Northern Business Opportunity Program - Business Expansion Projects

The Northern Business Opportunity Program supports the vision of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario by encouraging business productivity and expansion, and global investment in northern communities. 

Who is Eligible?

Existing businesses in Ontario that intend to expand and/or retain their operations within Northern Ontario to improve competitiveness, grow revenues and create jobs in the following sectors identified and further described in the Growth Plan:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • agriculture, aquaculture and food processing
  • arts, culture and creative industries
  • digital economy
  • forestry and value-added forestry-related industries
  • health sciences
  • minerals sector and mining supply and services
  • renewable energy and services
  • tourism
  • transportation, aviation and aerospace
  • water technologies and services

Other business activities that, in the opinion of the NOHFC Board of Directors, will result in an economic development advantage for Northern Ontario will be considered.

What is Eligible?

Eligible project costs include but are not limited to:

  • capital construction
  • leasehold improvements
  • new or used equipment
  • training costs incurred with third parties
  • land servicing costs
  • information & communications technology investments including, but not limited to, software

What is Not Eligible?

Ineligible projects, costs and activities include but are not limited to:

  • retail and consumer service businesses and business activities that primarily earn revenue through providing products and services, outside of the sectors described  under “who is eligible” and as defined by the NOHFC*
  • businesses that are primarily involved in wholesale activities
  • accommodation & food services businesses and business activities
  • professional services businesses and business activities
  • business plans
  • strategic plans
  • marketing
  • feasibility studies
  • research and development
  • land purchase/lease
  • rolling stock (e.g. cars & trucks)
  • project management costs
  • consulting costs
  • maintenance costs
  • administration costs
  • mineral exploration, mine development costs and milling operations 
  • working capital
  • inventory
  • ICT service providers (e.g. cellular and internet service providers)
  • other ongoing operating costs
  • capital projects or leasehold improvements to residential or personal properties
  • acquisitions and buy-outs of existing businesses
  • electricity generation projects

* The NOHFC will consider applications on a case-by-case basis where there is no other necessary service or business of this nature in the community or other extenuating circumstances.


  • The proposed project should not unreasonably impact existing Northern Ontario businesses.
  • The proposed project should result in net economic benefits for Northern Ontario.
  • The applicant is expected to apply for balance of funding/financing necessary to implement the project.
  • Consideration of funding will be based upon the creation of full-time equivalent jobs in Northern Ontario.


NOHFC assistance will generally not exceed 50% of eligible project costs up to a maximum of $1 million per project. In exceptional circumstances, the NOHFC may consider exceeding the $1 million maximum on a case-by-case basis.

Up to 30% of the NOHFC funding may be in the form of a conditional grant with the remainder in the form of a repayable loan. Where a conditional grant is not provided the NOHFC may consider incentive term loans on a case-by-case basis.

Not all projects meeting the program criteria outlined above will receive funding. Applications will be accepted under this program until March 31, 2017. This is subject to change without any prior notice.

How to Apply

Send completed application forms to:

Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation
70 Foster Drive, Suite 200
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
P6A 6V8
fax: 1-705-945-6701

For more information call our toll free line 1-800-461-8329.