Ministerial Transition Binder

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FedNor was first created as a federal initiative in 1987 with a mandate to assist in the expansion and diversification of the economy of Northern Ontario. On August 12, 2021, FedNor was established as a standalone agency, confirming the importance of its role.

FedNor responds according to Northern Ontario’s specific issues

Contextual issues


Stagnant population growth
  • Population: 877,700 (5.9% ofOntario and 2.3% of Canada)
  • Older age profile 65+ (21.7%)
  • Almost 60% of populationconcentrated in 5 cities
  • Francophone population (121,400) represents 15% of region’s population
  • Indigenous population (130,600) represents 16% of region’s population
  • Low international immigration


Concentrated in natural resources with opportunities to diversify
  • Population: 877,700 (5.9% ofOntario and 2.3% of Canada)
  • Older age profile 65+ (21.7%)
  • Almost 60% of populationconcentrated in 5 cities
  • Francophone population(121,400) represents 15% ofregion’s population
  • Indigenous population(130,600) represents 16% ofregion’s population
  • Low international immigration


Disparity between urban and rural communities
  • Large geographycomprising of 90% ofOntario’s landmass
  • Significant disparitiesbetween large centres,medium-sized cities andrural/remote areas (broadband, sectors, jobcreation)
  • 150 municipalities, of which80% have a population of2,000 or less and 105 FirstNations communities

Impacts of the pandemic

An economy on pause

  • By spring 2021, overall business activity had increased more than the provincial average in many centres, but total employment levels remained below average
  • Significant revenue reductions continue for almost half of regional business

A tepid recovery

  • Vigilance at the dawn of a 4th wave
  • Uncertainty for recovery in accommodation and food services, tourism and retail trade along with single-industry communities
  • Historical areas of challenge for Northern Ontario continue to impact development

Community/Sectoral Impacts of COVID-19

Deeply affected sectors with ongoing struggles Deeply affected

  • US market reliance, border restrictions and closures
  • Signature tourist attractions heavily impacted
  • Higher food prices and increased distribution

Mildly affected sectors maintaining a level of activity Mildly affected

  • Increased operating costs
  • Supply chain interruptions and transportation challenges; re-tooling to supply PPE
  • Venture Capital investment down

Growing sectors poised to take advantage of opportunities Growing

  • Pause on exploration projects but large recovery innovative opportunities to supply products and support
  • Minor early impact on productivity
  • Metal prices fell then slight rebound

Regional Sectors

The Far North - Home to 30 Remote First Nations

  • Forestry Mildly affected
  • Mining Growing


  • Retail Deeply affected
  • Forestry Mildly affected
  • Transportation Mildly affected
  • Mining Growing


  • Retail Deeply affected
  • Mining Supply and Services Mildly affected
  • Mining Growing
  • Health and Life Sciences Growing

North Bay

  • Services Deeply affected
  • Tourism Deeply affected
  • Transportation Mildly affected
  • Forestry Mildly affected
  • Mining Growing

Muskoka / Parry Sound

  • Tourism Deeply affected
  • Manufacturing Mildly affected

Sault Ste Marie

  • Steel Mildly affected
  • Alternative energy Mildly affected
  • Forestry Mildly affected
  • Information Technology Growing

Thunder Bay

  • Tourism Deeply affected
  • Manufacturing Mildly affected
  • Forestry Mildly affected
  • Health and Life Sciences Growing


  • Tourism Deeply affected
  • Forestry Mildly affected
  • Mining Growing

How our programs adapt

Government of Canada priorities

  • Informs thinking on government priorities
  • Implementation based on actual regional needs on the ground

Coordinated response to the extent possible

  • Complementarity and synergy of interventions; intersectoral cooperation as well as between different levels of government

Flexibility in the implementation

  • Differentiated program modalities according to the areas of intervention

Credible antennas on the ground

  • Regional presence
  • Local knowledge: regional realities influence how challenges are experienced and addressed

Analytical perspective adapted to the context

  • Interventions modulated according to local realities, and for results that respond to real needs

Responsive design of intervention programs and measures

  • For a diversified clientele (SMEs, NPOs, communities, clusters, universities, etc.)
  • For a variety of projects based on the comparative advantages of the regions
  • Through flexible financial tools

Our core programs

  • Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI)
  • Northern Ontario Development Program (NODP)
  • Community Futures Program (CFP)
  • Economic Development Initiative (EDI)

Our temporary programs

  • Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES)
  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
  • Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI)
  • Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP)
  • Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF)
  • Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF)
  • Tourism Relief Fund (TRF)
  • Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI)

Priorities driven by regional realities

Prosperity and Growth Strategy for Northern Ontario (PGSNO)

A plan for economic development, inclusiveness and success

Supporting Innovation
Growing Companies
Building Stronger Communities
Shared priorities
Expand and strengthen the regional innovation ecosystems to support competitive businesses and clean growth
Enhance the delivery of supports for business start-ups, scale-ups and clusters to grow competitive companies and stimulate economic growth
Help communities better respond to opportunities and challenges

Expand regional ecosystems and clusters

Expand access to capital opportunities

Strengthen linkages

Increase support for incubators, accelerators and innovation hubs

Support competitive businesses reach new markets

Invest in potential growth sectors

Develop and grow Indigenous businesses and women entrepreneurship

Leverage employment opportunities for a bilingual workforce

Build the economic development capacity of rural and Indigenous communities

Invest in key community and regional infrastructure

Develop an attraction and retention strategy for Northern Ontario

Focus youth and skills programs to address gaps

Expected outcomes

Increased exports

Increased technology adoption by companies

More opportunities for Indigenous peoples and enterprises

More opportunities for women entrepreneurs

Value-added jobs

More skilled and trade workers

Communities can better respond to opportunities

Stronger innovation ecosystem

Our clients: SMEs and the organizations that support them

Profile of SMEs in Northern Ontario
1-4 employees 12,280
5-9 employees 5,480
10-19 employees 3,880
20-99 employees 3,370
100-499 employees 475
Proportion of SMEs majority-owned by individuals of Indigenous decent 4 %
Sectors with largest proportion of employment
  • Acommodation and food services
  • Retail trade
  • Construction
Concentrated sectors of activity unique to the region
  • Mining
  • Forestry
  • Primary metal manufacturing
  • Support activities for mining

Types of NPOs supported (Not exhaustive)

  • Industrial clusters
  • Incubators/accelerators
  • Indigenous NPOs
  • Tourism industry associations
  • Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs)

Success stories

Regional Economic Growth through Innovation

Norgalv brought clean advanced galvanizing technology to Northern Ontario (North Bay) thanks to a $1.3 million repayable contribution from FedNor. The funding helped establish a 35,000-square-foot galvanizing plant – the first of its calibre in Ontario and the second in Canada – to service Northern Ontario fabricators in the mining supply and services industry, creating 35 jobs with more expected.

Northern Ontario Development Program

One Human Service Network, launched an innovative digital service that connects parents with childcare service providers thanks to the assistance of a $588,000 repayable contribution from FedNor. With the loan, the small high-tech company in Sault Ste. Marie developed Childcare Connect, a centralized digital platform that helps maximize childcare access, affordability and quality for families and children. As a result the company has created six more highly skilled jobs.

Community Futures Program

Lecours Motor Sales took advantage of a loan from the Northeastern Ontario Investment Pool, administered by the Nord-Aski Regional Economic Development Corporation in Hearst. The Community Futures loan enabled the car dealership to expand its operations and shift gears to design, modify and service hi-rail vehicles. Ten new jobs were created as a result.

Regional Air Transportation Initiative in Northern Ontario

The Thunder Bay International Airports Authority received $3.5 million through FedNor to help it mitigate financial pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and enable it to provide service to airlines when travel volumes return. The funding is expected to maintain 27.5 jobs, as well as support regional connectivity and charter service for essential services, including access to remote First Nation communities.

How do we add value?

FedNor projects in fiscal 2020-21 provided well needed relief to businesses and communities to help them survive and be in a position to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This represented:

  • $164.9 million in authorized assistance
  • 332 projects

Delivered more than 2.5x funding than typical year.

Results and impacts in 2020-2021

Approximately 11,100 jobs were created or maintained as a direct result of FedNor projects including RRRF

Over 3,300 businesses were maintained, expanded or created as a direct result of FedNor projects including RRRF

$1.90 = Amount leveraged per dollar invested in community projects in Northern Ontario

Key messages

  • Since 1987, FedNor has served as the Government of Canada's economic development organization for Northern Ontario.
  • Through its programs and services, and through its financial support of projects that lead to job creation and economic growth, FedNor works with businesses, organizations and community partners to build a stronger Northern Ontario.
  • The creation of FedNor as a Regional Development Agency (RDA) in August 2021 responds to a need identified by Northern Ontario community and business leaders over the years.
  • Canada’s RDAs are critical to accelerating recovery efforts, fueling the economy, creating jobs, and maximizing growth opportunities in municipalities and Indigenous communities across the country.

FedNor, in brief

Organizational chart presenting the organizational structure of CED (simplified version).
Organizational structure
  • Minister
    • President (Manon Brassard, FedNor Interim President)
      • Chief of Staff Corporate Secretary
      • Special Advisor
      • Program Delivery
        • Director
        • Manager, Northeast
        • Manager, Northcentral
        • Manager, Northwest
        • Manager, Payments and Monitoring
        • Manager, Programs/GCPM
      • Policy, Planning and Coordination
        • Director
        • Manager, Program Policy and Development
        • Manager, Planning, Analysis and Coordination
      • Corporate Services
        • Manager
        • Manager, Information Technology
      • Communications
        • Director
Regions of FedNor program delivery area

FedNor currently counts 87 staff across its offices, with its headquarters in Sudbury, and staff in other offices: Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Timmins, Kenora, and Ottawa.

Text version: Regions of FedNor program delivery area
FedNor has a head office in Sudbury and six business offices that cover the entire territory of Northern Ontario:
  • Sudbury
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • Thunder Bay
  • North Bay
  • Timmins
  • Kenora
  • Manitoulin Island (Little Current)