The Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, also known as FedNor, was officially acknowledged as a standalone agency on August 10, 2021. This gives the agency more freedom and control over the initiatives it provides to support economies throughout Northern Ontario. FedNor, established in 1987, has acted as an effective federal economic development organization for the Northern Ontario region since inception. Communities in Northern Ontario have revered this transition as a win for local businesses and organizations.
“We heard you. By making FedNor a standalone agency, we are giving it more autonomy over its administration, and more independence, ensuring it is well positioned to respond directly to the unique needs of businesses, organizations, and communities across Northern Ontario.”-The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor
This long-anticipated move by the Federal government is a way to give the people of Northern Ontario the government funding resources they need to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to grow exponentially and deal with future regional challenges and opportunities. By becoming an independent agency, FedNor is now allotted further autonomy that will allow for greater independence and investment potential amongst Northern Ontario for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
How Does FedNor Impact Northern Ontario?
FedNor’s status as a standalone agency has a variety of impacts on businesses in Northern Ontario. Funding for the FedNor agency was increased by $60 million which lands the annual budget closer to the $100 million mark. This means that the agency has more investment discretion and an increase in grant and loan funding to offer their constituents. Therefore, with greater support, the government will be able to work more closely with community partners and use stimulative programs and services to generate more FedNor success stories in the years to come.
“We do not have to rely on Ottawa to tell us ‘well this is how you’re going to do it’. We have guidelines like the other RDA (regional development agencies) in the country, but we can make those decisions that reflect us.”– Anthony Rota, MP, Nipissing-Timiskaming
FedNor distributed over $120 million in 2020 which brings the net total investment in the Northern Ontario economy to $1.4 billion through FedNor since inception. These investments have stimulated close to 90,000 Canadian jobs, which are expected to continue growing due to FedNor’s recent emancipation.
Government Funding Opportunities for Northern Ontario
As FedNor continues to have a large influence over the Northern Ontario economy, the agency strives to create more opportunities for Canadians in that region through programs like the past COVID-19 support initiative, Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) which provided repayable interest-free loans to eligible businesses to cover common fixed-operating costs during the pandemic.
“Stakeholders told us that FedNor needed more independence and local decision making to ensure it could better respond to the region’s economic development needs, and that’s what we’re doing here today.”– Anthony Rota, MP, Nipissing-Timiskaming
More support for businesses up north may be found through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The NOHFC is an independent organization that stimulates the economic development of initiatives in Northern Ontario through four unique funding programs:
- NOHFC INVEST North Program;
- NOHFC Community Enhancement Program;
- NOHFC People & Talent Program;and
- NOHFC Cultural Supports Program.
Please note that each of these four programs may have various streams which should be thoroughly researched and considered prior to application. Moreover, these are only a few of the programs available for Northern Ontario organizations and other funding programs exist for Ontario businesses in other regions. Please review this comprehensive Ontario funding list in its entirety to see what other Ontario programs may be a good fit.
Apply for Northern Ontario Government Funding
If your Northern Ontario business is interested in applying for one of these funding programs, reach out to a Mentor Works representative today. For more general funding programs, visit Mentor Work’s comprehensive government funding list.
Applying for government funding is a complex project with a lot of potential benefit for your organization. If you are applying for a grant or a loan, working with Mentor Works will save your company time and increase your chances of a successful application with our 86% approval rating. Find out if you qualify today.