FedDev Ontario is working with Franco-Ontarian businesses and organizations to reopen our economy

News release

Government of Canada invests $4.5 million to support the relief and recovery of businesses and organizations in Franco-Ontarian communities across southern Ontario

July 9, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses and communities across the country. From the outset, the Government of Canada has taken action to support sectors affected by the pandemic, including the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), launched on May 13.

Igniting economic recovery for Franco-Ontarian businesses

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, official languages minority communities (OLMCs) have experienced revenue reductions and financial hardship. With Ontario’s economy reopening, businesses need assistance to help rebuild their revenues and support new re-opening expenditures, such as acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and re-tooling physical storefronts to adopt social distancing measures.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced a $4.5-million RRRF investment in three not-for-profit organizations to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and organizations across southern Ontario.

These organizations will provide non-repayable contributions as follows:

  • l’Assemblée de francophonie de l’Ontario and the Prescott Russell Community Development Corporation (CDC) will receive a combined contribution of $3 million to deliver funding to OLMC SMEs and community organizations with an economic focus, including social enterprises and not-for-profit cooperatives. Funding of up to $20,000 is available to help SMEs in southern Ontario OLMCs with the costs of reopening their businesses.
  • In addition to financial support, OLMC organizations and SMEs require access to business advisory services to assist in pivoting their businesses for success and viability in the post-COVID economy. For this reason, FedDev Ontario is also investing $1.5 million for Societé Économique de l’Ontario (SÉO) to deliver targeted technical advisory services to OLMC businesses and cooperatives across southern Ontario. For information on how to access their services, please visit SÉO’s website.

Through these investments, 460 Franco-Ontarian organizations and SMEs will be supported across southern Ontario.


“We are helping Francophone businesses affected by the pandemic to meet the challenges they are facing in this new reality. This funding is an additional boost for the Franco-Ontarian community to help it thrive and succeed in a post-COVID economy. We are working hard to help businesses come back stronger than ever.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

"Through this FedDev Ontario investment we are supporting vulnerable businesses to finance critical costs needed to re-open and prosper in the recovery stage of this pandemic. With the help of these not-for-profit regional partners, we can create meaningful support for OLMCs and ensure inclusive participation in southern Ontario’s economy."
– Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario)

“We realized from the outset of the health crisis that the consequences of this crisis would be disastrous for Ontario’s Francophone community if the government did not offer financial support. This new fund will make it possible to meet some of the Franco-Ontarian community’s expectations.” 
– Carol Jolin, President, Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario

“Today’s funding announcement is further evidence that the Government of Canada is committed to staying focused on economic recovery, jobs and prosperity in the communities of southern Ontario. The support provided will help our Francophone businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations to rebuild their business or organization while bolstering the economic growth and prosperous development of official language minority communities.” 
– Eric Drouin, President, Prescott-Russell Community Development Corporation

“Among the core values of the Société Économique de l’Ontario (SÉO), innovation and the opportunity creation are very important. We are honoured by FedDev Ontario’s confidence in our organization to play a key role in rebuilding and restarting businesses in southern Ontario. The project that we will develop in collaboration with the Conseil de la Coopération de l’Ontario (CCO) is firmly solution-oriented and focused on working closely with entrepreneurs to help revive Ontario’s economy.” 
– Denis Laframboise, President, Société Économique de l’Ontario

Quick facts

  • Ontario has a Francophone population of more than 744,000, representing the largest Francophone community in Canada outside of Quebec.

  • Founded in 2006, l’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario is a provincial not-for-profit organization, headquartered in Ottawa, dedicated to addressing priority issues for French-speaking Ontarians.

  • Established in 2001 and headquartered in Ottawa, Societé Economique de l'Ontario is a provincial network that takes an innovative approach to economic development, entrepreneurship and employment that engages all of the Francophone and bilingual community’s stakeholders in fostering the prosperity of Ontario and Canada.

  • Established in 1986, the Prescott-Russell Community Development Corporation, headquartered in Hawkesbury, is a not-for-profit support agency for local economic development in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. It also delivers federal programming in support of OLMC communities across all of southern Ontario.

  • The national $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) and supports SMEs across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. In southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario is delivering $213 million to provide short-term financial relief and help businesses recover.

  • Since 2010, FedDev Ontario has invested over $17.5 million in Francophone entrepreneurs and organizations in southern Ontario.

Associated links


Alexander Cohen
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official

Media Relations
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

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