Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Community-Focused Rural Economic Development Program is Open for Applications

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program helps rural communities remove barriers to community economic development, through support for planning and implementation projects that benefit rural Ontario.

The program is now open and will accept applications until March 31, 2017. A second intake is scheduled for July 31, 2017 to September 29, 2017.

The RED program supports the government’s plan to create jobs, grow the economy, and help people in their everyday lives by:

  • Helping remove barriers to economic development for rural communities, Indigenous communities and organizations, and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Helping rural communities identify their economic strengths and develop strategies to attract business and investment which will help to retain and create jobs.
  • Helping rural communities and partners to be in a more competitive economic position so that they can diversify and grow their local economies – making economic growth more inclusive so that Ontario’s growing economy delivers real benefits to rural Ontario.

Applicants are required to read the program guidelines before completing the application.

For more information on the program, including guidelines, applications, and approved projects, please visit Ontario.ca/REDprogram.

Staff Profile: Kim Reep

kim Reep headshot

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch? 

I am the Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor for the Niagara region. I support communities with economic development opportunities. I am often the first point of contact in the process of accessing the programs, tools and resources delivered by OMAFRA’s, Regional Economic Development Branch.

What initiatives or projects are you currently working on?

I recently participated as a panelist in a discussion about how Niagara might move forward in creating multi-level collaborations that serve agriculture and food in Niagara and beyond.

I also had the pleasure of facilitating a discussion with the Ontario cider industry that involved 32 participants from across the value chain. The session involved individual growers, the Craft Cider Association, The Apple Growers Association, researchers and the LCBO. The goal was to identify the top priorities that need to be addressed in order to enable the industry to grow.

Continue reading Staff Profile: Kim Reep

Three Things We Learned From The Teeny Tiny Summit

The first-ever “Teeny Tiny Summit” was held on March 30, 2016 in Seeley’s Bay. The summit was dedicated to community economic development in Ontario’s smallest places and was coordinated by the Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Teeny Tiny Places have the following characteristics:

  • Rural geography
  • Villages or hamlets with populations under 1000
  • No economic development staff
  • No strong drivers of economic growth
  • Stable or declining population

Continue reading Three Things We Learned From The Teeny Tiny Summit

Ontario Craft Brewery Ramps Up Production with Growing Forward 2 funding

Time is always in short supply when you run a business. It is something Brent Davies always seems to run out of. He is vice president and co-owner of Wellington Brewery, so finding the time to look into funding opportunities just never seems to rise to the top of his priority pile.

“When you are a small company, and trying to do everything, you just don’t have the manpower to investigate funding options,” says Brent. “But after successfully accessing three cost-sharing projects through Growing Forward 2, I would encourage other small business to find the time. It’s a well-run program and worth the effort.” Continue reading Ontario Craft Brewery Ramps Up Production with Growing Forward 2 funding

Staff Profile: Vicki Lass

vicki head and shoulders 2015Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas.

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch? 

I get to spend my work day doing an amazingly diverse set of activities as an Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor covering Lambton, Huron and Perth Counties. I work on projects to assist with job retention, attraction, growing the tax base and improving quality of life. The work I do helps make rural Ontario an attractive place to live, work and play. Continue reading Staff Profile: Vicki Lass

Agri-Food Innovations Recognized at Award Ceremony in Sudbury

The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence recognizes and celebrates agri-food producers, processors, organizations and rural communities, who through their innovative ideas and projects are helping strengthen our communities, support a sustainable environment, create jobs and boost our economy.

The following are regional award recipients from Algoma, Sudbury and Timiskaming Districts.

Mill Market – Sault Ste. Marie

In many communities, farmers’ markets close up shop when the frost hits, sending the local food movement into hibernation. After all, outdoor stalls lose their appeal in sub-zero temperatures. That’s why organizer’s in Sault Ste. Marie decided to move their market indoors to keep the doors open year-round. A former fish hatchery in the city’s historic canal district was repurposed, and in 2014, the new Mill Market opened. Continue reading Agri-Food Innovations Recognized at Award Ceremony in Sudbury

Staff Profile: Barry Potter, Agriculture Development Advisor

Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas. Barry Potter

  1. What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?

I cover all of Northern Ontario as an Agriculture Development Advisor with a Livestock specialty. I work with the other advisors in the north, and provincial teams on livestock projects.  I work closely with Daniel Tasse, fellow advisor in New Liskeard to cover general agriculture economic development questions in the districts of Temiskaming and Cochrane. Continue reading Staff Profile: Barry Potter, Agriculture Development Advisor

Celebrating Ontario’s Leaders in Agri-Food Innovation

As part of Ontario Agriculture Week, we wanted to highlight some of the past Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence winners, who contribute to the success of the Ontario’s Agri-Food sector. The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program recognizes innovation that creates new products, improves existing products, helps in the creation of new jobs and ultimately strengthens economic growth in Ontario. In 2014, 50 award recipients from across the province were recognized. Continue reading Celebrating Ontario’s Leaders in Agri-Food Innovation

Staff Profile: Catherine Oosterbaan, Ec.D.

Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas. 

1. What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?  

Catherine Oosterbaan, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor
Catherine Oosterbaan, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor

As an Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, my role is to promote Ministry programs, while helping municipalities, rural stakeholders, and businesses access them. That can involve anything from presenting information, to helping clients refine a funding application, to delivering program-related training and workshops. I also deliver a range of advisory supports, provide knowledge and assistance to get projects, initiatives and other rural prosperity related activities started, get on-track or expand. Furthermore, as facilitating economic development readiness is of critical importance to our branch, I work with stakeholders to complete economic development related strategic planning activities. I am currently responsible for covering Simcoe County, and Muskoka District. Continue reading Staff Profile: Catherine Oosterbaan, Ec.D.

Staff Profile: Heather Candler

Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas. 

Heather Candler
Heather Candler, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?  I have the pleasure of working as an Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor out of the Brighton office in Eastern Ontario.  I work with rural Eastern Ontario communities in both Northumberland and Haliburton Counties on economic development initiatives. Continue reading Staff Profile: Heather Candler