IF we are going to align regional economic development efforts and grow our economy in Manitoba, we need to adopt a localized approach – one that includes bold leadership, the coordinated delivery of programs, strategic land use planning and a revamp of processes that can hinder investment in Manitoba.
Experts in economic development agree that when competing on the national stage, municipalities who work regionally have the upper hand. Many metro regions across Canada have already made the move to scale economic development regionally and are seeing the benefits this type of collaboration can bring.
Just recently, our partners at the Edmonton Metropolitan Region came together to form the first ever regional economic development corporation – Edmonton Global – and are on pace to grow their economy after receiving a $2.3 million investment through Western Economic Diversification to launch its International Investment and Trade Program.
The Winnipeg METRO Region has a long history of learning from our friends to the west and east of us and realize there is great value in understanding the challenges and opportunities other regions face.
For the past 10 years, metro region organizations from Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg have hosted municipal leaders for Collaborate to Compete at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference. These events bring regional leaders together to share experiences and learn from each other on how to take the necessary steps to drive competitiveness in their jurisdictions and across Canada.
As municipal leaders gather in Quebec City for this years’ FCM conference, the Winnipeg METRO Region and Edmonton Global are co-hosting The Regional Play. This evening of networking will bring over 90 leaders from across Canada together as they explore what can be achieved when regions work together and collaborate to compete.
Experts agree that if regions are to grow their economy, ensure a high quality of life for residents and sustainably manage natural resources, it is critical to plan for coordinated and integrated long-term regional land use, transportation and infrastructure investment. This can reduce red tape and duplication, speed up the development process and provide investors with a climate that demonstrates we are open for business.
Although all communities have a unique set of circumstances, there are many parallels to draw from. With the Winnipeg METRO Region recently tasked as a strategic partner in the Province of Manitoba’s Economic Action Growth Plan, creating a platform for information exchange is strategically important. This sharing of ideas provides us with important insights as the Winnipeg METRO Region formalizes how we will move forward to maximize Manitoba’s competitive advantage while strengthening the economy of Canada.