FedNor: It’s just got to be free
Toward More Strategic and Collaborative Governance of Regional Economic Development in Northern Ontario
June 2015 | Charles Conteh
The report, FedNor: It’s Just Got to be Free: Toward More Strategic and Collaborative Governance of Regional Economic Development in Northern Ontario, written by Charles Conteh, examines the current structure of FedNor and compares it to other economic development agencies in Canada.
Conteh provides five key recommendations for restructuring FedNor:
1. FedNor should be structured to allow for greater operational discretion and autonomy from Industry Canada.
2. FedNor should abandon its current project-centric approach of allocating disparate grants to a wide number of projects in favour of supporting a small number of larger investments designed to build the capacity of value-added and knowledge-intensive economic clusters.
3. FedNor should adopt formally the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario as the policy framework for the region.
4. FedNor should institutionalize a collaborative approach to program delivery by developing comprehensive five year formal partnership agreements with Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) for larger investments that support the emerging priorities targeted in the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario.
5. Because Northern Ontario is not one homogenous region, the partnership agreements should focus on supporting SMART programs identified through a comprehensive process of consultative strategic planning by economic zones or subregions.