The province is now accepting applications for the renewed Rural Economic Development [RED] program, which bolsters economic growth in rural and Indigenous communities across Ontario by providing support for projects that allow rural municipalities and partners to diversify and grow their local economies.
Communities can use this support to remove barriers to local economic growth through initiatives such as developing a downtown revitalization plan or implementing a tourism-related marketing and promotion strategy to attract businesses, investors and visitors to their city.
Ontario is investing $5 million in funding every year under the RED Program to support community economic development. Since 2013, the program has committed more than $8 million towards almost 160 community economic development projects, generating over $25 million in new economic activity and creating and supporting more than 600 jobs.
In 2016, the government approved 38 RED community projects representing a total investment of up to $1.7 million. Projects range from initiatives to help attract investment to rural communities, to the creation of a strategic economic development plan for an Indigenous community, to the restoration and rehabilitation of Canada’s first railway tunnel.
The renewed RED program is now open. Applications will be accepted from rural communities, Indigenous communities and organizations, and not-for-profit organizations.
Jeff Leal, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as being the Minister Responsible for Small Business, said on announcing the new application intake: “It is important that we invest in building up our vibrant rural communities, so that they can grow and support the creation of good jobs both now and in the future. The renewed RED program will support rural Ontario in identifying and addressing barriers to long-term growth and help shape a strong future for our rural communities.”
Applications to the Rural Economic Development program are available on-line at:


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