Rural Northern Canada
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NOHFC Announces New Funding Programs for Northern Ontario Businesses

Since June 2018, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) has invested more than $262 million in 2,549 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraged more than $1.1 million in external investments, and created or sustained more than 4,700 new jobs within the local communities.

For the past two years, the Ontario provincial government has been gathering insight from northern communities, Indigenous partners, and not-for-profit businesses on how to modernize and improve funding capabilities. As a result, NOHFC has announced four new funding programs to support and develop the economic recovery and growth of businesses located in Northern Ontario.

“Our new programming will help build strong and resilient local economies by making targeted investments in northern businesses, community organizations and municipalities, bringing good jobs and prosperity to every corner of Northern Ontario.”
– Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines

With a strong focus on upgrades and repairs to community assets, promotion of local culture, support for business development and expansion, and the need for a stronger workforce, NOHFC programs are dedicated to improving the economic success of Northern Ontario.

NOHFC Community Enhancement Program

The Community Enhancement Program aims to help build strong and resilient Northern communities through infrastructure investments to upgrade and repair existing assets with the predominant goal of improving community quality of life through strategic initiatives.

There are three streams offered on an ongoing intake through the Community Enhancement Program, each having its own specific criteria and eligibility factors, as listed below. For more information about each program and stream, please visit the NOHFC programs page.

Enhance Your Community Program

The Enhance Your Community Funding Stream is designed to support priorities of Northern Ontario communities and organizations that contribute to a healthy and strong community.

Applicant Eligibility: Municipalities, Indigenous communities, not-for-profit organizations, and Local Services Boards located in Northern Ontario.

Amount: Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution and will generally not exceed the lesser of 50% of eligible costs or $2,000,000.

Eligible Projects: Incremental improvements, repairs, and/or renovations to improve and extend the useful life of capital assets – including social and recreational facilities, municipal assets, and community halls – that contribute to a healthy and vibrant community.

Rural Enhancement Funding Stream

The Rural Enhancement Funding Stream is designed to support priorities of rural communities to contribute to healthy and strong communities.

Applicant Eligibility: Rural municipalities, Indigenous communities, not-for-profit organizations, and Local Services Boards having or serving a population of less than 30,000.

Amount: Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution and will not exceed:

  • For communities under 1,500 residents and Indigenous communities, up to 90% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $200,000.
  • For communities over 1,500 residents, up to 75% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $500,000.

Eligible Projects: Incremental improvements, repairs, and/or renovations to improve and extend the useful life of capital assets – including social and recreational facilities, municipal assets, and community halls – that contribute to a healthy and vibrant community.

Broadband and Cellular Expansion Projects

NOHFC support for broadband and cellular expansion projects is intended to address broadband gaps in Northern Ontario by increasing connectivity for unserved or underserved areas.

Applicant Eligibility: Municipalities, municipal organizations, Indigenous Communities, and Community-based-networks or ICT community champions (not-for-profit economic development / innovation centres) in Northern Ontario.

Amount: 50% of eligible costs up to a maximum of $1 million per project with a targeted funding of $500 per dwelling (average) within the coverage area. 

Eligible Projects: Projects that improve broadband and cellular coverage to areas with broadband download speeds of less than 25 megabits per second (mbps) (un-served or under-served areas).

NOHFC Cultural Supports Program

The Cultural Supports Program is designed to help showcase Northern Ontario culture, geography, and talent through event partnerships and the production of films and television series.

There are two streams offered through the Cultural Supports Program, each having its own specific criteria and eligibility factors, as listed below. For more information about each program and stream, please visit the NOHFC programs page.

Community Events Stream

The Community Events Stream supports organizations that host events that increase community profile and promote economic development in Northern Ontario.

Applicant Eligibility: Municipalities, Indigenous communities, not-for-profit organizations, and Local Services Boards located in Northern Ontario.

Amount: Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution of up to 30% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $15,000.

Eligible Projects: New and recurring in-person or virtual community-based and/or tourism events that attract tourists.

Timeline: Ongoing Intake.

Film & Television Stream

The Film and Television Stream is designed to increase film and television industry jobs and investment and to increase quality, original film and television productions produced in Northern Ontario, while showcasing its culture, geography, stories, and talent.

Applicant Eligibility: The production company must be a Canadian corporation which is Canadian controlled; must own all, or most of the rights necessary to exploit and produce the production; and applicants must receive a producer credit on the project.

Amount: Up to 50% of eligible costs to a maximum capped on a tiered basis according to the total northern spend:

Total Production BudgetPotential Level of Support
Up to $5 millionUp to $500,000
$5 million – $10 millionUp to $1,000,000
$10 million and aboveUp to $2,000,000

Eligible Projects: Theatrical feature films, scripted television series, made-for-television movies, and documentaries.

Timeline: There are four application intake rounds between February 1, 2021 and January 31, 2022.

NOHFC INVEST North Program

The Invest North Program is intended to increase economic growth in Northern Ontario by inspiring businesses to invest in transformative business development opportunities in Northern communities. The program will support productivity, innovation, business competitiveness, revenue growth, export capacity development, and job creation and retention.

There are six streams offered through the INVEST North Program, each having its own specific criteria and eligibility factors. For more information about each program and stream, please visit the NOHFC programs page.

INVEST North Program Streams:

  • Innovation Stream
  • Innovation – Industrial Research Chair
  • Investment – Launch Stream
  • Investment – Grow Stream
  • Investment – Locate Stream
  • Regional Tile Drainage

The level of funding support varies for each stream, but the maximum a Northern Ontario business may receive from any single INVEST North Program stream is up to 20-50% of upwards $200,000 – $5 million in grants and/or loans for eligible expenses during an approved project.  

NOHFC People & Talent Program

The People & Talent Program is designed to attract, retain, and develop Northern Ontario’s workforce by creating and sustaining new and existing jobs.

There are two streams offered on an ongoing intake through the People & Talent Program, each having its own specific criteria and eligibility factors, as listed below. For more information about each program and stream, please visit the NOHFC programs page.

Indigenous Workforce Development Stream

The Indigenous Workforce Development Stream helps strengthen and develop Northern Ontario’s Indigenous workforce through business partnerships by offering internships to Indigenous persons.

Applicant Eligibility: Businesses, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and not-for-profit organizations located in Northern Ontario that have been in operation for at least one year and have minimum of one full-time employee.

Amount: Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution up to 90% of an Indigenous intern’s salary and employer’s portion of Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs) to a maximum of $52,500 per year.

Eligible Expenses: Salaries/wages and employer’s portion of MERCs for a limited-term internship position of 52 weeks (with at least 35 hours of work per week) for qualifying Indigenous candidates.

Workforce Development Stream

The Workforce Development Stream aims to strengthen and develop Northern Ontario’s workforce through business partnerships by offering internships.

Applicant Eligibility: Businesses, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and not-for-profit organizations located in Northern Ontario that have been in operation for at least one year and have a minimum of one full-time employee.

Amount: Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution of up to 90% of an intern’s salary and employer’s portion of Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs) to a maximum of $35,000 per year.

Eligible Expenses: Salaries/wages and employer’s portion of MERCs for a limited-term internship position of 52 weeks (with at least 35 hours of work per week) for qualifying candidates.

Provincial Government Funding for Canadian Businesses

Various types of government funding programs, such as the ones listed in this blog, are available for businesses across Canada. When used strategically, government funding can be leveraged for almost all types of growth and investment-focused projects. Many businesses begin their funding discovery process by searching for what programs are immediately available to them, and this is often dependent on where they are operating their business.

To discover the various government funding programs available for each Canadian province, visit our Government Funding Programs by Region Page. Interested in more? Stay up to date with all news and updates related to funding by signing up for our free Weekly Funding Newsletter.

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