The Task Force met on November 27, 2013 and received presentations from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the National Research Council, Share the Road Cycling Coalition and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
The Task Force received the following presentations:

Alternative Service Delivery’s Future in Ontario
Liam McGuinty, Senior Policy Analyst, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and Deron Clements, Vice President, Business Development, KPMG

The Task Force received a presentation on the option of exploring alternative service delivery (ASD) in Ontario from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and KPMG.  ASD is the transfer of responsibility for the delivery of public services to non-government entities through partnerships usually with the private and not-for-profit sectors. Rising costs of providing public services has seen all orders of government consider ways of delivering services through ASD models. There are currently several municipal applications of ASD including curbside waste collection, parks maintenance and the 3-1-1 call-before-you-dig service.

Concierge Service: Your Guide to Innovation
Shane Brunas, Project Lead, and Trish Barrow, Concierge Advisor, National Research Council

The National Research Council is in the process of developing a Concierge Service that would aid small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in identifying and accessing appropriate business innovation assistance and programs. The Concierge Service will consist of partners from the federal and provincial governments and from not-for-profit organizations that will promote and share information, programs and services that support SME innovation. The initial launch will focus on the most relevant national and provincial programs and will help SMEs access over 90 programs that provide funding and advisory services from over 40 partner organizations.

Bicycle Travel and Tourism in Ontario: Harnessing the Economic Benefits
Eleanor McMahon, CEO and Founder, Share the Road Cycling Coalition

Share the Road Cycling Coalition provided an overview of the economic benefits of bicycle travel and tourism. There is an opportunity for enhancing economic development through bicycle travel and tourism in Ontario through the province’s 13,000km of cycling trails. In 2010, Canadian visitors to Ontario (including Ontarian visitors) who cycled while traveling spent approximately $391 million in the province. Areas such as Niagara Region and Prince Edward County as well as the network of provincial parks make Ontario a preferred destination for bicycle tourism. To attract more visitors, it will be important to improve current cycling infrastructure, to market cycling opportunities in Ontario to tourists, and to improve bicycle trail signage that connects Ontario’s attractions to cycling routes.        

Strengthening the Ontario Trails Strategy
Steve Harlow, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is in the process of reviewing the Ontario Trails Strategy. The review focuses on five key areas: enhancing the trail experience, enhancing the sustainability of Ontario’s trails, improving collaboration among stakeholders, educating Ontarians about trails and fostering better health and a stronger economy through trails development. Since its launch in 2005, municipalities have supported the Trails Strategy as a tool that supports local economic development and tourism to rural and urban communities. For more information on the Trails Strategy review, visit the Environmental Registry website.

UPDATE! Investment Ready: Certified Site Program

At the September AMO Economic Development Task Force meeting, the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment presented an overview of the province’s Investment Ready: Certified Site Program. The program will generate an inventory of pre-qualified industrial sites ready for international promotion to site selectors and investors. The Ministry has begun the pre-screening application intake for round one and has provided a step-by-step process to eligible applicants. The pre-screening application deadline is January 31, 2014.

The next task force meeting will be held on February 19, 2014.

If you have any ideas or thoughts for a potential conference/workshop session or discussion items for future task force meetings, please contact Nicholas Ruder at AMO.