Fundamentals of Community ​Economic Development - ONLINE Fall

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Date Location       Registration fees Value

Sept 22 - Oct 20, 2021

Every Wednesday



(Fee structure outlined below)



Start Time  9:30 am EDT September 22, 2021
End Time 4:30 pm EDT October 20, 2021

Why take Year 1?

Year 1 is about two things: building a strong foundation of knowledge in economic development, and building connections with your peers. 

This course helps economic development professionals learn the basics of the field, from what an EDO really does, to measuring success. Generalists will learn strategies for handling the many and diverse tasks they're expected to do.  Specialists will learn about the spectrum of economic development activities and become more insightful team members.

Professionals of all types and experience levels will appreciate the peer-learning and networking opportunities. Participants come from across Canada and are eager to share their successes, challenges, and lessons. On a personal level, spending a week learning, eating, and relaxing together builds a bond that leaves each cohort looking forward to reuniting at conferences and other industry events.

For those considering a profession in economic development, I highly recommend participating in the EDAC Year 1 program. It is a great way to expand your professional toolkit, build community and establish a network of colleagues that you can turn to for experiences and knowledge. Read more...

2020 Schedule*

*2021 Schedule Forthcoming

Having worked in this field for 20 years, it was an excellent base in my field. Well designed. Well executed.

2020 Speakers*

*2021 Speaker TBD

Trevin Stratton

Trevin StrattonTrevin Stratton is the Chief Economist with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. As Chief Economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, he helps develop national policy positions aimed at improving Canada’s economic performance and the competitiveness of Canadian business. Trevin is also an award-winning business economist, specializing in global and technological change. He helps organizations identify and manage opportunities arising from the trends that are reshaping industry and international business. 

Larry Smith

Larry Smith

An adjunct associate professor at the University of Waterloo, Larry is the Founding Director of the Problem Lab, one of the few in the world devoted solely to finding and understanding important problems. He has happily taught ten percent of Waterloo’s alumni, and is a recipient of the University’s Distinguished Teacher Award. Specializing in the economics of innovation and forecasting, he has worked with governments, financial institutions, professional associations and companies developing new markets or new products. Larry's Ted Talk, "Why you will fail to have a great career", has over 6 million views. 

Carolyn King

Carolyn KingCarolyn King is the Chair and co-Founder of the Shared Path Consultation Initiative. She is the first woman to have been elected as Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN) (December 1997 to December 1999). She has over 25 years of work experience in the field of First Nations community development, and extensive experience in public relations, economic development, the development of environmental planning policies and procedures, and establishing community radio. She has been given numerous awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) in recognition of her support for First Nation history and the advancement of Aboriginal Peoples.

Brock Dickinson

Brock DickinsonBrock is an Assistant Director of the Economic Development Program, and has worked in local economic development for 25 years. He is currently the Entrepreneur in Residence and an Adjunct Professor with the University of Waterloo. He was previously CEO of MDB Insight, Canada’s largest specialist economic development consultancy, where he worked with hundreds of communities across North America. Before this private sector role, Brock headed a number of provincial and municipal economic development agencies in both Ontario and Nova Scotia, and spent six years as a consultant with the United Nations, leading sustainable development projects in 30 countries.

Paul Knafelc

Paul KnafelcPaul Knafelc is an economic researcher as well as founder and President of Community Benchmarks Inc. He has established a reputation for innovative data products and for rigorous research approaches which have been used by private and public sector organizations to direct strategic initiatives and make evidence-based decisions. A distinct advantage of Paul’s practice is his deep knowledge of, and expertise with, Statistics Canada data sources, methodologies and custom data tabulations procedures. Paul also teaches a graduate course, ERS 619 Regional Economic Analysis, with the Economic Development program at the University of Waterloo

Kevin Curtis

Kevin Cutis imageKevin Curtis is a full-time Lecturer at the University of Waterloo's School of Planning and President of Curtis Planning Inc. Kevin has over 35 years of public, private and academic experience and specializes in urban and regional land use planning, economic development, and community development. He has received recognition for his work with awards from both CIP and OPPI

Cory Bluhm

Cory BluhmCory began his career as a professional planner at the City of Kitchener working on urban infill projects, brownfield projects, and, worked on the city’s downtown implementation plan. In 2009 Cory became the City’s Manager of Downtown Development and was responsible for introducing a broad range of cultural activities, streetscape redesign, and new economic development strategy focused on attracting talent to the core. In 2016, Cory became the Executive Director of Economic Development where he leads a diverse team focused on active city-building by supporting business and industry growth while injecting grassroots vitality into the community.

Eric McSweeney

Eric McsweeneyEric McSweeney is an Economic Development and Management Consultant whose skills, practical guidance and results-oriented approach have helped municipal clients in Canada and Europe develop innovative economic development solutions. He has coordinated or lectured at University of Waterloo economic development program seminars on planning, property development and the local economy. He is a trained facilitator and a trainer in economic development, process facilitation and strategic economic planning.

Trudy Parsons

Trudy ParsonsTurdy Parsons is the Director of Workforce Development at MBD Insight, a division established to help communities, organizations, and individuals understand and respond to changing labour markets. She is the first non-founding partner of the firm and an Executive Vice-President. She has more than 25 years of expertise in sectoral, industry-specific, and local, regional, provincial and national workforce development and has worked in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors

Kadie Ward

Kadie Ward imageKadie Ward is the founder of Build Strong Cities. Since 2012, Build Strong Cities was created to empower communities, local and state governments as well as economic developers, planners and professionals in infrastructure and resource-based industries to effect sustainable growth. Kadie has created award-winning multi-media campaigns and community development programs prove that traditional rules to economic development were meant to be broken. Since 2012 Build Strong Cities has worked with over 80 cities, from 16 countries around the world.

I tremendously enjoyed this course, and found virtually all the content interesting and relevant to my work.

Registration fees

  EDAC members in good standing* Non-EDAC members
Early bird $1150 + applicable taxes $1450 + applicable taxes
After Aug 25 $1295 + applicable taxes $1595 + applicable taxes

*EDAC member discount is for those who have paid their annual membership fee. Should your EDAC membership not be paid in full by the date of course/seminar registration, you will be responsible for paying the full (non-member) registration fee