Up to $250K Available for Rural Economic Development Projects in Ontario

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program aims to support rural communities in Ontario by opening doors to rural economic development. This program is a cost-sharing grant that advocates for activities that promote strong rural communities in Ontario. The RED program encourages projects that benefit rural Ontario, create tangible outcomes, and projects whose effects reach beyond just one community.

The RED program has two streams:

  1. Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream
  2. Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream

Eligible Applicants 

To be eligible for the program you must be:

  • A municipality
  • A not-for-profit entity
  • An Ontario Indigenous community or organization
  • A Local Services Board

Eligible Activities

Activities that are considered eligible through the RED program are divided into their appropriate stream:

Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream:

  • Coaching/mentorship
  • Business succession support
  • Collecting business and market data
  • Writing and implementing action plans
  • Executing actions to support local businesses in the community
  • Growing customer traffic
  • Attracting business to locate in downtowns
  • Organizational coordination efforts
  • Core area promotion
  • Community improvement plans
  • Digital training
  • Community engagement
  • Improving development and planning approvals process
  • Network development
  • Skills training and development 
  • Collaborative marketing and outreach
  • Sector/Value chain development


Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream:

  • Restoration of a historical building or structure
  • Trail rehabilitation
  • Redevelopment of vacant and/or underutilized buildings, including: 
    • Development of an incubator or innovation hub
    • Youth centre
    • Agri-food hubs 
  • Wayfinding signage
  • Beautification
  • WiFi equipment/software for public use


Eligible Costs

Eligible expenses through the RED program include but are not limited to the following:

  • Project management, including consultant fees, project-related professional fees, project evaluation
  • Minor capital, including subcontractor fees, equipment (e.g. plumbing, electrical) and structural modifications to accommodate the installation of equipment within an existing building, renovations and retrofits to existing structure
  • Training
  • Marketing or promotion-related costs
  • Travel costs in Canada and the continental US associated with a specific public-facing event or series of events
  • Studies
  • Administrative costs directly related to project implementation
  • Wages for new hires to work 100% on project-related activities


Funding Details

  • Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream
    • Up to 50% of eligible project costs to a maximum of $150,000
  • Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream
    • Up to 30% of eligible project costs to a maximum of $250,000

Need some advice?

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