Southern Ontario Spotlight - August 2020

Southern Ontario Spotlight




Minister Joly announces nearly $30M to support innovation and growth in Waterloo Region

Minister Joly announces nearly $30M to support innovation and growth in Waterloo Region

A few weeks ago, Minister Mélanie Joly announced nearly $30 million in FedDev Ontario funding for eight innovative businesses in Waterloo Region to create nearly 500 high-skilled jobs, commercialize new technologies and scale up, supporting Waterloo region’s innovation ecosystem and the economy.

  • With a $7.2-million investment, women-led software company Axonify Inc. will bring its frontline training and communications tools to new global markets, expand into new sectors and create 81 skilled jobs;
  • With a $6.1-million investment, gas barbecue grill manufacturer Onward Manufacturing Company Limited will enhance its Waterloo production facility with new tooling, advanced manufacturing and LEAN processes, creating up to 175 jobs;
  • With a $5-million investment, Dejero Labs Inc. will extend its network connectivity software into the Smart Cities space, creating 30 skilled jobs;
  • With a $4.8-million investment, medical technology company Intellijoint Surgical Inc. will commercialize its state-of-the-art Intellijoint HIP and Intellijoint KNEE products to new international markets, creating 94 and maintaining 60 jobs;
  • With a $4.2-million investment, video quality software company SSIMWAVE Inc. will boost its sales and marketing resources and expand its customer base, supporting 65 skilled jobs;
  • With a $1-million investment, X-ray imaging manufacturer KA Imaging Inc. will accelerate commercialization of its innovative X-ray detector, Reveal™, creating 10 skilled jobs;
  • With a $700,000 investment, TeTechS Inc. will further commercialize its machinery for measuring the thickness of plastic bottles, vaccine vials, containers and preforms, increase its market share and reduce waste, creating 19 skilled jobs;
  • With a $676,000 investment, Shimco North America Inc. will increase capacity to produce next-generation metal surface treatments and curate a global centre of excellence for the aerospace industry, creating 12 jobs in Waterloo Region.

Minister Joly also hosted roundtables with local tech leaders, innovation policy thought-leaders, and the Canadian Digital Media Network to discuss challenges and explore opportunities for collaboration.

FedDev Ontario invests in Indigenous organizations and tourism in southern Ontario

FedDev Ontario invests in Indigenous organizations and tourism in southern Ontario

On August 9, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, PS Young announced $12.43 million in FedDev Ontario funding for eight southern Ontario organizations that support Indigenous  economic growth, culture and tourism.

This funding includes more than $10 million towards Aboriginal Impact Capital (AIC) for the establishment of a new capital pool, helping to provide mid-market Indigenous small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), on and off reserve, with the additional financing they need to scale their businesses.

Seven other organizations received contributions through the Canadian Experiences Fund to improve and expand cultural attractions in Indigenous communities, and support much-needed jobs. Finally, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Businesses received funding to create an Indigenous Business Directory to open new opportunities for Indigenous people and contribute to their growth and economic sustainability. Recipients include Aboriginal Impact Capital, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation #29, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Indigenous Tourism Association of Ontario and the Ottawa Tourism and Convention Authority Inc.

Read the News Release and Backgrounder to learn more.

Clean technology investments create jobs in southern Ontario

Clean technology investments create jobs in southern Ontario

As the world increasingly prioritizes cleantech solutions, the Government of Canada is supporting cleantech companies to scale up, grow and benefit the economy.

Recently, Parliamentary Secretary (PS) Kate Young announced a total FedDev Ontario investment of $10 million to support the scale up and growth of two rural southwestern Ontario companies that produce renewable clean energy alternatives to petroleum-based fuels.

Using its proprietary Lipid-to-Hydrocarbon technology, FORGE Hydrocarbons has capacity to produce up to 200,000 litres per year of renewable diesel biofuel from locally-sourced waste fats and oils. FedDev Ontario’s repayable contribution of $5 million will enable the company to increase its production capacity to 28 million litres per year by establishing a new production facility in Sombra, Ontario, outfitted with advanced equipment and automated processes. Through this project, FORGE Hydrocarbons will create 38 jobs in Sombra.

Aylmer-based IGPC Ethanol Inc. is a renewable fuel cooperative that produces ethanol from corn as an alternative to traditional gasoline. In 2018, the cooperative acquired advanced manufacturing equipment and doubled its ethanol production to 380 million litres per year as it expanded operations to reach new markets. FedDev Ontario’s contribution of $5 million supported the project, which added 19 skilled jobs in Aylmer.

Also in additional support for the cleantech sector, Minister Maryam Monsef, MP for Peterborough–Kawartha, recently announced a $4.8-million FedDev Ontario investment to establish the Trent Enterprise Centre (TEC) in Trent University’s Cleantech Commons, a research park for cleantech collaboration. The TEC will offer an accelerator and technology demonstration space, supporting 70 companies with business advisory and mentoring services and leading to the creation of 300 jobs.

Feeding growth in southern Ontario’s agri-food sector

Feeding growth in southern Ontario’s agri-food sector

PS Young also announced a total FedDev Ontario investment of more than $2.5 million to support the scale up and growth of two leading food manufacturers in southern Ontario.

Florentina Foods provides a full-service approach to frozen entrée products for retail and food service clients throughout North America, from recipe development to production, packaging and transportation. With FedDev Ontario’s $2-million repayable contribution, the company will install new production lines with automated and energy-efficient equipment, an R&D lab and a test kitchen at its new facility in Orangeville. Through this project, the company expects to more than double its production capacity and create 50 full-time jobs.

More than 2,000 Ontario schools and most major Canadian retailers look to Terra Cotta Foods Ltd. for their peanut- and nut-free cookies and snacks. This Georgetown food processor is known for its ability to produce traditional, kosher and gluten-free products such as cookies, granola and ice-cream sandwiches. With a repayable contribution of nearly $535,000, Terra Cotta will upgrade its production facility and implement new software solutions to streamline operations, enabling the company to focus on scaling up capacity of its ice cream sandwich production line to capitalize on immediate demands from retailers. This project is expected to create 16 full-time jobs and more than double the company’s supply chain spending on dairy products from regional suppliers.

Investments like these position these companies for growth, while helping to get Canadians back to work and ensuring that our agricultural sector can play a major role in Canada’s economic recovery.

Investing in culinary tourism experiences in central Ontario

Investing in culinary tourism experiences in central Ontario

On August 7, Minister Joly announced a FedDev Ontario investment of $250,000 through the Canadian Experiences Fund to support three Central Ontario SMEs to enhance their culinary tourism experiences and expand their product offerings:

  • Stirling-based Kings Mill Cider received $75,000 to expand its operations into shoulder seasons, improve the overall tourist experience and increase Kings Mill’s brand awareness and visibility. With this investment, King’s Mill Cider has completed a new covered walkway and enclosed deck overlooking the orchard, a renovated kitchen and taproom area, improved road signage and on-site parking, and added a wood-fueled pizza oven, walking trails and overnight tent camping.
  • MacKinnon Brothers Brewing received $75,000 to build a permanent outdoor stage for music festivals and performances in partnership with a local theatre company at their facility in Bath to increase tourism in the shoulder season; and
  • Potter Settlement Artisan Winery in Tweed received $100,000 to improve tourist experiences and expand their season. With the addition of a pizza oven that can service 50-100 customers per day, water features in the property’s ponds, and accessible washrooms, Potter Settlement is looking forward to enhancing their customers’ agri-food tourism experiences.

In Ontario, tourism accounts for $39.4 billion of GDP and directly and indirectly supports more than 820,000 jobs. These investments will help not only these three local businesses, but will support the local economy and tourism sector.

CAN Health Network celebrates one-year anniversary

CAN Health Network celebrates one-year anniversary

On July 23, the CAN Health Network celebrated its one-year anniversary at an event hosted with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and PointClickCare, a member of the network and a Mississauga-based cloud-based technology company. The CAN Health Network was launched with FedDev Ontario support in 2019 to help streamline the procurement process and create an integrated marketplace that better connects the needs of health care organizations with the innovative solutions and technologies produced by Canadian entrepreneurs.

Minister Ng spoke at the celebration, where she highlighted the impact of the network over the past 12 months to help businesses export their made-in-Canada ideas to the world. In that time, the CAN Health Network has grown to include 15 Canadian healthcare organizations, and is working with businesses to sell Canadian-made technologies as part of 10 commercialization projects currently underway.

In one Network-supported project, SE Health and AlayaCare are collaborating to design and test a new software platform that will enable an enhanced model of home care delivery in Ontario. AlayaCare’s product suite includes a COVID-19 screening tool that enables care providers to assess their patient’s risk status; a secure video conferencing feature that seamlessly adapts in-person visits to virtual ones; and a Family Portal, which allows care providers, clients and authorized family members to access and manage information about their care plans.

These solutions are helping to power SE Health’s H.O.P.E (Home, Opportunity, People, Empowerment) Model of Care, a holistic approach to community care that better meets the needs of patients, families and healthcare professionals, while helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other infections.

Through this partnership, CAN Health, SE Health and AlayaCare are empowering healthcare providers to achieve better health outcomes by augmenting home care with innovative technology.

Learn more about the CAN Health Network and its support for Canadian companies and solutions that are strengthening our healthcare system and economy.

“Congratulations to CAN Health on a successful first year of working with high-growth Canadian SMEs to pilot and commercialize new technologies. The Government of Canada is proud to support organizations like CAN Health who are answering the call to action to provide critical support to our country during this fight against COVID-19 by providing a dedicated market for participating health care providers to procure leading-edge health care solutions.” The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario


New MaRS program will build Momentum in Canada’s innovation ecosystem
New MaRS program will build Momentum in Canada’s innovation ecosystem

New MaRS program will build Momentum in Canada’s innovation ecosystem

On July 22, MaRS Discovery District officially launched Momentum, a program designed to support high-growth Canadian companies with the potential to reach $100 million in annual revenue within the next five years. Momentum was established in 2019 with funds from the $17.5-million contribution from FedDev Ontario, part of a combined $52.4-million investment in three of Canada’s leading accelerators—MaRS, Communitech and Invest Ottawa—to establish the Scale-up Platform. Announced last year by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Scale-up Platform is expected to create 18,000 jobs and $11 billion in revenue as the three innovation hubs work to build a pipeline of scale-ready ventures with the goal of creating 30 Canadian anchor firms with $100 million or more in annual revenues by 2024.

MaRS announced the 53 companies currently in the Momentum program’s portfolio, noting that if these companies maintain a 20-percent annual growth rate for the next five years, they will add some 9,000 new high-paying jobs. MaRS is also actively seeking more companies to select for the program, while noting that the hub will continue its work to grow early-stage and startup companies to a stage where they could be eligible for Momentum.

Learn more about Momentum at MaRS Discovery District.

Collaborating to combat COVID-19
Collaborating to combat COVID-19

Photo credit: BlogTO

Collaborating to combat COVID-19

Across the region, FedDev Ontario clients continue to show their adaptability as they pivot in the face of COVID-19. Their work is critical to the COVID-19 response and is supporting local jobs and economic stability.

FedDev Ontario clients seize opportunities despite COVID-19
FedDev Ontario clients seize opportunities despite COVID-19

FedDev Ontario clients seize opportunities despite COVID-19

In spite of the current challenges, many FedDev Ontario clients are also moving forward to seize opportunities for growth:

  • Kitchener’s leading construction workforce planning software company, Bridgit Inc, recently announced a $7-milllion strategic investment led by Autodesk with support from Export Development Canada (EDC) and existing investors to further improve their resource planning and forecasting tools for the construction industry;
  • London’s non-dairy cheese maker, Nuts for Cheese, landed a deal to supply U.S. food stores with its vegan cheeses, which may see the business grow by up to five times; and,
  • The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN), a collaborative led by Pillar Nonprofit Network alongside the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), SVX and NORDIK Institute’s Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (SEE), has launched their new website providing easier access to a suite of programs for women interested in starting or growing their own ventures. WOSEN aims to broaden and diversify the entrepreneurial ecosystem, supporting women through inclusive program design.
OBIO Announces First Eight Early Adopter Health Network Innovation Projects
OBIO Announces First Eight Early Adopter Health Network Innovation Projects

OBIO Announces First Eight Early Adopter Health Network Innovation Projects

Eight Canadian health science companies with leading-edge technologies have been paired with healthcare organizations to complete rapid evaluations as part of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization’s (OBIO) first cohort of Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN™) innovation projects. Supported by a FedDev Ontario investment of $6.24 million, the EAHN utilizes industry-driven expertise in assessing health technologies and will get innovative technologies, including COVID-19-related technologies, into the healthcare system and to patients faster than ever before, while giving Canadian technology companies an opportunity to access local markets before expanding globally. Collaboration between the health science industry and the healthcare system, facilitated by EAHN, creates the opportunity to leverage healthcare as an economic driver. 

The following technologies will be evaluated as part of the first EAHN projects:

  • Awake Labs’ smartwatch, mobile app and stress measurement technologies for improving the wellbeing of adults with intellectual disabilities;
  • Flosonics Medical’s FloPatch, which helps medical personnel to wirelessly assess and monitor blood flow for critically-ill patients;
  • Huron Digital Pathology’s AI-based image search platform to connect pathologists to the expertise of their colleagues;
  • Hypercare’s digital healthcare collaboration app that enables communication and greater continuity of care in diverse healthcare settings;
  • Ironstone Product Development’s innovative oxygen system to help patients in hospitals breathe better;
  • KA Imaging’s portable dual-energy subtraction x-ray detector, which could provide enhanced imaging for early detection of COVID-19;
  • Synaptive Medical’s novel technology to reduce patients’ chances of COVID-19 infection when undergoing diagnostic imaging at hospitals; and
  • Therapeutic Monitoring Systems’ Extubation Advisor for reducing the chances of complications during treatment of critical respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19.

OBIO will work with the selected companies and health organizations to support the evaluation of their technology over a period of up to 12 months. In addition, OBIO will continue to work with all EAHN applicants to prepare them for readiness for future EAHN cohorts.


LinkedIn Highlights

Daisy Intelligence is an Ontario-based company at the forefront of #AI solutions for businesses. Recently included in a Forbes magazine feature, Daisy injects resiliency into the retail industry by helping organizations shift from a predictive analytics approach to AI based “reinforcement learning” to support profitable decision making.

 “These turbulent times only reinforce the importance of being able to plan for the future based on the dynamics of retail rather than what has happened in the past.” - Daisy Intelligence CEO Gary Saarenvirta

The Telly Awards honours the world’s best in video and television content. Heliconia, a video production and marketing company located in Beachburg, brought home four Telly statues (one gold, two silver and a bronze) for its adventure travel series.  


Heliconia also announced a major broadcast distribution expansion. Its travel series are now available in over 80 million US households through the FOX Sports Network, and available in 90 countries through National Geographic Channel-Asia, including China, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.


FedDev Ontario is proud to support Heliconia through the Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation.

The Government of Canada has launched two calls for proposals to help apprentices & organizations continue training while many institutions are physically closed. Eligible organizations have until August 28, 2020, to apply for funding.

See Employment and Social Development Canada’s Union Training and Innovation Program for more information:

A new COVID-19 Resilience stream, with over $3 billion available in existing funding, will help communities address the current health crisis and be more #COVID19-resilient. The stream will support important projects across Canada, like renovations to hospitals, schools and care facilities.


Learn more about Infrastructure Canada’s COVID-19 Resilience Stream:  


COVID-19: Key resources

Digital Main Street
Rebuild, Reopen, Revive

Support for women-led SMEs to help with the key costs of reopening

Main Street Transformation Platform
Digital Main Street

If you are a small Ontario main street business seeking support to digitize your operations, register online for support through Digital Main Street, ShopHere, or the Future Proofing Main Street initiative.

Business resources: COVID-19
Business resources: COVID-19

Resources for businesses affected by COVID-19

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Find out if you are eligible and apply online


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