AMO’s Economic Development Task Force met on August 7, 2012 and received presentations from the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association.

Chaired by Marolyn Morrison, Mayor of the Town of Caledon and Councillor, Region of Peel, the Task Force also received updates from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Industry Canada, FedDev and AMO. Below is a summary of the meeting:

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO): Beth Potter, President of TIAO, presented an overview of the Association, the importance of tourism to Ontario’s economy, job creation and investment for municipalities, as well as linkages between tourism and infrastructure investments, for example the quality of the provincial and local transportation system to help attract visitors.

Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) Update: EDCO updated task force members regarding the organization’s annual conference that will be held in London from February 5-7, 2013 at the London Convention Centre.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Update: OMAFRA provided an update on the Ministry’s Community Immigration Retention in Rural Ontario (CIRRO) initiative as well as the Community Attractiveness Indicators for Newcomers tool. Both the initiative and the tool focus on the importance of human capital for Ontario in terms of hard and soft skills, retaining youths in smaller communities and attracting newcomers.

Case Study – Timmins Economic Development Corporation: CEO Christy Marinig provided an overview of the current activities of the Timmins Economic Development Corporation. A major focus of the Corporation has been researching its competitive strategy from an international, national, and provincial perspective.

Report on National Economic Indicators: David Norton, Senior Economist with Industry Canada gave an overview of Ontario’s economic performance over the last two years using key national economic indicators.

FedDev Overview and Update: Sanjeev Dewett, Manager of Intergovernmental Affairs with the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario gave an overview of the agency’s background and the programs that are available to Ontario’s communities including the recently announced Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund. The Fund provides $49.6 million over two years for the repair and upgrade of community and recreational facilities across Ontario. Municipalities are eligible to receive this cost shared funding and successful recipients may receive up to $1 million for a project and up to 50% of the project’s total value. However, in Ontario, priority may be given to projects that require a federal contribution of 33.3%. All projects must be completed before March 31, 2014.

Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA): Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the OBIAA gave an overview of business improvement areas in Ontario, the value of investing in local downtown areas and the economic benefits that BIAs provide Ontario’s municipalities. 

AMO Conference 2012: AMO reminded task force members of the economic development concurrent workshop at this year’s AMO Conference in Ottawa. The workshop will discuss the benefits of business incubation for small businesses and communities and is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, August 21 from 11am-12.15pm at the Westin Ottawa.

The next task force meeting will be held on November 26, 2012.

If you have any ideas or thoughts for either a potential conference/workshop session or a discussion item for a future task force meeting, please contact Matthew Wilson at AMO.