Committee approves new Economic Development Strategy

Published on
March 5, 2024
Council, committees and City Hall

The City’s Finance and Corporate Services Committee today approved the Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, to build a diverse and prosperous economy and enhance Ottawa’s competitiveness, reputation and quality of life.

The proposed approach would leverage Ottawa’s strengths and capitalize on opportunities for growth and investment, including within the vibrant technology sector and the growing tourism and creative sectors. The agriculture sector would also be an area of focus. The strategy sets out seven priority areas for economic development that would be supported by a series of actions over the short and medium terms. The City would kick off the strategy this year by:

  • Establishing an Economic Development Roundtable to coordinate with partners on priority issues
  • Assessing Ottawa’s labour market to understand and address workforce trends, needs and opportunities
  • Creating a tactical team to help advance the Downtown Ottawa Action Plan
  • Coordinating celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Bytown in 2026 and of the ByWard Market in 2027
  • Consulting on Ottawa’s brand to inform a refreshed approach
  • Working with Invest Ottawa on attracting technology sector investments
  • Relaunching the Innovation Pilot Program, which provides companies the opportunity to trial their innovative technology with the City or its partners
  • Hiring a Nightlife Commissioner and implementing the Nightlife Economy Action Plan
  • Working with partners to highlight and celebrate Ottawa’s businesses and entrepreneurs, and their contributions to the city’s economy.

The City would continue to offer its existing economic development grant programs and funding for its key local service delivery partners: Invest Ottawa, Ottawa Film Office and Ottawa Music Industry Coalition. Staff would report back to Council with annual progress updates and an implementation plan for the year ahead.

The Committee approved a recommendation to separate the current Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Policy into two separate policies: the Advertising Using City Assets and Programs Policy and the Sponsorship Policy. This would streamline processes by allowing the City to apply provisions separately for sponsorship and advertising.

General Managers would have delegated authority to approve agreements for terms of up to 10 years and $250,000, to ensure quicker timelines and approval processes. The City could then better capitalize on time-sensitive opportunities, respond to market changes and adjust sponsorship and advertising strategies in response to evolving economic and business conditions.

The Committee approved the workplan for the French Language Services Advisory Committee over the next three years. The work aligns with the City’s strategic priorities and corresponds to four goals:

  • Support an approach that enhances municipal programs available to residents
  • Continue to raise staff awareness of the importance of actively offering bilingual services
  • Support economic growth and resiliency in our bilingual City
  • Support the recruitment and hiring of bilingual City staff

The Committee approved a recommendation to designate six City-leased locations as municipal capital facilities, which would make them exempt from certain municipal taxes and save the City about $325,000 per year, based on the latest tax rates. These leased properties are used to deliver various municipal services and include a paramedic post, a spay and neuter clinic, transitional housing, a neighbourhood policing office, and employment and social services offices.

Items from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, April 3.