Message from the Mayor

It gives me great pleasure to extend greetings and a warm welcome to everyone attending the International Economic Development Council's 2017 Annual Conference.

As Canada's largest city with a population of more than 2.8 million, Toronto is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is dedicated to being a model of sustainable development.



A Personal Message from the Premier

On behalf of the Government of Ontario, I am delighted to extend warm wishes to all the delegates of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference.

Ontario is a place where the world meets — to do business, to launch new ideas and to find opportunities. We are leaders in the knowledge economy, with a highly skilled and educated workforce, and have a large and globally connected investor community.


Help Your Community Leaders See the Benefits of a Trip to the Annual Conference

Your trip to Toronto, Ontario, Canada is the perfect opportunity to learn about new priorities in the profession and how to address them. It also offers ample networking sessions and practical examples of success stories, including educational tours through the host community.


With the emergence of new global markets, communities need to work together to encourage competition and advance economic growth. This must-attend event for economic developers - IEDC's first annual conference outside of the United States - will focus on how to Connect, Collaborate, and Create at the global level to contribute to the transformation of local, state, and regional economies.

Toronto and its surrounding region are consistently ranked at the top of international indexes for competitiveness, innovation, and liveability. Few cities in the world can offer such multi-sector strength or depth of talent. The region prides itself on an environment that is committed to nurturing and supporting businesses.

You'll be in good company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Most recently, the New York Times listed Canada first on its list of "52 Places to Go in 2017". As the second-largest country in the world by area, Canada has so much to explore, and with Toronto being the second largest city in North America, you'll be amazed by the richness of economic development examples around the city. Additionally, 2017 is Canada's 150th anniversary of its confederation, meaning plenty of celebrations in Toronto and other provinces. You'll find dozens of opportunities to network and explore this diverse international city.



Building Local Linkages and Expanding Global Trade

Global trade, especially in terms of exporting, is vital to sustained economic growth. It creates local jobs, generates capital investments in machinery and equipment, encourages innovation, increases productivity and attracts foreign direct investment (FDI). An export-oriented economy can foster the development of business clusters through new joint ventures and help entrepreneurs reach new markets. In order to facilitate the trade and investment linkages, cities and regions are forging formal city-to-city connections, often times between North American cities and those cities in rising economies such as Mexico and China. This track will explore examples of successful trade and investment relationships between international cities and regions.

Cashing in on Creative Capital

Culture, sports, film, music, and other creative industries are major contributors to communities around the world. From major movie productions to backend business and professional services, supporting creative industries can drive a new workforce, generate new revenue streams, and transform local economies. Universities and community colleges throughout the U.S. and abroad have expanded their technology and media programs to pave the way for the next generation of technicians and media artists. By partnering with museums, literary and culinary arts institutions, and festival/event associations, numerous downtown districts have undergone instrumental revitalization efforts. As the tourism industry continues to increase through these creative sectors, so will the capital gains of metropolitan, suburban, and rural areas alike. This track will explore how economic development organizations can support the advancement of creative industries to further the workforce, business development, and cultural economy of their communities.

Nurturing the Start-Up Ecosystem

Supporting entrepreneurship and small business creation is an economic development trend that will never go out of style. The majority of new jobs and innovation are developed from start-ups and small businesses. As the global economy transforms and competition rises, the need for new business formation throughout local communities has become ever more present. Organizations ranging from corporations, universities, foundations, and government agencies have all recognized this necessity. Fortunately, gone are the days when budding small business owners must venture into their entrepreneurial activities alone. The importance of establishing new means of economic growth has generated resources such as incubators, accelerators, main street revitalization grants, educational programs, and other supportive tools which help increase small business scalability. This track will examine the ways economic development organizations can embrace the start-up ecosystem strategy within their communities through the bolstering of support for local start-ups and industry expansion.

Regional Collaboration for Investment Promotion

The benefits of inward investment are well-known; whether from foreign sources or the next town over, investment brings new capital and jobs to a region and the spillover benefits of new knowledge and talent can give the local economy an innovation boost. In order to attract investment, economic developers must take a regional approach. Companies make investment decisions based on the value proposition of the region, including such factors as size and growth of the local economy and population, labor force demographics, infrastructure and the regulatory environment. By presenting yourself as a region that can meet the company's needs, you strengthen your business case for investment. This track will look at how you can strengthen your community's assets in order to offer a total and irresistible package for prospective companies

The Nuts and Bolts of Economic Development

From BRE to financing, some of the fundamental tasks of economic developers remain constant throughout the years and are the building blocks on which new trends and initiatives are built. This track is intended to help us revisit some of the nuts and bolts of economic development, take stock of current best practices, and anticipate future trends. This track will cover topics such as real estate development and reuse, marketing and attraction, neighborhood development strategies, and workforce development strategies.


  • City of Toronto
  • Accrisoft
  • Chmura Economics & Analytics
  • DCI
  • EMSI
  • ESRI
  • ICSC
  • OCO Global
  • StateBook
  • ACT
  • Bay Park Centre
  • BNSF Railway
  • Toronto Port Lands Company
  • Business Facilities
  • Convergent Nonprofit Solutions
  • GIS WebTech
  • National Community Development Services
  • Ohio University
  • RCI
  • USDM
  • Regional Municipality of York
  • American Express
  • Implan
  • Resource Development Group
  • Trade & Industry Development
  • Windsor Essex EDC
  • American City & County
  • Expansion Solutions
  • fDi Intelligence
  • The Place Brand Observer
  • Site Selection Magazine