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Community Economic Development Funding Program

Program description

The annual Community Economic Development (CED) Funding Program provides financial support to selected projects that are anticipated to result in:

  • Resilient job creation (continuing beyond the funding period)
  • Business enterprise creation (for-profits and/or social enterprises).

The program endeavours to positively impact historically under-represented segments of the Ottawa population (e.g. residents of lower income neighbourhoods, youth, older adults, rural residents, new immigrants, racialized and indigenous populations, etc.) through financial support to non-profit agencies for new, or expanded, projects that assist targeted residents to overcome identified obstacles to the creation of new jobs and/or new enterprises.

Projects should indicate how the applicant non-profit agency will increase its capacity to support the economic objectives of targeted beneficiaries beyond the funding period. Projects should indicate how targeted populations will be enabled to overcome their identified disadvantages.

The CED Funding Program awards a total of up to $280,000 per year, distributed among the proposals that are selected by a jury panel of reviewers. While proposals may have inherent merits, funds are awarded only among the top-ranked projects, until the annual funding maximum is reached.

Eligibility of Applicant

In accordance with the City of Ottawa Grants and Contributions Policy, funding can only be granted to organizations that meet these requirements and follow these practices:

  • Registered as a non-profit organization
  • Operated in a non-discriminatory manner, as set out by the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
  • Governed by a democratically elected Board of Directors
  • Efficient, effective and fiscally responsible (demonstrated through the last two annual financial statements)
  • In good financial standing with the City of Ottawa

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

  • 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-based organizations where the services/activities include the promotion and/or required adherence to a specific faith
  • Organizations whose programs fall within the legislated mandate of other governments or City departments
  • Provincial/national organizations, unless a local chapter/branch exists that serves the residents of the City of Ottawa specifically

Eligibility of Project

A proposed project must demonstrate how it will create jobs in the City of Ottawa while also helping specific under-represented populations to overcome identified impediments. The project must deliver resilient (not temporal) economic benefits that are expected to outlast project funding.  Projects that leverage additional funding sources, and/or in-kind contributions, will receive more favorable consideration in their evaluation.

A proposed project must:

  • Demonstrate how it will positively affect the development of the local economy (jobs, businesses, organizational support capacity, etc.)
  • Demonstrate how it will help targeted populations that have been historically under-represented in Ottawa's economy to overcome identified economic impediments
  • Demonstrate the need for grant support from the City

Funding will not be provided for the following components of projects:

  • Costs that are already supported, or have commitment to support, by other City of Ottawa Departments
  • Any costs incurred before a funding decision is made
  • Costs that are the responsibility of another funding program or level of government
  • Costs that are not directly attributable to the project (e.g. salaried positions not specific to the project)
  • Land maintenance or leasehold improvements
  • Programs within the legislated mandate of other governments or City departments (e.g. child care services)
  • Major costs such as buildings, vehicles, or large equipment;
  • Direct funding to project participants

How to Apply for Funding 

Application Form

All applicants must complete the Community Economic Development Funding Program application form for project funding requests. The application form is available upon request from the CED Program Coordinator

Project funding requests may range from $5,000 to a maximum of $100,000. A detailed project plan and budget is required as part of the application. The project 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 timelines for completion. The purchase of goods and services should ensure value for money and must follow ethical and fair procurement practices. For requests equal to, or greater than $25,000, the project plan should also include detailed budgeted expense items and all sources of funds to be applied. Please note that successful applicants must spend the total awarded funding by November 29, 2024 and submit reporting requirements by December 6, 2024.

The application should be based on a well-developed proposal addressing the assessment criteria given below.  Only one application will be accepted per organization. If two, or more, organizations are active in the delivery of proposed services, only one may apply. The other organization may not submit a separate proposal. Completed application forms should be no longer than 10 pages.

Application Deadline

Economic Development and Long Range Planning (EDLRP) will begin receiving CED applications January 2024. When the CED application is received by EDLRP, the applicant will be notified of receipt of the application.

Completed applications and submission packages (e.g. supporting documents listed in the Application Form) must be received in electronic form by email no later than Friday, February 9, 2024 at 4 pm Only electronic submissions will be considered (scanned page of signatures accepted). Late applications will not be considered. 

Mailing, delivery and email contact information:

Funding Criteria and Assessment

Upon receipt of the application, the applicant and project proposal will be assessed against the program’s eligibility criteria by the CED Program Coordinator. If the application meets the criteria, it will then be reviewed by the selection panel for project evaluation. The application will be assessed based on the following categories:

  • Strength of Concept -  Alignment with the City of Ottawa’s economic development strategy of supporting growth of the local economy and addressing identified needs of the community
  • Objectives and Outcomes -  Clear objectives and realistic and measurable outcomes. What are the specific impediments met by the group you serve (different from the mainstream population)? What solution do you propose to provide, different from what is provided to the mainstream population? How will your project generate new jobs and new ventures that are independent of municipal funding? Why are current available services inadequate for your target population?
  • Ability to Implement -  Demonstrated ability and experience to execute the project (including financial and resource capacity to take on the additional project – not supplementing ongoing operational funding for current activity). Financial statements for the previous two years will indicate the organization’s financial capacity.
  • Project Sustainability -  How will the project be perpetuated after the provided funding support is spent?
  • Project Budget -  Demonstrated value for money and realistic project costs. Favorable consideration will be given to additional sources of funding secured and in-kind contributions
  • Quality of Submission -  Accurate, concise, and complete information provided on the application form and supporting materials.  

Applications may be approved subject to clarification or additional information requested; 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 EDLRP outlining the total amount awarded, 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 EDLRP. The first funding disbursement is expected to be released in April 2024. Please note that all awarded funding must be spent by November 29, 2024 (approximately eight months in total).

Funds shall only be used 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, EDLRP. 

Starting the Project

Starting work on a project before the execution of a funding agreement may make the application ineligible for funding. Project work will be expected to commence within two months of the executed funding agreement, or as agreed to by both parties. Funds may be withdrawn if the project has not commenced within the agreed upon timeframe. 

Reporting and Follow-up

All successful applicants are required to submit an activity report detailing how they used the awarded funding. This report and any other reporting requirements as outlined in the Funding Agreement must be submitted no later than December 6, 2024. Failure to provide report(s) may result in the applicant or applicant’s organization being ineligible for subsequent City of Ottawa funding.