A Year in Review: Ontario Development Funds

Last month marked a double milestone for job growth in Ontario, as the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and its sister economic engine, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF), marked anniversaries.

EODF, first established in 2008, celebrated the first anniversary of its permanent status in October. And while it was only a first birthday for SWODF, that agency is doing an impressive job of keeping up with its older sibling in driving economic advancement and building employment rolls.

Supporting Projects that Create Jobs

The EODF and SWODF provide funding for businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations to support projects that create jobs, encourage innovation and attract private-sector investment.

There are two streams, or categories of businesses that may be eligible for funding:

  • To qualify in the Business Stream, a company must have at least 10 employees and commit to adding at least 10 more workers and investing $500,000 in a project over a five-year period. They then may be eligible for up to 15 percent of their total project expenditures, with a maximum grant totaling $1.5 million.
  • In the Regional/Sectoral Stream, organizations can apply for up to 50 percent of their total project costs up to $1.5 million, by committing to an investment of at least $100,000 within five years. Projects must align with provincial and regional priorities and be used for activities new to the organization.

To date, $95.8 million has been committed through EODF and SWODF, leveraging more than $933 million in private-sector investment and supporting the creation and retention of 22,000 jobs in 13 counties in eastern Ontario and 18 regions in the southwestern part of the province.

Success Stories

Among industries eligible to apply for development fund support are manufacturing, the life sciences, primary and secondary processing, information and communication technology, tourism, and cultural entities.

  • A small business in Peterborough received $276,681 for facility expansion, which led to the creation of 24 new high-skill jobs. The company, which does interior design for private and corporate jets, was able to complete a $5 million project – making them only the second firm in the world to install a granite floor as part of the luxury renovation of a Bombardier aircraft.
  • Kingston-based Engineering Seismology Group Canada, Inc. (ESG Canada) received a $200,000 EODF grant and invested $1.3 million of its own funds. The company has since increased its workforce from 35 to 63. The EODF investment helped ESG Canada build a new corporate headquarters, develop a second manufacturing site, and develop a turnkey system to monitor carbon capture and storage projects.
  • In London, where the regional jobless rate recently stood at a sobering 9.8 percent, Armo Technologies will add 14 workers and complete a $3.5 million expansion, bolstered by $338,000 in SWODF support. SWODF is expected to deliver $18 million to 22 businesses this year, leveraging about $150 million from the private sector to help create jobs.

Exciting Developments … There for the Taking

It goes without saying that the results of the initiative under way on the part of Ontario’s two successful development funds is positive news for job seekers. Capitalize on this opportunity to match your skills with the right job by partnering with a professional recruiter at Employment Professionals Canada. Contact us today for more information!