Ontario Rural Economic Development Grants: Apply by Sept. 9

UPDATE: The program is currently closed. The deadline was September 9, 2019. We will update this page once a new intake period is available. 

Following a provincial review earlier in 2019, the Rural Economic Development (RED) funding program has announced it will re-open its application intake period. Some changes to the program are expected but have yet to be announced aside from the launch of two new streams of funding. Included in these new streams is funding for Economic Diversification and Competitiveness projects and funding for Strategic Economic Infrastructure projects.

The next application intake for Ontario’s Rural Economic Development funding program is from July 29 – September 9, 2019.

Economic developers and municipalities should start preparing projects in advance of this summer application intake period. Since funding may be more limited than in previous years ($5 million has been allocated to RED for the 2019-2020 fiscal year), it may be depleted more quickly. Organizations should focus on applying early during the application period and ensure their application speaks directly to the program’s evaluation criteria.

What is the Ontario Rural Economic Development Program?

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program is an Ontario government grant that supports economic developers and municipalities. Eligible applicants can access funding to strengthen rural Ontario’s business landscape through targeted activities aimed at removing economic barriers, attracting business investment, and diversifying economic interests. Although changes to the program will re-shape how the program operates in 2019, these fundamental traits of the program will remain intact.

Updated changes include RED now offsetting up to 30-50% of eligible project costs, to a maximum of $150,000-$250,000.

The Ontario provincial government has announced that the program will offer two new streams of funding. All future projects will be applying for either:

  1. Economic Diversification and Competitiveness: Projects that remove barriers to job growth and attract investment; and
  2. Strategic Economic Infrastructure: Projects that advance economic development and investment opportunities.

Applicants Eligible for RED Economic Development Grants

To access Ontario Rural Economic Development grants, applicants must:

  • Be a non-profit entity, municipality, local services board, or an Indigenous community;
  • Target “rural Ontario” communities with a population of 100,000 or less;
  • Have authority to enter into a legal agreement; and
  • Comply with legal requirements throughout the project.

Projects Eligible for Rural Development Funding

There are two broad categories of projects that are accepted for Rural Economic Development funding. They include:

  1. Economic Diversification and Competitiveness: Projects that remove barriers to job growth and attract investment; and
  2. Strategic Economic Infrastructure: Projects that advance economic development and investment opportunities.

How to Apply for the Rural Economic Development Program

Like previous rounds of the Rural Economic Development program, application intake will open for a roughly two-month window. During this time, applicants are encouraged to submit a detailed application package that reviews the proposed project, its expenses, and benefits to Ontario’s business community. Only the most competitive projects with significant benefits and modest requests for funding are chosen to proceed.

RED’s upcoming application intake period will be available from July 29, 2019 and will close on September 9, 2019.

Since RED economic development funding is changing this year and the July 29 intake will be the first under new program rules, it’s advised that potential applicants wait for all official program details to be announced prior to developing an application. This will help ensure your project is eligible and your organization completes the application process correctly.

To keep up-to-date on RED program changes, discuss your economic development project, and discover how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.

Apply for Canadian Government Funding

Published: August 2, 2019. Updated: September 10, 2019.

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Myra Bredin holds a Diploma of Business Marketing at Conestoga College. Her interest in blog writing, social media and event planning makes her excited to be Mentor Works’ Marketing Analyst, where she can use these skills to educate and support Canadian businesses with government funding.

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