Southern Ontario Spotlight - December 2021

Southern Ontario Spotlight



Making Headlines

Agency welcomes Minister Jaczek

The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Agency welcomes Minister Jaczek

On October 26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of the Honourable Dr. Helena Jaczek, as the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Minister Jaczek served as the Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Oak Ridges-Markham from 2007 – 2018. During that time, she held various portfolios, including the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Chair of Cabinet, and the Minister of Community and Social Services. In 2019, she was elected as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Markham-Stouffville.

Minister Jaczek received her Medical Degree and Masters of Health Sciences from the University of Toronto and worked at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, before becoming the Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner of Health Services for the Regional Municipality of York. She also has an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.

As an experienced community leader, Minister Jaczek will be a strong advocate for good jobs and strong economic growth in southern Ontario.

FedDev Ontario welcomes Minister Jaczek!

FedDev Ontario welcomes new President Nancy Gardiner

Nancy Gardiner, President of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

FedDev Ontario welcomes new President Nancy Gardiner

On September 1, FedDev Ontario welcomed its new President Nancy Gardiner, replacing former President James Meddings who retired after 32 years in the federal public service.

Prior to joining the Agency, Ms. Gardiner was Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs and Operations at Women and Gender Equality Canada, where she was able to advance gender equality through significant investments in key programs, policies and initiatives. Nancy has held several senior leadership positions in the public service including at Service Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada.

With over 25 years of progressive achievement, Ms. Gardiner has garnered a diversified background concentrated in program design, operational delivery, strategic planning and policy development, and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Agency.

FedDev Ontario welcomes President Gardiner, and wishes James Meddings a wonderful and fulfilling retirement!

Funding available to support post-pandemic recovery and growth

Funding available to support post-pandemic recovery and growth

Are you a business or organization in need of support?

The Government of Canada is investing over $2 billion to support inclusive growth and the recovery of the hardest hit sectors. This support, delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) including FedDev Ontario, consists of programs designed to support businesses, not-for-profit organizations and community economic development partners, including Indigenous organizations and businesses, as they recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

In southern Ontario, funding remains available for businesses in the aerospace and tourism sectors through the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative and the Tourism Relief Fund, and for not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and other community groups focused on building and improving community infrastructure projects through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund

Are you ready to create new jobs but you could use some help?

The Government of Canada is investing up to $224 million through the Jobs and Growth Fund to help create new jobs across southern Ontario. Recognizing that there are a number of businesses and organizations that continue to be impacted by the global pandemic, there are companies and organizations that are looking to grow and create jobs. FedDev Ontario is here to provide support for those looking to create jobs that align with the following priorities: transitioning to a green economy, fostering inclusive recovery, future-proofing via digital adoption/automation, or capacity-building in southern Ontario’s critical economic sectors.

For more information and to learn how to apply, visit FedDev Ontario’s funding opportunities page.

FedDev Ontario collaborates with others to provide support for southern Ontario tech sector

APMA’s Project Arrow concept vehicle

FedDev Ontario collaborates with others to provide support for southern Ontario tech sector

Southern Ontario’s tech sector is a dynamic part of the region’s economy, and FedDev Ontario continues to support  technology firms as they generate significant momentum coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic; bringing innovative products to market and raising record levels of investments, creating good-paying jobs and leading the region’s shift to greener, healthier solutions. To help reach tech companies, FedDev Ontario works with incubators and accelerators, universities/colleges and industry associations.

Recent investments include:

  • $10 million for the University of Waterloo to establish a health tech innovation hub in partnership with Western University, the City of Kitchener and Medical Innovation Xchange. This project will connect health tech firms with an integrated suite of services ranging from mentorship and business advisory services, support for health tech product development, and access to specialized labs and clinical trial spaces at the University of Waterloo’s planned Innovation Arena. The project is expected to create 730 skilled jobs, support the development and growth of 135 businesses, and attract over $400 million in follow-on investment in the companies supported.
  • A $5-million investment for the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association (APMA) to support its recently-launched Project Arrow, the automotive industry’s first Canadian-made, zero emission concept vehicle. Funding will further facilitate APMA’s gathering of key industry and academic partners to design, engineer and build a connected and autonomous zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) concept car, supporting over 80 jobs and 40 automotive suppliers and firms.
  • $2 million to support the relaunch of programming at tech accelerator OneEleven, which will provide digital and in person services to support high-growth companies access the resources needed to accelerate their success. At least 25 percent of new digital membership participants will be located outside of the GTA. This investment will support 30 high-growth scaling companies and 450 jobs across southern Ontario, while contributing to an inclusive tech sector by supporting companies led by members of underrepresented groups.

Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested nearly $725 million in more than 280 technology-related projects across southern Ontario. Visit FedDev Ontario’s pivotal projects site for stories on past successes.

Key Government of Canada investments support southern Ontario air travel ecosystem

London International Airport

Key Government of Canada investments support southern Ontario air travel ecosystem

The air transportation sector has been one of the hardest hit since the onset of the pandemic, with halted operations and countless layoffs devastating the vital industry. The Government of Canada is making targeted investments to support the timely recovery and adaptation efforts of airports and their suppliers, vendors and communities through the Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), a funding stream developed to help businesses and organizations in regional air transportation ecosystems remain operational and continue to support the economic growth of our regions.

To date, FedDev Ontario has announced over $9.5 million in RATI support through the following six projects:

For more information on RATI and other programming, visit FedDev Ontario’s funding opportunities page.

First cohort announced for Black Entrepreneurship Program Ecosystem Fund

First cohort announced for Black Entrepreneurship Program Ecosystem Fund

The Government of Canada’s Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) National and Regional Ecosystem Fund, has announced over $70 million in projects through the regional development agencies (RDAs). This Fund aims to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs and business owners by providing funding to Black-led not-for-profit organizations to support their on-the-ground efforts to offer mentorship, networking, financial planning and business training for Black entrepreneurs.

Of the projects announced, 20 projects were supported by FedDev Ontario totalling more than $46 million. An example of this support is the Africa Development Network (ADN), that received $832,000 to develop and establish a new incubator centre for Black Francophone entrepreneurs and businesses, that will offer supports such as: one-on-one mentoring; custom training for micro, small and growth companies and networking opportunities.  

For more information on all projects that have received support to date, visit the Black Entrepreneurship Program Ecosystem Fund webpage.



My Main Street accepting applications to revitalize neighbourhoods
My Main Street accepting applications to revitalize neighbourhoods

My Main Street accepting applications to revitalize neighbourhoods

Through a $23.35-million FedDev Ontario investment, the Canadian Urban Institute and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario have partnered to deliver the My Main Street initiative to revitalize over 200 southern Ontario neighbourhoods.

The initiative consists of two funding streams:

  • The My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program is currently open for applications, and aims to help 65 main street communities with direct business supports and market research through a dedicated Main Street Ambassador. Nonrepayable contributions of up to $10,000 will be available to 10 approved local businesses in each participating neighbourhood.
  • The My Main Street Community Activator program will support 140 projects including activities, events and improvements aimed at strengthening the connection between residents and their communities. Applications for the second round of the Activator program opened on December 2, 2021.

My Main Street aims to create vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods with thriving local small businesses and employment opportunities. The initiative will focus on inclusivity as a key component, providing targeted support for racialized neighbourhoods and implementing measures to reduce barriers faced by underrepresented groups.

This investment builds on a FedDev Ontario investment of $18 million, in July 2021, for the City of Toronto’s Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative (MRRI), to retain and attract new, locally-owned businesses, as well as restore commercial foot traffic and vibrancy to local neighbourhoods with a focus on marginalized communities within the city.

To date, targeted investments of over $40 million have helped main street businesses throughout southern Ontario recover from the effects of the pandemic, and FedDev Ontario remains committed to helping communities, families and businesses prosper to foster a strong and inclusive regional economy.

To learn more about My Main Street and to apply, visit

FedDev Ontario recipients recognized in annual awards lists
FedDev Ontario recipients recognized in annual awards lists

FoodCycle Science’s FoodCycler offers an at-home approach to food waste recycling – reducing the lengthy time of a traditional composter and diverting food waste from landfills

FedDev Ontario recipients recognized in annual awards lists


The Globe and Mail released its Top Growing Companies 2021 list highlighting 448 trendsetting Canadian businesses making waves in their respective industries. Qualifying companies were ranked based on three-year revenue growth, and FedDev Ontario proudly supported a number of companies on the list, including: HiMama (through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund), AlayaCare, Food Cycle Sciences, Molded Precision Components, Top Hat, MappedIn and more.

Also released was Deloitte’s Fast 50 rankings, a list highlighting leading companies in hardware, software, telecom, digital media and emerging areas such as clean technology. This year’s list featured several FedDev Ontario-supported companies, including: Opus One, Food Cycle Sciences, EcopiaAI, Stromcore Energy, League Inc., AlayaCare, Auvik Networks, ThinkOn, and BluWave-ai.

Congratulations to all the companies who placed on this year’s lists for their success, resilience and industry leadership.

Family-run Gerrie Electric a made-in-Canada success story
Family-run Gerrie Electric a made-in-Canada success story

Gerrie Electric’s state-of-the-art facility in Burlington, ON

Family-run Gerrie Electric a made-in-Canada success story

Burlington Ontario’s Gerrie Electric is a model of Canadian success and one of Canada’s largest independent electrical distributors with more than 400 employees and 23 locations across south central Ontario. Family-owned for three generations, and certified as a majority women-owned business, Gerrie Electric has maintained consistent growth throughout the years as it navigates an ever-evolving industry.

Founded in 1957 as a small storefront electrical supply counter, Gerrie Electric has evolved into a wholesale distributor and retailer specializing in electrical, industrial automation, data communication and lighting products, supplying a wide range of sectors from industrial to construction. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the company remained steadfast in its growth goals, forging a partnership with Mohawk College to offer valuable co-op placements for students and benefiting from valuable talent emerging from associated programs. Gerrie was also named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for its seventh consecutive year.

In March 2021, FedDev Ontario provided Gerrie Electric with a $1.4-million repayable contribution to consolidate its distribution operations into a 76,000-square-foot facility in Burlington, digitize its workflow, and equip the facility with Industry 4.0 technologies such as automated storage and retrieval systems. Recently completed, the new facility will help Gerrie Electric expand into new markets and compete with large, multinational corporations so that its clients can get their industrial supplies when they need them from a Canadian distributor and not be affected by supply chain disruptions.

Toronto-Waterloo corridor named among world’s top startup ecosystems
Toronto-Waterloo corridor named among world’s top startup ecosystems

Toronto-Waterloo corridor named among world’s top startup ecosystems

Startup Genome recently released its 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, a yearly ranking of the top 140 entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world, and the Toronto-Waterloo corridor took the 14th spot.

The report is one of the most comprehensive and widely-read research programs on startups, with 280 innovation ecosystems and over 3 million companies analyzed yearly. A joint venture between MaRS Discovery District, Communitech and the University of Waterloo worked to highlight the Toronto-Waterloo corridor’s strengths in areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, health and medical technologies and fintech. According to the report, the corridor has created 20.8 billion in economic value and is home to 20 percent of Canada’s university students.

FedDev Ontario remains committed to supporting southern Ontario’s startups and entrepreneurs through targeted funding for many of the region’s post-secondary institutions, incubators and accelerators. Read about recent innovation ecosystem success stories here.



Thanks to NOVA Chemicals and GREENMANTRA Technologies innovative green technologies, the companies are able to upcycle post-consumer recycled plastics into specialty waxes and polymer additives for asphalt roofing and plastic products. This environmentally friendly solution boosts the performance of asphalt and delivers stronger, more durable roads. We are pleased to have GreenMantra Technologies as a funding recipient as they create a greener future for Ontario.

When Shouldice Trucking made the move to Prescott, they brought new investment, new jobs and new sector strength with them. Grenville Community Futures Development Corporation was there to give Shouldice the head start they needed.

#GlobalEntrepreneurshipWeek #GEW2021

Call our Small Business Services toll-free from anywhere in Ontario and speak with one of our information officers. #GEW2021



Upcoming Events

Event September 12

Feb 8-10

EDCO’S 65th Annual Conference and Showcase: Move On (Hybrid)

This year's conference will explore the pivotal role economic developers will play in reimagining Ontario’s economy.

The event will be offered in hybrid format.

Event September 12

Feb 9-11

2022 OBIO Investment Summit (Online)

The Summit hopes to drive investment in Canada by offering a meeting platform for investors, science experience, and health science companies. The event will feature a mixture of company pitch sessions, keynote presentations and one-on-one meeting opportunities.

Event September 12

Feb 22-24

Future Skills Summit (Online)

The event will gather leading experts in skills development across Canada to discuss innovative ideas to shape the future work environment, post-COVID-19. Discussions will zero in on finding relevant data and information, discovering new skills approaches, identifying systemic change enablers, and scaling best practices.


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