In Northern Ontario, the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) provides funding for projects that encourage economic growth in the region’s Francophone communities and that capitalize on economic opportunities made possible through the use of both official languages.

Over five years, FedNor will receive $4 million for eligible projects through the EDI, including business and economic development activities that support innovation, economic diversification, and business growth.

The Economic Development Initiative (EDI) is supported through the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future which reaffirms the Government of Canada’s commitment to the promotion of official languages and the vitality of official language minority communities.


Eligible recipients include Francophone or other organizations that undertake project activities in both official languages, provide programs or services in French, and are located in Northern Ontario. This would normally include, for example, community economic development corporations, not-for-profit organizations, sectoral associations, post-secondary institutions that offer full-time programs of study in French and municipalities that serve the Francophone community.

Eligible Activities

The EDI is an incremental programming initiative that supports economic development activities and approaches that respond directly to related priorities of OLMCs and/or that address linguistic duality issues.

OLMC projects that meet the current priorities of the Northern Ontario Development Program (NODP) will continue to be administered by FedNor under the NODP.

EDI activities are anticipated to include, but are not restricted to activities designed to:

Strengthen governance and leadership capacity in OLMCs, such as providing support for youth interns as management trainees or to assume professional roles with not-for-profit OLMC cultural enterprises, festivals and events;
Enhance the capacity of the OLMC cultural sector, festivals and events to generate broad-based economic impacts and become sustainable;
Support service delivery models and economic development infrastructure that build critical mass, strengthen the vitality of OLMCs and generate economic opportunities (e.g., cooperatives, one-stop multi-service centers, virtual platforms);
Support networking and collaboration to achieve tangible economic results or enhanced services to citizens;
Develop other OLMC niche sectors and products (e.g., Québec-Ontario collaboration on business opportunity; economic opportunities through adoption of digital tools and new media);
Help SMEs capitalize on economic opportunities through linguistic duality (e.g., access new market); and
Support results-oriented OLMC business or community economic development (CED) research/planning initiatives to advance economic opportunities.

Eligible activities include incremental business and economic development activities such as those:

undertaken in French by, or for the benefit of, a Francophone client group; and
that encourage SMEs to provide their products or services in both official languages (e.g., to expand into Francophone markets).

For Youth Internships, the work experience must also meet one of the following criteria:

For Francophone internships, French is to be used substantively in project activities; and
For bilingual internships, the use of English and French is required to implement project activities.
Business Development

Examples of activities that lead to enterprises being developed or related capacities built include those that:

Enhance business competitiveness and access to national and international markets through the adoption of a second official language;
Strengthen the growth and competitiveness of the Francophone arts and cultural sectors and its products from a business development perspective (e.g., business retention and expansion initiative tailored to OLMC cultural enterprises);
Support youth interns as management trainees or in professional roles with not-for-profit OLMC cultural enterprises (e.g., minority community radio, newspapers, television, festivals, cultural centers); and
Promote adoption of a second official language in an SME’s operations/services, leading to a new competitive advantage and opening doors to new markets.
Community Development

Examples of activities that lead to communities being developed or related capacities built include those that:

Foster results-oriented business or CED research/planning initiatives to advance economic opportunities for an OLMC;
Regional initiatives to help OLMC arts and cultural sectors (e.g. festivals and events) to become stronger generators of economic impacts for communities;
Strengthen and capitalize on the economic/business opportunities associated with the French language, cultural sector and niche products;
Help key OLMC initiatives keep pace with technological change, the digital economy, particularly new media and social media (in French);
Enhance OLMC economic or business development through models tailored to specific needs (e.g., cooperatives, one-stop multi-service centers);
Undertake a feasibility study or implement a plan to establish a one-stop Francophone multi-service center;
Support youth interns as management trainees or in professional roles with not-for-profit organizations to advance OLMC CED priorities;
Support community strategic planning activities that enhance the economic base and competitiveness of Francophone communities, such as strategic and community planning or community mobilization and networking that lead to concrete results;
Develop leadership and engage OLMC youth in management and governance trainee roles with not-for-profit OLMC cultural industries (e.g., radio, television, theatre); and
Improve the capacity of Northern Ontario communities and businesses to address economic and business development needs and opportunities in OLMCs and/or through the adoption or enhanced use of both official languages.

How to Apply?

Please call 1-877-333-6673 to discuss your proposal with a FedNor Officer in your area or begin your application process.

Funding Amount

Determined based on individual applications

Contact Information


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