In today’s competitive business climate, global companies, or those with an interest in having a global presence, can choose to invest anywhere. Ontario competes with jurisdictions around the world that offer significant incentives to business.

We need to be at the table with competitive offers to ensure strategic private sector investments — and the jobs that go with them — come to Ontario and not elsewhere.

Growing the economy and creating jobs is Ontario’s number one priority and is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up. The Jobs and Prosperity Fund and the businesses support programs are part of this economic plan.

The Jobs and Prosperity Fund (JPF) is a 10-year, $2.7 billion fund that allows the government to partner with businesses to enhance productivity, innovation and exports. It is designed to secure strategic anchor and private sector investments while creating and retaining jobs in Ontario.

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) are designed to support economic development in targeted geographical regions. The regional funds and the business stream of the Rural Economic Development Fund — previously administered by the Ontario Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs — will be integrated under the JPF to serve regional and rural communities with a one-window approach.

The Province is committed to delivering effective and targeted business support and to improve coordination across its programs with the goal of promoting a highly productive, innovation-based and export-focused economy.

The JPF fulfills Ontario’s Strategic Investment Framework to continue to build up our future high-growth economic capacity, with investment decisions guided by the principles of productivity, innovation and exports.

Another key pillar of the Province’s commitment to further enhance Ontario’s global competitiveness is the Business Growth Initiative, which will invest $400 million over five years to support economic growth and job creation by promoting an innovation-based economy. It helps small- and medium-sized firms scale up and modernizes regulations to improve interactions between businesses and government and save businesses time and money, while protecting workers and the environment.

How projects are assessed

Each project is assessed using quantitative methodology to ensure objectivity and rigour. Assessment is driven by dollar value and risk, and includes a phased, multi-ministry review process with external technical and financial due diligence (when required by the program).

Performance metrics are used to evaluate the effectiveness and long-term impact of business support. Assessments are modelled on the Province’s Strategic Investment Framework.

To identify the best opportunities for Ontario’s economy, the scorecard is consistently applied for all investment proposals. Areas of assessment include demonstrating:

  • economic impact of the project
  • how the project improves on productivity, innovation, and exports
  • how investments would increase
  • how it aligns with the sector or cluster
  • return on investment
  • technical and financial due diligence

Performance measurement

Companies that have received investment support are obligated to report on a number of performance measures as part of each project grant/loan agreement.

Performance measures are designed to indicate how well each project is achieving its commitments as defined by the agreement.

How funding is released

Funding is disbursed to successful projects in stages as the company reaches agreed-upon milestones. For example, a specific number of jobs created and a specific amount of private money invested as agreed to in each project grant/loan agreement.

If it cannot be demonstrated that specific milestones have been met, the province is under no obligation to release any funding to the project. Each contract also includes a number of provisions that can be enforced if the contract obligations are not met. These range from funding cut backs to contract termination.

These are in place to ensure that projects follow through on their commitments to create jobs and bring investment to Ontario, protecting the Province’s strategic investments in job creation and growth.

Jobs and Prosperity Fund streams

$784 million in total government funding has been committed to 19 projects: $734 million to the New Economy Stream, $7.5 million to the Food and Beverage Growth Fund, and $42.2 million to the Strategic Partnerships Stream.

For a variety of reasons, including our rigorous assessment process, some project applicants for JPF funding are not successful. In some cases, projects are deemed ineligible for funding based on the specifics of the application, and in others the application is voluntarily withdrawn by the applicant.

New Economy Stream

The New Economy Stream builds partnerships with organizations and makes strategic investments that strongly correlate to building research and development capacity, improving productivity, boosting competitiveness and increasing global reach. The fund aims to:

  • build innovation capacity
  • improve productivity, performance and competitiveness
  • expand export and trade opportunities
  • increase job creation capacity

A total of 14 projects were approved and underway as of March 31, 2016. During this period, the province committed $734.03 million in total funding support.

Food and Beverage Growth Fund

The Food and Beverage Growth Fund provides funding for food, beverage and bio product projects. These projects help:

  • create and retain jobs
  • strengthen supply chains
  • enhance innovation and productivity
  • increase market access

Three projects, representing over $7.5 million in total funding support, were approved as at March 31, 2016.

Strategic Partnerships Stream

The Strategic Partnerships Stream aims to increase the adoption of advanced technologies and the creation of next-generation products and services. This stream supports transformative, large-scale projects within an open innovation model that brings together resources of Ontario-based anchor firms, postsecondary institutions, entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Each partnership focuses on an advanced or disruptive technology with the potential to transform a wide range of Ontario’s priority sectors and industries. Adopting disruptive technologies, will help increase productivity, foster innovation and help companies enter global markets.

To date, the Strategic Partnerships Stream has approved funding for two investments totalling $42.16 million in provincial support.

The first of these 2 investments will help bring 50 promising young life sciences and health sector businesses to Ontario. The second will help up to 500 SMEs fast-track the launch of new technologies and products to international clients and further grow the province’s knowledge economy.

Forestry Growth Fund

The Forestry Growth Fund is a new JPF stream approved in the 2015 Ontario budget. The fund launched in February 2016. Investments are evaluated using the JPFcommon governance structure, processes/systems and an adapted scorecard.

The Forestry Growth Fund provides strategic investments in the sector that:

  • improve productivity and innovation
  • enhance competitiveness
  • support new market access
  • strengthen supply chains and regional economies

This fund is available to manufacturers and processors of wood and forest biomass across Ontario, including saw mills, pulp and paper mills, secondary wood manufacturing, and bio-economy projects with at least $5 million in eligible costs.

At the time of this report, no projects were at the approval stage. Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth are working closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in identifying and assessing Forestry Growth Fund initiatives.

Regional funds

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) support projects that create and retain jobs, encourage the introduction of new technologies, assist private sector firms, communities and sector groups to pursue growth in new markets, improve their competitive position, and ultimately, contribute to the diversification of the economy of specific regions of the province. These funds provide grants and loans to businesses and municipalities to support projects that will attract investment and support job creation in the region.

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF)

From January 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016, 48 contracts were signed for EODF projects. The $32.8 million in Ontario support will secure over $308 million in private sector investment, amounting to more than $9 of private sector investment for every $1 of Ontario financial support. These projects will result in commitments to support 6,326 total jobs.

For the purposes of the EODF program, Eastern Ontario includes the following 15 geographic areas under the Territorial Division Act, 2002: Frontenac, Haliburton, Hastings, Kawartha Lakes, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Lennox and Addington, Muskoka, Northunmberland, Ottawa, Peterborough, Prescott and Russell, Prince Edward, Renfrew and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)

From January 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016, 121 contracts were signed for SWODFprojects. The $90.6 million in Ontario support will secure over $949 million in private sector investment; that’s more than $10 of private sector investment for every $1 of Ontario financial support. In addition, these projects will result in commitments to support 24,879 total jobs.

For the purposes of the SWODF program, Southwestern Ontario includes the following 18 geographic areas under the Territorial Divisions Act, 2002: Brant, Bruce, Chatham-Kent, Dufferin, Elgin, Essex, Grey, Haldimand, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Niagara, Norfolk, Oxford, Perth, Simcoe, Waterloo, Wellington.

Independent and third-party review and analysis of MEDG’s regional funds determined that they provide lasting benefits and value for participating firms, as well as the province, with the majority continuing to experience both revenue and job growth after projects have been completed.

Updated: January 27, 2017
Published: September 21, 2016