Government of Canada supports revitalization of main streets and neighbourhoods across southern Ontario

News release

FedDev Ontario invests over $23 million to bring people back to southern Ontario’s main streets, supporting recovery of almost 5,000 local businesses and protecting more than 3,000 jobs

August 13, 2021 - Hamilton, Ontario

Southern Ontario main streets gather tourists and locals alike to enjoy all that our communities have to offer while supporting local businesses and attractions. While the global pandemic has greatly impacted all businesses and main streets through health restrictions and reduced foot traffic, the Government of Canada is committed to helping our local businesses rebuild and bringing people back to southern Ontario’s main streets.  

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, announced a $23.25 million FedDev Ontario investment to support the recovery and revitalization of main streets across southern Ontario through the launch of the My Main Street initiative. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

My Main Street brings together the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) and Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) to help support the revitalization of 200 neighbourhoods across southern Ontario. As part of this investment, EDCO is receiving a non-repayable contribution of $13.25-million to enable the hiring of local Main Street ambassadors to provide advisory services to local businesses and attract a new generation of local entrepreneurs to fill vacant storefronts in these neighborhoods. The investment includes funding of up to $10,000 for eligible businesses to implement their growth plans. 

With a $10-million non-repayable investment, the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) will work with not-for-profit organizations in communities across southern Ontario to help reanimate neighbourhoods, through installations, events and activities that will help to drive foot traffic back to main streets. The funding delivered through CUI will also help communities develop main street recovery action plans, that will create a roadmap for neighbourhoods to recover post-pandemic.

CUI and EDCO will implement specific measures through their programming to support an inclusive main street recovery, through targeted support for racialized neighborhoods and measures to reduce the barriers faced by underrepresented groups.

These investments will support 3,000 jobs and nearly 5,000 businesses across southern Ontario and further demonstrate the Government of Canada’s commitment to help locally-owned businesses thrive while restoring vitality and commercial foot traffic to local neighborhoods. 


“Small businesses are at the heart of our cities. They bring us together, support our communities and contribute to the vibrancy of our neighbourhoods. This investment is a testament to our government’s dedication to delivering an inclusive recovery plan to support all communities, including marginalized groups which have been impacted by COVID-19.”
- The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas

“Our main streets are part of what makes our cities unique and vibrant. Our government is proud to support southern Ontario to help retail and main street businesses regain their footing, bring people back to local shops and restaurants while protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for employment.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario 

“The revitalization of Ontario’s main streets needs to focus on creating inclusive local economies that build on local resources and capacities while increasing community participation and ownership. Ensuring main streets generate livelihoods for local residents will protect their long-term resilience and today’s announcement provides the foundation for communities to realize and retain these local economic opportunities.”
- Heather Lalonde, CEO, Economic Developers Council of Ontario

“Rebuilding our economy, and the quality of our public life, starts on our main streets. Today’s announcement from the federal government will provide communities and small businesses with the support they need to revitalize and strengthen their main streets in countless neighbourhoods across southern Ontario.”
- Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Institute

Quick facts

  • With a membership of more than 1,100 economic development professionals, the organization provides leadership to enhance the professional development of its members; advance economic development as a profession and support municipalities in fostering economic prosperity in the province of Ontario.

  • Since 1990, the CUI has been working with city building professionals to create programs and initiatives, research and develop policies to promote best practices in urban development. 

  • Today’s announcement complements FedDev Ontario investments in main street recovery, including $19 million for the City of Toronto’s Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative and ShowLoveTO, and in the Digital Main Street platform, which has supported more than 30,000 businesses in transitioning to e-commerce or enhancing their online presence at a critical period of time.

  • Through the recently announced Canada Community Revitalization Fund, Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative, Jobs and Growth Fund, Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative and Tourism Relief Fund, Canada’s regional development agencies are continuing to deliver targeted support for economic recovery in the region. 

  • From the outset of the pandemic, FedDev Ontario moved quickly to deliver relief funding to help businesses and organizations keep staff employed and prepare for a more stable future. The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund provided critical support to more than 40,000 businesses in southern Ontario, protecting approximately 71,000 jobs during a critical period of time during the pandemic.

  • Since 2015, FedDev Ontario has provided over $1.6 billion to support nearly 2,300 projects, maintaining over 75,200 jobs and creating over 31,200 jobs in southern Ontario. 

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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