Government of Canada establishes FedNor as a standalone agency to better serve Northern Ontario

Left to right: Terry Sheehan, MP Sault Ste. Marie and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Economic Development (FedNor) and Official Languages Marc Serré, MP Nickel Belt Marcus Powlowski, MP Thunder Bay-Rainy River.

Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are critical to accelerating recovery efforts, fueling the economy, creating jobs, and maximizing growth opportunities in municipalities and Indigenous communities across the country.

The Government of Canada has laid out a plan, through Budget 2021, to set businesses on a track for long-term growth, and ensure that Canada’s future will be healthier, more equitable, greener, and more prosperous. This includes ensuring Canadians living and working in Northern Ontario can benefit from a full-fledged RDA that will serve the specific economic development needs and priorities of the businesses, organizations and communities in the region.

“The people of Northern Ontario clearly expressed their desire to have a strong voice at the table and for the region to have its own independent agency. We heard you. By making FedNor a standalone agency, we are giving it more autonomy over its administration, and more independence, ensuring it is well positioned to respond directly to the unique needs of businesses, organizations and communities across Northern Ontario.”  The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor

Terry Sheehan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister responsible for FedNor, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor, today announced the creation of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, better known as FedNor. FedNor, which previously operated as an initiative of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, will now function as a standalone agency for economic development in Northern Ontario.

An agency to serve the unique needs of Northern Ontario

Since 1987, FedNor has served as the federal economic development organization for Northern Ontario, helping entrepreneurs start and grow businesses and create the conditions for the development of strong, dynamic and inclusive regional innovation ecosystems. Following through on its commitment in Budget 2021, the Government of Canada is establishing FedNor as a standalone agency, giving it more independence to enable it to better respond to the region’s economic development needs. Transforming FedNor into a standalone agency was a decision made in response to feedback and significant support from community and business leaders.

“This is a great day for Northern Ontario. Our government is honouring its commitment in Budget 2021 to provide the people of Northern Ontario with an agency of its own that is on par with the Regional Development Agencies in other parts of the country. Through FedNor, the federal government has made unprecedented investments in the region to provide businesses with vital support while saving thousands of jobs during these challenging times.”  Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor

Addressing the economic impact of COVID-19

As part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, FedNor has demonstrated its ability to quickly deliver special programs such as the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to support businesses and organizations  impacted by the pandemic. FedNor is also delivering four additional programs that will inject nearly $83 million in new funding into the region over the next few years. These new programs were launched earlier this summer and include the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, Tourism Relief Fund, Jobs and Growth Fund and the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative.

“Our government is taking action to ensure that Canadians living and working in Northern Ontario can fully benefit from having their own Regional Development Agency. This much anticipated development will position our region for success and will help create more business opportunities, grow our economy and create the middle-class jobs of tomorrow.”  The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North, and Minister of Health

Now one of Canada’s seven Regional Development Agencies, FedNor will be better positioned to respond to Northern Ontario’s needs with an array of strategic and well-funded programming. Businesses, communities and organizations are invited to contact FedNor or visit its website at ( to find out how, together, we can strengthen and grow the region’s economy.





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