How Much Was It?

QUEEN’S PARK – The Ontario government is refusing to disclose the amount of Rural Economic Development Program funding that was given to companies in Toronto, Markham and Woodbridge.

“Rural communities deserve to know how much of the fund that is supposed to help them was instead given to businesses in the Greater Toronto Area,” said Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford and PC Critic for Agriculture and Food. “If this government is as open as they claim, why won’t they tell the people of Ontario the amount they gave these companies?”

On September 13, 2013 Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food, announced a Rural Economic Development Program grant would be given to a network of four companies located in Woodbridge, Toronto and Markham. The amount of the grant was not included in the announcement and Wynne did not disclose it when questioned in the Legislature about the announcement on September 16, 2013.

“The Rural Economic Development program is one of the few programs that is designed to help strengthen our rural communities,” said Hardeman. “The government shouldn’t be supporting a downtown Toronto business at the expense of our small towns.”

Hardeman filed a written question in the Legislature asking for the amount of the Rural Economic Development Program allocated to companies in Toronto, Markham and Woodbridge. After months he received a response but it did not include the amount of funding.

The program guidelines state: “For the purposes of the RED Program “rural” encompasses all of Ontario with the exception of Greater Toronto Area and eight large urban areas.”

“Once again I’m asking the Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food or the Minister of Rural Affairs to explain to the people of rural Ontario how much money meant for their communities was instead diverted to the Greater Toronto Area,” said Hardeman.

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
(416) 325-1239