Date:September 02, 1998
To:Economic Development Committee
From:Commissioner, Economic Development, Culture and Tourism
Subject:Proposed Plan for Developing an Economic Development Strategy for the City of
This report seeks Council endorsement for the proposed plan, process and timing for
developing an economic development strategy for the City of Toronto, a key element of
which will be the involvement of the broader business community.
Funding Sources, Financial Implications and Impact Statement:
Estimated at a maximum of $20,000 plus printing costs to be accommodated within current
It is recommended that Council:
(1)endorses the proposed plan, process and timing for developing an economic
development strategy for the City of Toronto, a key element of which will be the
involvement of the broader business community;
(2)approves the creation of an Economic Development Strategy Steering Committee to
oversee the process, to be chaired by the Chair of the Economic Development Committee
and comprised of two other members of the Economic Development Committee, the
Commissioner of Economic Development, the Managing Director of Economic
Development and three representatives of Toronto's business community; and,
(3)the appropriate City Officials be authorized and directed to take the necessary action to
give effect thereto.
Council Reference/Background/ History:
The Transition Team was presented with a proposed work plan for Economic Development
for the newly amalgamated city. This plan represented the consolidated input from the seven
municipal Economic Development Offices without any formal input from the business
community. Since this time, an Economic Development Committee of Council has been
established and the departmental structure is in the process of being formalized.
The Economic Development Committee, Economic Development staff and, indeed the
business community itself, requires a strong, clear and concise vision which can coalesce
effort, focus priorities and mobilize resources to effect positive change in Toronto's
economy. This is reinforced in the discussion paper "Toward a Strategic Agenda - Key
Issues and Opportunities in Economic Development, Culture and Tourism" which prioritizes
the need to develop a strategic focus for Economic Development services in the City.
The following report proposes an approach to formulating such a strategic vision for the
City, a process which will result in a clear set of vision statements, strategic goals to achieve
this vision, key priorities to focus our efforts over the next three to five years and, where
appropriate, recommended actions. The role of the Economic Development Office will be
articulated through this process as will mechanisms for ongoing business involvement and
interface with municipal efforts. The proposed product should be viewed as a foundation
document which will focus our future actions and priorities and set the stage for more
detailed work plans and industry involvement opportunities.
Based upon the experience of staff who have undertaken similar exercises in the past, it is
clear that the process which is followed is equally important as the product which emerges.
It is the process which will result in mobilizing the interests of a variety of forces across the
city to achieve success in implementing the final plan.
Comments and/or Discussion and/or Justification:
A.Objectives of Developing a Strategic Plan for Economic Development
The following have been established as the key objectives of embarking upon this process:
(i)To establish a vision which can help guide the economic development efforts across the
City; a vision which has relevance and validity for Council, the private sector and City staff
(ii)To establish a context for the development of a more detailed work plan and budget for
the Economic Development Office over the next three to five years.
(iii)To undertake a consultation process with key business groups and clients to ensure
that the City's economic development effort recognizes and reflects current issues,
priorities and identifies new opportunities and ways of doing business.
(iv)To seek input from a broad cross section of the community including: a cross section of
business interests by type (ie. Private sector, public sector, quasi-public, industry
associations, not-for-profit, foundations, labour), by sector (ie. Medical, technology,
financial services, development, tourism, etc) by geographic orientation (ie. Business
Improvement Areas, ratepayer organizations, community-based service groups) and interest
area (e.g. Education/training, infrastructure providers, utilities, etc)
(v)To invite the active participation of Economic Development Committee members in the
process to allow them to hear and understand first hand the issues and priorities of Toronto's
(vi)To involve Economic Development Office staff in the process to assist in
cross-jurisdictional team building, to gather current industry intelligence and to expand its
business contact base.
B.Role of the Economic Development Committee
The proposed Strategic Planning Process has been designed to involve the Economic
Development Committee throughout its six month process. The objective of this
involvement is two-fold; first to bring committee members up to date on priority industry
issues and secondly, to create a network between city officials and the private sector which
will be key to ultimately implementing the final product.
The process proposes the formation of an Economic Development Strategy Steering
Committee to oversee the process, to be chaired by the Chair of the Economic Development
Committee and comprised of two other members of the Economic Development Committee,
the Commissioner of Economic Development, the Managing Director of Economic
Development and three (3) representatives of Toronto's business community.
While this Steering Committee will have primary responsibility to oversee all aspects of the
project, facilitated by Economic Development staff, all members of the Economic
Development Committee will be directly involved in the process including participation in
consultation activities such as plenary sessions, workshops and interviews. Appendix One
provides a terms of reference for the Steering Committee.
The following outlines the proposed steps in developing an Economic Development
Strategy for the City. A key element in the process of articulating a vision for the City is to
seek the ideas and input from the broader business community. The proposed consultation
program is designed to elicit response to the following types of questions:
(i) What is your vision for our City and its future economy?
(ii) What are the major priorities and concerns we should be focussing our collective
efforts upon? (e.g. business infrastructure needs, labour force issues, key cluster
opportunities sector issues, government/city policy concerns, marketing opportunities, local
and regional development limitations, etc.);
(iii)What role should be played by the EDO and the private sector? What opportunities
exist for public-private partnerships?; and
(iv)What performance measures could be used to chart our progress in achieving the
Key steps in the process are described below and in schematic form in Appendix Two:
1.Development of a Consultation Kit for distribution to all participants. This kit will
include a variety of information which will assist in orienting participants to the process
including, for example: Terms of Reference of the Economic Development Committee;
current structure and proposed mandate of the Economic Development Office; an
environmental scan of the Toronto economy (e.g. Key facts, trends, industry snapshots);
examples of other jurisdictions' economic development approaches (e.g. Tools list, best
practices, innovative ideas); and, a questionnaire (fax/e-mail) to solicit their issues and ideas
at the outset of the process. The kit will also act as an attractive "sales kit" to encourage
participation by business representatives.
2.Development web-based materials to allow ongoing outreach with businesses including
materials from the above-noted Consultation Kit.
3.Development of participant invitation list. The target is to involve approximately 500
participants in the process, representing a cross section of business in terms of type, size,
sector, geography, etc.
4.Undertake consultation process which provides a number of discrete opportunities for the
private sector to have input into the process. The consultation process will include:
(i)Introductory Plenary Session and Workshop
This first session will seek the involvement of all interested participants in an introductory
session to "kick off" the process. This half day event will begin with presentations by the
Mayor and Chair of the Economic Development Committee followed by presentations by
guest speakers/panelists who will set the context and challenge for the City/industry in this
effort. The plenary session will break out into smaller discussion groups as the first round of
input into the strategy. As the starting point in the process, the session will be intentionally
"open-minded" in its approach and focus on obtaining input about top-line issues and
priorities of participants.
(ii)Post Plenary Workshops
Following up on the introductory session, four to six separate workshops will be carried out
in geographically dispersed locations across the city. Participants who attended the first
session, as well as other more locally based interest groups, will be invited to attend
workshops which begin to isolate concerns and more critically discuss issues which
emerged from the introductory workshop. Workshops will be chaired by members of the
Steering Committee and members of EDC will be invited to attend the sessions.
(iii)Individual Consultations with Key Business Leaders
In addition to the workshop format, senior economic development staff and Steering
Committee members will meet with a cross section of business leaders and industry
associations on a one-on-one basis. The objective of this approach, in addition to gathering
information and ideas, is to continue to build good personal relationships with those
individuals and organizations who can have a role to play in implementing the strategy.
Consultations will take place with such organizations as Boards of Trade/Chambers of
Commerce, sector organizations (e.g. Toronto Real Estate Board, Toronto Biotechnology
Initiative, Tourism Toronto, SMART Toronto, Design Exchange), business improvement
associations and industrial revitalization interests, educational and training interests (e.g.
HRDC, educational institutions), labour organizations, ratepayer groups, major
infrastructure providers (e.g. Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Toronto Harbour
Commission, telecom companies, utilities) and a sampling of both small and large
employers in the city.
(iv)Internal Consultations with Members of Council and Senior Staff
In tandem with the above, senior economic development staff will endeavour to meet with
interested members of City Council and senior staff from relevant departments across the
corporation to learn of their interests and ideas as input into the process.
5.At the conclusion of this phase of the consultation process we expect to have a solid
understanding of the major issues and priorities which have been raised and the Steering
Committee and staff from Economic Development will consolidate a draft strategy
document. The draft strategy will present:
(i)a vision to guide the economic development efforts across the City,
(ii)key priorities and concerns with respect to such issues as infrastructure, labour force
development, government policies, marketing approaches, geographic issues,
(iii) proposed role for the Economic Development Office and the private sector as well as
opportunities for public-private partnerships, and
(iv)performance measures will be used to evaluate the progress made in implementing the
6.Economic Development Committee Feedback and Validation Session
A half-day workshop session will be organized to seek feedback and validation on the draft
strategy. All organizations and individuals who had input into the process will be invited to
meet with the Economic Development Committee to review the draft strategy, make
comments and discuss opportunities for further involvement.
7.Input from the feedback session will be incorporated into the strategy and the finalized
document will be presented to Council. Upon adoption of the report, the final document will
be published and distributed to all participants.
The next steps in this process will be to prepare a detailed work plan and budget for the
Economic Development Office which reflects the intent, and begins to act upon the
directions, set out in the Vision. The work plan will include specific recommendations for
the continuing involvement of the business community and the potential need for more
detailed input on site-specific issues and/or sector-specific work groups to provide more
detailed and comprehensive industry input into the work of EDC/EDO.
D.Proposed Time Frames
Preparation of background materials for consultation kitSept/Oct . 1998
Invitations listSept/Oct. 1998
Consultation Process - InterviewsOct/Nov. 1998
Consultation Process - WorkshopsNovember 1998
Draft strategyDecember 1998
EDC Feedback/Validation workshopJanuary 1999
Report to Economic Development CommitteeFebruary 1999
Publication of StrategyFebruary 1999
The costs for undertaking the above process are to be carried out within current EDO
budget. The out of pocket costs are estimated at $20,000 exclusive of printing costs. These
costs will include the hiring of external facilitators to guide the consultation process and
train economic development staff to allow them to assist in the process. It is anticipated that
the costs for bringing in speakers for the introductory plenary session can be defrayed by
other organizations who wish to be involved in the process.
The newly formed Economic Development Committee, Economic Development staff and
the business community of the City of Toronto requires a strong, clear and concise vision
which can coalesce effort, focus priorities and mobilize resources to effect positive change
in the city's future economy. This report proposes an approach to formulating such a
strategic vision for the City, a six month process which will result in a clear set of vision
statements, strategic goals to achieve this vision, key priorities to focus our efforts over the
next three to five years and, where appropriate, recommended actions.
Brenda Librecz, Managing Director, Economic Development, 397-4700
Economic Development, Culture and Tourism
Ref: ECO 98-32