The intake for the RED program is now closed.


The Rural Economic Development (RED) program provides cost-share funding to support activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario. The Labour Attraction and Retention targeted intake is focused on strengthening the labour force by supporting initiatives that will attract new residents and workers to rural communities across the province.

The targeted intake is focused on investing in projects that will:

  • boost economic opportunities in rural and Indigenous communities
  • create jobs
  • strengthen the labour force

The funding supports initiatives addressing barriers to economic development and positions rural communities for economic growth and job creation, such as:

  • collaborative marketing and outreach campaigns to grow rural Ontario’s workforce
  • connect job-seekers
  • youth and apprentices to job opportunities and placements
  • creating dedicated spaces such as innovation hubs and youth centres to develop partnerships and foster innovation

Who is eligible

To be eligible for the program, you must be:

  • a municipality
  • a not-for-profit entity
  • an Ontario Indigenous community or organization
  • a Local Services Board

Read the program guidelines to learn more about eligibility.

Funding amount

For projects related to attraction and retention of workers, immigrants and youth, the maximum provincial cost-share funding for eligible costs is 70%, up to a maximum amount of $150,000 per approved project of this type.

For projects related to redevelopment of vacant and/or underutilized buildings, the maximum provincial cost-share funding for eligible costs is 50%, up to a maximum amount of $250,000 per approved project of this type.

Selection process

After you’ve submitted your application and the intake period closes, we will assess applications on the criteria outlined in the program guidelines, including:

  • basic eligibility criteria
  • reducing economic barriers
  • alignment with the Rural Economic Development program’s outcomes
  • project work plan
  • collaboration and regional impacts
  • sustainability beyond the project timelines
  • project budget, including reasonable and eligible project costs
  • project oversight
  • financial commitment
  • financial capacity

How to apply

We are accepting applications from February 7 to March 7, 2022.

To apply for this targeted intake stream you will need to:

  • submit a mandatory and completed RED Program application form
  • submit financial statements from the previous three years, or a letter to that effect (mandatory for all applicants / co- applicants except for Municipalities)
  • include supporting documents, such as articles of incorporation or other similar evidence of current legal status (mandatory for all applicants/co-applicants except for Municipalities, Indigenous Communities and Agricultural Organizations incorporated by the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act)
  • optional: include letters from partners and co-applicants confirming their financial or in-kind contribution to  the project quotes/estimates to support the project budget (recommended)
  • optional: include supporting documentation (for example feasibility studies, strategic plans, reports, relevant research, or anything else that supports the need for the project and anticipated impacts (recommended)

Email completed applications to: by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 7, 2022.

Fill out the application form.

After you apply

You will be notified in writing when the funding decision has been made, which is usually within three months from the posted intake closure date. However, timing may vary.