Who Does What Report | 2022

The Municipal Role in Economic Development

Ensuring a growing and vibrant economy is a priority for all orders of government in Canada, including municipalities. Over several decades, changes in the economy, such as the rise of globalization and the emergence of new disruptive technologies, have altered how governments approach economic development policy.

The second report in the Who Does What series from the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) and Urban Policy Lab focuses on the role of municipalities in encouraging business development, strengthening competitiveness, spurring innovation, and more. The three papers in this report – written by academics and practitioners – identify where municipalities currently face constraints, how other orders of government can support municipalities, and where intergovernmental cooperation is needed.

Leann Hackman-Carty argues that municipalities should be local champions for economic development, noting that Canada often suffers in comparison with the United States because no order of government takes the lead in coordinating and leading the response to an investment opportunity.

Shauna Brail reviews the relationship between innovation and economic development and how improved federal-municipal cooperation and increased financial resources can support municipal leadership to make investments in transit, housing, and arts and culture that attract investment.

Charles Conteh discusses the importance of building intergovernmental partnerships to empower small and mid-sized municipalities that may not have the capacity to be proactive.

Read the paper

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