Last night, Niagara Region ratified its new 10-Year Economic Development Strategy. The Strategy aims to establish a strong and sustainable regional economy over the next 10 years and has been identified as one of Regional Council’s priority projects.
Currently, Niagara is experiencing exceptional growth in terms of investment, development and forecasting dramatic population increases. The 10-Year Economic Development Strategy outlines strategic directions, goals and actions that will guide Regional Economic Development staff as they collaborate with partners on its implementation. Decisions made now will shape the future of Niagara’s economy.
The Strategy was developed in collaboration with the municipal Economic Development professionals across the region, and the support of an external consultant for the community and business consultation process. It is aligned with other Regional strategic plans as well as local economic development strategies. There is strong alignment between the new Economic Development Strategy and Niagara’s new Official Plan, which has been ratified at the same Council meeting.
Although the region is facing many challenges post-pandemic, they are not unique to Niagara, but exist across Ontario, including low labour force participation, availability of affordable housing, lack of comprehensive broadband coverage and supply chain disruptions.
Trends such as digitization, e-commerce, artificial intelligence and new work practices are emerging from the pandemic The Strategy has been developed at a unique time for Niagara as the region, along with the rest of the world emerges from the pandemic.
The 10-Year Economic Development Strategy will be implemented by Niagara Economic Development in partnership with Team Niagara, Innovation Eco-System, business/downtown Improvement Associations, employment organizations, post-secondary institutions, tourism organizations, chambers of commerce, provincial government ministries, industry associations, Niagara Workforce Planning Board, Small Business Enterprise Centres, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority, Venture Niagara and others.
A Strategic Action Plan that identifies specific timeframes and will be measured by performance metrics associated with the strategic directions has been developed to implement the 10-Year Strategy. There are six strategies driving the actions in the plan. The strategic directions are matched with functional areas of economic development and include investment attraction; external marketing; business and economic research and analysis; expedited services and business development; sector and local area municipality support including business organizations; and, strategic initiatives and advocacy.
The Strategy was endorsed by the Planning and Economic Development Committee on June 15 and approved by Regional Council on June 23. This Strategy is one of Regional Council’s priority projects associated with the Strategic Priority: Supporting Businesses and Economic Growth. The theme for the document is Inspire. Invest. Grow.This dynamic document will be updated as required. Read the full report and recommendations on our website.
"After the impact of the pandemic, now more than ever we need a solid foundation for Niagara’s economic future. Regional Council identified this project within the Strategic Priorities, titled Supporting Businesses and Economic Growth. The launch of Niagara’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy will work to support all the objectives that were set out for economic development. This strategy provides guidance and a strong foundation for the next 10 years, which will make an impact on all 12 municipalities in Niagara. I feel confident that this strategy will help build a strong and sustainable economy."
~ Regional Chair, Jim Bradley
"Niagara’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy is critical to the success of Niagara’s economy and I’m pleased that Regional Council has endorsed this strategy and we can begin implementing key priorities. Special recognition to all the hard work of Regional staff, and our partners and collaborators on this strategy. I am excited about the economic prosperity of Niagara and enhancing global partnerships for a sustainable future together."
~ Director of Economic Development, George Spezza
"Collaboration was key to the creation of the 10-Year Economic Development Strategy. I would like to thank all those who were a part of Team Niagara. Most of the actions in the Niagara Economic Strategic Action Plan go beyond the scope of Regional staff as it will be paramount that we combine efforts with our member communities, all levels of government and the private sector to achieve stated targets and goals. Let’s continue to rise together!"
~ Chair of the Long-Term Economic Development Strategy Advisory Council, Marco Marino