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FedNor now a standalone agency

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After more than 33 years as a federal program, FedNor is now a standalone agency for economic development in northern Ontario.

It means the agency can react directly to the needs of the north.

That from Anthony Rota, MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming, who was at Science North in Sudbury on Tuesday for the announcement.

“We can make changes that will affect us directly, we do not have to rely on Ottawa to tell us ‘this is how you’re going to do it’, we’ve got guidelines like the other Regional Development Agencies in the country, but we can make those decisions that reflect us,” he says. 

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Rota says he’s been working with many people to get to this point since first being elected in 2004. 

“FedNor was always a program and that just bugged the hell out of me. It just ate away at me. Why would we be second-class citizens in northern Ontario?” he asks. “As a program, FedNor was very responsive and the staff here was fantastic but we didn’t have the same status. So today I think northern Ontario is getting a new status.  We are now first-class citizens when it comes to economic development in Canada.” 

Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor, says they’re listening to the people of northern Ontario who have been calling for their own independent agency.

“By making FedNor a standalone agency, we are giving it more autonomy over its administration, and more independence, ensuring it is well-positioned to respond directly to the unique needs of businesses, organizations and communities across Northern Ontario,” she says. 

A release says since being created in 1987, FedNor has invested more than $1.4 billion to support over 7,500 projects, helping to create and maintain more than 87,500 jobs across northern Ontario.

Terry Sheehan, Parliamentary Secretary to the FedNor Minister, says the change takes effect immediately.  

“It’s happening right away, the Prime Minister has signed off on it,” he says. “It was a commitment made in Budget 2021, working toward a standalone agency. And now the Prime Minister has signed off on it. So now we’re partners with the other six Regional Development Agencies,” he says. 

 

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