Rural Economic Development Program Accepting New Applications

Ontario is providing rural communities, businesses and organizations, with funding to help attract investment, create jobs, and boost tourism, through a renewed Rural Economic Development (RED) program.

The RED program is accepting applications on the following dates:

  • January 16, 2016 to April 15, 2016
  • April 16, 2016 to July 15, 2016
  • July 16, 2016 to October 15, 2016
  • October 16, 2016 to January 15, 2017

The renewed program has two streams for applications. For projects to qualify under either stream, applicants must demonstrate how their project benefits rural Ontario.

Support for municipalities and not-for-profits remains largely unchanged and will fall under the Community Development Stream. The ministry has made changes for business applicants through the Business Development Stream, which includes a cost-share of up to 20 per cent, to a maximum of $1 million per project.

With support from the Rural Economic Development program, rural Ontario will be better positioned to:

  • Attract investment and create high-value jobs as well as train and sustain a highly-skilled, knowledge-based workforce capable of succeeding in today's global economy
  • Promote innovative and creative local industries that can translate ideas into products and services for a global market

Since 2003, the province has invested more than $185 million in approximately 600 RED program projects, generating more than $1.2 billion in local economic activity, as well as retaining and creating more than 37,000 jobs.

Top FAQs

Q1. When will this intake close?

A1. Applications must be submitted by Friday April 15, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

Q2. Why did you need to review the program?

A2. OMAFRA conducted a review of the program to ensure that RED was meeting the needs of businesses, community organizations and rural municipalities, and that it aligned with the government's other business support programs.

Q3. What are the major changes to the program as a result of the review?

A3.The renewed program will now have two streams for applications: a Community Development Stream and a Business Development Stream. Support for municipalities and not-for-profits remains largely unchanged and will fall under the Community Development Stream. This support includes a cost-share of up to 50 per cent, and in exceptional circumstances, up to 90 per cent. There will be no cap on project size.

The ministry has made changes for business applicants through the Business Development Stream, to enhance the program's alignment with current program practices across Ontario, and improve the ministry's ability to support businesses that benefit rural communities.

Support for business applicants now includes a cost-share of up to 20 per cent to a maximum of $1 million per project. This cost-sharing level is now in line with other government business support programs such as the Eastern Ontario Development Fund, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund.

All applicants requesting over $100,000 in provincial funding will have their applications reviewed by a panel of senior ministry officials, prior to a review by the Rural Economic Development Advisory Panel, which will make recommendations to the minister.

To be eligible for RED funding under either stream, projects must benefit rural Ontario. For the RED program, rural Ontario comprises lower-tier and single-tier municipalities that have a population of less than 100,000, or a population density of 100 people per square kilometre or less.


For more information:
Telephone : 1-877-424-1300
Fax: 1-519-826-3398
Email : red@ontario.ca


Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 14 May 2008
Last Reviewed: 06 November 2015