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Shaping a stronger southern Ontario

Towards a southern Ontario growth strategy

As the global economic landscape evolves, strong regional economies are essential for Canada’s success and sustainability. FedDev Ontario is helping Canadians living and working in southern Ontario take advantage of opportunities created by the innovation economy, in communities big and small.

As Canada’s most populous region, southern Ontario is a key contributor to our nation’s economy. It is home to a globally-recognized innovation network:

Over 35 post-secondary institutions

Over 100 business incubators and accelerators

Over 35 percent of all Canadian firms

Southern Ontario is home to a diverse range of communities:

About 75 percent of the population living in metropolitan areas

About 25 percent of the population living in small and rural areas

Ontario has many other competitive advantages:

Nearly 40 percent of Canada’s GDP and domestic exports

Almost half of all private sector research and development

Third largest destination for foreign direct investment in North America

For a more detailed regional snapshot, please see Our role page.

Driving innovation and growth

To continue driving innovation and growth in the region, FedDev Ontario has been provided over $1 billion in new funding. This includes support for projects from across southern Ontario with the greatest potential to create highly-skilled jobs, increase the number of high-potential firms in the region, commercialize innovative technologies and build stronger, more diversified economies.

Recognizing the vital role smaller and rural communities play in the region’s economy, as well as their unique needs and opportunities, FedDev Ontario is dedicating $100 million of this new funding over the next three years, to drive innovation and growth in rural southern Ontario.

Unlocking the region’s rural economic potential

Every community, large and small, contributes to our region’s success. FedDev Ontario recognizes the vital role that southern Ontario’s smaller and rural communities play in the overall well-being of the region’s economy, however many rural communities are faced with unique challenges that can create barriers to growth, when compared with urban counterparts. These include:

FedDev Ontario has made significant investments in rural communities including support for businesses across many industries such as manufacturing, agri-food and aerospace.

The Agency also works with economic development organizations that understand the unique challenges in these communities. For example, through the region’s Community Futures Development Corporations, FedDev Ontario supports rural entrepreneurs and businesses to implement strategies for dealing with a changing economic environment.

Going forward, the Agency will continue to support southern Ontario’s smaller and rural communities by finding new and innovative opportunities to drive growth, and support the attraction and retention of businesses and talent.

FedDev Ontario is seeking rural projects that will:

To apply for this dedicated support and learn more about Agency funding available, visit our Funding opportunities page.

Help us shape a stronger southern Ontario

Whether you are a corporate executive, a thought leader, a young entrepreneur with a great idea, an advocate for your community, or have an interest in ensuring southern Ontario is a place where businesses can grow and thrive, your feedback can help shape the future of our economy.

From March 11 to April 30, 2019, we asked Canadians to tell us how we can work together to ensure a prosperous future for southern Ontario. To maximize the impact of new investments and best support the needs of the region, we held roundtable meetings with business, industry, academia, Indigenous representatives and organizations in urban and rural communities across southern Ontario.

We asked Canadians

  1. What are southern Ontario’s key strengths and challenges? How can we use our strengths and overcome challenges to grow the economy?
  2. How can governments and industry work together to further strengthen the region?
  3. How can we continue to encourage the participation of women, Indigenous, new Canadians, youth and other underrepresented groups in the southern Ontario economy?
  4. Are there specific opportunities to leverage existing community assets to support growth, and innovation in southern Ontario’s rural areas?
  5. How can FedDev Ontario help smaller communities and rural areas link to the region’s innovation and knowledge economies to drive growth?

What we heard

We received valuable feedback from industry, individuals, communities and organizations across southern Ontario. In the coming months, we will share a report online to communicate what we heard. This report will form our discussions with other federal departments and agencies, Indigenous communities, provincial government organizations and regional stakeholders on FedDev Ontario’s programming and services going forward.

Check back regularly for updates and follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag: #GrowSouthON.

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