Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (or FedNor) is a program of Innovation, Science and Economic Development 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 Ontario continue to face the ongoing economic challenges that necessitate a stable, long-term regional development effort.

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. FedNor has offices in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, which are the three main offices. Other offices are located in North Bay, Timmins and Kenora.


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.[1]

Additionally there have been many calls from politicians and organizations to make FedNor an agency, separate from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, like the other regional development agencies across Canada.[2]


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

Northern Ontario Development Program

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 the following three areas: Innovation; Community Economic Development; and Business Growth and Competitiveness.

Community Futures Program

FedNor has a Community Futures (CF) Program. This program helps to support 24 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs), throughout Northern 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; 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.

Economic Development Initiative

As Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s main point of presence in Northern Ontario, FedNor delivers national initiatives and expanded program delivery opportunities across the region. In 2009, FedNor launched 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!


Currently, the Honourable Navdeep Singh Bains is the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario


See also

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