Planning & Visioning

Community Engagement

Financial Capital

Keeping it Local


Adaptation to Change

Learning from Experience


What are Partnerships?

Partnerships are about working together to get things done. Often the most unlikely partnerships can achieve the best results, as they harness individual strengths for mutual benefit. Some examples of successful partnerships in rural Ontario are:

  • Community groups, unions, businesses, or academic institutions with local governments
  • First Nation groups with non-profit organizations
  • Multiple municipalities
  • Various levels of governments

Why Partnerships?

Increasingly governments and funding bodies are encouraging partnerships. In small rural communities partnerships can...

  • Help pool limited resources, both human and financial
  • Provide increased access to funding opportunities
  • Bring wider perspectives to the table
  • Engage citizens
  • Help smaller groups strengthen their presence

How Do You Develop Partnerships?

Some partnerships have to be sought out, identified, and developed to take advantage of a particular opportunity. Other partnerships pool resources in the short or long term to improve overall effectiveness.

  • Assess what strengths and resources already exist in your community and what needs to get done. What do we have? What do we need that we don?t have? What do they have?
  • Identify existing organizations in your community in order to establish a baseline of what is already going on, such as local service clubs, universities and colleges, and economic development agencies
  • Decide what the mutual benefits are to each party, including less visible assets such as skill-sets and number of volunteers
  • Clarify responsibilities and expectations for each partner, and find common goals to focus the partnership
  • Identify sources of conflict from the beginning. Healthy ways to reduce conflict include:
    • Focus on problems, not personalities
    • Speak to be understood
    • Invent options for mutual gain
    • Put yourself in their shoes
    • Take time to reflect
  • Create spaces for collaboration to happen where everyone feels comfortable, such as a church basement, school gym, or town office
Ingersol Fusion Youth Centre

A partnership between the community of Ingersol and the Canadian Autoworkers Union helped to fund the re- development of an unused elementary school in downtown Ingersol. The new multi-purpose youth activity centre shares space with 50 organizations. Partners include Conestoga College, which brings in some revenue and provides educational opportunities; and the municipality and the economic development office to promote community-wide benefit. The Centre has been very popular, opening doors to over 80 youth on a daily basis.

Northern Research Partnership

Hearst Economic Development Corporation and l?Université de Hearst have partnered in a project on community economic development in Northeastern Ontario. An economic research and intervention center has been developed out of the university. The centre conducts research on economic issues and case studies in Hearst and uses this information
to aid businesses in the community.

Partners for Renewable Energy

The Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nations band on the southern shore of Lake Simcoe has partnered with the Windfall Ecology Centre to create the Pukwis Community Wind Park. The project began when the chief and economic development officer for the Chippewas approached the Windfall Ecology Centre with the idea of community wind to generate revenue for the community and diversify their economy in a sustainable manner. With the support of the local community, the project has the possibility to become a model for other communities in diversifying their economy.



DOWNLOADS: Best Practices Guide (6.6Mb), Resource Materials (3.7Mb) , OPPI Article (7.5Mb)