Final evaluation: Southern Ontario Prosperity Program

Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Evaluation Scope, Design and Methodology


This evaluation addresses the core issues of relevance and performance identified in the Treasury Board Policy on Results. This evaluation covers the five year period from 2014-15 to 2018-19.


  • 201 projects selected
  • $704M in total FedDev Ontario funding
  • $2.43 leveraged per $ of FedDev Ontario
  • 4.6% Operating costs as a % of total G&Cs


  • 36 key informant interviews
  • Survey of 394 proponents, beneficiaries, and unfunded applicants
  • Document/literature review
  • 8 SOPP case studies
  • 34 consortia case studies
  • Project and financial data


Key findings

  • There is a strong continued need for SOPP programs
  • The need for support is particularly high amongst under-represented groups and in rural communities
  • Under represented groups face significant challenges in starting, maintaining and growing businesses
  • Rural communities likewise face considerable challenges and constraints
  • New local and global environment increased need for FedDev Ontario programming
  • The SOPP programs are well-aligned with federal government priorities


Key results

  • Jobs Created – 14,233 FTEs
  • Jobs Maintained – 16,003 FTEs
  • Partnerships – 7,368
  • Businesses/organizations supported – 6,312
  • Nearly 90% of the SOPP-funded projects accomplished their goals
  • SOPP-supported businesses tend to outperform similar businesses that had not received FedDev Ontario assistance across key performance metrics (revenue growth, employment growth, productivity, and R&D expenditures)
  • SOPP has contributed towards achievement of departmental and federal government priorities
  • Impacts are projected to continue after completion of the project

Design and delivery

Key findings

  • Overall, most proponents and beneficiaries are satisfied with the design and delivery of the SOPP Programs
  • Operating costs as a percent of grants and contributions are low at 4.6%
  • The SOPP programs are efficient and offer good value for the allocated funds (e.g. use of third parties for program delivery)
  • Key areas of improvement
  • Inefficient reporting and performance data systems
  • Long FedDev Ontario application approval process

FedDev Ontario intake summary

Initiative  # of projects  FDO $million














  1. FedDev Ontario should consider improving its performance reporting metrics and processes.
  2. FedDev Ontario should consider enhancing support for certain target groups/areas, particularly women, Indigenous businesses, youth entrepreneurs and rural regions.