October 21, 2004

PEMBROKE, Ontario - On behalf of the Honourable Joe Comuzzi, Minister of State (FedNor), the Honourable Mauril Bélanger, Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, today announced a Government of Canada investment in the Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC), to support the organization's continued operations and planning activities for a local tourism endeavour involving the Ottawa River.
This week, communities throughout Ontario are celebrating the significant role small and medium-sized businesses, and CFDCs play in stimulating economic development in rural and Northern Ontario.  Small Business Week, an initiative led by the Business Development Bank of Canada, runs October 17-23, 2004, and on Friday, October 22, the spotlight will be on CFDCs in celebration of CFDC Day.
"This contribution will enable the Renfrew County CFDC to continue to expand its role in the region's economic development, by forming strategic partnerships, and offering local small and medium-sized enterprises access to the resources and capital they require to flourish," said Minister Bélanger.  "It also demonstrates the Government of Canada's strong commitment to working with partners at the local level, to address the business and economic needs of rural communities."
There are 61 CFDCs in rural and Northern Ontario, 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 governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, made up of local residents representative of the community at large.
In the last five years, through their investment and business counselling activities, CFDCs in Ontario invested more than $196 million to help the small business sector create or maintain 22,288 jobs.
FedNor is investing a total of $325,000 in the Renfrew County CFDC.  Of this, $265,000 will support the organization's ongoing operations, and $60,000 will go toward the costs of research required to support an application for obtaining Canadian Heritage River Designation for the Ottawa River.
The Ottawa River Designation Project is being supported through the Softwood Industry Community and Economic Adjustment Initiative, which is designed to help affected communities:  develop and implement short and long-term action plans; strengthen their capacity to maximize developmental potential and take advantage of opportunities; develop leadership capacity; promote sustainable development that balances economic, social and environmental issues; and provide qualified human resources at the local level for the implementation of action plans.
Through this initiative, the Government of Canada is acting on its commitment to support economic growth and diversification in rural areas.
Funding for this initiative was provided for in the March 2004 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:
Scott Turbett
Special Assistant, Office of the Honourable Joe Comuzzi
(613) 947-5850
Robert Naud
Senior Communications Officer, FedNor
(613) 954-3691 or 1-877-333-6673