Economic development

As COVID-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact, the Government of Canada is taking strong action to help all Canadians, no matter where they live, including those in rural and remote areas.

Rural and remote communities are crucial to the economic success of Canada, contributing 30% of the country's GDP. Sectors like mining, forestry, agriculture, fisheries, energy resource extraction, and electricity production are key contributors to the economies of rural and remote communities. The rich natural resources and abundant agriculture sectors of rural and remote communities have a long history as the foundation of the Canadian economy. These industries also support manufacturing, transportation, and tourism and are increasingly investing in innovation and clean technologies.

Through various programs, the Government of Canada is supporting regional economies, businesses and organizations in rural and remote communities.

Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation

The Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program , delivered by Canada's regional development agencies (RDA), provides funding and tailored support in communities across Canada to help create the right environment to start and grow businesses, and create strong and dynamic local economies.

Visit the Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program web page for more information on the program and its progress.

The Community Futures Program

The Community Futures Program funds 267 local community development offices across Canada that provide small business services to people living in rural and remote communities. Each office delivers small business loans, tools, training and events for people wanting to start, expand, franchise or sell a business.

Visit the Community Futures Program web page for more information on the program and its progress.

Strategic Partnerships Initiative

The Strategic Partnerships Initiative promotes partnerships between federal and non-federal groups in key economic areas in support of Indigenous communities. By supporting opportunities that may not be eligible for other federal funding, this initiative provides a way for federal partners to coordinate their efforts to fills gaps that might create a barrier to Indigenous involvement in economic opportunities.

This initiative is led by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and shared by a growing network of federal partners.

Visit the Strategic Partnerships Initiative web page for more information on the program and its progress.

Trade Commissioner Service

Global Affairs Canada's Trade Commissioner Service works with small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), including those in rural and remote areas, to identify and respond to market opportunities around the world. This work helps foster a globally competitive rural and remote business community.

CanExport SMEs provides funding of up to $50,000 per project on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis and personalized advice to help Canadian SMEs break into new international markets.

Visit the Trade Commissioner Service web page for more information on these programs and their progress.

Indigenous Business Development Services

Indigenous Business Development Services provides early stage entrepreneurship support for new and existing Indigenous entrepreneurs and networks. It engages with Indigenous communities and other business development organizations to promote collaboration and the sharing of best practices and services.

Visit the Indigenous Business Development Services web page for more information on the program and its progress.

Canada Small Business Financing Program

The Canada Small Business Financing Program makes it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lenders. Any one borrow can receive up to a maximum of $1,000,000, of which no more than $350,000 can be used for purchasing leasehold improvements or improving leased property and purchasing or improving new or used equipment. Financial institutions deliver the program and are solely responsible for approving the loan.

For more information, download their PDF pamphlet or find a lender near you.

Business Benefits Finder

The Business Benefits Finder at is the government's one-stop shop to help connect businesses across the country with the federal, provincial and territorial programs and services designed to help them recover, grow and scale. After answering a few questions, businesses are provided with a tailored list of programs and services that correspond to their needs.

Visit the Business Benefits Finder web page to access the service.

Innovation Advisors Service

There are over 30 innovation advisors across the country that are well connected with the federal regional offices, regional development agencies and local support networks. They work like a concierge service for businesses and, while their focus is on innovative companies looking to grow, they are well connected within regional ecosystems, so there are also opportunities to further support businesses in rural and remote communities.

Visit the Innovation Advisors web page to find an advisor in your region.

Canada Community Revitalization Fund

The Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) aims to help communities across Canada build and improve community infrastructure projects so they can rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a national investment of $500 million over two years, the CCRF will support not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and other community groups, as well as Indigenous communities in:

  • building new community infrastructure and revitalizing existing assets
  • bringing people back to public spaces safely as health measures ease
  • creating jobs and stimulating local economies

The fund is being delivered by Canada's regional development agencies (RDA).

Jobs and Growth Fund

The Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF) is a $700-million federal program to support regional job creation and position local economies for long-term growth. This includes up to $70 million dedicated to businesses created after January 2020 that meet the eligibility criteria.
The JGF will help job creators and the organizations that support them future-proof their businesses, build resilience and prepare for growth by:

  • supporting the transition to a green economy
  • fostering an inclusive recovery
  • enhancing Canada's competitiveness through digital adoption to improve productivity and manufacturing processes
  • strengthening capacity in sectors critical to Canada's recovery and growth

The fund is being delivered by Canada's regional development agencies (RDA).

Tourism Relief Fund

The Tourism Relief Fund (TRF), administered by Canada's regional development agencies (RDA) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), is a $500 million national program to support the tourism sector in Canada.

The TRF will help position Canada as a destination of choice as domestic and international travel rebounds by:

  • empowering tourism businesses to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors
  • helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors, by providing the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world

Initiatives under this fund will help tourism businesses and organizations:

  • adapt their operations to meet public health requirements
  • improve their products and services
  • position themselves for post-pandemic economic recovery

Regional development agencies

Canada's regional development agencies (RDA) work closely with businesses and innovators in their regions to fuel economic growth that creates more well-paying jobs for Canadians. The RDAs play a key role in advancing and diversifying our regional economies and helping communities thrive. Reach out to your local RDA to find out more.