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Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, speaks with Lisa Sheppard (left), Alberton township Chief Administrative Officer, and Mike Ford, Mayor of Alberton, March 12, 2024. Image: Randy Thoms/Acadia Broadcasting

Heritage Fund program secure for another year

By Randy Thoms Mar 15, 2024 | 1:43 PM

Future funding of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund appears to be secure.

It now has a budget of $100 million to issue to projects around the region.

Northern Development Minister and chair of the fund, Greg Rickford, says he would actually like to see about doing more.

“We’ve begun to appreciate more and more that our communities are growing, and so those resources should grow with them,” says Rickford.

The provincial budget will be issued later this month.

According to the NOHFC’s last annual report, almost all of the funds from the 2022-23 fiscal year was exhausted on 815 projects.

This helped create or retain more than 2,200 jobs, including over 500 internship positions.

Rickford says recent changes are helping more municipalities, organizations and groups have access.

“I’m always impressed with how $80,000, $90,000 from taxpayers ultimately, but through the heritage fund and my ministry, can really leverage or transform a business or where the tax base is smaller, especially out here in the townships with the populations there. We actually designed it so that they could get up to $0.90 on the dollar to build something.”

This past week, Rickford announced over $1.4 million in funding to projects in the Rainy River District and $946,000 to projects in the Kenora area.