October 21, 2005

ST. THOMAS, Ontario, October 20, 2005 – The Honourable Andy Mitchell, Minister of State (FedNor), today highlighted the important contribution made by Ontario’s 61 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in building strong and viable rural and Northern communities.  The more than 720 volunteers and 225 staff of the small not-for-profit organizations are in the spotlight on Friday, October 21st as communities throughout Ontario celebrate CFDC Day.

“For more than twenty years, CFDCs have been key local-level partners, enabling the Government of Canada to foster economic development, employment creation, diversity, and self-reliant communities,” said Minister Mitchell.  “The success of these grassroots organizations is undeniable with more than $229 million invested in small and medium-sized businesses over the last five years and 26,418 jobs created or maintained.”

In Ontario, there are more than 336,000 small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.  These account for 97 per cent of all Ontario businesses and nearly 50 per cent of the total workforce.  According to Statistics Canada, the small business sector is responsible for the creation of about half of all new jobs in Ontario.

Ontario’s CFDCs are located across rural and Northern Ontario and are funded by Industry Canada’s Community Futures Program through FedNor.  They deliver a wide variety of programs and services to support community economic development and small business growth.  CFDCs employ local staff and are each governed by a volunteer board of directors made up of local residents representative of the community.

Minister Mitchell also announced a Government of Canada contribution totaling $564,600 to the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations (OACFDC).  Of this amount:  $219,600 is to support five Southern Ontario regional networks to host regional conferences, provide professional development for staff and volunteers, and undertake joint marketing initiatives; $200,000 is for the OACFDC’s ongoing operations over one year; $95,000 is for the development and promotion of the Community Futures Development Institute (CFDI), an Internet-based learning platform that provides professional development courses for CFDC volunteers and staff; the remaining $50,000 is earmarked for project costs of the Pan-Canadian Community Futures (CF) Group, including the sharing of best practices and the promotion and marketing of the CF Program across Canada.

“The OACFDC and Pan-Canadian Group are umbrella organizations that are instrumental in giving CFDCs a public voice and enabling them to work collaboratively,” added Minister Mitchell.

The OACFDC is a not-for-profit membership organization which offers a variety of activities and services to help Ontario’s 61 CFDCs deliver their economic development mandate.  Launched in May 2000, the Pan-Canadian CF Group is the largest community economic development network in Canada.  It represents about 270 CFDCs and Business Development Corporations in every province and territory.

“This contribution enables us to strengthen our ability to assist CFDCs in their efforts to serve communities and businesses in their jurisdictions,” said Elaine McGregor-Morris, Chair of the OACFDC.  “We are delighted to empower these local organizations with the necessary resources to build and strengthen their regional economies.”

Throughout the week, communities across rural and Northern Ontario have been celebrating the significant role small and medium-sized businesses and CFDCs play in stimulating economic development and small business growth.  Small Business Week, an initiative of the Business Development Bank of Canada, runs October 16-22, 2005.

Through this initiative the Government of Canada is acting on its commitment to support economic growth and diversification in rural communities.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

To find out more about Ontario CFDCs, visit us at:


For more information, please contact:

Graeme Wilkes
Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Andy Mitchell, Minister of State (FedNor)
(613) 947-5850

Robert Naud
Senior Communications Officer, Industry Canada/FedNor
(613) 954-3691 or 1 877 333-6673