Ec.D. Certification

The Ec.D. Checklist

• Must be an EDAC Member (in good standing)
• Minimum 3 years experience in the field
• Complete Exam with 75% or higher
• 45 points required to write the exam – many ways to earn them:

• Year 1 = 10 points – upon completion of electronic questionnaire (effective for course taken after January 1, 2019 – prior to this date, the formal paper will still be required)
• Year 2 = 10 points (upon completion of paper)
• EDAC Conference = 5 points (effective 2019 conference and beyond)
• Provincial / Territorial Association Conferences = 3 points (effective 2019 conferences and beyond)
• Relevant Degree (Undergrad) = 10 points
• Relevant Graduate Degree = 5 points
• EDAC Accredited Seminars (varied by year/delivery agent) – points vary, to a maximum of = 20 points

*Upon successful completion of the Ec.D. Exam, members must maintain their EDAC membership annually to continue use of the Ec.D. Designation.
**Year 3 course does not accumulate points, however it’s completion counts towards Fellowship or Re-Certification. 



 Click drop downs for more information

Delivery Agents

  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Sherbrooke
  • University of Calgary
  • Algoma University
  • Cape Breton University
  • Ryerson University
  • GoForth Institute
  • EDAC’s as well as Provincial & Territorial Associations Accredited Conferences/Seminars
  • IEDC Conferences/Seminars

History of the Ec.D.

One of the objectives of the “founding fathers” of EDAC was to establish a Canadian industrial development course and, by late 1971, a decision had been made to proceed with a course on a trial basis. It was agreed at an early stage that, although the course must be relevant to economic development practitioners, it should attempt to widen their horizons rather than concentrate solely on day-to-day problems. Thus the courses must have a content from both academic and practical viewpoints.

The University of Waterloo was chosen as the location for the first “Economic Development Program” and Year 1 of that program commenced in 1972. This is now well established and is conducted as a joint venture between the University and EDAC. The Certificate was introduced at the University of Waterloo in 1985 and the Masters program in 1988. In 1987 the Association entered into an agreement with the Association des commissaires industriel du Quebec (A.C.I.Q) to provide a French Language Economic Development program at the University of Quebec in Montreal enabling EDAC to offer educational programs in both official languages.

The overall objective is, To provide an understanding of processes and problems involved in economic development with special reference to the Canadian situation. A graduate should be capable of applying skills to economic development tasks in the private or public sector, relevant knowledge pertaining to all levels of Government. This objective provides guidelines both as to content and as to the characteristics of those who successfully complete the program. It should be noted that the emphasis is not so much on training a person in the job which he or she already holds, but rather on providing the ability to cope with a diversity of situations in Canada.

Care is taken to engage lecturers who are familiar with all regions of the country. The diversity of economic development situations is therefore presented, both by the nature of examples used in lectures and because of the variation in the background of the students themselves. Discussions and seminars particularly enhance the value of the latter.

The program involves a number of aspects. For developers relatively new to the field, a Certificate Course is offered. This covers an essential core of knowledge. the first graduates received their certificates on March 4, 1974.

Since 1974, various seminars are offered each year and this part of the program required expanding to a regional emphasis, with more emphasis on delivery across Canada of economic development programs. These seminars cover different topics and form a method of continuing education.

A university Diploma is available and requires a research essay and participation in two seminars after the Certificate level has been attained.

Building upon the sound foundations of its Economic Development Program, the Association has expanded the mandate and activities of its Professional Development thrust. Certification of members, Regional Seminars and the upgrading of current courses and publications are being developed and emphasized. A Course Committee consisting of EDAC members and University of Waterloo faculty are constantly developing, evaluating and upgrading course content to ensure that relevant and current content is offered.

The Program

Until 1983, the only certificate program available to practitioners in Canada was through the American Economic Development Council’s C.I.D.designation. At its 14th Annual Meeting in Saskatoon in September 1982, the Association membership directed the Board of Directors to implement a Canadian certification program and to adopt a Masters Degree program in Economic Development in Canada.
EDAC’s resolution establishing a Canadian Certification Program is of vital interest to all individuals engaged in industrial and economic development in Canada.

EDAC’s program is based on a description of the professional, identifying competency, both in academic background and practical experience. The professional so qualifying will be granted the professional designation, Certified Economic Developer (Ec.D.) that will signify his/her credentials. This designation along with a requirement of re-certification every three years, will establish and maintain a uniform and professional basis for all Canadians employed in this field which is supported by industry and governments.

As time passes it is anticipated that the competency of professionals will improve, that curricula will be responsive to the changing needs, and that bright young people will be attracted to this profession, resulting in substantial benefits to the economic future of Canada. The description of the economic development professional that is the basis of the EDAC program is as follows:

Typically, the graduate of an accredited curriculum in Economic Development (or equivalent), and holding either a post-secondary diploma or degree, and who has demonstrated three years of relevant practical experience may be granted the certified economic developer designation (Ec.D.), upon completion of EDAC’s written and verbal exam (75% passing mark) and EDAC’s Board of Directors approval.

The curriculum in economic development followed by the candidate shall be founded in economics, statistical and financial analysis, public and government administration, marketing, commerce and retailing. All of these will enable the individual to use his/her educational qualifications as tools in the analysis of regional problems, provision of advisory or consulting services to the public and private sectors, and in the planning of development strategies. The curricula will also focus on issues of planning, financial administration and law as they apply to the municipal, regional, provincial, federal and international scenes and as they are necessary in the development of sound economic development strategies. The theoretical portions of the curriculum will be suitably reinforced by practical exercises in typical settings.

The occupational functions of the economic developer vary widely, and are affected by the specific regional nature of the tasks at hand.

Principally, the economic development professional will serve as a corporate reference, specializing in the planning and socio-economic impact of economic development, business expansion and orientation change. The economic development professional may carry out detailed statistical analysis of available data, design studies to develop data when unavailable, develop public information, prepare and promote “marketing” plans, and examine the financial impact of industrial changes on the region or community. Most importantly the individual will serve as the authority and advisor on economic development to public sector officials and as a consultant to the private sector.

The individual will be capable of analyzing business trends, social impact, trade and development, and complexities of economic needs/services/practises, preparing long-range plans, reviewing financial/tax implications, and understanding loan/grant/joint venture financing. Effective communication, both written and oral, will be necessary in the public and private sector officials at all levels, while also being able to work in a committee structure, often in a mediating or facilitating role.

Certification Panel

Certification of an individual is carried out by a Certification Panel. The Certification Panel is responsible for reviewing and judging all applications for certification. Assessment is made of the educational background and relevant practical experience. Examinations will be set from time to time to test both academic and experiential background of a candidate. Academic qualifications are based on EDAC’s certification procedures along with various course and seminar offerings.

EDAC members are eligible to write the Ec.D. exam to become a Certified Economic Developer once the required 45 points have been accumulated and reviewed/verified by EDAC’s CEO.


This is a mandatory aspect of the program. Continuing education has been deemed vital for re-certification.

Once every three years all Certified Economic Developers (Ec.D.) are required to demonstrate that they have maintained competence through continuing education, continued practice in the profession, and continued membership in EDAC.

This will require attendance at EDAC’s Annual Professional Development Conferences (whenever possible), and participation in EDAC accredited continuing education programs, including seminars. Credit will also be given for regional and local conferences and seminars if they meet the criteria of industrial economic development.

Re-Certification will be granted based on the requirements outlined on the application for Re-Certification. Some documentation of seminars and conferences that are not publicized nationally will be required to determine their validity for credits.

Re-Certification notices will be sent out well in advance of the deadline. In addition notices of mailings will be included in EDAC’s newsletter, “Communique”. Members who do not receive their Re-Certification notices will be required to notify our CEO of this situation before de-certification occurs. The Ec.D. Designation is an earned privilege and is, therefore, a responsibility of the certified member to maintain their certification.

Accreditation Panel

Accreditation of educational programs, necessary for both initial certification and re-certification is to be carried out by an Accreditation Panel.

The Accreditation Panel is responsible for reviewing and accrediting curriculum and content of courses and seminars that will be delivered as components to obtaining the required points to become a Certified Ec.D.

The Board of Directors of EDAC remains the ultimate authority for the acceptance of certification, and approval of the program.

Technical / Practical Skill Areas

1. Economic Development Processes

  • trade & investment
  • business retention & expansion

2. Governance

  • performance measures
  • priority setting
  • operational structures

3. Operations

  • mentoring
  • partnerships
  • networking

4. Communications

  • presentation
  • media relations
  • communications plan

5. Planning

  • strategic planning
  • municipal plans

6. Marketing/Sales

  • marketing plan
  • sales plan

7. Finance

  • financial analysis
  • budgeting
  • impact analysis
  • business planning

How to obtain the Certified Ec.D.

  • Must be an EDAC Member (in good standing)
  • Years of Experience
  • 45 Points
  • Complete Exam with 75% or higher

Three + Years of Experience

A minimum of three years of economic development experience and a minimum accumulation of 45 points is required to apply to write the certification examination. The point system which is as follows:

  • Completion of EDAC Year 1 (University of Waterloo10 points
  • Completion of EDAC Year 1 (University of Sherbrooke10 points
  • Completion of EDAC Year 2 (University of Waterloo10 points
  • Completion of EDAC Year 2 (University of Sherbrooke10 points
  • Completion of EDAC, University of Waterloo Thesis 15 points
  • Completion of University of Sherbrooke Examination 15 points
  • Completion of University of Calgary Certificate in Professional Management 15 points
  • EDAC Annual Professional Development Conference (obtained within the past three years)  5 points
  • Provincial/Territorial Association Conferences (obtained within the past three years) 3 points
  • Relevant  (Undergrad) Degree (see Technical/Practical Skills Area tab) 10 points
  • Relevant Graduate Degree (see Technical/Practical Skills Area tab) 5 points
  • EDAC Accredited Seminars (varied by year/delivery agent) – points vary, to a maximum of: 20 points

** Year 1 – Upon completion of electronic questionnaire (effective for course taken after January 1, 2019 – prior to this date, the formal paper will still be required)

* A relevant undergraduate degree must contain course work in at least four (4) technical skill areas.
* A relevant graduate degree must specialize in one (1) of the seven (7) technical skill areas. (Transcripts must be supplied to the EDAC office).

10 or More Years of Experience

Those members with 10 or more years of experience in the Profession whom have not as yet obtained their Ec.D. designation, compulsory requirements are as follows:

Completion of Year 2 (and paper)
Successful completion of Ec.D. Exam (75% passing mark)

EDAC members can also meet EDAC’s stringent professional development requirements and eligibility to write the Ec.D. Exam by

  • successfully completing the University of Waterloo’s graduate program in Economic Development and Innovation along with one year of experience within the profession; or
  • successfully completing the Algoma University’s Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) along with three years of experience within the profession.
  • successfully completing the Cape Breton University’s MBA in Community Economic Development program along with one year of experience within the profession.

EDAC members whom are interested in pursuing their Ec.D. designation under the new 10 year service requirement, are requested to contact Penny Gardiner, Chief Executive Officer at 289-649-1771 or

Who to Contact

For further information pertaining to Certification, courses / seminars and EDAC’s Ec.D. Designation Contact:

Penny A. Gardiner, Ec.D.

EDAC accredits various seminars delivered by your provincial/territorial associations.

For further information pertaining to EDAC-accredited seminars & courses in your province/territory contact:

U Waterloo
Sharon Jones
Program Administrator, University of Waterloo, Economic Development Program
T: 519-888-4567  Ext: 32437

EDA Alberta
Leann hackman-Carty
Executive Director, EDA Alberta

Heather Lalonde, Ec.D.CEO, Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)

Dale Wheeldon
President & CEO, Economic Development Association of British Columbia (EDABC)

Verona Thibault
Executive Director, Saskatchewan Economic Developers Association (SEDA)

Patrice Gagnon
Executive Director, L’association des professionnels en developpement economique du Quebec (APDEQ)

Michael Pealow, Ec.D.
President, Council of Northern Economic Developers (CNED)

Ross Houlihan, President, EDANL

Lesley Gaudrey, Association Manager
Economic Developers Association of Manitoba (EDAM)

Bill Williams
Executive Director, Nunavut Economic Developers Association (NEDA)