This thesis reviews the current literature about the knowledge-based economy (KBE) and explores why the KBE doesn't appear to be on the agendas of community based economic development practitioners, referred to in this study as 'the gap'.
Policy responses by the federal government for the KBE in Canada are reviewed, as are international, provincial, regional and community policies.
The reason for the gap is explored through interviews with community economic development practitioners from a study group of bilingual municipalities in rural Manitoba. Interviews are also conducted with employees of regional and provincial organizations that work in economic development affecting the bilingual municipalities. Their perspectives regarding economic development and their perceptions of both the bilingual communities and the knowledge-based economy illustrate where the gap exists.
The results confirm that there is a gap in understanding of both the knowledge-based economy and of its potential for economic development. The results also demonstrate that the needs of communities are no different in the knowledge-based economy as they are for the traditional economy.
Federal government support for the KBE must be consistent and address each community's unique needs in order for economic development in the KBE. Federal support for local CDCs must focus on best practices and skill development for staff and council members.
The role of regional organizations is important when addressing broader spectrum issues such as developing community vision plans, and facilitating 'big picture thinking'.
Communities must also work to ensure regional and community cooperation in economic development.