June 30, 2011

In 2009, the communities throughout Midwestern Ontario suffered an economic blow.  The near collapse of the auto industry meant that the region needed to look elsewhere for areas of economic opportunity that would boost industry and create new jobs. That area was the green economy. The Midwestern Ontario Regional Green Jobs Strategy was formed to assess local challenges and opportunities related to the emerging green economy.

The Midwestern Ontario Regional Green Jobs Strategy is a regional partnership between seven Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs): the Bruce CFDC, the Elgin Business Resource Centre, Huron Business Development Corporation, the CFDC of Middlesex County, the Perth CFDC, the Saugeen Business Development Corporation, and the Wellington-Waterloo CFDC.

These CFDCs recently received the Community Strategic Planning Award at the Annual Conference of the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporation in Niagara Falls for the Midwestern Ontario Regional Green Jobs Strategy.

Paul Nichol, the Economic Development Manager at the Huron Business Development Corporation, says, “We’ve been looking for a number of years at three mainstreams of our local economy:  renewable energy, both the manufacturing and the service sides, energy efficiency and also climate change mitigation and adaptation.  Really what we’ve been trying to do is see these as economic drivers for the area and talk to our landowners, talk to our communities, talk to our businesses and figure out how we can best capture economic opportunities.”

But why focus on the green economy?  The answer is simple according to Joan Van Der Meer, the Project Manager of the Midwestern Ontario Green Jobs Strategy.  “We have wind, we have sun, we have land, we have potential to produce crops for biomass and we have some really creative people,” she says.

One of those creative people is Jasmin Hofer, CEO of Energrow Inc.  Her company designs and manufactures oilseed pressing systems and complementary equipment for farmers.  She is well aware of the benefits of developing the green economy:  “It grows research, it increases investments, it has local businesses developing products, which makes more jobs and that’s a very good thing.”

The Midwestern Ontario Green Jobs Strategy is ensuring that Midwestern Ontario reaps the full benefits of the emerging green economy.  The economic advantages are clear and for those in the community looking to save on energy costs, reduce their carbon footprint and have a positive impact on the environment, the Green Job Strategy has been a tremendous asset.  The success of the Green Jobs Strategy and its dedication to the future economic development of the region is ongoing.

Photo:  Sponsor Sharon Wilson and OACFDC President Judy Nafziger (right) presents the trophy to Joan Van der Meer (centre) of the Green Jobs Strategy.  Seven CFDCs collaborated on this community strategic plan.


Green Jobs