Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

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The Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (or FedNor) is a program of Industry Canada whose mission is to address the economic development, diversification and job creation in Northern Ontario. FedNor especially aids women, Franco-Ontarians, youth, and Aboriginal peoples in Ontario. While a lot of progress has been made in achieving FedNor's objectives, communities in Northern and rural Ontario continue to face the ongoing structural challenges that necessitate a stable, long-term regional development effort.[1]

FedNor’s role is one of facilitator and catalyst, to bring the private and public sector partners together in order to create an environment where communities can thrive, businesses can grow and people can prosper.[2] Since the beginning of FedNor in 1987, the role in business and economic development throughout the North has grown substantially. As a result, the programs and services that FedNor offers to the communities of Northern Ontario have evolved and improved.[3]

FedNor has offices in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, which are the three main offices. At the Sudbury office is where the director general resides along with the main branches of communications, corporate services and policy and planning. The Sault Ste. Marie office of FedNor houses the International Business Centre, which focuses on trade and investment.[4]


Under prior minister Andy Mitchell, FedNor's service area was expanded to include many rural areas in Southern Ontario, including much of the Central Ontario region. In 2007, a group of politicians from Northern Ontario, including Tony Martin, Claude Gravelle and France Gélinas, called for the program to be refocused exclusively on Northern Ontario.[5]

Community Futures Program[edit]

FedNor has a Community Futures (CF) Program; This program helps to support sixtyone Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs), throughout Ontario. In the North there are twenty-four corporations, leaving the remaining thirty-seven to help serve Eastern and Southern Ontario. CFDCs provide an assortment of different programs and services which are for assisting in the community economic development and small business growth. These programs are able to provide help in: Strategic community planning and socio-economic development; Support for community-based projects; Business information and planning services; and Access to capital for small and medium-sized businesses and social enterprises. These community-based, not-for-profit organizations are staffed by professionals and are each governed by local volunteer boards of directors familiar with their communities' needs, concerns and future development priorities [6]

Key Programs[edit]

FedNor supports regional economic development, which it does through the delivery of three programs:

Northern Ontario Development Program[edit]

The Northern Ontario Development Program (NODP) was put in place to help promote economic development and diversification throughout Northern Ontario. NODP provides repayable and non-repayable contributions to not-for-profit organizations and small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for projects focussed on one or more of the following six areas: Innovation; Information and Communications Technology (ICT); Community economic development; Business Financing Support; Trade and Tourism; and Human Capital.[1]

Community Futures Program[edit]

The Community Futures (CF) Program is a national program geared to rural economic development. In Ontario, is administered by FedNor. The Community Futures Program across Canada is an extensive network of 269 Community Futures Development Corporations, 61 of which are located throughout rural Ontario (24 in Northern Ontario and 37 in rural Southern Ontario).

Community Futures Development Corporations offer many services which are able to support the small business growth and community economic development.[1]

Eastern Ontario Development Program[edit]

The Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) helps to promote socio-economic development within Eastern Ontario. It helps to start business and job opportunities, sustainable self-reliant communities, and competitive and diversified regional economy. Delivered by FedNor through the 15 Community Futures Development Corporations in Eastern Ontario, through this program funding becomes available in five particular areas which include, business and community development, access to capital, skills development, retention and attraction of youth, and technological enhancement.[1]

Other Program Delivery[edit]

As Industry Canada’s main point of presence in Northern and rural Ontario, FedNor delivers national initiatives and expanded program delivery opportunities in rural Ontario. Through the years of 2008-09, FedNor plans to deliver the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) of the Federal Strategy for Official Languages called the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008—2013: Acting for the Future![1]


Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario


External links[edit]