In the 2020 Ontario Economic Report, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce highlighted a need for the Ontario government to increase their support for infrastructure projects that stimulate industry development and investment. This call to action was meant to spur more spending through provincial funding programs.
“To strengthen Ontario’s competitiveness, respondents are most likely to want the provincial government to invest in infrastructure.”-Ontario Chamber of Commerce
As a result, the Ontario provincial government launched a pilot program on October 15, 2021, called the Site Readiness Program (SRP). This initiative is designed to provide financial reimbursement to property owners determined to complete site preparation for industrial property development.
“The launch of the Site Readiness Program will offer municipalities and industrial landowners across the province more flexibility to help bring their sites to market more quickly, compete globally and provide more options for site selectors and investors.”-Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
Now that the Site Readiness Program is live, developers are eager to learn how this program may be utilized to reduce site development costs and provide stability to their investments.
How Is the Site Readiness Program Structured?
There are currently five steps to the Site Readiness Program:
- Pre-Application Consultation: Site owners with intent of applying to the SRP are required to complete a pre-application consultation during which the parameters of the proposed project are discussed;
- Application Submission: If the first step proves the proposed project has merit, a formal application may be written by the applicant and submitted for review;
- Application Evaluation and Notice of Acceptance: The application is reviewed based on program criteria and a decision is made to either accept or decline the proposal;
- Completion of Work Plan: Once accepted, successful applicants may begin their proposed project and see it through to completion (as long as the project is complete within one year of application acceptance); and
- Completion of Program: Upon project completion, the Site Readiness Program staff will review the results to confirm the project has, in fact, been completed according to the pre-determined parameters of the application and provide the appropriate reimbursement of eligible costs.
Successful applicants for the Site Readiness Program may receive a reimbursement of up to 50% of eligible expenses, to a maximum of $25,000 per application upon completion of the program.
Applicants for the SRP may be eligible if they meet the following criteria:
- Program open to publicly and privately owned land;
- Applicant must be registered landowner;
- Site must be in area designated for employment or industrial development;
- Applications must be sponsored by a municipal or regional economic development organization;
- A maximum of five unique applications for reimbursement per year; and
- Applicant must agree to make the site available for sale at least one year after program completion unless lot already sold.
To learn more about the full spectrum of eligibility requirements, please refer to the Site Readiness Program guide. This program may be a good opportunity for developers that are unable to qualify for programs such as the Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF) or the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF).
For successful applicants the following costs may be eligible for a reimbursement:
- Grading plan;
- Hydrological reports;
- Natural heritage impact studies;
- Noise impact studies;
- Soil management analysis and reports; and
- Transportation impact studies.
Learn more about this program’s criteria for eligible costs by reviewing the Site Readiness Program Guide.
The Site Readiness Program will be accepting proposals from October 15, 2021, until March 1, 2022.
Once applicants have been accepted into the Site Readiness Program and the successful applicant has signed the contract, they will be allotted one year to:
- Complete the proposed work;
- Submit relevant invoices for eligible expenses; and
- Work to maintain site for potential investments by site selectors and investors.
Exploring Government Funding Opportunities
The Site Readiness Program offers a great opportunity for Ontario property owners to leverage government funding to support their land preparations. However, there are many more funding programs for Ontario businesses.
To read more about funding opportunities, visit our news page for consistent updates, or contact a Mentor Works representative. Also, readers would benefit from our free guide on business funding which outlines key strategies, resources, and information about how to use government funding in a productive way.