors, whether that sector is industry, academia, or government. Positioning Mississauga as a desirable place to live and work was essential component to grow the life science sector to be the second largest in Canada. Attracting labour is not enough. How talent and careers are developed in our communities also plays a role. This point was highlighted by Jeremy Bout of Edge Factor who has created a suite of educational tools for youth, educators and industry who stated that we must “Be relevant, have a palpable story to relate to” when it comes to informing youth about the opportunities of tomorrow.  Put simply we must “Promote careers, not jobs.” Ultimately, talent will be critical to meet the business realities of the future.

Continue reading 3 Emerging Themes Economic Developers Should Pay Attention To


  • What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch? 

I am an Agriculture Development Advisor (ADA) working out of the Thessalon satellite office as part of the North Region team. I cover the District of Algoma which includes the North shore of Lake Huron, the St Mary’s River (including St. Joseph Island) and the East shore of Lake Superior. Less than 10% of the District’s land area is privately owned. The privately owned land is concentrated near highways running along the southern and western boundaries of the District. Continue reading STAFF PROFILE: DAVID TRIVERS

Understanding the Benefits of a Downtown Revitalization Program

Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program, this entry will take a look at the potential benefits and impacts of a revitalization program.

Downtown Revitalization (DR) can be costly and time-consuming, with positive impacts emerging only over the longer-term. As the figure from the DR Coordinator’s Manual shows, economic impacts are not expected until the medium-term in a downtown revitalization program, with new market trends (e.g. e-commerce) necessitating a long-term commitment to ensure sustainability. Though time frames remain a key challenge, downtown revitalization programs also contend with the perception that their benefits are “local” to the downtown area, rather than the broader community.dr blog Continue reading Understanding the Benefits of a Downtown Revitalization Program