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CEDTAP To Honour "Order Of Canada" Recipient During High Profile Event
Globe and Mail Incoming Editor Edward Greenspon to Speak about Trends Forcing Local Innovation in Canadian Society

Ottawa, June 10, 2002 - The Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program (CEDTAP), a national organization managed by Carleton University, will host a private luncheon to honour Mr. Tim Brodhead, President and CEO of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. Support from organizations such as the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation has allowed CEDTAP to provide assistance to more than 170 community-based organizations across Canada since 1997. The event, which will be attended by senior level people in the public, private and non-profit sectors, will take place on Friday, June 14th at the acclaimed "Café Henry Burger" in Hull.

"It is an honour to be able to pay tribute to one of our most important partners," says Allan Maslove, Dean of Public Affairs and Management with Carleton University. "Earlier this year, Mr. Brodhead's career of leadership in the voluntary sector, overseas and in Canada, earned him the deserved honour of the 'Order of Canada'. For his invaluable support and efforts, he will also receive an honorary doctorate from Carleton University. There will be much to celebrate."

In addition to paying tribute to Mr. Brodhead, the luncheon will also raise awareness about CEDTAP. The program plans to provide support to over 500 communities by 2006 and is looking to broaden its base of funding and partnerships.

Award winning author and columnist Edward Greenspon is the incoming Editor of The Globe and Mail. Recognized for his political, business and economic acumen, Mr. Greenspon will talk about the challenges faced by Canadians today in a world of complexity and change. CEDTAP is helping these communities create local economic solutions in the face of the positive and negative forces of globalization.

"CEDTAP helps community organizations gain access to the business and professional expertise they need to create economic opportunity for low-income and marginalized Canadians," says Dr. Maslove. " The more support we give to CEDTAP, the more we help community leaders to make a difference."



May, 2002

What do these things have in common?

Windmills on the Toronto waterfront. Fish-processing plants in Saskatchewan. (Saskatchewan?) Immigrant women sewing conference bags in Edmonton. A hiking trail in the Gaspe. A re-invigorated business district in the North End of Winnipeg. A Marine Resource Centre on the Annapolis Basin. A community loan fund in Saint John.

These are all projects funded by the Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program at Carleton University in Ottawa. (CEDTAP in turn is funded by The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation of Montreal.) "Technical assistance" sounds arid and claustrophobic. Shrouded in the grey language of officialdom, "community economic development" itself sounds dull.

Not at all. For people involved in them, CED projects represent the difference between life and death, hope and despair. Their stories are full of passion, terror, exhilaration and fury. Knowing this, and wanting to convey their drama and colour as well as their importance, CEDTAP hired a writer to portray 14 projects. Lucky me: I got the job.

These projects represent an extraordinary range of plants blossoming in the exuberant garden of CED in Canada. "Community" is not only physical communities, but also communities of interest -- mental health consumer/survivors, urban immigrants, groupings of poor people, under-employed women. "Economic" always means more than money. Every single organization has at least a double bottom-line, seeking to enhance the health or self-respect or independence of its participants as well as their incomes.

CED groups need help because their proponents are people without a business background who have been driven into business by social concerns, often by community emergencies. The mill closes, the highway by-passes the business district, employers shun people with mental illnesses, business avoids decaying urban neighbourhoods.

Well, we'll have to do it ourselves. That's where CED starts - with people who have resolved to fashion their own salvation. They ferret out what they don't have - capital, training, a place to work.

Rural women in Ontario discover a shared interest in producing and selling specialty foods - jams, preserves, pickled garlic, peach salsa. And so Niagara Food Innovations is born, a community-based network of micro-entrepreneurs. Before long, NFI is providing a government-inspected commercial incubator kitchen, technical support, a retail showroom, a marketing and distribution service. The products sell under a shared label, "Niagara Presents."

Despite the propaganda, there actually are poor people in Calgary. Many are single mothers. The CED team at the Alexandra Community Health Centre learns that these women spend a lot of money in commercial laundromats. A community laundromat will save them money, employ a couple of people, and provide a portal for other social services, like community nursing.

Commercial fishermen working in the cold lakes of northern Saskatchewan strive to re-capture the processing business taken away from their local co-ops by the federal Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. Mental health consumer/survivors in Dartmouth, Saint John and Vancouver establish businesses which they can adapt to suit their own capacities - food services, pet foods, theatre, video. Fishing villages on the Bay of Fundy need a community-owned research facility to help them manage their own fishery. A co-op of Toronto environmentalists seeks to erect wind generators on the Toronto waterfront, and sell the power back to its members.


The communities have ideas, energy, ambition, dreams. Generally they have neither money nor experience. They try, and often they fail - but, in the memorable phrase of a Vancouver activist, they are always "failing forward." They seek to learn what they don't know, namely how to run a business. And that's where CEDTAP comes in.

"Technical assistance" isn't dreadfully technical. CEDTAP provides funding for consultants to work with community organizations on everything from managing their finances to marketing their products, from strategic planning to writing by-laws and incorporating organizations. These are uncommon skills, certainly, but they're not like advanced mathematics or molecular biology. They're business skills, the skills which make the world go round.

The community organizations apply to CEDTAP and choose a consultant. The consultant mentors and guides them, shows them how to create brochures or videos, gets the books in shape, deals with legal requirements, digs up additional funding, helps them focus their activities and set priorities.

Sometimes the consultant provides a report which gives weight and authority to what the community already believes.

"The report confirms what we'd thought over coffee, and adds a number of things," says Abbie Roth, of the Lakelands Chamber of Commerce, which is trying to regenerate a by-passed tourist district in Saskatchewan. "So now, when we go to meet with developers and government, they're not just listening to us local yokels -- we can give them a nice looking document, and it usually opens their eyes a little."

Help people who are already helping themselves, and the results can be remarkable. That's the CEDTAP formula. From coast to coast, it works.

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