Friday, November 8, 2019, for Immediate Release:
First step in government’s transformation of business supports
(Gananoque) — The Ontario government is helping businesses and communities in Eastern Ontario by launching the first part of its commitment to transform business supports to deliver value for money for taxpayers and create new investment and jobs.
Today, on behalf of Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark was at the Ontario East Economic Development Commission quarterly meeting to highlight the recently announced Regional Development Program.
The program will invest more than $100 million over four years, while taking a new approach to supporting business growth in Eastern and Southwestern Ontario communities.
“Ontario’s government is committed to creating an environment where businesses can grow, thrive and create good jobs. I’m proud our government understands and is responding to the unique economic challenges Eastern Ontario and the businesses located here face,” said Clark. “Through the Regional Development Program, we will help businesses and communities in Eastern Ontario attract investment, diversify their economies and plan for long-term sustainability.”
Under the program, area businesses can get financial support through the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and access to a range of complementary services and supports. As well, there is a clear 60-business day service commitment so that applicants can plan their investments and know when to expect a decision.
“Our government made a clear commitment to review business supports with a view towards balancing economic growth and jobs with delivering value for money for taxpayers,” said Minister Fedeli. “The government listened to regional stakeholders and leaders about what is important to them. As a result, we are introducing the Regional Development Program to help companies and regions invest, grow and attract talent. This is a balanced, sustainable and reasonable approach to supporting businesses and job creators.”
The Regional Development Program is part of the government’s business supports transformation initiative, one of five key recently announced priority Smart Initiatives. These are large-scale, multi-phased projects to build smarter government and transform how the public sector delivers services.
The new program retains many of the successful elements of the existing EODF and includes some critical changes to support job creators. They include:
- Introducing a coordinated government-wide approach offering complementary services to support business growth.
- Making it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to qualify by reducing the job creation threshold from 10 to five.
- Shifting to performance-based loans as a smarter way to support businesses and ensure fiscal sustainability, while continuing grants for small businesses in rural communities to help them grow and expand.
- Expanding financial support to eligible municipalities, industry groups and not-for-profits for projects that could lead to long-term regional sustainability and advance local priorities.
- Introducing a new project assessment process that takes into account regional impact and directs funding to communities that will benefit the most.
- Simplifying applications through system improvements which will save time and resources.
The complementary services and supports will provide businesses with coordinated access to a range of government programs and tools that can best meet their needs to succeed. These include advisory services, assistance with compliance and approvals, accessing skills and training supports and information on tax credits.
The Regional Development Program is part of Ontario’s plan to build smarter government and protect our core programs and services. Our goal is to ensure sustainability, now and for future generations.