Regional economic development authorities in Saskatchewan
This thesis provides an analysis of Regional Economic Development Authorities (REDAs), which were created by the Saskatchewan government in 1993. It examines the political and economic factors that led to the creation of the REDAs; the design of the organization and funding framework for the REDAs; the main challenges that REDAs face today, and offers recommendations for consideration in the future. The thesis reveals that REDAs were created in response to the challenges associated with the changing global economy. They were based on the principles of Community Economic Development (CED), a grassroots approach that encourages individuals in a community to support and facilitate new and existing businesses in order to contribute to the strength of a community’s economy. This approach was created with the understanding that rather than leading the process, as it had done in the past, the government would facilitate the efforts of these organizations through the provision of resources and support. In an effort to coordinate the CED services being offered in the province, REDAs were established on a relatively large regional basis. Operating as umbrella organizations, REDAs both monitor CED efforts in their respective regions and deliver them. The Saskatchewan government has positioned itself as a partner, offering financial resources that REDAs can rely on and also organizational development and technical support. The analysis provided in this thesis demonstrates that while CED is a popular approach taken by governments at both the federal and provincial level, there must be a considerable degree of commitment to the process to be effective. In the case of the Saskatchewan government, the capacity of these authorities has been enhanced substantially due to the government’s efforts to develop an organizational framework, deliver support through education and training in CED, commit to an evaluation procedure and provide funding on which the authorities can rely. This thesis reveals that the main challenges REDAs face today are largely associated with inadequate financial resources. One of the greatest assets to the organizations is the dedication of qualified staff. With increasing workloads however, REDA staff are reaching their limit in terms of what they can accomplish and without the financial capability to alleviate these pressures by hiring and retaining talented and dedicated staff, the capacity of the CED process becomes significantly restricted. This thesis recommends that to ensure the continuing success of REDAs in the future the following initiatives should be undertaken. First, the provincial government must consider the workload being placed on each REDA. With every new layer of responsibility, there must be an equal level of human and financial support. Second, a review of the funding formula is necessary. With varying levels of capacity, it is not necessary for each REDA to receive equal funding. Finally, if the program is expected to improve, an ongoing evaluation procedure, much like the one in place, will continue to be necessary.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeRomanow, Roy; Michelmann, Hans J.
Copyright DateSeptember 2007
community economic development
Saskatchewan economic development