Dear valued members and readers,

The Ontario Economic Development Society is a not-for-profit project that I started in 2012 during my second year at university while volunteering at the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and completing my Bachelor’s in Business Law and Human Rights; minor in Political Science. OntarioEDS was an idea that grew organically out of my experience at the Ottawa Chamber when I sought to extend the valuable hands-on learning opportunity I was receiving to other keen students who were willing to hustle alongside me. I attended university in the era where my fellow millennial undergraduates were inundated with media telling us about a tough job market while facing a catch-22 that was seemingly impossible to overcome: we needed work experience in order to get a job and gain work experience… For me, it seemed that volunteering was the only way to beat the catch-22. I decided to walk the streets of Ottawa after my classes everyday, suited-up with resumes in hand to start knocking on the doors of places who had a mission I could see myself passionately supporting – without pay.

A Short Background…

It is noteworthy that I came from a humble background growing up. Just before my university career started, my mother, a woman who had worked much of her life as a personal support worker, left her job and took a risk to start a health-care company in order to help my sister and I pay for higher education. The business was a success and seeing my mom accomplish so much with so little was inspirational. Witnessing her journey in entrepreneurship let me see first-hand how starting a business can transform lives and communities. It was this life-experience that planted the seed that would eventual bring me to the doors of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce where I would be afforded the opportunity to volunteer under CEO, Erin Kelly, and Senior Communication Manager, Kenny Leon, each providing unparalleled attention and mentorship.

The OCC Experience & Journey To Starting OEDS

At the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce (OCC) I was afforded the opportunity to network with the local business community, high-level CEO’s and politicians, gain hands-on experience in policy, advocacy and marketing as well as work on other areas of my professional development. I became so involved in the volunteering commitment I made to the Chamber that it began to conflict with the time that I should have been devoting to my full-time university studies and the paid work I did as an independent contractor in the event marketing industry. In feeling highly fortunate for the opportunity however, I felt intense pressure to stay committed to the Chamber despite how it really did put a little too much on my plate. So, in an effort to not quit, the creative solution I came up with in order to continue volunteering was to share both my workload as well as the great hands-on learning opportunity I was receiving at the OCC with other eager students like myself – thus was born OEDS. Little did I know, starting OEDS would end up being a greater time commitment than volunteering at the Chamber. In any case, this is how our story began.

As merely a new Chamber volunteer, I had no real executive power to recruit other volunteers under the banner of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and extend the same opportunity that I was getting to other willing students. To overcome this obstacle I created and incorporated OEDS in order to obtain high level executive power as the Chairman and Founder of my own nonprofit organization. In starting my own nonprofit I secured the ability to recruit students under the banner of OEDS to assist the OCC in economic policy research projects. I saw this as a means of sharing my workload by growing the OCC’s student volunteer policy team and thereby increasing their research capabilities while providing an opportunity for eager students to get involved in politics and their local business community in the same fashion that I had. The OEDS program I developed to accomplish this initiative was first termed “Early Economists” and gave students hands-on experience in research and policy analysis as well as great networking and professional development opportunities. The same program exists today, however our “Early Economists” are more formally termed Policy Analysts or Seniors Policy Analysts to more truly reflect the nature of their roles.

At its outset, OEDS was meant to be a temporary project aimed at assisting the economic development committee of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce with various research goals. Today, after assisting a number of economic development institutions on an ad hoc basis with various research projects we’ve successfully moved towards independently conducting policy analysis and research on matters we consider intriguing. The primary aim of OEDS was to advance Ontario’s economic development through research and policy analysis while simultaneously affording eager students exceptional hands-on learning, networking, and professional development opportunities. Much has changed since 2012, however throughout the years we’ve remained committed to our core goals as an ever evolving group of students who are willing to volunteer for our communities in an effort to advance economic development in order to better the lives of our fellow Canadians. A thank you page will be made in honour of the long list of those volunteers who have volunteered in our organization and made us a possibility. All of your support, past, present and future is eternally appreciated.

Reflecting & Looking Towards The Future…

We have a long history here at OEDS, from when we expanded our organization to include 3 distinct branches / teams in Kingston, Dufferin and Ottawa Ontario as well as created a separate headquarters to oversee all these municipal branches up until this very moment – a time well-after closing those branches and centralizing our operations on one large team. We’ve worked extensively on equity crowdfunding advocacy and related policy analysis; developed economic scorecards for various cities as well as thought through how and when we would be able to utilize the software we purchased for a pretty penny on our website (GIS); struggled as a student run not-for-profit startup with low-to-no funding; wrestled with how to increase political engagement among Ontario youth in the 2016 election; and much, much more. This will be one of a handful of posts to be sporadically released that give our members and readers insights into our evolving story. We’re still working hard behind the scenes on a variety of new initiatives for our annually scheduled September 2016 kickoff. New policy reports on the impact of an Ontario regulated marijuana industry as well as a minimum guaranteed income are also on the horizon. As the Chairman and a freshly graduated student, I have more time and resources to do even more with this not-for-profit that I started 4 years ago to help our province move forward in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. I look forward to what we can all do together. Stay tuned!

Original post: Wednesday, June 8 2016 at 9:00pm

Last edited: Thursday, June 9 2016 at 3:07pm

Author: Jordan Dedier


Click here to view “A Consultation on the Employment Standards Act, 2000 – Reform Guidance – Submitted 18 September 2015.”

The hyperlinked document attached above is one of many policy pieces privately submitted to the Ontario government in 2015. In 2016 we look forward to publishing more of our past and coming research projects. Stay tuned!

Notice: this documents has been slightly modified from the original document that was privately submitted to the Ontario Government in order to make it more suitable for publication on our website. It remains almost the exact same and advocates the same core ideas that are found in the originally submitted document.

Click here to view “OEDS – Preventing the Electronic Suppression of Sales in Ontario – Submission on 16 December 2015.”

The hyperlinked document attached above is one of many policy pieces privately submitted to the Ontario government in 2015. More of our policy pieces that advocate change in the laws that directly affect our local community will be released in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Notice: this documents has been slightly modified from the original document that was privately submitted to the Ontario Government in order to make it more suitable for publication on our website. It remains almost the exact same and advocates the same core ideas that are found in the originally submitted document.


With a sound banking system, a highly educated population, and attractive corporate tax rates Canada is arguably one of the best business environments in the world. This perspective would increase dramatically if the Ontario Government and the Ontario Securities Commission were to ratify equity crowdfunding for unaccredited investors. This would allow for massive new business development by facilitating access to capital to groups that couldn’t have otherwise accessed business financing.

Authored by Jordan Dedier

Last edit: (2016)

Brief History

“In 1901 The Liberal Government of Ontario ratified the The Voluntary Land Grant Agreement Act which sought to kickstart a settlement process by rewarding veterans of the Boer War and Fenian Raids with 160-acre grants of free land in townships that it would set aside in Northern Ontario specifically for this purpose.”- Smart Globalization: The Canadian Business and Economic History Experience

Brief Economic Analysis And Policy Resolutions

“Since the late 1970s, Northern Ontario’s mining, forest and tourism industries have been declining… Economic uncertainty crept across the Northern Ontario landscape in the late 1970s and early 1980s as increased automation, rising fuel costs and a high Canadian dollar dramatically affected the mining, forest and tourism industries. Factually, “the region’s population declined by over 40,000 people between 1996 and 2001, as compared to the dramatic growth in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) which experienced a 9.8 percent increase in the same period. Various Industry Canada/FedNor and Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) programs attacked this problem by providing access to capital. Scholars contend a long-term strategy must be in place to support businesses through the economic ups and downs of the region and calls for Canada and Ontario to work more closely together to increase efficiencies, improve expertise and provide better service for their business clients.” – Access to capital in Northern Ontario: Are we getting it right?

The above hyperlinked paper discusses the evaluation structures of the policies/programs implemented to better the economic conditions in Northern Ontario. OEDS holds that a nonprofit-public partnership facilitating access to equity crowdfunding would be a positive solution to insufficient access to capital in Northern Ontario, while keeping bank risk low and at a minimal cost to government.

Kenora Ontario

Fun Fact: Market Phenomenon

From 1942 to 1992, Northern Ontario’s draught beer market was shielded from outside competition. For 30 years, this was done by a gentlemen’s agreement among brewers, but in 1972, the Ontario government took the extraordinary step of enforcing a legal monopoly for what was then the only brewer in the region, Doran’s Northern Breweries. Changes in Ontario’s political economy and consumer attitudes towards regulation over the next 20 years undermined the monopoly and brought it to an end in 1992. – Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études canadiennes – Volume 47, Number 2, Spring 2013

Related links:

The following study looks at homelessness in Canada, with attention to overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the homeless population of Kenora, Ontario: Rural Aboriginal Homelessness in Canada: Kenora & other Canada region case studies.

Counting the homeless in England – a difficult tasks.

Click here to see how Ottawa’s economy has been performing over the past few years in OEDS’s Ottawa Economic Scorecard.

Click here to see a breakdown of the Cost of Living in Ottawa along with some other interesting metrics on Ottawa’s economy.

Click here to see a breakdown of the following metrics: Citizenship and Immigration; Occupation and Industry; Martial Status; Families and households characteristics; Language; Education; Mobility Status in 2006; Earning and Income in 2005; Age characteristics.

Have you heard of the Ontario Summer Company program – the big initiative by the Ontario government to encourage youth entrepreneurship? The one where you are given $3000 just for participating? Unfortunately for most members of the 15-29 year old target market, the answer is a resounding “no” – a true shame for those whom have yet to discover their drive for innovation. While the problem is awareness, the real tragedy here is that the program itself is fantastic at pushing students into entrepreneurism. Giving enterprising students some start-up capital to pursue a purely theoretical business plan without financial risk to themselves is a very successful motivator. I was fortunate enough to be one of these students over this past summer; an experience that turned out to be one of the most productive summers in my lifetime. So beneficial, in fact, that I felt the need to elicit more awareness for those still trying to find that passion for the future. The most intriguing thing from my experience was the diversity of backgrounds these potential entrepreneurs came from. In this article, I won’t bog you down with many specific requirements of the program since they are readily available on their website, but I will tell you that none of them require true business background to complete. In fact, out of a group of 9 participants in my area, I was the only one pursuing a business degree or with background business knowledge. And yet each participant was able to gain a unique perspective on their business ideas and succeed in the program regardless of their desired learning path. Across all areas, from those studying philosophy to fine arts to myself in business, the impact of gaining these entrepreneurial skills appealed to each individual in a different way. The businesses themselves all showcased these unique backgrounds as well, from one student running a swimming school to another creating handcrafted jewelry and clothing. If you were ever considering starting a business but felt like you were lacking your own capital, certainly give the Ontario Summer Company program a try. For the entrepreneurs of the future, it is simply one more way to get started.