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!
The second online Community of Practice for Ontario’s downtown revitalization community was held in late March. The participants learned about a range of ways in which physical improvements made to downtown areas have contributed to business success.
Here’s a quick summary:
Click here to download the introductory presentation. Continue reading Recap: Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice
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
There are six community pastures located across northern Ontario. Partnerships between organizations and the provincial government were instrumental in the formation of the pastures. In the early 2000’s the Association of Community Pastures (ACP) was created and they subsequently ownership of some of these pastures. The pastures are available for farmers to rent for the summer, allowing them to increase their herd by providing extra grazing opportunities. Community pastures are also used as sites for research and information workshops.
Economic benefits of community pastures
Since the first community pasture was established in the early 1960’s, they have come to provide a source of economic benefit to the communities where they are located. To see what kind of overall benefit community pastures have for the northern Ontario, data was collected for all six of the pastures in 2016.
Charges for using the pasture is done in one of two ways; either a flat rate per animal/animal pairs for the season, or a per-day rate. Table 1 shows the number of animals at each location and the rental rates charged in 2016.
It is clear that there is consistent positive revenue being generated by the northern community pastures. Overall the pastures benefit communities by providing jobs and allowing farmers an opportunity to increase the livestock they raise and subsequently increase their revenues.
Table 2 highlights the overall financial impact of the community pastures in 2016 (based on the assumption that the sale of Cow/Calf pairs and bulls to be $1200 and sale of yearlings to be $1500), which also generates jobs, and benefits the local economy.
In summary, community pastures demonstrate economic benefits by contributing to local research, and positively impacting the economy though the generation of profit from hosting the cattle on pasture, generating jobs, and increasing a farmers revenue opportunities.
Authored by Barry Potter and Kaitlyn Schenk
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
The “first ever” report of this kind, establishes a baseline of the economic and social contribution of Business Improvement Areas to Ontario’s communities.
The Return on Investment of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) project was spearheaded by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) and Toronto Area Business Improvement Association (TABIA) and funded through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA).
The primary goal of the year-long project was to:
- Establish a set of common indicators for BIAs across Ontario
- Create a pool of tools and metrics for BIAs to share their impact and analyze trends
- Understand what is happening in Ontario’s downtowns and mainstreets
- Outline existing gaps in the data base and how to go about filling them
The consultative process throughout the project was extensive and included a broad range of input from a full spectrum of BIAs, municipalities, and other stakeholders.
“Our goal was to provide the over 310 BIAs across Ontario with the understanding they need to manage and grow their capacity to be vital partners to their members, to their communities and to their municipalities,”
– Kay Matthews, OBIAA’s Executive Director.
The ROI Report identifies that BIAs are:
- Unique in scale and geography
- Big on passion
- Ground Zero for business innovation and incubation because they support small businesses
Here are some key observations from the report:
- BIAs can drive employment, with the survey of 162 BIAs across the province highlighting BIAs that are attracting notable levels of employment to an area (increased the daytime population by over 800% in one BIA), and BIAs that account for a significant proportion (ranging from 0.2:1 to 0.9:1) of the jobs in a community.
- An average of 6% of BIA membership represents new businesses.
- Based on Real Estate Board data, the cost of a single family home or condominium within 500m of a BIA rose on average 46% between 2011 and 2016.
- 75% of BIAs have a significant stock of properties that are either heritage-designated or of heritage interest.
- BIAs produce an estimated total of 1200 events each year, and another 1300 produced by other community organizations land within the BIA boundaries.
- Over half (55%) of reporting BIAs had members leveraging façade programs, generating an average 2.5:1 private sector to municipality investment ratio with an average of $0.17 per capita invested
Continue reading Ontario Business Improvement Areas Releases Return ON Investment Report
Held on November 15th, 2016, and hosted by the Municipality of Brooke-Alvinston, OMAFRA, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, and Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation, this event brought together 126 community volunteers, business champions, municipal staff and elected officials to hear ideas about revitalizing small communities.
Continue reading Key Takeaways: Teeny Tiny Southwest Summit
The 8th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum was held on November 2 & 3rd in Caledon at both the Millcroft Inn and Spa in Alton and the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Palgrave respectfully.
Delegates came from across Ontario with disciplines in both municipal planning, tourism and local economic development with agriculture and food (farming, food processing, agri-tourism, equine/agri-business sector, and agri-entrepreneurship) as part of their portfolio.
Continue reading 8th Annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum Highlights
As the downtown revitalization community of practice sessions have come to an end, we thought it would be a perfect time to reflect on the key learnings and benefits that these sessions provide to our clients. Community of Practice sessions are generally held as a knowledge transfer opportunity; these sessions aim to provide feedback, support, and guidance to those who wish to partake in a downtown revitalization initiative.
Continue reading Key Takeaways: Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice