Economic Development Initiative guidelines


In March 2013, the Government announced the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013–2018: Education, Immigration, Communities. Through the Roadmap, the Government of Canada is investing $1.1 billion across 15 federal departments and agencies with the goal of providing an ongoing commitment to enhance the vitality of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) and contributing to strengthened linguistic duality. The new Roadmap focuses on the social and economic benefits of both official languages for Canadians and identifies three areas for action: education, immigration and communities.

As part of the Roadmap, the national Economic Development Initiative (EDI) seeks to address the specific economic challenges of each region and build upon regional successes to facilitate sustainable growth in OLMCs. EDI will promote the development of new expertise through innovation, diversification of economic activities, partnerships, and increased support of small- and medium-sized businesses.


FedDev Ontario will provide funding to eligible projects that support:

  • Strategic Community Economic Planning: Enhance the economic base and competitiveness of Francophone communities and small- and medium-sized enterprises; and
  • Business and Economic Development: Respond to the needs, and foster economic growth of community identified industry sectors including knowledge-based and manufacturing industries. This priority area will also support internships for youth and workers in transition.


I. Eligible Applicants

Recognizing that EDI is designed to meet the needs of Ontario's Francophone communities (OLMCs in Ontario), eligible recipients normally include Francophone or bilingual organizations located in southern Ontario and provide programs or services in French to the Francophone community. This includes:

  • Community economic development corporations;
  • Not-for-profit organizations and sector associations;
  • Private sector organizations; and
  • Post-secondary institutions that offer full-time programs of study in French.

II. Eligible Activities

Eligible activities include incremental business and economic development activities. This would normally include activities undertaken in French by, or for the benefit of, a Francophone client group.

A) Strategic Community Economic Planning

Eligible activities are those that enhance the economic base, sustainability and competitiveness of Ontario's Francophone communities, including:

  • Strategic and community planning;
  • Community mobilization and networking;
  • Labour market development;
  • Feasibility studies;
  • Business planning;
  • Marketing studies; and
  • Export market research.

Some examples of projects:

  • Research development of a multi-service model to coordinate Francophone services;
  • Skills gap analysis;
  • Development of a French-language visitors' strategy; and
  • Business and industry sector studies and business plans.

B) Business and Economic Development

Eligible activities are those that respond to identified needs and foster the economic growth of Francophone community identified industry sectors such as knowledge-based and manufacturing industries, including:

  • Access to capital;
  • Supporting business start-ups and market expansion for existing businesses;
  • Providing training, mentoring and business counseling to support new business development;
  • Integrating Francophone immigrants into the business and economic development community;
  • Enhancing access to economic and business information and services (e.g., awareness and promotion of French as an asset for economic and business development);
  • Promoting Francophone internships, workers in transition and entrepreneurship initiatives (e.g., young entrepreneur days and other business events that celebrate and value Francophone entrepreneurship);
  • Developing and expanding export markets; and
  • Supporting innovation, applied research and development, international business development and commercialization.


Internships provide youth and workers in transition with an opportunity to develop skills and gain workplace experience. Eligible activities for internships in economic development organizations are those that: enhance the economic base and competitiveness of Ontario's Francophone communities; and, respond to the needs of Ontario's Francophone communities and foster sustainable economic growth.


  • Delivered through third-party agreements with not-for-profit or private sector organizations who support more than one (1) internship;
  • Participants will be unemployed or underemployed;
  • Participants under the age of 30 will have graduated within the last three (3) years with a degree, diploma or certificate from a recognized post-secondary institution;
  • Participants will be legally entitled to work in Canada;
  • Participants will not have previously participated as an intern in any other federal or provincial internship program with pay for a period of six (6) months or more;
  • Participants will not be related to members of the directors, officers or managers of the recipient unless prior written consent is obtained from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario); and
  • Internships will not normally exceed twelve (12) months in duration.

The work experience must also meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Workplace uses French in day-to-day internal operations;
  • Work activity involves generating French text, video, audio or web-based information; and/or
  • Participants are required primarily to use French for external activities or in responding to external demands (e.g., customer service, communications).

III. Eligible Costs

Eligible costs may include:

  • Labour
  • Expertise
  • Non-capital
  • Capital

All costs must be reasonable and directly related to eligible activities.

Eligible costs for internships are the incremental salary for the full-time intern and statutory employee benefit expenses incurred by the organization. Salaries for intern and employee benefits are eligible costs where there is an "Employer-Employee Relationship." Such a relationship exists when a verbal or written agreement is in place in which an employee agrees to work on a full-time basis for an employer for a specified period of time, in return for salary or wages.

IV. Ineligible and/or Unsupported Costs

  • Any costs determined not reasonable and/or not directly related to the eligible project activities;
  • Costs incurred prior to the eligibility date as defined in the FedDev Ontario Contribution Agreement;
  • Any cost incurred after March 31, 2018;
  • Any cost that is ineligible under the Agency's terms and conditions and program policies; and
  • Acquisition of land and buildings.


Priority may be given to larger-scale projects and projects that demonstrate benefits to multiple communities.


Private Sector Recipients: Conditional on approval for EDI funding, private sector recipients will be eligible for non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 per recipient for no more than 50 percent of total eligible and supported project costs.

Not-For-Profit Recipients: Conditional on approval for EDI funding, not-for-profit recipients will be eligible for non-repayable contributions up to $1 million for no more than 66 ⅔ percent of total eligible and supported project costs.

Internships: Through third-party delivery partnerships, not-for-profit recipients will be eligible for non-repayable contributions up to 66 ⅔ percent of total eligible project costs and will not normally exceed a maximum contribution of $20,000 annually, for up to 12 months or 52 weeks for any one intern.

Through third-party delivery partnerships, private sector recipients will be eligible for non-repayable contributions up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs and will not normally exceed a maximum contribution of $15,000 annually, for up to 12 months or 52 weeks for any one intern.

Disbursement of Funding

If a project receives approval, a contribution agreement (contract) will be negotiated and executed. Funding will be disbursed based on the percentage approved funding for eligible costs incurred.

To receive funding, approved recipients must submit claims forms that summarize eligible costs incurred and paid in a period. Generally, these periods will be of a duration of no more than once a month and no less than twice a year.

Application Process

This is a continuous intake application process. Eligible applicants must complete and submit a full application to be considered for funding.

Prior to submitting an application, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Agency at 1-866-593-5505 for help with their application and to discuss other government programs that may be applicable to their opportunity.

Applications will be accepted until such time demand exceeds available funding.

To be considered for funding, eligible applicants must provide a full and complete application that includes the following:

  1. A complete EDI application form and application checklist;
  2. Incorporation documents and a summary of all related and affiliated parties, governance and ownership;
  3. Documentary evidence of the cost estimates for the project;
  4. A comprehensive proposal (including a business plan) satisfactory to FedDev Ontario that demonstrates:
    1. How the organization and project meet the eligibility criteria and objectives of the initiative;
    2. Participation and support of the Francophone community;
    3. How it responds to a priority and need of the Francophone community, as identified in a local, regional or provincial strategic and/or community plan;
    4. Anticipated project results and how it will generate clear and measurable long-term economic benefits for the Ontario Francophone community;
    5. The organization's capacity to undertake and manage the incremental project and past track record;
    6. The likelihood that the project will be executed successfully in a timely manner;
    7. Compliance with all relevant statutes, regulations and other funding agreements;
    8. How it leverages other significant financial resources;
    9. Its compliance with all previous agreements with government funding agencies; and
    10. Innovation and provides a model that could be used elsewhere.

Application Review

FedDev Ontario will review applications as they are received. All project activities must be completed by March 31, 2018.

All applications will be screened initially for completeness and to determine the project's eligibility. Incomplete applications cannot be assessed and considered for funding. Complete applications are those that include all prescribed documentation containing all information needed to complete the review. Information should be accurate, verifiable, relevant and consistent.

FedDev Ontario reserves the right to modify these guidelines at any time without notice and may waive certain requirements on an exceptional basis.

Reporting Requirements

Recipients must submit to FedDev Ontario, reports of project expenditures and completion of deliverables, including achievement of performance indicators identified in contribution agreements.

Contact Us

For more information on FedDev Ontario's Economic Development Initiative, please email us or call 1-866-593-5505.

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