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This certificate may be completed entirely online.

Enhance your skills and knowledge and thrive in public and private local economic development (LED) positions. This four-course 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 apply courses towards the educational requirements for your Certified Economic Developer (EcD) certification.

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.

Our Partners

This certificate is aligned to current competencies and foundational knowledge areas represented by both the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The certificate is offered in cooperation with the following international, national, and provincial professional associations:

Economic Developers Association of Canada logo
Economic Developers Council of Ontario logo
Economic Development and Culture – City of Toronto logo
International Economic Development Council logo
Ontario Business Improvement Area Association logo
Ryerson University's School of Urban and Regional Planning logo
oronto Association of Business Improvement Areas logo

What Will You Learn?

After completing the Certificate in Local Economic Development, 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.
  • Utilize solid communication skills to deliver presentations, media relations, and communications planning.
  • Conduct tactical and strategic municipal planning and build strategies.
  • Create and present marketing/sales plans.
  • Interpret financial statements and budgets, analyze risks, and create business plans.

Courses cover some of the following topics:

  • fundamentals of LED
  • roles played by economic development professionals (EDP) in the local economy
  • strategic planning
  • LED marketing
  • economic impact analysis and key performance indicators (KPI)
  • foreign direct investment
  • strategic alliances
  • business retention and expansion
  • investment readiness
  • tourism development and urban renewal
  • governance, ethics, and public relations
  • entrepreneurship ecosystems
  • the relationship between municipal planners and EDP
  • business improvement areas (BIA) and their role in LED
  • sustainable business succession strategies for communities

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

Who Teaches the Courses?

Our instructors are economic development professionals with years of experience and expertise in LED.


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.

Industry and Careers

Local economic development has a long history in Canada. It continues to be an avenue for promoting local or regional development. LED professionals design and implement strategies aimed at strengthening the economic performance and prosperity of cities and regions. Approximately 80 percent of employment opportunities in LED are in the public sector.

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
  • Chief Executive Officer (Chamber of Commerce)
  • Director, Economic Development and Tourism
  • Director, Creative Economy
  • Director, Community Development and Innovation
  • Director, Business Development
  • Manager, Economic Development and Planning
  • Manager, Economic Diversification Department
  • Manager, Community Development
  • Manager, Community Resource Centre
  • Manager, Financial Network Services Consultant
  • Manager, Immigration Services
  • Tourism Manager
  • Program Administrator
  • Program Coordinator – Planning and Economic Development Department
  • Marine Economic Development Coordinator
  • Social Enterprise Consultant (Aboriginal communities)
  • Economic Development Officer
  • Economic Development and Communications Officer
  • Economic Development Analyst
  • Economic Development Specialist/Consultant
  • Community Economic Developer
  • Policy advisor for federal, provincial, or municipal government

Areas of concern include:

  • unemployment
  • poverty
  • local economies

Other issues involve the procurement of adequate public sector revenues to finance community services such as:

  • schools
  • roads
  • parks
  • public safety
  • affordable housing

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

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning offers a valuable opportunity to apply the concepts and knowledge gained through your studies in a professional workplace environment. The required capstone course included in this certificate provides a project-based experiential learning opportunity through which you will gain professional contacts, practical skills, and hands-on experience as you tackle a real-world LED issue.

CVUP 160 - Capstone Project in LED

Under close guidance from an expert instructor, you will work collaboratively in a group to develop policies and program strategies. By conducting individual and group research and creating a field paper, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of a specific LED issue.

In addition to instructor feedback, your LED capstone project will be supplemented by feedback from the client and other experienced community practitioners.

For more information on experiential learning opportunities in Community Services at The Chang School, contact Farheen Hasan, Experiential Learning Coordinator, at farheen.hasan@ryerson.ca or 416-979-5000, ext. 7491.


Salvatore“I am able to incorporate the skills and knowledge from the program on a continuous basis to succeed at my job.”

Salvatore, Coordinator, Business Improvement Area
Certificate in Local Economic Development

Alia“This program has opened a lot of doors for me as an economic development leader. My knowledge and experience is a testament that if you do well in this program, you will be granted opportunities.”

Alia, CEO and Founder of Alia Consulting - Economic Development Firm
Certificate in Local Economic Development

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.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact Frank Miele, Academic Coordinator.

Email:  frank.miele@ryerson.ca

Additional Details