The province will provide cost-sharing funding for projects that improve rural communities
By Jackie Clark
Ontario is investing $1 million in a targeted intake of the Rural Economic Development (RED) program, provincial ag minister Ernie Hardeman announced today.
"This funding will focus on diversifying regional economies and improving the competitiveness of rural businesses across the province," said Hardeman in a Sept. 18 statement. "Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many people are struggling and this funding will support job creation and investment to help lift up individuals, families and businesses."
Non-profits can apply for 70 per cent of cost-sharing funding up to $75,000 for projects including capital investments, improving accessibility, and revitalization initiatives. Eligible projects will benefit more than one county, region or district in rural Ontario with tangible outcomes.
“The investments are all about our hubs,” Peggy Brekveld, vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, told Farms.com. Rural hubs are “places where we do business, and where we have sports activities. … When we improve our hubs, we make a better quality of life for farm families across the province.”
RED projects help to creatively increase the vibrance of rural communities that farmers are a part of, she added.
In the most recent RED project intake, more than 50 initiatives received funding. The projects included investing in public Wi-Fi in downtown Belleville, training farmers in Prince Edward County on direct-to-consumer sales, and securing a business retention and expansion coordinator in the County of Dufferin.
The application window for this round of RED funding is open from Sept. 21 to Oct. 9, and projects must be completed before March 31, 2021.