SUDBURY -- The federal government announced $3.6 million in FedNor funding Tuesday for the the Hearst and Superior East regions.

Terry Sheehan, Parliamentary Secretary to Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor, announced more than $3.6 million to help businesses to grow and create or maintain jobs in the Hearst and Superior East regions.

Provided through FedNor’s Community Futures Program, the funding will support three initiatives led by Nord-Aski Regional Economic Development Corporation (Nord-Aski) and Superior East Community Futures Development Corporation (Superior East CFDC).

"Once complete, these strategic initiatives are expected to support nearly 400 local businesses, and help create or maintain more than 1,850 middle-class jobs across the region," the government said in a news release.

“Community Futures organizations across Northern Ontario are helping small and rural communities diversify and grow their economies," Sheehan said in the release.

"Recognizing that one size does not fit all, these community-based organizations are responding to local needs and development priorities thanks to support from the Government of Canada. Today’s announcement will help them advance a variety of priority projects that will generate business opportunities, private-sector investments and good-paying jobs to support families living and working in the Hearst and Superior East regions.”

Joly said it's important businesses know "we have their back."

Creating good jobs

"We will help our business and community partners adapt to the quickly evolving social and economic realities, and support their efforts to strengthen Northern Ontario’s economy and create good jobs for Ontarians,” Joly said.

George Graham, chair of the Nord-Aski Regional Economic Development Corp., said the funding is a sign of confidence in their efforts to foster economic growth and support existing businesses.

"We are excited to work with our regional partners to jumpstart the economy by doing what we do best – supporting communities, entrepreneurs and business growth throughout the region," Graham said.

“Today’s announcement will ensure the Superior East CFDC can continue to respond at the speed of business to support jobs, entrepreneurs and community economic growth in the Superior East region," said Melanie Pilon, chair of the Superior East Community Futures Development Corp.

"By providing businesses with access to capital and a one-stop shop for business support services, we are helping to fuel the economy and enhance regional recovery efforts.”

The funding is from FedNor’s Community Futures Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation.