Fundamentals of Community ​Economic Development - ONLINE Fall

Year 1 Fall Online 2023 banner

Date Location       Registration fees Value

Sept 13 - Oct 11, 2023

Every Wednesday



(Fee structure outlined below)


Start Time  9:30 am EDT September 13, 2023
End Time 4:30 pm EDT October 11, 2023

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. 

2022 Schedule

*2023 Schedule Forthcoming

Wednesday, Sept 14

9:00 a.m.  Log on connection check & 

9:30 am  Program Overview and Introductions

9:45 - 11:00 am: Changing Models of Economic Development

Brock Dickinson, Assistant Director of the Economic Development Program

11:00 - 11:15 am: Introductions (breakout groups)

11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Economic Trends Shaping the Playing Field  

Trevin Stratton, Chief Economist, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Ottawa


1:30 - 4:30 pm: The Canadian Economy:  The Context for Economic Development

Larry Smith, Adjunct Associate Professor; Director of the Problem Lab

1:30 - 2:30 pm: Part A

2:30 - 3:00 pm: Break

3:00 - 4:00 pm: Part B and Q&A


Wednesday, Sept 21

9:30 am – 10:30 am: First Nations Context & Opportunities for Partnership

Carolyn King, Shared Path Consultation Initiative, former elected Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation,

10:30 - 11:00 am: Break

11:00 - 11:20 am: First Nations Context & Opportunities for Partnership Con't

David Stinston MCIP, RPP, Partner Incite Planning, founding board member of the Shared Path Consultation Initiative, and sits on the Canadian Institute of Planner’s Indigenous Communities Planning Committee

11:20 am - 12:00 pm: Small Group Exercise

12:00 - 12:30 pm: Group Report


1:30 - 2:45 pm: Planning Tools and Terms & Strategic Economic Planning

Katherine Perrott, School of Planning, University of Waterloo

2:45 - 3:15 pm: Break

3:15 - 4:30 pm:Strategic Economic Planning

Cory Bluhm, Executive Director of Economic Development for the City of Kitchener

Wednesday, Sept 28

9:30 am – 11:00 am: Data Sources and Analytic Techniques for Local Economic Development 

Paul Knafelc, Community Benchmarks Inc. 

11:15 am – 12:30 pm: Workforce Development 

Aileen Murray, Mellor Murray Consulting & EDAC Past Prsid.

Kate Burns Gallagher, Executive Director of Economic Development, Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus 


1:30 - 2:45 pm: Labour Force Analytics 

 Paul Knafelc, Community Benchmarks Inc.

3:15 - 4:30 pm: Community and StatsCan Analytics  (cont’d)

Paul Knafelc, Community Benchmarks Inc.

Wednesday, Oct 5

9:30 am - 12:00 pm:

Regional Economic Development – The Politics of Inclusion

Brock Dickinson, Assistant Director of the Economic Development Program

11:15 - 11:45 am: Small Group Exercise

11:45 - 12:15 pm: Group Reports

1:30 - 3:30 pm: Economic Development Projects – Workforce / Indigenous Reconciliation Plans

4:00 - 5:00 pm: Presentations

Wednesday, Oct 12

9:30 am – 12:15 pm: 

Community Investment Readiness:

Ian Duff, McSweeney & Associates


1:30 - 4:30 pm:

 Community Marketing

Kadie Ward, Build Strong Cities/Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer · Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

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

2022 Speakers

*2023 Speakers Forthcoming

Trevin Stratton

Trevin Stratton
Dr. Trevin Stratton is Economic Advisory Leader and Partner at Deloitte Canada, where he applies economic thinking to identify the trends that are reshaping industry and to help private and public sector leaders tackle some of today’s most complex and challenging policy and business issues. Prior to joining Deloitte, Trevin was the Chief Economist with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. As Chief Economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, he helped 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 King
Carolyn 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 Dickinson
Brock 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 Knafelc
Paul 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 image
Kevin Curtis is a retired 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 Bluhm
Cory 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.

Ian Duff

ian duff image
Ian Duff is the President of McSweeney & Associates. As a leading Canadian industry expert focusing on community investment readiness, a passion that drives Ian is helping communities understand what it takes to be better prepared to thrive in the future. McSweeney & Associates is dedicated to being a thought leader in community and economic development, driving us to be Canada’s most respected consulting firm in the field. This value inspires our clients – and is one of the reasons we have such a high repeat customer base. As we have been helping communities thrive for over 20 years, we take pride in being trusted by our clients to provide each of them with customized economic and community development solutions that are not only unique to their situation, but that are realistically anchored by industry-leading research, statistical analysis, and strategic thinking.

Aileen Murray

Aileen Murray, founder of Mellor Murray Consulting, is passionate about developing achievable, actionable strategic plans based on sound evidence, inclusive stakeholder engagement and thorough analysis.  Aileen applies a rigorous process to strategic planning including research, analysis and stakeholder engagement to develop effective and practical solutions to complex challenges.

Kate Burns Gallagher

Kate Burns Gallagher is the Executive Director of Economic Development for the Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus.  Kate is currently on secondment to the Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus from Elgin County.  Prior to her work in the municipal sector, Kate served as an Executive Assistant to a Member of Parliament. Kate has her BA in Communications from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Post Graduate in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Fanshawe College. Kate has been part of the Economic Development profession for over ten years helping to successfully develop and launch an award-winning culinary program as well as a Community Improvement Plan.  Kate believes the key to success in Economic Development is building relationships; with council, staff, the business community and other economic development professionals.

Kadie Ward

Kadie Ward image
Kadie Ward is the Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer for Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and 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 16 $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