Competing and growing in today’s fast-changing marketplace requires regular investments in equipment, training staff or adopting new technology. That’s why Ontario is introducing a program designed to help your business access resources that will lead to growth, and to help you get government services to bring your project to life.
The Regional Development Program (RDP) — Southwestern Ontario Development Fund — can help your business expand operations, improve productivity and become more globally competitive. In addition to potential financial support (loans and in some cases, grants), the RDP is using an updated, streamlined approach to help you get the right services from across government to support and expedite your project.
Who can apply
Businesses with 5 or more employees (if located in a rural community) with three years of operating experience and financial statements. See program guidelines for full eligibility criteria.
Eligible project criteria
- Project investments of at least $200,000 (if in a rural community), and
- Projects that will invest in equipment, technology and/or staff training, and
- Projects that lead to broad economic impacts and new jobs (MINIMUM 30% increase in employee base)
- Projects should be in sectors that play a role in long-term economic sustainability with higher multiplier effects.
- Projects in the following sectors are not eligible for support: primary production, retail, construction (e.g., residential development), personal services, consulting, electricity generation, waste management, recycling, information and communication services, academic research, and stand-alone restaurants and hotels (unless transformative and considered a regional priority).
- Project facilities & infrastructure: Project facility construction/modifications/upgrades; Site servicing, power service upgrades, etc. (Not eligible: Purchase of land and buildings)
- Equipment and Machinery: Equipment and machinery e.g. new technology, new high-performance equipment and machinery (Not eligible: Vehicles, off-site equipment)
- Labour: One-time labour directly related to project (e.g. costs to set up/commission new equipment, technology or systems for the project); Incremental specialized labour (e.g. Research and Development) to a maximum of two years (Not eligible: Ongoing operational and production labour costs)
- Materials: One time materials for the project
- Specialized Expertise: Costs of specialized expertise required for the project including third-party engineering services, software development, management, etc.
- Training and Talent Costs: Skills training, including employer-provided training; Training materials and infrastructure; With limits, third party costs related to training for owners and/or management, to address specific business needs.; Cost to develop human resource strategy and/or succession plan (see guidelines); With limits, costs for recruitment to attract talent required for company. (Not eligible: Training costs supported by other provincial training programs; Wages of staff being trained)
- Other: Permits & fees. (Not eligible: Working capital).
Every business that applies will have access to complementary services which are tailored to the project’s needs. These advisory services could include:
• Environmental compliance approvals;
• Addressing skills and talent needs; and
• Leveraging available tax credits.
How to apply
Applications will be accepted four times a year and applicants will know within 60 business days after the application deadline if their application has been successful. To learn more, including information on application details, eligibility and important deadlines, visit: ontario.ca/regionaldevelopment or grants.gov.on.ca.
- Intake #1: December 2, 2019 – January 20, 2020.
- Intake #2: March 5, 2020 – April 20, 2020.
- Intake #3: June 4, 2020 – July 20, 2020.
- Intake #4: Sept 3, 2020 – October 19, 2020.
Regional Advisor contact information:
Laura Gibson, Senior Business Advisor, Email: Laura.s.Gibson@Ontario.ca
Business Projects – loan & grant terms
Funding up to 15% of eligible costs
Performance Based Loan
- Loan of up to 15% of eligible project costs to a maximum of $5 million.
- Loans are interest free during the project period (up to four years).
- Up to 30% of the loan will be forgiven to a maximum of $500,000 if the company meets its investment, job and payroll targets. In the event of a shortfall the forgivable portion will be reduced.
- Companies can repay loans without penalty, however, typically the principal repayment is spread equally over four years after the Project Completion Date.
- During the repayment period interest will be charged at Ontario’s cost of borrowing plus 3%.
- Applicants will be required to enter into a loan agreement and provide security satisfactory to the Province.
Conditional Grant – Only available in limited circumstances
- Small AND Rural companies up to a maximum of $500,000
- Small = a company with less than 100 FTEs
- Rural = located in a municipality with a population of less than 100,000 people, or a population density of 100 people per square kilometre or less
- Strategic new investments to Ontario (companies without a presence in Ontario), or companies whose investment plans (including new mandates, expansions or reshoring or location/relocation) are subject to significant/substantive risk due to incentives offered from other jurisdictions – up to a maximum of $1.5M
Important to note
- Funding clawbacks if investment, job and payroll targets not met
- Company is held to “job footprint”; defaults if closure of Ontario facility
How funding is disbursed:
- Disbursements will be made in arrears, paid in annual instalments
- In some cases (e.g. loans) an initial payment of up to 20% may be considered
- For grants, a performance payment will be disbursed after the project has been completed