Economic Development Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Economic Development Initiative (EDI)?
  2. How is EDI being delivered in southern Ontario?
  3. How much funding will be available through EDI in southern Ontario?
  4. Are contributions repayable or non-repayable?
  5. How do I apply?
  6. Is there a deadline for submitting an Expression of Interest?
  7. If I have more than one project, is more than one Expression of Interest required?
  8. How has EDI changed since the previous intake?
  9. Who can apply for EDI funding?
  10. Can for-profit organizations apply for EDI funding?
  11. What are the types of projects that could be supported under the initiative?
  12. Will priority be given to specific projects?
  13. When do projects need to be completed?
  14. If I previously received funding through EDI, am I eligible to apply again?
  15. I am having trouble opening the Expression of Interest. How do I access it?
  16. Would it benefit me to use a consultant to complete my program funding application?
  17. What outcomes will EDI provide to Canadians?
  18. How does EDI fit within the Government of Canada's priorities?
  19. Are all regional development agencies currently accepting applications for EDI?
  20. How are EDI projects assessed?
  21. When will I find out if my project has been approved?
  22. If my project is funded, what are the next steps?
  23. How will the Government of Canada flow funding to recipients?
  24. Do I need an environmental assessment completed for my project?
  25. What types of activities/costs can be supported under EDI?
  26. What else is the Government doing to support OLMCs?
  27. Is there funding available for business-related projects outside of OLMCs?
  28. Does EDI fall under the reform of business innovation programs outlined in Budget 2018?
  29. Now that FedDev Ontario has been renewed, can I apply for new funding?
  30. How can I find out more information about EDI?

1. What is the Economic Development Initiative?

The Economic Development Initiative (EDI) is a national program delivered by the regional development agencies across Canada. This program seeks to address the economic challenges and build upon the strengths of each region to facilitate sustainable growth in Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs).

FedDev Ontario is responsible for delivering EDI in southern Ontario. Up to $800,000 annually is available in funding across southern Ontario.

2. How is EDI being delivered in southern Ontario?

EDI is delivered by the regional development agencies across Canada.

In Ontario, EDI is being delivered through FedDev Ontario for southern Ontario and through Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) for northern Ontario.

3. How much funding will be available through EDI in southern Ontario?

FedDev Ontario will invest up to $800,000 per year in southern Ontario.

4. Are contributions repayable or non-repayable?

All contributions made under EDI are non-repayable.

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5. How do I apply?

Applicants should refer to the Application Process section of the EDI Guidelines for details.

There is a two-phase application process. Applicants must first complete and submit an Expression of Interest that provides an overview of the proposed project, alignment with EDI priorities, and anticipated outcomes.

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

Eligible applicants that demonstrate the strongest impact and results will be invited to provide additional details in the form of a comprehensive proposal. For each stage of the process, all applicants will be informed of decisions in writing.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online at www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca/EDI.

If you are unable to access, complete or submit your application online, please call the FedDev Ontario toll-free line at 1-866-593-5505.

6. Is there a deadline for submitting an Expression of Interest?

EDI is a continuous intake process and applicants may submit an Expression of Interest at any time.

7. If I have more than one project, is more than one Expression of Interest required?

Yes. If an organization has more than one project, a separate Expression of Interest is required for each project. Organizations are not limited in the number of Expressions of Interest that they may submit, but will be asked to rank the priority of the proposed projects.

8. How has EDI changed since the previous intake?

Based on feedback from stakeholders and previous applicants, FedDev Ontario has made the following changes:

9. Who can apply for EDI funding?

Eligible applicants include Francophone or bilingual organizations located in southern Ontario that provide programs or services in French to the Francophone community. This includes organizations such as:

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10. Can for-profit organizations apply for EDI funding?

No, for-profit organizations are not an eligible applicant for EDI support. However, for-profit organizations are eligible beneficiaries of projects funded through EDI. 

For-profit organizations are encouraged to call FedDev Ontario at 1-866-593-5505, to find out what other programs and initiatives might be available and/or contact third-party organizations, such as local Community Futures Development Corporations, supported through FedDev Ontario.

11. What are the types of projects that could be supported under the initiative?

FedDev Ontario will provide funding to eligible recipients for projects that fall under the following streams:

*The examples provided above are not exhaustive and are representative of the types of projects that could be supported under each of the streams. 

12. Will priority be given to specific projects?

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

In addition, priority may also be given to applications that can demonstrate strong outcomes relative to one or more of the following priority areas:

Applicants should clearly demonstrate how their proposed project would contribute to these priorities, including anticipated outcomes and results, when completing the Expression of Interest.

13. When do projects need to be completed?

Under EDI, the maximum length of a project is five years. Projects must be completed no later than March 31, 2023.

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14. If I previously received funding through EDI, am I eligible to apply again?

Yes, past EDI recipients that meet the eligibility criteria in the EDI Guidelines can apply for funding under the new intake.

15. I am having trouble opening the Expression of Interest. How do I access it?

The Expression of Interest is accessible through the Apply Now page and linked from the Quick Links menu. The Expression of Interest is in PDF format and will open automatically within Internet Explorer when you click on the link. However, if you are using another browser, right-click on the link and select 'save target as' or 'save link as' to download the file to your computer before opening with a PDF reader.

*Please note that the PDF Expression of Interest has been optimized for use in a Windows environment and may not work as expected in other operating systems.

Once the Expression of Interest form is complete, it can be submitted electronically by clicking on the 'Submit' button at the bottom of the form.

If you are unable to access, complete or submit your Expression of Interest using the online application tool, please call the toll free line at 1-866-593-5505 for an alternate format.

16. Would it benefit me to use a consultant to complete my program funding application?

FedDev Ontario works directly with the organization applying for funding, also known as the "named applicant" (e.g., not-for-profit). Some organizations hire a consultant to support the preparation of a funding application. It is not a requirement to use a consultant to apply for funding.

17. What outcomes will EDI provide to Canadians?

Projects funded will support local economic diversification efforts of Francophone communities to attract new companies, industries or sectors; address unique workforce development needs; promote social innovation and participation of OLMCs in the social economy; invest in local assets, such as incubators providing services in French, and/or other measures to support the implementation of region-specific growth strategies.

18. How does EDI fit within the Government of Canada's priorities?

The Government of Canada maintained in Budget 2018 that strong Official Language Minority Communities not only celebrate our shared history and identity, they are essential to Canada's competitiveness in an increasingly globalized world. The Government understands the challenges that Official Language Minority Communities are facing, and has developed an Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 to help address some of these challenges. In addition to serving existing communities, providing services and initiatives in both official languages is key to improving the integration and settlement of new immigrants.

EDI is specifically designed for supporting the economic growth and competitiveness of Francophone communities.

EDI funding will provide targeted investments in projects that will support diversification of economic activities for OLMCs across southern Ontario.

19. Are all regional development agencies currently accepting applications for EDI?

Each Regional Development Agency follows a different approach to delivering EDI in their respective region.

20. How are EDI projects assessed?

There will be a two-phase assessment process. Under the first phase, Expressions of Interest will be screened for completeness and evaluated to confirm compliance with the eligibility criteria established in the EDI Guidelines. Expressions of Interest will be assessed to determine overall alignment with Government of Canada priorities, including the outcomes that would be produced for OLMCs. Following the Expression of Interest review, those applicants that demonstrate the strongest impact and results will be invited to provide additional details in the form of a comprehensive proposal. All applicants will be informed of decisions in writing.

*Incomplete Expressions of Interest cannot be assessed and will be deemed ineligible. 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.

21. When will I find out if my project has been approved?

FedDev Ontario will notify applicants of the funding decisions as soon as possible once projects have been assessed.

22. If my project is funded, what are the next steps?

Agency staff will develop a contribution agreement with approved recipients to outline an implementation framework; project details; environmental mitigation measures, if applicable; and requirements for communications and signage for funded projects.

Approved recipients must meet the terms and conditions outlined in the contribution agreement before being reimbursed for incurred costs.

23. How will the Government of Canada flow funding to recipients?

Contributions are normally paid on a reimbursement basis through signed contribution agreements, against eligible costs incurred, once the project is approved and initiated.

24. Do I need an environmental assessment completed for my project?

Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, a project will require a federal environmental assessment only if it is a "designated project" under the Act. Designated projects are normally large scale, complex projects and those regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board. For more information about what constitutes a designated project, contact the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Applicants should note that projects on federal lands will require a determination of the potential for significant adverse environmental effects before they can be approved.

25. What types of activities/costs can be supported under EDI?

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

To be supported for funding under EDI, these activities need to be incremental to the pre-existing activities of the applicant. Incremental activities are considered to be new activities that extend beyond the regular services provided by the organizations.

26. What else is the Government doing to support OLMCs?

Budget 2018 outlines $400 million in new funding over five years, starting in 2018-19, with $88.4 million per year ongoing, in support of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-23. Key measures will be implemented by Canadian Heritage, Employment and Social Development Canada, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and will include funding for:

27. Is there funding available for business-related projects outside of OLMCs?

Only projects within or that serve Francophone communities are eligible for EDI.

Other potential applicants are encouraged to contact the Agency to discuss other available programming and services.

The application process for Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives remains open.

FedDev Ontario continues to work with businesses and partners to help identify other sources of support.

Once details regarding the new funding are determined, more information will be made available. 

28. Does EDI fall under the reform of business innovation programs outlined in Budget 2018?

EDI is a distinct ongoing national program that is focused on economic and community development in Official Language Minority Communities. It was not a part of the review of business innovation programs.

The Government supports businesses of all types and sizes through a vast and complicated array of programming.

Budget 2017 announced a review of all innovation programs that serve the business community, in an effort to make the services provided more responsive to client needs, more efficient and better able to promote business growth.

The review took place across 20 federal departments and agencies, making the review the first effort to date to review the entire business innovation program suite.

Therefore, Budget 2018 proposes a historic reform of business innovation programs to create a suite of programs that is easy to navigate and will respond to the challenges and opportunities facing Canadian businesses today and into the future.

Total overall funding for innovation programming will increase, but the reform will see a reduction in the total number of business innovation programs by up to two-thirds (from 92 programs to approximately 35).

All applications, including those from Canadian business owners that have been submitted to an existing program will be honoured, with all current programs remaining in place until further details are announced.

29. Now that FedDev Ontario has been renewed, can I apply for new funding?

The application process for Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives remains open.

FedDev Ontario continues to work with businesses and partners to help identify other sources of support.

Once details regarding the new funding are determined, more information will be made available. 

Over the coming months, the Agency will be working closely with Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the other regional development agencies to implement Budget 2018 measures. All current programs remain in place until further details are announced.

Regional development agencies will play a key role in helping firms scale up, develop new markets and expand, as well as assist with the adoption of new technologies and processes.

Other key priority areas emphasized in Budget 2018 include supporting regional innovation ecosystems, clean technology and a more inclusive approach to economic growth with the fuller participation of Indigenous Peoples, women and youth.

FedDev Ontario plays a central role in supporting national priorities, such as those outlined above, while ensuring that southern Ontario receives the tailored support needed to address specific economic challenges of this region.

30. How can I find out more information about EDI?

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

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