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Time for TransformatiON

Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre – February 7-9, 2023

We’re designing the most relevant and densely-packed educational and networking program available to economic development practitioners like you.  Please continue to check back regularly for exciting program updates.

NOTE:  Programs details are subject to change.

Attend the conference and earn 5 valuable professional certification points!

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

11:30a.m.-1:30p.m. Lunch – Women in Economic Development:  Ontario Investment and Trade Centre, Collaboration Boardroom, 250 Yonge Street, 35th Floor, Toronto, ON)

Please note that registration to this event is separate and not included in the conference registration fee.

1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m Pre-Conference Seminar:  Ontario Investment and Trade Centre, Galleria

The Pre-conference lunch and seminar will precede the EDCO Conference and Showcase (February 7-9) to help maximize the professional benefits from limited travel budgets.  Please note that registration to the Pre-Conference Seminar can be included as part of the EDCO Conference registration. 

4:00-6:00 p.m. Registration Opens! (Base of Escalator, Convention Level)
2:00-6:00 p.m. Showcase set-up
4:00-5:00 p.m. First Timer Mix & Mingle
5:00-6:30 p.m. Opening Reception  – The seconde city

Kick start your EDCO 2023 experience with colleagues and be one of the first to see the famous The Second City’s new home! The Second City has been bringing the funny for over 60 years. As an added treat, EDCO has secured a limited number of tickets for those wishing to stay and enjoy the comedy show following the reception. Complimentary tickets are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early to save your spot!

Presented by:

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

7:30 a.m. Registration Opens / Coffee Klatch (Base of Escalator, Lower Concourse / Grand Ballroom Foyer)
8:00 a.m. Early Bird Presentation
8:30 a.m. EDCO 2021 Annual General Meeting (Grand Ballroom) (EDCO Members Only)
9:15 a.m. Conference Opening and Welcome (Grand Ballroom)
9:25 a.m. Traditional Blessing and Land Acknowledgement
9:45 a.m. Opening Keynote Presentation: Hamza Khan, Future of Work Expert | Author of Leadership, Reinvented
10:45 a.m. Health Break & Coffee in Showcase (Trinity Ballroom)
11:30 a.m. Bright Ideas Competition (Grand  Ballroom)
12:30 p.m. Lunch (Grand Ballroom)

Presented by:

1:45 p.m. Concurrent Workshops
  • Are You Investment Ready? Preparing Your Community for Major Investment
    Panelists will provide an overview and their perspectives on factors – such as infrastructure, housing and talent – that communities should consider when planning for, and attracting, new, major investments.
  • Innovation in agri-business: How technology is changing the face of agriculture
    Join us to hear from innovative farms who have adopted ground-breaking technologies and utilized automation in agriculture to drive their productivity forward. You will learn how to support these businesses and how to bring more agri-innovation to your community.
    Presented by:
  • DEI is a Big Thing: How communities can strategize their focus on it
    Join this interactive facilitated discussion on how communities can build strategies to be inclusive.  This session will offer tools and tactics to incorporate for communities to foster inclusivity.
2:45 p.m. Health Break & Coffee in Showcase (Trinity Ballroom)
3:30 p.m. Concurrent Workshops
  • Hot Topics round tables
    Join our facilitated Hot Topic Roundtables for the opportunity to delve into issues that are relevant to communities of all sizes and brainstorm opportunities for shared solutions.  Students from our University partners will be taking notes of all the great ideas generated during the discussions that will be circulated to delegates following the conference. 
    1. Repurposing Underutilized Real Estate for Housing
      This hot topic table discussion will allow participants to discuss the current state of attainable housing (and what exactly it is) in their region, strategies to address housing shortages and achieve economic development goals.
    2. Adapting to Disruptions with Real Time Responses
      This hot topic table discussion will focus on disruptions to communities, such as climate change, public health, traffic congestions, and more.  Participants will be encouraged to share response strategies utilized in their region for these events, including responses to COVID-19 disruptions to the local economy.
    3. Talent Integration – Welcoming New Residents
      Almost every community across Ontario has experienced an influx of new residents with many being Newcomers to Canada as well, but these talented new residents are often connected to their previous communities (and jobs).  How can Economic Developers identify, target and integrate these new residents into the life of their communities?
  • Let’s Talk Solutions! A Collaborative Approach to Solving Workforce Challenges
    Navigating the labour shortage and changes in the workforce requires creative, collaborative and multi-faceted solutions. Learn about best practices from across the Province and Country with a focus on training and upskilling programs and labour market data solutions.
    Stay tuned for more details!
4:45 p.m. Program ends for the day
4:45–6:15 p.m. Feast On® Reception (Grand Ballroom Foyer)
Presented by:

Thursday, February 9, 2023

8:30 a.m. Registration Opens / Coffee Klatch (Base of Escalator, Lower Concourse / Grand Ballroom Foyer)
8:45 a.m. Early Bird Presentation
9:15 a.m. Conference Opening and Welcome (Grand Ballroom)
Greetings:  The Honourable Victor Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
9:30 a.m. Plenary Presentation:  Automotive is NOW!

Presented by:

10:45 a.m. Health Break & Coffee in Showcase (Trinity Ballroom)
11:15 a.m. Concurrent Workshops
  • Tourism Recovery, Gaps and Opportunities
    Tourism is a vital important economic driver in Ontario.Prior to the pandemic, tourism generated $38 billion in economic activity and supported more than 390,000 jobs in Ontario.As we prepare to navigate beyond the pandemic, businesses, communities, and governments are planning bold new paths to recharge, rebuild and welcome back new visitors.This session will explore tourism recovery, gaps, and opportunities following the release of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s State of the Ontario Tourism Industry report. Hear about travel trends, best practices, sustainability, and opportunities for economic growth.
  • Presenters:
    • Dr. Jessica Ng, PhD, Director, Policy & Government Affairs, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario
    • Caitlyn Drexler, Policy and Research Officer, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario
  • The ULTIMATE solution!
    In this workshop you’ll learn about “THE” solution that’s been under our noses this whole time. This solution will help mitigate the skills shortages in your community, increase the wages flowing into your workforce, improve your community’s quality of life and tap into an undervalued labour pool. Learn from our talented panel of speakers as they share research-backed data on how your community can leverage the ultimate solution!
  •  A Day in the Life of an Economic Developer
    Two important words for any municipality are economic development. Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned veteran, the world of economic development is continuously changing. But, more importantly, it’s a field offering the opportunity to provide value and make a difference in where we live, work, play, and invest. So, join us for a day in the life of economic developers because even if you’ve lived it your entire career, you know that no two days are ever the same.

    • George Spezza, Director, Economic Development, Niagara Region
    • Belinda Wick-Graham, Director of Economic and Community Development, Town of Minto
    • Meredith Armstrong, Director Economic Development, City of Greater Sudbury


12:15 p.m. Lunch (Grand Ballroom)
1:30 p.m. Workshop Sessions
  • FDI in Ontario – Opportunities and challenges
    Sponsored by ResearchFDI, a leading investment attraction consultancy, this session will provide a comprehensive analysis of the foreign direct investment (FDI) trends in Canada and Ontario.  These projections and trends will inform economic developers’ investment attraction strategies for 2023 and beyond. In addition, our team will provide concrete recommendations and insights on how to build out and/or update an existing investment attraction strategy.

    Presented by:
  • My Mainstreet – Stories from the front lines
    The My Mainstreet Business Accelerator program was launched in August 2020 and has been successful in supporting local businesses throughout southern Ontario. In addition to supporting local businesses, municipalities were the recipient of market research data that will benefit them from a business retention and attraction perspective.  Hear from the municipalities, host organizations and a business themselves about the impact of the program.  There were a lot of lessons learned that are easily transferrable to your local area!
  • Digital Strategies to Ensure Your Community is Investment Ready
    Stay tuned for more details!
    Presented by:
2:30 p.m. Health Break & Coffee (Grand Ballroom Foyer)
2:45 p.m. Closing Plenary: Kate Davis, Connectivity Expert | Humour in the Workplace | Work–Life Balance
3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks
4:00 p.m. Program ends
5:30 p.m. President’s Reception
6:30-10:00 p.m. President’s Dinner and Ontario Economic Development Awards: Emcee Kate Davis

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If you work in the field of economic development, you need to register for the 2023 EDCO Conference!

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