Since the onset of the pandemic, Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have been delivering critical support to help businesses and organizations stay open, protect jobs and prepare for a strong recovery. Thanks to their unique connection to communities and local businesses, Budget 2021 recognizes RDAs as key partners to support economic recovery, diversification and innovation as we work together to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust, inclusive economic recovery.
Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, highlighted the integral role of RDAs in the delivery of new measures proposed in Budget 2021 to support recovery, innovation and growth.
As one of Canada’s RDAs, FedDev Ontario has been supporting southern Ontario businesses and organizations through the pandemic with $536.4 million in funding through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). Delivered by FedDev Ontario alongside local Community Futures Development Corporations and other partners, RRRF support is helping southern Ontario businesses and organizations mitigate financial pressures caused by the pandemic, sustain more employers for recovery and help keep more people employed—protecting more than 25,500 jobs.
FedDev Ontario continues to make targeted investments to help companies, such as retooling operations to produce personal protective equipment or transitioning their business to e-commerce. The Agency is also supporting sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, such as tourism, main street businesses, air transportation, and underrepresented groups. This includes delivering nationally-coordinated programs that have been tailored to fit the region’s needs, such as the National Ecosystem Fund stream of the Black Entrepreneurship Program; support for women-led businesses through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund; and support for southern Ontario’s regional air transportation ecosystem through the Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI).
We will continue to promote economic resilience in the region through our share of the additional funding outlined in Budget 2021.
Subject to parliamentary approval, Budget 2021 proposes the following Canada-wide measures to be delivered by RDAs, including FedDev Ontario, to provide targeted investments to support inclusive growth and the recovery of hard-hit sectors:
- $700 million over three years to support business financing, positioning local economies for long-term, inclusive, clean growth and creating jobs;
- $500 million over two years for community infrastructure projects through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund;
- $500 million over two years through the Tourism Relief Fund for local tourism businesses to adapt their products and services to public health measures, recover from the pandemic and position themselves for growth;
- $250 million over three years for small- and medium-sized aerospace firms to strengthen productivity and commercialization and green their operations through the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative;
- $200 million over two years to support major festivals and events;
- $80 million to support extended application for RRRF until June 30, 2021, delivered by RDAs and the Community Futures Network of Canada; and
- an additional $51.7 million to support Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs through the Black Entrepreneurship Program.
By increasing the role of the Regional Development Agencies in our recovery and relaunch, the Government of Canada is taking a new approach to economic development: building on regional strengths, fostering job creation, growing local economies, and improving Canada’s collective competitiveness.