Stonger Together

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Stronger Together








This CEDI Series will focus on the Stronger Together toolkit (the tookit) framework, going through the 4 stages, explaining the tools available, and sharing lessons learned in developing joint economic initiatives.

First Stage:

Through the First Nation - Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) program, First Nations and municipalities are strengthening their regional economies by collaborating on service agreements, land use planning, and economic development. The CEDI program is based on the ‘Stronger Together’ approach, which is a four (4) stage planning strategy that incorporates relationship building throughout the process. Through collaboration, partners are working to reconcile past differences and build powerful new relationships based on mutual respect, understanding, and a shared vision for the future.

Based on the success of CEDI partnerships, the Stronger Togethertoolkit has been developed; it provides a step-by-step process and set of tools that First Nations and municipalities can use to work together on joint community economic development. With the intention to share the knowledge within the Stronger Together toolkit, each week, the CEDI team will highlight steps, tools, and lessons learned. Download your copy of the toolkit and follow along with us as we explore relationship building, capacity building and developing joint community economic development initiatives.

Outlined in the Stronger Together’ toolkit , First Nations – municipal joint community economic development (CED) is the process of bringing together two (or more) neighboring communities to develop and implement joint CED, based on a shared vision for a prosperous future for members and residents of both communities and the broader regional economy.

In Stage A: Connect is the stage of connecting and establishing a commitment to work together towards developing a joint community economic development initiative. It’s an important stage that begins with communities reaching out to their neighboring municipalities and/or First Nations to begin forging a long-term partnership. If there is no existing relationship, it is best to reach out with a formal letter, addressed to the Mayor or Chief, outlining why your community wants to build a stronger relationship and request a meeting to get to know each other better. Indicate that you are using the Stronger Together Toolkit to help explore how to strengthen relationships with neighboring communities and collaborate on joint community economic development.

Depending on the existing relationship, your first meeting with your neighbour(s) could be a casual social event (such as breakfast or lunch) or a more formal meeting (such as a joint council session). It is important to move at the pace that is right for your community, and to take the time to build a trusting relationship.

Second Stage:

Joint First Nation-municipal CED can be more complex than conventional CED because it brings together communities and economies with their own unique priorities, jurisdictions, histories and cultures. It requires strong relationships and the commitment of time and resources from each community to plan and coordinate their economic activities.

There are many benefits of joint First Nation – municipal CED, to name a few: a stronger, united voice for engaging with businesses and other levels of government, increased ability to access funding, and cost savings for service provision, due to higher efficiencies and less duplication.

Download your copy of the toolkit and follow along with us as we explore relationship building, capacity building and developing joint community economic development initiatives. Next week we will share information about who should be involved in the joint CED process.


Third Stage:

How should communities choose their partners in joint Community Economic Development (CED)?

It is important to consider the region as a whole when deciding which communities and/or stakeholders might become CED partners. In general, you will want to involve nearby communities, organizations, and stakeholders that share common economic development priorities and interests.

Organizations and stakeholders to invite and involve in the joint CED process include, but are not limited to:

Business Representatives

  • Economic Development Corporations (including Regional)
  • Business Associations (Chamber of Commerce)
  • Large Regional Employers
  • Local Businesses


  • Relevant federal and provincial government funding agencies and programs
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Foundations

Community Organizations

  • Local Universities or Colleges
  • Relevant not-for-profit organizations

Community Leaders

  • Community Associations
  • Youth and Seniors’ Associations

Before reaching out, communities should ask themselves:

  1. Why do you want to form a partnership? What benefits do you hope to see from a stronger relationship?
  2. What is your current relationship with these communities, organizations, stakeholders? Are there issues or conflicts that need to be addressed?
  3. What are the potential areas or issues where you could collaborate?

Next week we will explore Relationship Building in the first stage in the Stronger Together approach. Download your copy of the toolkit and follow along with us! 


Fourth Stage:

CEDI has developed a four-stage joint First Nations – municipal community economic development (CED) planning process, the Stronger Together Approach, based on its experiences and lessons learned with the initial six CEDI partnerships from Phase 1.

The CEDI diagram below illustrates how joint community economic development (CED) works over time; together, community partners move through the cycle of connecting, visioning, deciding, and acting multiple times as their relationship strengthens and becomes a partnership, and as different projects and priorities emerge. For example, when new elected officials or staff members join the process, or the partnership is faced with the potential opportunity for funding or economic development projects.

CEDI Braided circle

The circle and braid hold the framework in place, and represent how the weaving together of neighboring communities and stakeholders makes them healthier, more resilient and stronger, together. At the heart of the process are four workshops, where the communities come together to learn about each other, develop a shared vision for their future and identify joint initiatives they can work on together.

The Stronger Together Toolkit is available to download for free online. Download your copy of the toolkit and follow along with us as we explore relationship building, capacity building and developing joint community economic development initiatives.



For More Information

Marissa Lawrence
Senior Program Officer for the Western Region, Cando
T: (778) 628 2180

Tanya Tourangeau
CEDI Coordinator, Cando
T: (780) 990 0303

Helen Patterson
CEDI Program Manager, FCM
T: (613) 907 6320