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Pre-Conference Seminar: Diversity in Economic Development

  • 04 Feb 2020
  • 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Ontario Investment and Trade Centre, Galleria, 250 Yonge Street, 35th Floor, Toronto, ON
  • 12


  • Select this option to register for the Diversity in Economic Development pre-conference seminar.

Contact Taylor Chamberlain at EDCO at or 519-377-4462 for registration inquiries.

Pre-Conference Seminar:
Diversity in Economic Development

Location: Ontario Investment and Trade Centre, Galleria, 250 Yonge Street, 35th Floor, Toronto, ON

Date: February 4th, 2020

Time: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Cost: $50.00 (Lunch included)

About: The economic development profession is becoming more diverse. This is a positive trend that will result in more creative and inclusive initiatives in our communities!

EDCO is hosting this event to facilitate a dialogue about the experience of economic development professionals in under-represented groups. This will be an opportunity to deepen our collective understanding of the workplace challenges of these groups, and learn how to better support each other.

The event will feature a panel of economic development professionals, who will share their experiences working in communities across Ontario.  This will be followed by a Q&A and discussion with the audience.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Jason Felix 
Born and bred in Grenada, a Caribbean island paradise, Jason Felix migrated to Canada in 2013 to further his studies in Economic Development. Shortly after acquiring his Master’s degree in Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo, Jason proceeded to work with rural municipalities, assisting in the development of stronger, more resilient and inclusive economies. With a strong vision to promote community and economic growth in rural communities complemented by a passion for community revitalization, while embracing new challenges, Jason’s move to Northern Ontario was a natural fit. His success to date at evoking a sense of community pride and optimism in communities that were once deemed depressed and declining can be attributed to hard work along with the tremendous encouragement and support received from staff members, municipal council, friends and family. In his free time, Jason enjoys spending quality time with friends and family. Grateful for the opportunity to contribute to nation building, Jason continues to help communities develop the most appropriate economic development framework to achieve sustained and diverse growth.
  • Pranab Shah 

Pranab is an economic development professional with extensive experience in municipal, private and provincial economic development and tourism. Currently he is a Senior Development Consultant with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries where he manages the Tourism Development Fund. His experiences in the Ontario Public Service prior to fund management was in International Trade where he worked on foreign direct investment, export development, international representation and facilitating international R&D connections in different roles at the former Ministry of Economic Development and Growth and the former Ministry of International Trade.

Previous to his experience in the public sector, Pranab worked for a consulting company where he worked on projects for local-regional economic development and tourism organizations. Several of these projects were recognized as best in the industry at the EDCO, EDAC and IEDC awards. Prior to that he has experience working in smaller and rural communities as an economic development coordinator and as an urban planner for a private development firm.

His educational background includes a Masters degree from the University of Waterloo in Economic Development and post graduate diploma in International Trade Management. He is currently enrolled in the OPS’s management training program. Pranab moved to Canada from Nepal in 2001 as a student, and has lived primarily in Ontario. He has lived in Toronto for the past 9 years.

Rajbir Sian

Rajbir Sian has been in economic development for the past seven years and has recently transitioned to a split role of economic development and planning for the Township of Woolwich located just north of Waterloo, ON. 

Rajbir worked as the Economic Development department for the City of Waterloo from 2013 to 2016 in a variety of roles including Economic Development Coordinator and Business Development Specialist. In her role with the City of Waterloo, Rajbir led the City in its first civic hackathon resulting in a tree mobile application that was developed by University of Waterloo students utilizing the City of Waterloo’s open data system.

In 2016, Rajbir began working as an Economic Development and Tourism Officer for the Township of Woolwich. Rajbir grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and was unfamiliar with the rural economy and with the Mennonite Community. She quickly learned that developing relationships and building trust in a small close knit community, where often times many individuals are related, is extremely important in being able to perform the duties of an economic development professional.

One key difference that she quickly picked up on is that agricultural and agriculturally related businesses are a large part of the local economy, approximately 64%, and gaining the trust of the Mennonite community is very important to the vitality of the farming industry. Rajbir earned the trust of key Mennonite leaders in the community who then referred her services and spoke highly of her ability to help in tough situations which resulted in her being able to work closely with the community on key economic infinitives including the Quilt and Fibre festival and the local farmer’s markets.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Business from the University of Waterloo, a Master of Public Service from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Planning from the University of Waterloo. Rajbir also received her Ec.D. designation from the Economic Developers Association of Canada and is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP). 
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