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Ec.D. Certification

Members who have earned the Ec.D. Designation are highly sought after in our field.

By earning your Ec.D. Designation, you’re expanding knowledge and demonstrating your commitment to professional growth. By having your Ec.D., you are staying ahead of the curve, this designation and certification documents your professional achievement, leverages your knowledge for exercising new career opportunities, you become part of a network of leaders in the economic development field.

Delia Reiche, Ec.D., Diagnostics Biochem Canada Inc., Dorchester, ON

Read more colleagues Testimonials.

View all details in the drop-downs below:

  1. Discuss your points and eligibility with Penny Gardiner, Ec.D., CEO of EDAC
    • This is a required first step.
  2. Register and pay the certification fee online
  3. Complete the Certification Package – you can download after payment
  4. Once complete, send Certification Package along to Penny via email (
  5. Finally, Penny will schedule an exam day, time and assign a proctor

For online exams: On exam day, you will need to login to the online exam site, as well as follow the provided Zoom link to begin

For in-person exams: On exam day, you will need to meet your proctor at the agreed upon date/time/place

  • Must be an EDAC Member (in good standing)
  • Minimum of 3+ Years of economic development experience
  • Accumulation of 45 Points
  • Complete EDAC’s Exam with 75% or higher

Upon successful completion of the Ec.D. Exam, members must maintain their EDAC membership annually and re-certify every three years 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.

The point system:

  • Completion of EDAC Year 1* (University of Waterloo) = 10 points
  • Completion of EDAC Year 1 (University of Sherbrooke) = 10 points
  • Completion of EDAC Year 2** (University of Waterloo) = 10 points
  • Completion of EDAC Year 2 (University of Sherbrooke) = 10 points
  • Completion of University of Sherbrooke Examination = 15 points
  • Completion of University of Calgary Certificate in Professional Management = 15 points
  • Completion of ICF Cocmmunity Accelerator® courses = 5 points
  • EDAC Annual Professional Development Conferences (effective 2019 and beyond) = 5 points
  • Provincial/Territorial Association Conferences (effective 2019 and beyond) = 3 points
  • One Relevant  Undergrad Degree*** (see Technical/Practical Skills Area tab) = 10 points
  • One Relevant Graduate Degree**** (see Technical/Practical Skills Area tab) = 5 points
  • Completion of specific courses via Ryerson University:
    • Completion of CPLE 795 (Ryerson University) = 5 points
    • Completion of CPLE 995 (Ryerson University) = 5 points
    • Completion of CVUP 155 (Ryerson University) = 5 points
    • Completion of CVUP 160 (Ryerson University) = 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)

**Year 2 – Paper requirement is a 15-page research paper on an economic development topic of interest or relevance to you. Select and submit a short description of topic to be approved.

***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).

Special case: 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 who are interested in pursuing their Ec.D. designation under the 10 year service requirement, are requested to contact Penny Gardiner, Chief Executive Officer at 289-649-1771 or

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.

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. And EDAC/UofW Certificate was introduced at the University of Waterloo in 1985. EDAC 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.

The program involves a number of aspects. For those relatively new to the field, a Certificate Course is offered. This covers an essential core of knowledge.

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 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

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 EDAC’s 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 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 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 in good standing 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.

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 Communications. 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.

If re-certification is not fulfilled, within the first 90 days of the calendar year, the EDAC member(s) will no longer be eligible to continue the use of EDAC’s Ec.D. Designation.

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

EDAC’s 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.

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