60th Annual Conference & Showcase

February 7-9, 2017

Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre




Ontario’s Economy…Driven by Innovation


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

9:00a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Pre-Conference Seminar: Investment Readiness
Ontario Investment and Trade Centre, 250 Yonge Street, 35th Floor, Eaton Centre, Main Theatre
NOTE: This seminar will precede the EDCO Conference and Showcase (February 6-7) to help maximize the professional benefits from limited travel budgets. Please note that registration to the EDCO conference is separate, and not required to participate in the seminar.

Presented by Economic Developers Council of Ontario, University of Waterloo

4:00-6:00 p.m.

Registration Opens

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Showcase set-up

5:00-7:00 p.m.

Opening Reception
Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, Member’s Lounge
Presented by
City of Toronto

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

7:00 a.m.

Registration Opens / Breakfast Buffet

8:00 a.m.

EDCO 2017 Annual General Meeting

8:45 a.m.

Conference Opening and Welcome

8:55 a.m.

Traditional Blessing and Land Acknowledgement, Clayton Shirt

9:05 a.m.

Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

9:15 a.m.

Opening Keynote Presentation: Age of Disruption
Companies are scaling and failing faster and more than ever. With the changing economic and demographic landscape at home and abroad, combined with the rapid onslaught of exponential technologies, what will this mean for organizations today and in the future? How can leaders develop new strategies to evaluate potential opportunities? Surviving and thriving in an age of disruption now requires a different toolkit. Challenge yourself to think differently and take advantage of the opportunities created.
Presenter: Terry Stuart, Chief Innovation Officer, Deloitte

10:15 a.m.

Health Break & Coffee in Showcase

11:00 a.m.

Concurrent Workshop Sessions

1. Enabling Regional Industry Innovation through Advanced Labour Market Intelligence

The issues affecting manufacturers and processors in your region are critical in helping you determine the solutions that enable industry to grow and foster innovation locally...while building competitiveness globally enabling advanced manufacturing and lean best practices. Understanding the industry labour market needs, skills in-demand and difficulties they face in attracting / retaining / developing a vibrant workforce and the talented leadership necessary to succeed is key to ensuring your local industries can prosper.

Through an interactive presentation, learn how manufacturers and our community partners throughout Canada are gaining local, regional and national intel on industry, as well as the critical factors that enables them to be competitive in recruiting, developing and retaining the skilled workforce needed to build and grow productivity.

Live examples of LMI for Ontario industry will be provided as well as explore ways regional stakeholders are utilizing this intelligence to develop strategies that foster innovation and greater success within their communities. EMC will also share critical intel collected from thousands of manufacturers, covering 80+ occupations in 15 manufacturing sectors, as well as ‘The State of Ontario Manufacturing LMI’ highlighting the labour and productivity metrics that many of our manufacturers, industry stakeholders and post-secondary institutions are using to benchmark competitiveness and better respond to the growing needs of their local industries.

Participants will also hear/engage discussions with industry, EDO’s and stakeholders on how they are utilizing these tools to boost local productivity, build competitive strategies in workforce integrate development and engage better intelligence and best practices that fosters growth and innovation.

Moderator: Erin McGinn, Assistant Deputy Minister, Highly Skilled Workforce Division, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development


  • Scott McNeil-Smith, Director, Strategic Planning and Communications, EMC, and President, Canadian Manufacturing Network
  • Jean-Pierre Giroux, Director, Human Capital Development EMC-Canadian Manufacturing Network
  • David Paul, Director of Economic Development, City of Brockville
  • Bonnie Brown, Manager, Sector Development and Economic Partnerships, City of Mississauga

Presented by Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium-Canadian Manufacturing Network

2. Driving Innovation and Scaling Up

More and more, the future of economic development around the globe depends on innovation and entrepreneurship. For Ontario’s economic developers, this means it is increasingly important to champion new ideas and innovations created by local individuals, entrepreneurs and existing businesses, to help bring the best and most innovative products, services and/or technologies to market. As economic developers, you are well positioned to be influencers and leaders of change. BUT YOU CAN'T DO IT ALONE!

This expert panel will discuss and drill down on the pressing needs of Ontario innovators and companies ready for scale-up and how economic development professionals can add value by helping to build and promote more creative and collaborative entrepreneurship ecosystems locally and regionally to enable high-impact innovators and companies to emerge, grow and prosper. It includes the only wood manufacturing cluster of its kind in Canada: The Bluewater Wood Alliance. Starting in Grey-Bruce and now spread to all of southwestern Ontario and beyond, the Bluewater Wood Alliance is a totally industry-driven non-profit cluster organization that started with seven companies in 2011 and has grown to over 100 member companies today, including supply chain.

You will also learn how:

  • This “one of a kind cluster” evolved and the model it is based on
  • True “clustering” opportunities and activities can be identified, supported and enhanced by economic developers in their regions
  • Innovation, increased competitiveness, growth and technology are real outcomes of clustering
  • To qualify candidates for scale-up in the tech space as well as other sectors and industries
  • To utilize resources already in place across the province and cast the net wider when there is no straight line from innovation to implementation

Moderator: Rick Spence, President, CanEntrepreneur Communications, Business writer, National Post weekly columnist and Startup Canada Board Member


  • Karen Dubeau, Director of Partner Engagement for VentureLab (York), Regional Innovation Centre
  • Mike Baker, Executive Director, Bluewater Wood Alliance, Wood Products Manufacturing Cluster
  • Akin Alaga, Director, Regional Economic Development, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth
  • Simon Lloyd, President, Springwater Woodcraft, Board Member: Bluewater Wood Alliance

Presented by Ontario Ministries of Economic Development and Growth and Research, Innovation and Science

3. How Economic Development and Assessment Work Together

Economic development professionals often say that “new jobs and new assessment” are their top focus – but when asked what kind of new assessment would be most important for their community and why – the answer is sometimes not clear. In many cases it’s not as much about ‘new’ assessment (though that’s always nice) as it is about understanding and protecting the existing assessment in your community. Assessment Based Management can be a useful tool for economic development professionals to understand what assessment in your community is ‘at risk’ due to appeals or other economic reasons in order to work collectively with MPAC and others to mitigate these potential losses before it’s too late. Carla will also touch on some of the property tax incentives that municipalities often provide to encourage development with a view to increasing the overall size and health of their assessment base.

Moderator: Joyce Gravelle, Account Manager, Municipal and Stakeholder Relations, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation


  • Carla Nell, Vice-President, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation
  • Rebecca Webb, Regional Manager, Zone 5 – Central Ontario (Haliburton, Peterborough and the Cities of Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes

Presented by Municipal Property Assessment Corporation

4. Planning 101 – The basics of planning for economic developers

EDOs and planners are both working to increase the vitality of their communities, but they often approach it in different ways. While EDOs try to reduce barriers for business and development, planners seem to be putting them up.

A panel of planners from the academic, provincial, and municipal spheres will demystify planning processes and policies relevant to economic development. Attending this session will help you understand what drives planning decisions, how rezoning works, the role of Official Plans, and provincial policies like Places to Grow.

Moderator: Michelle Madden, Outreach Manager, University of Waterloo Economic Development Program


  • Heather Hall, Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo School of Environment, Enterprise and Development
  • Marcia Wallace, Regional Director, Municipal Services Office – Central Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs / Ministry of Housing
  • Paul J. Stagl, ‎President, Opus Management Inc.

12:30 p.m.

Lunch – Danielle Katz, Feast On Coordinator, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance

1:45 p.m.

Plenary: How to lead when no one is listening

Have you ever felt like you are speaking a different language when addressing someone who is of a different generation? You are not alone. Dr. Mary Donohue has researched conversation patterns to understand how different generations process information. There are now three, and soon to be four, different generations in the workplace. Each generation brings to the workplace its own perspectives and assumptions, developed through its own unique experiences. As a result, information is not processed homogenously and communication is incomplete, causing increased stress, anxiety and fear amongst your employees. The result of this research is the 13 Conversations Model, designed to assist leaders to understand how different generations process and present information – and adapt to meet the needs of different generations in the workplace. Dr. Donohue will also unveil the data that brings to life the 13 Conversations and will discuss emerging workplace trends. Learning Outcomes Understand how different generations process and present information Understand how mis-communication can cause anxiety, fear and mis-trust in the workplace Learn and practice the 13 Secrets to Successful Workplace Conversations to help you communicate effectively across generations Optimize your awareness of the generational processing to increase the effectiveness of your team. Use the 13 Secrets to Successful Workplace Conversations to develop positive relationships in the workplace Learn how structured mentoring can help employees across your organization learn to communicate more effectively, and understand the culture of the organization.

Presenter: Dr. Mary Donohue, Chief Executive Officer, Donohue Learning

2:45 p.m.

Health Break & Coffee in Showcase

3:15 p.m.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

1. Help Build the Workforce for Tomorrow

There are currently eight pilot projects for Local Employment Planning Councils (LEPCs) running in Ontario – 2 in the GTA and 6 in the rest of the province – as part of the provincial response to the Building a Workforce of Tomorrow, A Shared Responsibility report. These LEPCs focus on workforce planning and development in their area in order to improve the ability of communities to ensure that they have the workforce talent needed to sustain and grow their economy. The LEPCs benefit individuals, employers, and the local community. In this session you will learn about how Economic Development has been involved in these pilots – information you’ll want to hear if Local Employment Planning Councils are rolled out across the province in the future.

The focus would be on how the Economic Development offices are working/have worked with the Local Employment Planning Council pilots - how it was beneficial, what was accomplished, etc.

Moderator: Heather Gregg, Manager of Employer Engagement, Workforce WindsorEssex


  • Joe Celestini, Chief Executive Officer, Workforce Development Board, Peterborough
  • Shalini Da Cunha, Executive Director, Peel Halton Workforce Development Group
  • Julie Joncas, Executive Director, Northeast Training and Adjustment Board
  • Debra Mountenay, Executive Director, Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board

Presented by The Local Employment Planning Council

2. Is there a generation gap in the economic development workforce?

The economic development profession has changed significantly over the last six decades. With millennials now the biggest generation in the Canadian workforce (and Gen Z starting to trickle in), is the generation gap between newcomers and veterans as large as the media would make it seem? Is there a new economic developer skill set, or is it business as usual? Is the answer a good thing or bad?

The EDCO Young Professionals Network brings together a mega-panel of economic developers from multiple generations and seniority levels to tackle these questions. With Dr. Mary E. Donohue—an expert on the intergenerational workforce—leading the way as moderator, this session is sure to be thought-provoking.

Moderator: Dr. Mary E. Donohue, CEO of Donohue Learning, Speaker and Best Selling Author


  • Gord Knowles, Community Development Advisor, Atikokan Economic Development Corporation
  • Pranab Shah, International Program Officer, Ontario Ministry of International Trade
  • Kari Partridge, Economic Development Coordinator, Township of Selwyn
  • Brock Dickinson, Chief Executive Officer, MDB Insight
  • Carrie Burd, Director, Public Sector Liaison and New Economy Regulation Branch, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth
  • Belinda Wick-Graham, Business & Economic Manager, Town of Minto
  • David Paul, Director, Economic Development, City of Brockville
  • Stephen Chait, Director of Culture and Economic Development, City of Markham
  • Aileen Murray, President, Mellor Murray Consulting

3. Innovative Immigration Tools to Support Your Community

Attracting and retaining Immigrants and newcomers should be an important issue for economic development professionals for a variety of reasons including “an aging population, an anticipated shrinking workforce, and skills shortages in sectors critical to Ontario’s prosperity” (The Final Report By Ontario’s Expert Roundtable on Immigration, 2012). This session will highlight new research, best practices and resources to assist communities of all sizes on attracting and retaining newcomers, including an overview of the collaborative Rural Employment Initiative lead by the Newcomer Centre of Peel.

Moderator: Stephen Morris, Team Lead – Economic Development Programs Unit Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


  • Devon Franklin, Project Manager, Hire Immigrants, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University
  • Oliver Pryce, Project Coordinator, Rural Employment Initiative, Newcomer Centre of Peel
  • Corinne Walsh, Principal, Platinum Leadership Inc.

4. Investing in Green Innovation

The fast-growing global clean technology market will soon exceed $2-trillion. And there will be a massive investment in new infrastructure around the world in coming years to achieve a low-carbon economic transition. Canada boasts one of the world’s highest proportions of “aspirational consumers” – 40 per cent of us want to have a positive impact by demanding products that enhance well-being and sustainability.” Globe and Mail, Canada needs smart investments to unleash green energy innovation, ARLENE DICKINSON, ANNETTE VERSCHUREN AND STEWART ELGIE, Mar. 02, 2016

Find out how Markham-based Pond Technologies and St Marys Cement have leveraged the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE’s) programs to take raw smokestack gas from the cement plant in St. Marys (and soon at the Bowmaville plant) and recycle it to grow algae that can then be converted into diesel fuel.

Learn about how Pond Technologies has partnered with the City of Markham and Markham District Energy on a submission to the Carbon XPRIZE global competition.

Help industrial users and green technology solution providers in your communities to collaborate and leverage OCE’s TargetGHG and other government programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Find out how local governments can be a catalyst for investing in Green Innovation.

Moderator: Christina Kakaflikas, Manager, Special Projects, Economic Development, City of Markham


Presented by City of Markham

4:45 p.m.

Program ends for the day

4:45–6:45 p.m.

Feast OnTM Ontario Reception

Thursday, February 9, 2017

7:45 a.m.

Registration Opens / Breakfast Buffet

Presented by University of Waterloo Economic Development

8:45 a.m.

Conference Opening and Welcome:

9:15 a.m.

Keynote Presentation: Tourist Attractions – How Leveraging Local Assets Leads to Community Building and New Investment Opportunities

Great tourist experiences support community economic development, develop a sense of pride of place and drive visitation to a destination. Taking a holistic approach to supporting tourism development in your region can result in positive community building and significant economic impact.

In this interactive session, you will hear from the leaders of three iconic attractions in Ontario who have worked effectively with municipalities, surpassed development obstacles, initiated new product development, identified target markets, and leveraged local assets to make a substantial economic impact to their communities.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about innovative best practices and future plans for these exceptional destination developments.

Moderator: Richard McKinnell, Assistant Deputy Minister, Tourism Division, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport


  • Brockville’s Aquaterium at Tall Ships Landing, Bill Rogerson, Executive Director
  • Colborne’s Big Apple, Joe Pulla, President Johnvince Foods
  • Toronto’s Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Peter Doyle, General Manager

Presented by Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

10:15 a.m.

Health Break & Coffee in Showcase

11:00 a.m.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

1. Understanding Economic Impact in Rural Ontario: Analyst’s Input-Output Model

Regional economies are generally composed of a complex web of interdependent relationships. As a result, economic development organizations (provincial and local) need economic insights that take into account the changes a single employer or industry sector will have on the rest of the regional economy. Any changes in one specific business will have actual ripple effects throughout the regional economy.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs – in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) – has offered Ontario’s economic development community access to a full range of data to support regional analysis, strategic planning, and monitoring in a user-friendly tool called Analyst since 2013. Join OMAFRA staff as they introduce an innovative new addition to Analyst, focused on providing communities with access to a range of new regional level data to describe their economic base as well as make assumptions on how specific economic trends will produce spin-off through the regional economy. OMAFRA staff will walk through the new data and reports available to communities in rural Ontario, as well as provide examples on how the new Input-Output addition to Analyst can be used to support regional economic development planning.

Moderator: Doug Reddick, Director, Regional Economic Development Branch, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


  • Myles Buck, Economic Development Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs
  • Brian Bailey, Senior Account Executive, Canada, Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI)

Presented by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

2. The Global Economy – What it Means to Ontario

The world is a small place today, and the economy is connected, no matter your location. There are lots of situations that affect the Ontario Economy including Brexit, the Trans Pacific Partnership, the US Presidential election, to name a few. This session will provide an overview on agreements and the political environment that affect the economy in different ways. There are opportunities that communities should be aware of when creating target markets and foreign direct investment strategies.

Moderator: Antony P. Lorius, Vice President, Deloitte Real Estate


  • The Honorable Pierre S. Pettigrew p.c., Executive Advisor, International, Deloitte
  • Mike Langley, Chair, International Economic Development Council
  • Chris Knight, fdi Intelligence

3. Data Centre: Why they might be interested in your community and why you should be interested in them

Data centers are an emerging asset class in the Canadian market and billions of dollars are flowing into data center investments across the country. Few at the municipal level have direct experience with data centers. In this session moderator Randy Borron will provide an introduction to data centers and discuss what they do, the site selection process and what infrastructure they require. The panel will discuss the specific benefits that data centers bring to a community and why your region might want to attract investment and development.

Moderator: Randy Borron, Vice Chairman, Managing Director, Data Center Advisory Group, Cushman & Wakefield


  • Tony LaMantia, President and Chief Executive Officer, Waterloo Economic Development Corporation
  • Campbell Patterson, Founding Partner, CP Communications (CPC)
  • Zenon Radewych, Partner, WZMH Architects

4. A View from the Lower 48: US Executives Perception of Canada's Business Climate

In this 60 minute session, we'll reveal the hot-off-the-press results of a follow-up survey from 2013 when we asked C-suite executives in the US about their impressions of Canada's business climate. The landscape has changed in both the US and Canada since the inaugural survey, so these updated impressions should prove valuable. We’ll reveal and compare responses to questions such as “What words come to mind when you consider doing business in Canada,” and “Which cities and provinces do you most often consider in a site location decision?” Then building on those findings, this session will cover tactical and effective ways that your community can promote itself directly to a US business audience. This interactive session will provide you with ideas on specific marketing tools that will help raise the profile of your community in the eyes of corporate executives.

Moderator: John Regan, Chief Administrative Officer, Municipality of Merrickville-Wolford


  • Dariel Curren, Senior Vice-President, Development Counsellors International
  • Robyn Domber, Director of Research, Development Counsellors International

Presented by Development Counsellors International

12:15 p.m.

Lunch – Wayne Passmore, Economic Development Manager, Union Gas Limited

1:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

1. The ‘new’ Ministry of International Trade – working together to ensure success

In 2016, the Province of Ontario recognized the importance of trade to the provincial economy and created a standalone Ministry to address the needs of SMEs to successfully access the global market. From helping Ontario business increase and diversify exports to engaging with stakeholders to continuing to develop Ontario as a destination for investment and trade, the Ministry can be a key partner to your community’s international initiatives.

This session will provide an overview of the services offered by the Ministry (at home and abroad), case studies illustrating successful partnerships (and results) with communities and how we can work together to achieve success.

Moderator: Melanie Fernandes, Lead – International Programs, Ontario Trade and Investment Offices


  • Todd Barrett, Senior Economic Officer – Ontario Trade and Investment Office, São Paulo
  • Pamela Kanter, Senior Economic Officer – Ontario Trade and Investment Office, Paris
  • Yijun Song, Senior Economic Officer – Ontario Trade and Investment Office, Beijing
  • Aaron Rosland, Senior Economic Officer – Ontario Trade and Investment Office, London

Presented by Ontario Ministry of International Trade

2. The Innovative Community - Town of Newmarket

In 2016, the Town of Newmarket was awarded EDCO's Innovative Community inaugural award. This category was new to EDCO last year, and the winner was selected by EDCO members. Attend this session and learn what made Newmarket a winner. Learn about their initiative, the partners involved and the progress to date since winning the award.

Moderator: Chris Kallio, Economic Development Officer, Town of Newmarket


  • Jim Gragtmans, Principal, ET Group, and Chair of the Newmarket Economic Development Advisory Committee (NEDAC)
  • Susan Chase, Director of IT Innovations, Town of Newmarket

3. Move Your Community Forward: The Importance of Public Transportation

The planning and delivery of public transportation is faced with a number of challenges in both urban and rural areas. According to the International Economic Development Council, effective transportation networks are a key component of business climate and quality of life. For local economic developers, lack of public transit may be a significant barrier for the expansion of businesses. This panel presentation will highlight the variety and range of activities communities are undertaking to address transportation issues to grow their economies.

Moderator: Norman Ragetlie, Director, Policy and Stakeholder Engagement, Rural Ontario Institute


  • Brad Smith, Public Transportation/Business Development Coordinator, Norfolk County
  • Paul Johnson, Director, LRT Project Coordination, Planning and Economic Development, City of Hamilton
  • Sasha Pejcic, Senior Associate, Transit Advisory Lead, Stantec

4. Closing the Capital Gap for Ontario Indigenous Communities and Businesses

Insufficient access to capital is a major barrier to economic development for Indigenous communities and businesses. Factors such as perceived higher lending risks, restrictions related to the Indian Act, and limited financial training all contribute to problems accessing financing. At this session participants will hear from experts with experience developing and implementing innovative financing approaches to accessing capital streams and improving economic outcomes for Indigenous communities and businesses in a range of sectors.

Moderator: Steven McCoy, Marketing Director, Ontario First Nation Economic Development Association


  • Mark Dokis, Director of Programs and Services, National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association
  • Harry Willmot, Senior Manager, Aboriginal Market Development, Royal Bank of Canada
  • Monica James, Manager, Aboriginal Banking, Business Development Bank of Canada

Presented by Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

3:00-3:30 p.m.

Health Break & Coffee in the Grand Foyer

3:30 p.m.

Plenary: Big Data & Leadership: Creating Meaningful Experiences with Analytics and Information

Rahaf Harfoush is a masterful observer of digital technology—as well as an expert in harnessing its power to innovate. An enthusiastic proponent of the power of social media (she was a part of Barack Obama's New Media Team during his first Presidential election campaign), Rahaf’s talks explore new developments in technology and data to help you understand how to get the most out of these resources in your own business. How could an economic developer harness the power of big data, and bigger thinking, to implement more innovative practices? How can we harness our internal talent, and hire the best and the brightest, to help rethink our policies? Revamping for innovation isn’t an easy task, but if anyone can take it on, it’s Rahaf—after her talk, you’ll have all the tools you need to think bigger, better, and faster than before.

Presenter: Rahaf Harfoush, New York Times Bestselling Co-author of The Decoded Company

Presented by IBM

4:30 p.m.

Program ends

5:30 p.m.

President’s Reception

6:30-9:30 p.m.

President’s Dinner and Ontario Economic Development Awards Ceremony Host: Kevin Wilson

Time left until Registration Day!

  • Rahaf Harfoush

    Co-founder of Red Thread Inc

  • Mary Donohue

    Passionate advocate

  • Terry Stuart

    “Constructive Disruptor”

If you work in the field of economic development, you need to register for the 2017 EDCO Conference!

Register now