Economic Development Funding

Description of the Program and Goals 

The City of Ottawa’s Economic Development and Innovation Department (EDI) manages the Community Economic Development (CED) Contribution funding program. This program’s goal is to support economic development projects (i.e., projects supporting job creation) that also demonstrate ongoing environmental, social, and/or cultural benefits for the community. Benefits accruing from the project are expected to include, but are not limited to, the following outcomes:

Economic Outcomes: These outcomes support the community’s economic prospects with a focus on job creation. For example, outcomes might include the following factors: 

  • Expansion/upgrade of infrastructure to provide economic development;
  • Increase in community capacity to become economically more sustainable;
  • Increase in economic diversity in the area;
  • Entrepreneurship and small business development;
  • New business training and skill development opportunities; and/or,
  • Potential for attracting more visitors to the region (tourism marketing or major event attraction potential). 

Environmental Outcomes: These are the environmental benefits that a project brings to the community. For example, outcomes might include the following factors: 

  • Remediated air, water and/or soil quality;
  • Protected air, water and/or soil quality; and/or,
  • Increase in biodiversity. 

Social Outcomes: These are the social benefits that a project brings to the community. For example, outcomes might include the following factors: 

  • An increase in inclusivity;
  • Greater equity for a disadvantaged group; and/or,
  • Improved health and well-being for the community. 

Cultural Outcomes: These are the cultural benefits that a project brings to the community. For example, outcomes might include expression or celebration of the following factors: 

  • Heritage;
  • Identity; and/or,
  • Diversity. 

Eligibility of Applicant

In accordance with the City of Ottawa Grants and Contributions Policy, funding can only be granted to organizations that have the following qualities:

  • Are registered as a non-profit organization;
  • Operate in a non-discriminatory manner, as set out by the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act;
  • Are governed by a democratically elected Board of Directors;
  • Demonstrate efficiency, effectiveness and fiscal responsibility; and,
  • Remain in good financial standing with the City of Ottawa.

 The following types of organizations/programs are ineligible for funding: 

  • Persons, associations and non-profit organizations where a lawsuit by such persons, associations or organizations is still pending against the City;
  • For-profit organizations or ventures;
  • Non-profit organizations sponsoring for-profit organizations;
  • Organizations with a political affiliation, or which participate in political activities;
  • Organizations which act primarily as a funding source for other groups;
  • Faith organizations where the services/activities include the promotion and/or required adherence to a specific faith;
  • Programs within the legislated mandate of other governments or City departments; and,
  • Provincial/national organizations, unless a local chapter/branch exists that serves the residents of the City of Ottawa.

Eligibility of Project

Projects, for which funding is sought, need to promote economic development in the City of Ottawa in conjunction with environmental, cultural and/or social benefits. The project needs to deliver broad, sustainable economic benefits to the community and demonstrate on-going benefits when the funding has ceased.

The projects/programs must meet the following principal criteria:

  • Must demonstrate how they will positively affect the development of the local economy;
  • Must demonstrate that they are likely to become self-sustaining;
  • Must demonstrate the need for assistance and value for money; and,
  • Must demonstrate what environmental, social and/or cultural benefits will likely accrue to the community.

Funding will not be provided for the following initiatives:

  • Retroactive costs – any costs incurred before a funding decision is made;
  • Costs that are the responsibility of another funding program or level of government;
  • Costs for which an organization might reasonably be expected to make provisions for in the general daily administration of their organization (e.g. accountancy or legal costs, organizational planning, staffing), and which are separate from the project;
  • Leasehold improvements;
  • Programs within the legislated mandate of other governments or City departments (e.g. child care services);
  • Sponsorships;
  • Capital expenditures; and,
  • Land maintenance. 

How to Apply for Funding 

Developing a Proposal 

All funding requests must complete a Community Economic Development Contribution application form. 

Project funding has typically ranged from $5,000 to $50,000. For funding requests exceeding $25,000, a detailed business plan and budget is required as part of the application. The business plan is a summary of the work to be done and details the goals, activities, outcomes, and resources. The plan should be linked to the budget and include the timelines for completion. The project budget summarizes the overall project costs, broken down by budget item (e.g., salaries, equipment). The budget must also identify the proposed source of funds. If the project involves purchasing goods and services the applicants must demonstrate that the process for selecting a provider involves open competition, ensures value-for money, and is ethical and fair. 

An application should be based on a well-developed proposal addressing the assessment criteria. Application forms are available upon request through email or mail:

Economic Development and Innovation Department
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
613-580-2424 ext. 25948 

Application Deadlines

EDI will begin receiving CED applications in December 2014. Once the CED application is received by EDI, the applicant will be notified of receipt of the application. If necessary, a request for clarification will be sent to applicants before the adjudication panel meets. Funding is expected to be released before the beginning of April.

Completed applications must be submitted directly to the Economic Development and Innovation Department at the above address or via email at Applications and completed submission packages (including supporting documents listed at the bottom of the Application Form) must be received by hand or mail no later than February 13, 2015 at  16:00 p.m. This is not a postmarked deadline.  Late applications will not be considered under any circumstance. 

Funding Criteria and Assessment

Upon receipt of the application by the EDI, the project will be assessed against the eligibility criteria outlined in the CED application. If the application meets the criteria, it will then be submitted to an adjudication committee for project scoring and selection.  

The application will be assessed on the project’s ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Alignment with the City of Ottawa’s long-term sustainable goal of “Economic Prosperity,” as outlined in the City of Ottawa’s 2011-2014 Strategic Plan;
  • The community “need” for the project (i.e. is there an established need for the project, how was this need evaluated, and how will this need be addressed by the project?);
  • Economic development outcomes, and cultural, social, and/or environmental outcomes – as outlined in Annex I of the CED application;
  • The project’s viability and applicant’s ability to execute the project;
  • The project’s sustainability (i.e. it is important to establish how the project will be sustained over the next 3 to 5 years);
  • Consideration given the diversity of Ottawa’s residents; and,
  • If applicable, the quality of the support material included in the application.

Applications may be approved subject to clarification or additional information; if the applicant is unable to provide this information, funding may be reassigned to other projects. 

Release and Use of Funds

If applicants are awarded funding, they will receive a letter from the City of Ottawa’s Economic Development and Innovation Department outlining the total amount funded, terms and conditions, and a funding disbursement schedule. The letter will also include a Funding Agreement document, which describes conditions attached to the use of these funds (e.g., reporting requirements). Payment of funds for a project may be subject to the negotiation of a funding agreement between the applicant and the Department.

Funds shall be used only for the purposes outlined in the original funding application. Any changes to the scale and activities, including changes in budget and programming, must be reported in writing to and receive approval by the Department. 

Starting the Project

Starting work on a project before funds have been approved and execution of a funding agreement may make the application ineligible for funding.

If an application is successful, work should commence within three months or as agreed. Funds may be withdrawn if the project has not commenced within the agreed timeframe. 

Reporting and Follow-up

All successful applicants are required to submit an activity report detailing how they used the funding awarded to them. This report must be submitted either following completion of funded activities, twelve months after receipt of the funds, or at the time of subsequent application to the Community Economic Development Contribution funding program, whichever is soonest. Failure to provide a report may result in the applicant or applicant’s organization being ineligible for subsequent City of Ottawa funding.