Rural Economic Development program
Funding to help create jobs and boost growth in your rural community.
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How it works
Ontario’s Rural Economic Development (RED) program provides cost-share funding to support activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario, and opens doors to rural economic development through:
- funding assistance to address barriers to economic development, better position rural communities to attract and retain jobs and investment, and enhance economic growth
- funding to build community capacity and support for economic development in Ontario’s rural communities
- investments in rural communities to help diversify and grow local economies – making economic growth more inclusive so rural Ontario continues to share in the province’s economic prosperity
This page provides a summary of the RED program. Read the RED program guidelines for the full details about eligibility, program funding and application requirements.
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
Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream: up to 50% of eligible project costs to a maximum of $150,000.
Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream: up to 30% of eligible project costs to a maximum of $250,000.
Calculation of costs
The calculation of cost-share funding for all selected projects will be based on the total eligible costs outlined in the application.
- Funding may be provided at the amount or percentage requested, or at a reduced amount or percentage (subject to limits within each stream).
- The project’s maximum eligible costs cannot be increased.
- The timeframe of the project cannot be extended without the written approval of OMAFRA (in its sole discretion).
All selected applicants must enter into a contribution agreement with the Province of Ontario. All applicants have joint and several liability for any funded project.
Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream
Economic diversification and competitiveness projects:
- remove barriers to business and job growth
- support investment attraction
- strengthen sector and regional partnerships
- diversify regional economies in rural Ontario
All costs for projects in this stream must be non-capital.
The table below summarizes the seven eligible project types.
|Project type||Description||Example projects|
|Entrepreneurship / Business succession||Projects that support business start-up or succession in the community|
|Business retention and expansion||Projects that proactively engage the local or regional business community to identify and implement actions that address barriers to business growth|
|Downtown revitalization||Projects that focus on identifying and implementing actions that improve and promote traditional town centres|
|Technology adoption / innovation initiatives|
Projects that support businesses and communities to improve their digital capabilities and participate in the information economy
|Attraction and retention of workers / immigrants / youth|
Projects that implement strategies for attracting and retaining people
|Collaborative marketing and outreach|
Projects that implement marketing or promotional activities outlined in an existing marketing or communications plan that will have an impact across sectors, value chains, or multiple communities in a region
|Sector/Value chain development|
Projects that implement strategies to strengthen and coordinate collaboration across sectors or value chains
Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream
This stream focuses on priority economic infrastructure projects that improve physical assets identified as strategically important to the community.
Enhancements would rehabilitate and renew the assets to preserve the unique character of a community and quality of life and enhance it for future generations.
The costs for projects in this stream must be minor capital costs.
The table summarizes the three eligible project types.
|Project type||Description||Example projects|
|Rehabilitation of cultural, heritage or tourism attractions|
Minor capital projects that rehabilitate an existing cultural, heritage, or tourism attraction, as defined through previously completed strategies and projects that establish its significance for economic development
|Redevelopment of vacant and/or underutilized buildings|
Minor capital projects to redevelop interior of vacant and/or underutilized buildings to achieve an economic development outcome
|Streetscaping and landscaping|
Minor capital projects as defined through previously completed strategies that improve the design quality of public areas
Once the application is submitted and the intake period closes, eligible applications will be assessed on the criteria outlined in these guidelines, including, for example:
- basic eligibility criteria
- reducing economic barriers
- alignment with the Rural Economic Development program’s outcomes
- project work plan
- collaboration and partnerships
- regional, sector, or value chain impacts
- sustainability beyond the project timelines
- project budget, including reasonable and eligible project costs
- project oversight
- financial commitment
Applicants will be notified as funding decisions are reached, usually within three months from the posted intake closure date; however, timing may vary.
For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.