By: The Working Forest Staff
QUEEN’S PARK – The Ontario government is launching new and improved Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) programs to help increase economic development and promote job creation in the North. The four new programs will target existing and emerging markets, support more projects in small rural communities, address the skilled labour shortage and make it easier for more people and businesses to apply.
“Our government took every opportunity to engage with northern municipal leaders, Indigenous partners, non-profits and businesses to seek feedback on how we can modernize NOHFC programs and better respond to the unique needs of the North,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and MPP for Kenora-Rainy River. “Our new programming will streamline the application process and help build strong and resilient local economies by making targeted investments in northern businesses, community organizations, and municipalities – bringing good jobs and prosperity to every corner of Northern Ontario.”
The following new programs begin today and replace the NOHFC’s existing programs:
- The Community Enhancement Program will facilitate upgrades and repairs to vital community assets, such as recreational facilities, community centres and broadband infrastructure that contribute to improved quality of life and support strategic economic development initiatives
- The Cultural Supports Program will promote and showcase Northern Ontario’s culture, geography, and talent through the production of films and television series and by supporting events, such as conferences and festivals that elevate the profile of communities
- TheInvest North Program will boost economic growth and attract more investment to the North by supporting business development and expansion, as well as research and commercialization of new technologies
- The People and Talent Program will attract, develop, and retain a strong northern workforce by supporting a broader range of internships and apprenticeships and providing more opportunities for Indigenous people to gain job experience
“These exciting new programs will improve and simplify funding delivery to communities and businesses across Northern Ontario,” said Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing. “As we work together to recover as a province from the effects of COVID-19, new and improved supports for infrastructure, culture, economic development, and training will ensure that our North thrives and emerges stronger than ever before.”
“It’s great to see the reopening of funding applications to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “The NOHFC has played a critical role in helping many businesses in Northern Ontario adapt and recover from the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses in Sault Ste. Marie have shown incredible community spirit and resilience but are eager to get back to work. Opening up applications again will help our businesses continue to diversify and grow our local economy.”
“The NOHFC programs have always been a great support to northern businesses,” said Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka. “However, I have often heard about difficulties accessing them due to the onerous application process. The changes announced today directly address this concern and will greatly assist businesses and communities in Northern Ontario moving forward. I am particularly pleased to see attention being given to broadband infrastructure, job training and apprenticeships.”
Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $262 million in 2,549 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $1.1 billion in investment and creating or sustaining 4,771 jobs. A running list of projects that received NOHFC funding can be found on the corporation’s website.