Tag Archives: Resources

Business and Farm Resources to Support Your Community During COVID-19

The Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice held a webinar on April 15, 2020, to discuss issues in the agriculture and food sector due to COVID-19 and how to help communities during these difficult times.

One concern expressed  is the lack of  agriculture labourers. The agricultural community is worried that they will not get their full complement of temporary seasonal workers, and that would impact their ability to plant and harvest this season. The goal of the Community of Practice it to help find local and regional solutions to address these types of issues.

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Top Ten Impacts COVID-19 is Having on Local Economic Development and Ways that Economic Developers can Help

The rapidly emerging impacts of COVID-19 on local communities has left economic developers seeking guidance on how to best respond to the crisis and offer effective support measures. Working together, elected officials, partners, local businesses, community members and economic developers can implement actions to mitigate the negative outcomes of this outbreak and work towards a more resilient future.

The International Economic Development Council held a webinar in early April to discuss a ten-point action plan for how economic developer organizations (EDOs) at all levels of government can work through a three phase recovery plan: mobilizing to help their local businesses now (Phase 1), preparing to reopen safely and securely (Phase 2) and positioning economies for longer run recovery Phase 3).

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Methods to Reduce Predation in Ontario

Predation by wildlife is a year-round problem in rural Ontario with two peak periods in spring and late summer. OMAFRA has developed the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program to help farmers who lose livestock due to wild animals killing or injuring their stock. This resource offers training materials and suggestions for farmers to help discourage wildlife from attacking.

Recently a farmer from northern Ontario demonstrated the effectiveness of a couple of these methods. There was an incident in which a pack of large grey wolves were attacking beef cattle on the farm. The producer had contracted a trapper but the attacks continued. The farmer called an OMAFRA advisor asking for help. The advisor suggested using a combination of flashing lights and noise to discourage the wolves as demonstrated in the video below.

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Tips for Creating a Calm and Supportive Workplace during COVID-19

As a continuation of a previous blog post on tips to support your business community, this blog offers mental health strategies on navigating through COVID-19. Due to the uncertainty business owners are currently facing, it can be extremely difficult to manage stress levels while working through economic setbacks. Although, there are several significant unknowns, it is important to ensure that mental health and self-care is a top priority for yourself and your business community during these challenging times. It is not uncommon to experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and stress.

Below are some key insights from mental health experts on practicing good self-care for yourself and your employees.

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Planning for Agriculture Requires Balancing Growth and Compatibility

On March 5th, 2020, the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice hosted a webinar on planning for agriculture. This webinar fostered a discussion between the audience and the speaker, Dr. Wayne Caldwell, on the impact and opportunities for land use planning and near-urban agriculture. Potential challenges and opportunities were addressed, along with ten methods to create a more viable agricultural sector through planning practices.

As Ontario’s population grows, urbanized and highly populated areas are expanding into agricultural areas. While there are certainly opportunities for agriculture in proximity to urban markets, it can also pose some risks and challenges.

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Effective business outreach during COVID-19

Businesses in all sectors will be impacted by COVID-19 in some manner. In order to support them effectively, economic developers will need to do some outreach and consultation to assess these impacts and determine the needs of the businesses in their communities.

This will be particularly difficult at this moment, as businesses struggle with various priorities. Here are some tips to connect with your businesses effectively.

bre_logo_1400x570Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a concept that can be activated for times of crisis. It is a structured and community-based approach to business and economic development. It helps communities learn about issues facing local businesses and sets priorities to address these needs where possible to help strengthen the economy. It is important to recognize that few communities can do everything they would like to do to support their existing businesses.

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Tips for Improving BR+E Business Interviews

Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a structured, action-oriented and community-based approach to business and economic development. The data and knowledge obtained from business interviews is used to address issues and opportunities facing employers.

BR+E best practice suggests that interviews should ideally be conducted in-person because face-to-face interactions can offer beneficial results. However, there are some potential challenges to be aware of.

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Online Agriculture Economic Development Training

If your community is looking for ways to support your local agriculture sector; plan on attending the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) online Agriculture Economic Development Training.

The course is split into two sessions (April 8, 10am- 12pm and April 22, 10am-12pm). Click here to register.

This interactive training will:

  • Share key agriculture economic development concepts
  • Introduce the range of agriculture economic development activities your community can explore
  • Give you tools to develop a plan for agricultural economic development in your community
  • Provide an overview of the Agriculture Economic Development guide and its three stages: plant, grow and harvest.

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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 February 24, 2020.

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

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Planning Principles for Creating Healthy Rural Communities

According to this article published in 2016, 1 in 5 Ontario residents live in rural communities. As with larger urban areas, the health of residents in these rural areas is becoming more important as the population ages. Increasingly, municipalities, planners, and public health professionals are understanding that there are clear linkages between the built environment and the health of a community. So, how does the rural built environment and land use planning affect quality of life and health outcomes? This question is answered through first recognizing what rural planning is and the importance of rural health.

The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) defines rural planning as planning to improve quality of life and promote economic vitality in areas of low population density, with an expansive rural landscape and dispersed population. Planning for rural communities presents unique challenges not necessarily experienced in urban communities. Continue reading Planning Principles for Creating Healthy Rural Communities