The McGuinty government is credited with introducing a handful of business development funds into Southwestern and Eastern Ontario. Designed to encourage local businesses to innovate, pursue new markets and create more jobs, these funds offer eligible businesses a strategic partnership with the Ontario government.
The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund and the renewed Eastern Development Fund are among the more well known of these programs. Both claim responsibility for the creation of new local jobs, as well as assisting participating businesses in modernizing their facilities. The Eastern Ontario Development Fund alone reports that it has helped “create and retain” 13,200 jobs since 2008.
That said, it’s crucial to recognize that the ratio of new jobs to retained jobs isn’t represented in this figure. In the case of Blommer Chocolate Company in Campellford, Ontario, for example, only 14 new jobs were created (and another 80 retained) through the Eastern Ontario Development Fund.
So while the gains made by these programs certainly can’t be overlooked, the question of how successful the current government initiatives really are for creating new jobs in Ontario still remains.
Many of Ontario’s job creation funds have recently come under attack for their inability to make a significant dent in the provincial unemployment rate. PC economic development critic, Monte McNaughton argued just a few weeks ago that the province has “only gained enough jobs in the last month to keep up with the growth of the labour force.”
Taking into consideration that Ontario has lost 30,000 jobs in the last 12 months, it would seem that the current number of new jobs created is simply to keep the province afloat rather than move it ahead.
Ultimately, a large number of people are still entering the labour market looking for work. And while the national unemployment rate is indeed improving as the U.S. market begins to regenerate, it’s unclear if these job creation programs will be sufficient long term when it comes to stimulating local business growth.
It’s more important now than ever to consider your options when it comes to expanding and growing your business. While business development funds offer an opportunity to add resources and reduce overhead, there is simply no substitute for hiring talented individuals and developing a strategic HR plan for your organization. At Employment Professionals Canada, we have the knowledge and skills to make your business stronger than ever. Contact us today!