The Task Force met on September 13, 2013 and received presentations from the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the City of Mississauga.

Chaired by Marolyn Morrison, Mayor of the Town of Caledon and Councillor for the Region of Peel, the Task Force received the following presentations:

Youth Jobs Strategy
Sam Boonstra, Director, Entrepreneurship Branch, Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment and Bridget Au, Senior Service Integration Advisor, Transportation & Planning, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities presented an overview of the government’s proposed Youth Jobs Strategy. In the 2013 Budget, the government announced a new two-year $295 million Youth Jobs Strategy which is intended to create 30,000 new job opportunities for youth. The strategy would focus on jobs, entrepreneurship and innovation for youth in Ontario through four key initiatives:

  • The Youth Employment Fund – provides $195 million to expand employment opportunities for 25,000 youths across Ontario. The focus of this initiative will be on at-risk youth, employers and training.
  • The Youth Entrepreneurship Fund – supports young entrepreneurs through mentorship, start-up capital and outreach.
  • The Youth Innovation Fund – supports skills development in the area of leading and managing industrial research, development and commercialization.
  • Youth Skills Connections – promotes partnerships among business, labour, educators and youth to identify and solve skills development issues.
Further details on the Youth Jobs Strategy will be released later this fall.

Rural Economic Development (RED) Program
Karla Uliana, Senior Policy Specialist, Rural Development Policy, Ministry of Agriculture and Food
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food presented an overview of the revised Rural Economic Development (RED) program

The program will have up to $4.5 million in funding per year over three years and is designed to help rural communities and regions build a foundation for economic growth and investment as well as promote collaboration for economic growth. Projects benefits must support strengthening economic development activities in Ontario’s rural communities. For more information and to download the guidelines and application form visit the Ministry’s website.

Investment Ready: Certified Site Program
Tania Cassin--Kendall, Acting Senior Program Advisor, Certified Site Program, Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment

Last month, the Investment Ready: Certified Site Program was announced at the AMO Conference by Premier Kathleen Wynne. Site certification is becoming an industry standard in North American investment attraction. Certified sites reduce uncertainty associated with the cost of land, approvals process, development costs and time to market; ultimately fostering faster site selection decisions and investment transactions. Eligible land owners will be provided with a grant reimbursement of 50% of costs, up to $25,000, for eligible expenses that support the certification process. The program design and requirements are currently being tested by five pilot communities prior to the opening of the application process later in 2013.

The Return on the Recreation Investment
Howie Dayton, Director of Recreation, City of Mississauga

The City of Mississauga presented a case study on how it is using business planning principles to support recreation through strategic community investments. The presentation shared leading thinking and resources on recreation policy, the concept of quality of place and how it is linked to the economic health and well-being of communities. The task force learned of several opportunities to build the profile and capacity of municipal recreation, parks as well as cultural infrastructure and services to support broader community objectives.

The next task force meeting will be held on November 27, 2013.

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