Renewing Regional Economic Development in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s RDA Review Panel

Year: 2012

In May 2012, the federal government provided notice that as of May 2013 it would discontinue core funding to regional economic development organizations in Atlantic Canada. In July 2012, the Province of Nova Scotia initiated a review of regional development authorities in Nova Scotia; this was to ensure that Nova Scotia had the best model in place to support regional economic development in all regions of the province. To conduct the review, an independent panel of business and community leaders was identified to consult with stakeholders, review evidence, and provide recommendations to government for determining an effective and sustainable model for future regional economic development.

Using findings from the consultation sessions, stakeholder surveys, and a review of academic literature and approaches in other jurisdictions, the Review Panel considered a complex set of factors to arrive at a series of recommendations that will result in a new model to deliver regional economic development in Nova Scotia.

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Key recommendations of the panel include the following:

  • Refine the mission of regional economic development organizations to guide and navigate regional economic development while providing support to businesses.
  • Introduce a model of Regional Enterprise Networks (RENs) to reflect the organizations’ roles as connectors among economic development partners.
  • Focus core activities for RENs to provide regional leadership on economic priorities, develop regional economic plans, and provide support to businesses.
  • Introduce a shared governance model and enhanced governance practices.
  • Refine performance standards to improve accountability and reporting.
  • Align regions around communities of interest to support the development of priority and emerging sectors.
  • Introduce a new funding model for regional economic development partners.
  • Identify opportunities for the federal government to participate in regional economic development activities that align with its priorities.
  • Establish six RENs to support regional economic development in rural Nova Scotia.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Message from the RDA Review Panel
Current Context
Regional Economic Development in Nova Scotia
The RDA Review Panel and Its Work
Findings: What the Review Panel Learned

Alignment among Economic Development Partners
Private Sector
Defining Economic Regions
Core Activities
Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness
Financial Management and Sustainability
Regional Economic Development: Literature and Jurisdictional Review
Literature Review
Jurisdictional Review
Recommendations: Creating Winning Conditions for Regional Economic Development
Core activities
First Steps
Relationship with the Federal Government
Table of Recommendations
Annex A: RDA Review Terms of Reference
Annex B: Consultation List
Annex C: Consultation Survey
Annex D: Select Survey Results

Table 1: Advantages of RDAs
Table 2: Challenges Affecting RDAs
Table 3: Provincial Support for Regional Economic Development
Table 4: Alignment
Table 5: Alignment
Table 6: Municipal Support for Regional Economic Development
Table 7: Municipal Mindset
Table 8: One-­‐stop Shop
Table 9: Services Most Effectively Delivered by RDAs
Table 10: Services Delivered by RDAs Most Needed by Communities
Table 11: Support for RDA Support of Regional Strategic Efforts and Projects
Table 12: RDA Involvement in Community Interests
Table 13: Organizational Leadership
Table 14: Board Composition and Funding Scenarios
Table 15: Longer-­‐term Funding
Table 16: Longer-­‐term Funding
Annex E: Extended Literature Review
Annex F: Extended Jurisdictional Review

Western Economic Diversification
Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Economic Development Boards
Saskatoon Ideas Inc
Community-­‐based Economic Development in the United Kingdom
Quebec Community Economic Diversification Initiative (CEDI)
Community Futures
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
Annex G: Proposed Regions for Regional Enterprise Networks
Annex H: Resources