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Are you interested in working to improve a community’s economic health? A career in local economic development (LED) combines business administration and development as well as public administration skills with technical skills like planning, engineering, project management, airport development, real estate, marketing, and more.

This four-course, fully online certificate is designed for entry-level, experienced, and advanced economic development professionals. It will prepare you to successfully address the current and emerging area of LED in the Canadian context. You may also apply courses towards the educational requirements for your Certified Economic Developer (EcD) certification.

Industry and Careers
The knowledge you gain in this program will assist you in pursuing additional studies or in applying your expertise to roles such as:

  • BIA professional
  • Business development director
  • Community development and innovation director
  • Economic development analyst
  • Economic development and planning manager
  • Economic development and tourism director
  • Policy advisor for federal, provincial, or municipal government
  • Program administrator
  • Social enterprise consultant
  • Tourism manager

Who Should Take This Certificate?

This certificate is for entry-level, experienced, and advanced LED professionals, including:

  • Current undergraduate and recent graduate students in urban and regional planning
  • Individuals who want to pursue a career in LED
  • Practitioners working in government, community agencies, and municipalities who would like to improve their education, skills, and career opportunities
  • Municipal politicians, those working in non-governmental organizations (NGO), and residential/industrial commercial realtors

What Will You Learn?
This certificate provides skill development opportunities in creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and collaboration and flexibility, allowing you to be able to respond to current LED challenges.

After completing this certificate, you will be able to do the following:

  • Apply in-depth knowledge of the economic development process
  • Navigate governance as it relates to the LED structure
  • Execute operations inclusive of mentoring, create partnerships, and create alliances through networking
  • Conduct tactical and strategic municipal planning and build strategies
  • Utilize solid communication skills to deliver presentations, media relations, and communications planning
  • Create and present marketing/sales plans
  • Interpret financial statements and budgets, analyze risks, and create business plans

Certificate Requirements

  • 4 required courses
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) 1.67+

Admission Criteria


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
    • With 6 Grade 12 U or M credits (including English)
    • With a minimum average of 60 percent


  • An undergraduate degree


  • A college diploma


  • Mature student status with combination of relevant work and life experience

Professional Designations and Accreditation

As a graduate of this certificate, you may apply your courses towards the educational requirements of the Certified Economic Developer (EcD) certification.

EcD is Canada’s nationally recognized designation for economic developers, and EcD holders are highly sought after in the field of LED.

Awards and Financial Aid


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete the certificate program?
If you take one course per academic term, you can complete the full certificate program in one academic year. Please consult individual course descriptions for specific scheduling information.

How much does the certificate program cost?
Each course is priced independently, so please visit course descriptions to see specific fees. The certificate requires the completion of four courses in total. Registration in the certificate is free.

Is there a recommended course sequence?
Yes. Courses should be completed in the following order:

  1. CPLE 795 - Local Economic Development Fundamentals (Fall term: September to December)
  2. CPLE 995 - Economic Development and Business Improvement (Winter term: January to April)
  3. CVUP 155 - LED Applied Research Project (Spring/Summer term: June)
  4. CVUP 160 - Capstone Project in LED (Spring/Summer term: July to August)

How can I prepare for the certificate program?
While an undergraduate degree or college diploma in urban planning, public administration, geography, environmental studies, economics, political science, engineering, law, etc. would be an asset, it is not mandatory.

You will be required to complete research assignments and quizzes, presentations, and readings, so some familiarity with academic projects will be helpful.

Is the certificate program available online?
The program is currently offered through a combination of online and in-class learning. Check individual course descriptions for details.

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