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About Us

Attracting Investment and Jobs for More Than Three Decades

Who We Are

The Ontario East Economic Development Commission (Ontario East) was established more than 35 years ago as a non-profit regional marketing agency with a mandate to develop, implement and administer programs to attract new investment and jobs to its diverse group of communities. With a focus on investment attraction, Ontario East also offers professional development opportunities and delivers programs to enhance the region’s competitiveness.

Team

The Ontario East Economic Development Commission collaborates with Economic Development offices at the city, township, and county levels to address all your inquiries thoroughly. Reach out to us to explore how Ontario East can be the ideal choice for your organization.

Message from the President

On behalf of the Board of Directors, welcome to Ontario East.

The Ontario East Economic Development Commission is the lead regional economic development organization facilitating collaboration, working with investors, supporting members, providing resources and working as a collective voice for economic development in Eastern Ontario.

Now, more than ever, it is essential to support our member communities through regional recovery and investment promotion programming and raise awareness of the unique opportunities available in Ontario East.

If you are an investor or a business seeking information on how to enter our proven business locations throughout our region, Ontario East is your one-stop connection with local economic development professionals ready to assist with the latest information and informed advice.

Our 150+ members and partners work together to bring economic development, growth and prosperity to Eastern Ontario. If you are a member, be sure and connect with us through the website, social media and at our regular meetings (virtual and soon, in person). If you are not a member, email us at or give us a call at 613-634-8569 to learn about our successful track record and the benefits of collaboration through regional economic development with Ontario East.

Please subscribe to our newsletter and connect with us through social media for the latest news.

– Stephen Paul

Board of Directors

Stephen is the Director, Community and Development Services for Lennox and Addington County. His portfolio includes Economic Development, Tourism, Planning, Public Libraries and Museums.

Prior to returning home to Lennox and Addington, Stephen worked for the City of Toronto Tourism Department as a producer of large scale events and festivals.

He is a Past President of the Great Waterway Regional Tourism Organization and the Ontario East Economic Development Commission.

Stephen is an active member of the community. He is the President of Softball Napanee and has been the Chair of numerous national sporting events that have been hosted in Lennox and Addington.

Stephen is a graduate of Queen’s University.

T.J. is currently the Investment Attraction Officer for Northumberland County and serves as the Ontario East Economic Development Council Treasurer. Prior to these roles, he served in a volunteer capacity for several Economic Development projects, including, the Cobourg Downtown Vitalization Committee, the Cobourg Economic Advisory Committee and the Business & Entrepreneurship Northumberland Faster Forward Coaching program. Before becoming involved in economic development in eastern Ontario, T.J. worked for 30 years in the private sector, his last position as Sr. Vice President, Sales at Transcontinental Media.

T.J. holds a B.A from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in Eighteenth Century English Literature from Queen’s University. He has also completed the Queen’s University Executive Program courses in Financial Management.

In addition to his volunteer role with Ontario East Economic Development Council, T.J. volunteers as Board Member and Finance Committee member of Northumberland County Habitat for Humanity.

With over 25 years’ experience as an Ontario East member, Chris serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) where he oversees investment attraction and retention activities for this regional economic development organization that represents the City of Belleville, The City of Quinte West (Trenton) and the Municipality of Brighton.

Chris is a Certified Economic Developer (Ec.D.) and has been recognized for his success in attracting many new employers to the Bay of Quinte region in various industry sectors. He has earned several awards at the regional, provincial, and international levels for his work with QEDC.

Chris is active on a number of boards and committees and has lead a number of initiatives including: workforce development, investment missions to international locations, and Ontario East team leader food and advanced manufacturing sector, He is a past chair of the Ontario Food Cluster, former board member of Launch Lab and Trenval Community Development Corporation. He is currently past President of the Trenton Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Jay’s economic development experience includes twelve years as a senior executive with Peterborough’s economic development agency and since 2010, operation of his own professional consultancy, Amer & Associates Economic Development. He has delivered a successful portfolio of work that includes economic development strategic plans, economic research and analysis for investment attraction and trade, marketing communications, government relations and funding programs, as well as organizational development and governance. Prior to discovering his passion for economic development, Jay served in a variety of technical and communications management roles with Ontario Power Generation, and he has also volunteered on numerous non-profit boards. He is a past President of the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC), has been a member of Ontario East since 2000 and is Ontario East’s representative on the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council (EOLC).

Abdul Razak is a seasoned international economic developer with over a decade of expertise in international trade and FDI in North America, Europe & Asia. He currently holds the position of Investment Manager for sustainable manufacturing at Kingston Economic Development in which he oversees programs to support companies to grow and expand.

Before joining the Kingston Economic Development team, Abdul Razak held the position of Economic Development Manager at a Montreal-based consulting firm, playing a pivotal role in managing and delivering lead generation programs, in-market representation, and industry analysis for domestic and international clients in Canada, the USA, and Europe.

Originally from Syria, Abdul Razak was brought up in the United Arab Emirates, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance with a minor in Economics from the American University of Sharjah and is currently completing his Master’s in Economics at Concordia University.

Bob Peters is the Manager of Economic Development for the City of Cornwall.

He is responsible for overseeing the Economic Development efforts for Cornwall, which includes investment attraction, business retention and expansion, tourism, community improvement programs, resident attraction. This includes marketing the City to prospective commercial investors and new residents via a variety of marketing tactics, including the ChooseCornwall.ca website.

Mr. Peters is an active member of the Ontario East Economic Development Commission, helping to promote Eastern Ontario as a good region to invest in. In addition to his current role on the Board, he has previously held the roles of President, Marketing Director and Logistics Chair with Ontario East.

Prior to rejoining the City in 2007, Mr. Peters ran WEBtech, a web design company located in Cornwall, Ontario. Mr. Peters has given seminars and workshops to a variety of groups, typically on marketing topics. He has also served as a guest lecturer at St. Lawrence College.

Elizabeth (Liz) Edwards is Economic Development Officer with the City of Quinte West, actively working on projects such as the Quinte West Community Improvement Plan (CIP) update, an Industrial Lands Costing Review and Strategy, as well as delivering workforce development initiatives.

She started her economic development career with the Municipality of Port Hope, where she managed projects such as the Downtown Commercial CIP, the Digital Main Street program, and played an integral role in developing the town’s Economic Development Strategy. While with Port Hope she was also the key point of contact for filming and managed film permitting. Elizabeth was successful in securing over $1 million in government funding including from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, Eastern Ontario Development Fund, Rural Economic Development Fund and more.

She sits on the Bay of Quinte Film Board, the Port Hope Environmental Advisory Committee, and is actively pursuing her Economic Developer’s certification.

Jason Kipfer is the executive director of Explorer Solutions based in Peterborough, ON. In this role, he oversees the company’s operations and leads various business growth initiatives.

Jason is actively involved with projects throughout Eastern Ontario and has completed many economic development projects in the region, including projects within Peterborough County, Northumberland County, Frontenac County and the City of Kingston. Jason has also collaborated with many agencies to facilitate bilateral trade and attract investment into Ontario.

Before working at Explorer Solutions, Jason worked with Canada’s Technology Triangle, playing a key role attracting foreign direct investment to the Region of Waterloo. As the organization became the Waterloo Economic Development Corporation, Jason helped facilitate the transition. Jason was also heavily involved with the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce for nearly ten years as an employee and volunteer. He also served two terms as a member of the chamber’s board of directors.

Jason has given several presentations at industry events, most notably the Economic Development Association of Canada, the Canadian Urban Manufacturing Summit, and the Think Smarter: Economic Development Forum. Jason has also participated in the annual Ontario East Municipal Conference as both an attendee and exhibitor (in 2017, 2018, and 2023).

Outside of the business sector, Jason has been invited to several post-secondary institutions as a public speaker. He has given talks at the University of Waterloo, York University, Seneca College, and Conestoga College.

Cyndy joined CFEO in 2022 and has strong roots in Eastern Ontario. She is passionate about supporting businesses and economic growth, leveraging over three decades of senior executive experience in the manufacturing and non-profit sectors. She is committed to driving regional and provincial economic initiatives. She has served previously as a volunteer board director for Community Futures Peterborough, and is currently a director on the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council (EOLC) board. Her combined background and experiences across multiple sectors gives Cyndy unique insight into developing strong partnerships and helping businesses grow through connections with regional, provincial, and federal support systems.

The Ontario East Board of Directors also includes Government Members who are senior regional officials from the following organizations:

  • Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) (Federal)
  • Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation & Trade – MEDJCT (Provincial)
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs – OMAFRA (Provincial)
  • Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery

Partners

Regional
Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus & Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus

Ontario East Economic Development Commission works closely with the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) and the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus (EOMC) through the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council. 

The EOWC includes all counties and lower-tier municipalities across Eastern Ontario and are focused on advocating for and improving infrastructure and connectivity, growing the regional economy, and reducing municipalities’ operational costs. 

The EOMC includes all mayors representing the separated cities in Eastern Ontario from Peterborough in the West to Cornwall in the East and Pembroke in the North. EOMC works to advance municipal priorities important to Eastern Ontario. The EOMC advocates for advancing issues of importance to Eastern Ontario’s cities. 

Eastern Ontario’s Leadership Council

The EOLC consists of 5 major partners that together represent the various sectors across the region. The partnership was launched to tackle issues regarding the economic performance of the region and pursue opportunities to maintain and enhance its economic prosperity. 

The five partners are: Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus, Eastern Ontario Regional Network, Ontario East Economic Development Commission and Community Futures Eastern Ontario.

Provincial
Invest Ontario

Invest Ontario is the central agency for businesses and investors to discover what others from around the province and globe have already realized—that Ontario is a top-tier destination for investment and strategic business growth.

Rural Ontario Institute
The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is a charitable non-profit focused on leadership development, fostering dialogue, encouraging collaboration, and addressing challenges in rural Ontario.
OMAFRA
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is committed to success of Ontario’s rural communities and its food and agriculture sectors. Ontario East and its members work closely with this Ministry to deliver information and programming in support of our mostly rural region.
MEDJCT
The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade supports a strong, innovative economy that can provide jobs, opportunities, and prosperity for all Ontarians. Ontario East works with industry specialists to support key employment sectors in the region and with the Ministry’s investment attraction agency Invest Ontario.
MLTSD
The Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development provides a variety of workforce related services including supporting apprenticeships, the skilled trades, industry training and employment services in Ontario. Ontario East delivers a workforce development program supported by the Ministry to ensure that the region continues to offer a skilled, available, and dedicated workforce to existing and new employers.
Federal
Community Futures Eastern Ontario

Ontario East Economic Development Commission partners with a network of 14 participating Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in Eastern Ontario through Community Futures Eastern Ontario. The Community Futures Program (CFP) is a community driven economic development initiative designed to assist rural areas. 

CFDCs are funded through the federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. 

FedDev Ontario
The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario delivers programs and services to support innovation and economic growth in southern Ontario—Canada’s most populous region. Ontario East partners with FedDev Ontario to promote investment attraction and areas of emphasis including supporting women entrepreneurship in the region.
Invest in Canada

Invest in Canada works directly with global investors to unlock investment opportunities and facilitate expansion in Canada. We bring industry, community and government partners together to offer seamless services that make it easy for you to grow your operations in Canada. 

Ontario East participates in programming and trade missions in support of Invest in Canada’s mandate.

Agriculture & Agri-food Canada
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada supports the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector through initiatives that promote innovation and competitiveness. Ontario East works with this ministry to support its key employment sectors – food & beverage.

Become a Member

Membership offers your organization a competitive edge, connecting you to a network of industry leaders, valuable resources and growth opportunities in the dynamic Eastern Ontario region.