Currently, only rural areas of the city are covered by the Eastern Ontario Development Fund, which has handed out $57.7 million in tax dollars since 2008.
The program accepts applications from businesses “to help them improve their competitive position and pursue growth through the development of new products or new markets,” providing they create 10 net new jobs over five years.
Economic development agencies and business associations are also eligible for funding under the EODF.
Both Invest Ottawa CEO Bruce Lazenby and Mayor Jim Watson offered statements of support for expanding the program in a press release issued by Mr. Naqvi’s office, which argued provincial funding was necessary to counter local public sector layoffs.
“With ongoing job losses from the federal government hitting Ottawa particularly hard, it is especially important that economic development funding is available as soon as possible to help spur private sector investment and job creation in our city,” stated Mr. Naqvi.
Ottawa’s unemployment rate currently sits at 6.3 per cent, compared to the provincial average of 7.6 per cent.
Earlier this week, the Conference Board of Canada predicted Ottawa-Gatineau would trail all other major Canadian metropolitan areas in economic growth this year with real GDP growth of one per cent.