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
Generating more than $5.2 billion in direct sales annually (not including value added or further processing), the livestock industry is an important contributor to the strength of Ontario’s economy.
One of the challenges with raising livestock in rural and remote areas is predation by wildlife.
The Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program compensates producers for livestock losses incurred as a result of predation. Municipalities appoint Livestock Valuers to inspect and prepare a report on any livestock losses from wildlife. In unincorporated areas of Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Agriculture Development Advisors do this.
In preparation for making a claim, producers are encouraged to: Continue reading Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program – Claim Requirements
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program is a comprehensive program that supports the economic development efforts of rural communities across Ontario. An initial step in this program is the intensive downtown revitalization coordinator training provided by OMAFRA staff. This training is focused on identifying the processes and tools required to successfully undertake a downtown revitalization project.
Northern Ontario, with its cooler growing conditions, is known to grow good quality forages and spring grains. However, the past three decades has seen a diversification and expansion of the cash crop sector in the north.
With fewer livestock farms in the north, resulting in fewer acres of forages being grown (less livestock, less feed required) and the expansion of overall farm acreage, producers have been looking at different crop alternatives. Continue reading Diversifying the Cash Crop Industry in Northern Ontario
The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF), annual conference will be held in Guelph, Ontario from October 12 – 15, 2016.
The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) was established in 1989 to contribute to the revitalization and sustainability of rural Canada through collaborative research for rural leaders in the community, private sector, and in all levels of government.
CRRF works to create credible insights and to improve an understanding of issues and opportunities that are of common interest to rural residents across Canada. Knowledge and better understanding are the fundamental pillars for the welfare of rural communities and environments. Continue reading Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation annual Conference
There are a number of exciting initiatives currently under way that look to answer some of the questions mentioned in part one of this series, and kick start discussion around youth engagement in rural communities.
Supporting, engaging, attracting and retaining youth in rural communities is increasingly the “talk of the town” amongst governments, communities, and concerned citizens across Ontario.
Rural communities across Ontario have been seeing a net outmigration of youth (between the ages of 15-29) for years. Much of the outmigration of youth from these communities can be attributed to a number of factors, from opportunities for post-secondary education, to finding employment, to the variety of amenities offered in larger urban centres. Many of these same rural communities face challenges in providing comparable opportunities for their youth to grow and develop relative to more prosperous urban communities. Continue reading The Importance of Supporting and Attracting Youth in Rural Ontario
Need Help to Start, Manage or Grow a Food Business? If so, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) offers many resources to individuals and businesses starting or growing a food processing business.
A good place to start is with the 2015 Guide To Food And Beverage Manufacturing in Ontario. Whether you are new to the food industry and working on a business start-up or need assistance with the expansion of an existing operation, you will find the information in this guide and its easy-to-follow tools and templates will help you: Continue reading Need Help to Start, Manage or Grow a Food Business?
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is leading the development of the Northern Ontario Agriculture, Aquaculture and Food Processing sector strategy.
Agriculture, Aquaculture and Food Processing is a priority sector that can help grow and diversify Northern Ontario’s economy under the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario,
OMAFRA needs input from a broad array of producers, organizations and communities to create an effective strategy which will guide long term decision-making and investment planning in Northern Ontario.
The discussion paper is a first step in the development of this strategy. We look forward to having a dialogue on the questions presented in the discussion paper and other comments and ideas that may arise.
How to Comment on the Discussion Paper
Interested parties may provide input into the development of the Strategy in a number of ways.
Provide comments in writing through one of the following:
- Ontario’s Environmental Registry – EBR Registry Number 012-7458.:
- By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By delivery to any OMAFRA office
- By mail/courier to:
Economic Development Policy Branch
1 Stone Road West
2nd Floor NE
5. By Fax: (510) 826-4328
attention: Economic Development Policy Branch
To obtain an electronic version of this discussion paper, please go to OMAFRA’s website.
Written comments must be submitted by July 3, 2016.
OMAFRA will provide participants with overall summaries of both consultations and submitted written comments by the public. Your input towards the Northern Ontario Agriculture, Aquaculture and Food Processing sector strategy will positively impact the economic viability and advancement of Northern Ontario and the province as a whole.