Boosting Economic Growth in Rural Ontario

Monday, January 30, 2017

Media Release: Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Province Renewing Rural Economic Development Program

January 30, 2017

Ontario is supporting local projects that will attract investment, create jobs and boost economic growth in rural communities through the renewed Rural Economic Development (RED) program.

The province is now accepting applications for the renewed 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.

Supporting economic growth in rural and Indigenous communities is part of our plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives.



" 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."
- Jeff Leal
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister Responsible for Small Business


" I would like to thank the government of Ontario for providing funding through the RED program for the creation of a program that will help rural municipalities and community organizations use data analytics to conduct evidence-based planning, priority-setting and outcome measurement for local economic development."
- Kevin Clouthier
Executive Director, Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth




  • Ontario is investing $5 million in funding every year under the RED Program to support community economic development.
  • Since 2013, the Rural Economic Development 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.