Government of Canada invests in main streets and neighbourhoods across southern Ontario

News release

FedDev Ontario invests $15 million to continue to attract people to southern Ontario’s communities, support up to 3,200 local businesses and organizations with up to 5,750 jobs

January 16, 2024 – Unionville, Ontario 

Southern Ontario’s main streets are lined with small businesses that bring tourists and locals together to enjoy the best our communities have to offer. Small businesses are a vital part of Canada’s culture and economic prosperity and the Government of Canada is committed to making strategic investments so that locally-owned businesses and communities small and large can thrive.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), along with Majid Jowhari, Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill, and Paul Chiang, Member of Parliament for Markham–Unionville, announced a $15-million investment for the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) to continue the recovery and revitalization of main streets across southern Ontario through My Main Street (MMS).

With this investment, the organization will launch two new programs through MMS to provide funding and support for businesses and community organizations across southern Ontario. The new programs will support up to 325 businesses on main streets across 100 communities, along with 75 community projects promoting high-impact placemaking activities. These activities will help draw people to main streets and encourage locals and visitors to support an estimated 2,500 community businesses and organizations.

This investment into southern Ontario’s main street businesses will support up to 5,750 direct and indirect jobs across southern Ontario. CUI has also committed to dedicating at least 25 percent of funding to rural communities and 50 percent of funding to program participants from traditionally underrepresented groups. The continuation of MMS will enhance the overall quality of life for residents while also promoting sustainable and inclusive community development.

Today’s announcement builds on a 2021 Government of Canada investment, through FedDev Ontario, of $23.25 million to support the recovery and revitalization of main streets across southern Ontario through the launch of the My Main Street initiative. To date, this investment has supported nearly 4,000 businesses and organizations, over 6,000 jobs and leveraged over $16 million in additional investment.

While in the region, Minister Tassi, MP Jowhari and MP Chiang are also meeting with local Unionville and surrounding area businesses, organizations and community leaders during a roundtable discussion at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. They will discuss the important contributions small businsses are providing to the economy and the ways in which the Government of Canada can support them as they reach their potential.

The Government of Canada knows the importance of continuing to support the people, businesses and organizations that call our main streets home, actively exploring possibilities and unlocking their full potential for a more prosperous Canada.


“Communities across southern Ontario offer a variety of exciting experiences and businesses, drawing both local and international visitors to their vibrant main streets. My Main Street will help retail and main street businesses and organizations across southern Ontario bring people back to local shops and restaurants while creating new employment opportunities and growing communities.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario 

“Supporting main street businesses is crucial for fostering vibrant local economies and building strong communities. This investment will foster vibrant local economies, build strong communities, and contribute to the unique character of each neighborhood.”
– Majid Jowhari, Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill

“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 in My Main Street will work to continue to stabilize and revitalize our main streets and neighbourhoods in Unionville and Markahm and across southern Ontario.”
– Paul Chiang, Member of Parliament for Markham–Unionville

“The future of Canada’s cities starts on our main streets. Today’s announcement from the federal government will provide needed supports directly to small businesses and the communities they operate in. The continued investment in My Main Street recognizes the importance of main streets as crucial  to the economic resilience of  towns and cities across southern Ontario.”
– Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Institute

Quick facts

  • Since 1990, the Candian Urban Insititute (CUI) has been working with city-building professionals to create programs and initiatives, and research and develop policies to promote best practices in urban development. The organization has become a place to learn, share, and collaborate to promote thoughtful urban planning initiatives across the country, including finding ways to make communities more resilient and inclusive. 

  • Through MMS, CUI will also create and provide Main Street Community Profiles that businesses and organizations in the local community can use to understand the social, economic and demographic makeup of consumers in the region. This will enable small business owners to ensure their business and growth plans are well-informed and tailored to their local community. 

  • Since 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested over $2.5 billion in more than 3,000 projects across southern Ontario, leveraging an additional $3.7 billion in investment in the economy and estimated to create and maintain more than 190,000 jobs.

Associated links


Edward Hutchinson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

FedDev Ontario
Media Relations

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