News Release for Immediate Distribution
Belleville, April 23, 2018 – The Eastern Ontario Leadership Council (EOLC), a multi-organization partnership tasked with advancing regional economic development opportunities, welcomed today’s announcement from the Province of Ontario on the $135,000 funding grant for the refresh and implementation of the Eastern Ontario Economic Development Strategy.
Minister Jeff Leal, of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), joined numerous elected officials and economic development partners from across Eastern Ontario in making the announcement in the County of Hastings’ Council Chambers.
The EOLC consists of five major partners that together represent the various sectors across the region: the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus, the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, the Ontario East Economic Development Commission, and Community Futures Ontario East. The partnership was launched in 2015 following the release of the initial regional Strategy, designed to tackle issues regarding the economic performance of the region and pursue opportunities to maintain and enhance its economic prosperity.
“The EOLC is a unique organization in Ontario, founded on the principle of promoting regional economic development in collaboration with the many municipalities and stakeholders across our entire region, which represents about 1.2 million residents,” stated EOLC Co-Chair Leslie O’Shaughnessy, Mayor of the City of Cornwall. “The EOLC would like thank the Province for recognizing its ongoing work, and the funding to move forward in such a positive manner.”
This update will reflect recent economic considerations across the region, while translating broad action steps into specific, prioritized projects that will fulfill the Strategy’s vision. Beyond that, it will allow for the creation of a comprehensive implementation plan to guide the EOLC’s work through to 2024, and provide project launch funding to the EOLC’s three working groups, representing three pillars: Workforce Development and Deployment; Technology Integration and Innovation; and Integrated, Intelligent Transportation Systems.
With Eastern Ontario being the first region to undertake this endeavour alongside the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth’s (MEDG) regional economic development planning process, the Ministry is providing the funding and any required project support. The EOLC’s work has already begun, through the creation of its three working groups – to engage a much broader cross-section of public and private sector stakeholders, in implementation planning and priority setting, as well as the completion of early projects related to regional innovation.
“As with any project of this magnitude, it is essential that the EOLC undertake a review and refresh of the existing Strategy, including the collection and inclusion of relevant data, reports, and studies that have emerged since the release of the first version in 2014,” added Co-Chair John Fenik, Warden of the County of Lanark. “Once the Strategy is implemented, our region’s inclusive and collaborative economic development model will become a model for others.”
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