On April 11, 2016, on the invitation of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) and Québec-based Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC), more than 20 thought leaders came together for a day of critical reflection and generative thinking on the future of Community Economic Development (CED) in Canada.
“As we make plans for our national conference in May (ECONOUS2016), we’d like to take advantage of that event to reflect together on the next chapter for CED in Canada,” the invitation explained. “But before that, we’d like to bring together a select group to shape that larger inquiry.”
The invitation offered the following background:
“This is a pivotal moment for CED in Canada. Growing inequality, ecological and climate limitations, the fourth industrial revolution, big data informing new measures of well-being, and the rise of a systems approach to complexity and networks all recast and reinforce the holistic approach that underpins CED. They also impose an urgent re-articulation of its relevance and role. Against this backdrop, support for the infrastructure of place-based development has been steadily declining, and community agencies have increasingly been shoehorned into a service delivery role, with less capacity to mobilize citizens for their own development.
At the same time, interest in business and finance models that blend social and economic impacts grows.
Over the last 15 years, the practice and language of CED has become fragmented and the energy that animated CCEDNet’s creation has dissipated. Although our capacity for connection is greater than ever, the vision and concepts that unite our action are ripe for renewal.”
The Structure of the Meeting
Over the course of the day, participants explored 3 questions:
- What is worth celebrating and carrying forward?
- What are the strategic opportunities before us?
- What conversations do we need to have at ECONOUS2016 and beyond?
From these conversations, 5 themes emerged, each with their own successes, strategic opportunities and vital conversations:
- Theme #1: Practices & Programs
- Theme #2: Partnerships
- Theme #3: Promotion
- Theme #4: Policy
- Theme #5: Paradigm