October 25, 2004

COBOURG, Ontario - The Honourable Mauril Bélanger, Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Eastern Ontario, and the Honourable Paul Macklin, Member of Parliament for Northumberland–Quinte West, today announced, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Comuzzi, Minister of State (FedNor), that program details of the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) have been finalized, and that rural Eastern Ontario communities now have access to funds to help them achieve their economic development goals.
The EODF is a $10-million Government of Canada initiative announced last spring, that will promote rural socioeconomic development in Eastern Ontario, lead to a more competitive and diversified regional economy, and contribute to the successful development of businesses, job opportunities and sustainable self- reliant communities.
“The Government of Canada is committed to helping our rural communities grow and prosper,” said Minister Bélanger.  “The EODF responds to a commitment this government made in the 2004 federal budget, to assist economic renewal in Eastern Ontario by investing in the local economy.”
The program details released today identify five key areas the fund will support, namely:  business development; access to capital; skills development; retention and attraction of youth; and technological enhancements.
“The EODF was created following extensive consultation between Eastern Ontario Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs), and community and municipal leaders,” said Mr. Macklin.  “Now that our communities have identified the priority areas for the fund, they will work with their CFDCs to select and implement projects that will support economic renewal in rural Eastern Ontario.”
The 15 CFDCs located throughout rural Eastern Ontario were selected to deliver the EODF based on an extensive network of community partners, a proven track record in community economic development, and an established infrastructure made up of some 47 staff members and more than 200 volunteers.
CFDCs are designed to develop and implement long-term, community-based economic development initiatives.  They employ local staff members and are governed by a volunteer-based Board of Directors, made up of local residents representative of the community.
In the last five years, through their investment and business counselling activities, Ontario CFDCs have invested more than $196 million to help the small business sector create or maintain 22,288 jobs.
The delivery of the EODF will be managed by FedNor, a Government of Canada regional economic development organization responsible for the Community Futures Program in Ontario.
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:  http://cfdc-

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