Southern Ontario Spotlight - July 2021

Southern Ontario Spotlight



Making Headlines

Government of Canada launches new funding to create jobs and boost innovation

Government of Canada launches new funding to create jobs and boost innovation

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and a source of jobs in every corner of the country. As the Government of Canada continues to make targeted investments to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we support local businesses and the organizations that support them to future-proof, build resiliency and prepare for growth.

That is why the Government of Canada announced that businesses and organizations across Canada can now submit applications through the new Jobs and Growth Fund. Delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs), including FedDev Ontario, this new fund provides $700 million over three years for projects that will help job creators to adopt clean technology, increase diversity, and implement digital technologies to strengthen capacity in critical sectors. This includes up to $70 million dedicated to businesses created after January 2020 that meet eligibility criteria.

“By investing in our job creators and the organizations that support them, the Jobs and Growth Fund will help to create quality jobs, pursue inclusive and clean growth opportunities, and empower businesses and communities from coast to coast to coast. Our government has a plan to finish the fight against COVID-19—and ensure a resilient economic recovery that creates good jobs and growth for all Canadians. Today’s announcement is an important step forward in getting us there.”

- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Also announced was the opening of the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI), a measure introduced by the Government of Canada to address the severe economic impact experienced by the aerospace sector throughout the pandemic. With a budget of $250 million over three years, this national initiative will help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and not-for-profit organizations in the aerospace sector adopt green and sustainable practices, increase innovation, and strengthen their integration into global supply chains.

For more information on the Jobs and Growth and ARRI funds, as well as additional programming being offered, visit FedDev Ontario’s Funding Opportunities page.

New funding for Canada’s tourism sector

New funding for Canada’s tourism sector

The tourism sector has faced an unprecedented economic downturn over the past 16 months, with public safety measures keeping most Canadians at home and international borders closed. With vaccination rates steadily increasing and case rates on the decline, tourism businesses and organizations are ready to build forward and re-establish Canada as a world-class destination.

To support this critical sector, the Government of Canada launched the new $500-million Tourism Relief Fund to help businesses and organizations adapt operations to meet public health requirements and invest in new products and services to facilitate future growth, with a minimum of $50 million dedicated to supporting Indigenous tourism initiatives.

As part of the $1-billion in tourism support announced in Budget 2021, the Tourism Relief Fund, delivered by Canada’s RDAs including FedDev Ontario, will help tourism businesses bounce back and drive economic growth and job creation from coast to coast to coast.

This funding will also leverage the reach and expertise of national tourism organizations to support pan-Canadian or multi-regional activities addressing challenges facing the tourism sector on its path to recovery, like conferences and events, training and research, and strengthening networks.

“This funding will have a strong impact on tourism communities and families, giving many the opportunity to keep their staff, customers and operations safe for everyone and help to keep our economy open and progressive, as we continue to move forward.”

– Lesley Lavender, Executive Director, Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce

At the end of June, the Government of Canada also launched the Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative (MFESI), part of the $1.9-billion announced in Budget 2021 to help support the arts, culture, heritage and sport sectors. FedDev Ontario is delivering MFESI in southern Ontario to help major, recurring festivals and events with annual revenues exceeding $10 million to adapt or enhance their activities to prepare for when they are able to welcome national and international visitors again. This initiative complements the $200-million Reopening Fund that will be delivered by Canadian Heritage over two years to support Canada's festivals, cultural events, outdoor theatre performances, heritage celebrations, local museums, amateur sport events and more.

Visit FedDev Ontario’s website to learn more about the TRF and MFESI.

Government of Canada launches $500-million Canada Community Revitalization Fund

Government of Canada launches $500-million Canada Community Revitalization Fund

Shared public spaces are the heart of communities across southern Ontario, with main streets, downtown cores, farmers' markets and other public places drawing in residents and visitors alike while supporting local businesses and jobs. In many communities, these spaces have remained empty as Canadians took precautions to stay safe from COVID-19.

Recently, the Government of Canada announced that applications are now being accepted for the new Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF). Delivered by Canada’s RDAs, including FedDev Ontario, the CCRF aims to help communities across Canada build and improve community infrastructure projects so they can rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a national investment of $500 million over two years, the Fund will support not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and other community groups, as well as Indigenous communities to: build new community infrastructure and revitalize existing assets; bring people back to public spaces safely as health measures ease; and create jobs and stimulate local economies. For more information on how to apply, visit FedDev Ontario’s CCRF webpage.

In addition, the Government of Canada recently announced the launch of a call for applications for the Canada Digital Adoption Program’s (CDAP) first stream, Grow Your Business Online, valued at $336.8 million. Recognizing that expanding digital adoption for businesses of all sizes is critical to Canada’s long-term growth and competitiveness, this first stream will award funding to not-for-profit organizations to support small businesses as they adopt digital technologies such as digital storefronts and e-commerce platforms, and expand their digital presence. For information on how to apply, visit the CDAP website.

Southern Ontario’s economic recovery is closely linked to the vitality of our local communities and their shared spaces, and FedDev Ontario remains committed to supporting communities as we build forward.

New FedDev Ontario investment to revitalize Toronto neighbourhoods and main street businesses

New FedDev Ontario investment to revitalize Toronto neighbourhoods and main street businesses

Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods comprise a rich tapestry where art, dining, culture and sports collide. Those who live and work in the vibrant city and the more than 27 million people who normally visit each year contribute greatly to the local economy. However, the shift to remote work and business closures during the pandemic has impacted the city’s vitality.

That is why FedDev Ontario announced $19 million to support the recovery and revitalization of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. This includes an $18 million investment in the City of Toronto to deliver the Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative, a first-in-Canada approach to retain and attract new businesses and bring foot traffic back to the city’s communities. Programming will prioritize marginalized communities and will help retail businesses get back on their feet with mentorship, advisory services and grants. This includes, for example:

  • Support for plazaPOPS, which will help transform empty strip mall parking lots into green community gathering spaces while revitalizing commercial spaces that have been left empty as a result of the pandemic.
  • Support for CaféTO, which will help main street restaurants continue to adapt to pandemic-related restrictions and attract patrons for dining experiences.
  • A partnership with the Black Business and Professional Association, which will help support businesses in the neighbourhood of Little Jamaica that have been impacted by the pandemic.
  • Funding for the ShowLoveTO initiative that encourages Torontonians to explore, shop and support local stores, restaurants and service providers in a safe manner.

“We need to ensure our businesses are set up for recovery post-pandemic, and in the years to come. Today’s support from the federal government will provide much needed help for our hard hit main streets and small businesses. Thank you to our federal partners for this funding that will be vital to the survival of our small businesses and in the success of our city.”

- His Worship John Tory, Mayor, City of Toronto

Together, these investments will support more than 3,300 Toronto businesses and protect over 5,760 jobs, further demonstrating the Government of Canada’s commitment to helping communities, families and businesses build forward from the pandemic in a strong and inclusive economic recovery.



FedDev Ontario invests in University of Waterloo-based additive manufacturing consortium
FedDev Ontario invests in University of Waterloo-based additive manufacturing consortium

FedDev Ontario invests in University of Waterloo-based additive manufacturing consortium

FedDev Ontario announced an $8.2-million investment for the University of Waterloo to establish an Additive Manufacturing Alliance (AMA), to help businesses across southern Ontario overcome barriers to adopting this cutting-edge advanced manufacturing technology. Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, is quickly revolutionizing the manufacturing sector across all industries. AM provides the ability to produce parts faster, using lower-cost lightweight material that also reduces waste.

Providing access to the university’s Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) lab, a research and development facility for next generation metal AM processes that houses specialized metal 3D printing equipment and expertise, the AMA will help companies grow. Through collaboration with other post-secondary institutions and industry partners, AM firms will be able to quickly move product prototypes through to production while facilitating industry connections to established supply chains. This project will support more than 90 businesses to commercialize nearly 30 advanced manufacturing technologies, and is expected to support over 275 jobs. Nearly 1,500 students, research associates and industry personnel will receive training and outreach opportunities.

In 2017, FedDev Ontario invested $8.9 million for the University of Waterloo to establish the MSAM. To date, the lab has supported 25 companies to commercialize more than 30 new products and has created and maintained 115 jobs. In the fight against COVID-19, the MSAM shifted production focus to 3D-printed medical devices and supplies, including face shield parts for frontline workers and patients. The team is also part of a global innovation challenge to develop a simple, low-cost ventilator that meets the needs of COVID-19 patients.

FedDev Ontario investment supports more than 230 businesses through McMaster University’s clean automotive and aerospace hub
FedDev Ontario investment supports more than 230 businesses through McMaster University’s clean automotive and aerospace hub

FedDev Ontario investment supports more than 230 businesses through McMaster University’s clean automotive and aerospace hub

Advanced technology is quickly transforming the automotive and aerospace sectors, offering substantial environmental benefits through reduced emissions.

FedDev Ontario is providing a $10-million investment for McMaster University to establish iHub, a university-based integrated automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing network. Located at the McMaster Innovation Park, iHub will connect industry experts with manufacturers, suppliers and SMEs to help develop, test and incorporate new technologies for next-generation electric and autonomous vehicles and energy-efficient and intelligent aircrafts. It will also enhance Ontario's position as a global destination to develop, test and commercialize hybrid, electric and autonomous vehicles and intelligent aircraft technologies while accelerating the path to net zero emissions.

The project is expected to support more than 230 SMEs, facilitate the commercialization of 100 new products or services, support up to 170 direct jobs and leverage $16.8 million from industry partners.

Tech hub ventureLAB partners with Siemens to expand its Hardware Catalyst Initiative
Tech hub ventureLAB partners with Siemens to expand its Hardware Catalyst Initiative

Tech hub ventureLAB partners with Siemens to expand its Hardware Catalyst Initiative

Markham, Ontario’s leading technology hub ventureLAB recently announced a new partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software, a division of Siemens focused on connecting design and manufacturing domains to advance automation and digital transformation. The partnership aims to expand the reach of ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative, Canada’s only semiconductor lab and incubator. Participants will gain access to unique offerings from the Siemens Xcelerator™ portfolio, which includes advanced design, simulation, and lifecycle management software to support innovation in electronics, healthcare technology and Internet of Things (IoT).

The Hardware Catalyst Initiative enables Canadian semiconductor start-ups to accelerate commercialization and growth with access to its global ecosystem of innovators. In March 2021, FedDev Ontario provided ventureLAB with $4.7 million to enhance the Hardware Catalyst Initiative lab’s advanced computing infrastructure, building on an initial $5-million investment in 2019 to help establish the lab.

“The growing global hardware sector presents an exciting opportunity for Canadian innovators to step forward with their world-class products and add value to global supply chains. Our government is committed to ensuring growth and competitiveness in this vital sector by supporting Canadian businesses to seize the opportunities before us as we work towards a strong, inclusive, and digital economic recovery from COVID-19.”

- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion and Member of Parliament for Markham–Thornhill

Satellite operator Kepler raises $72.6 million in financing, looks to aggressive U.S. expansion
Satellite operator Kepler raises $72.6 million in financing, looks to aggressive U.S. expansion

Satellite operator Kepler raises $72.6 million in financing, looks to aggressive U.S. expansion

Toronto-based space technology firm Kepler Communications announced it has raised $72.6 million (CAD) in Series B financing, bringing its total funding to date to $108.9 million. This funding will allow Kepler to continue scaling its satellite communications network.

Based in Toronto, Kepler designs, manufactures and operates small low-orbit satellites providing a communications network to maritime, aviation and government markets, and maintains the ambitious goal of bringing the internet to space. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kepler continued to streamline its in-house production process and now has the capability to manufacture 10 satellites per month.

With a current constellation of 15 nanosatellites in orbit, Kepler is the largest satellite operator in Canada. With this new capital injection, Kepler has plans to introduce their next generation of satellites, increase their team size to 150 highly skilled employees, and expand into the U.S. market.

In March 2021, Kepler received a $3.8-million FedDev Ontario repayable contribution to set up an advanced nanosatellite manufacturing facility, making it the first Canadian company to mass-produce nanosatellites. In addition, as a trusted partner in Canada’s Global Skills Strategy, FedDev Ontario referred Kepler to Economic and Social Development Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to support a global talent search for its satellite operations workforce.



We want to give a shoutout to our local chocolatiers who have been spreading a little sweetness across southern Ontario throughout #Covid19. We are proud to support CHO-KWOK-LAT Fine chocolate by ludwig My Sweet Sweet World & Karma Candy through RRRF funding.

“[The RRRF] funding will have an impact not only for the present, but will make my business sustainable and more successful in the future. I’m more hopeful and optimistic than ever that Canada will come out stronger from this pandemic.”
- Ludwig Ratzinger of Fine Chocolate by Ludwig

@ApplyBoard raises $375 million in Series D funding to bolster its international expansion efforts!

I was pleased to be invited to speak with small businesses at the CanadianSME Small Business Magazine Expo 2021. The resilience of businesses is inspiring. We recognize how important they are and will continue to be in our recovery.

FedDev Ontario is here to support southern Ontario businesses to ensure we build forward better. Visit to learn about our funding opportunities and stay tuned as new measures continue to roll out. 

This digital storytelling platform allows for Black Muslim women to share their artistic expression and celebrate intersectionality. The Digital Sisterhood podcast is released every Friday afternoon – be sure to check it out!


Upcoming Events

Event September 12

Aug 15 - 18

AMO Virtual Conference 2021 (Online)

The AMO Virtual Conference 2021 will bring together 1500 participants, three Ministers’ forums, and 25 cabinet ministers in addition to a wide range of virtual programming.

Event September 12

Aug 31 - Sept 30

CABE Annual Moneco-Econtro Conference 2021 (Online)

In lieu of a single event, CABE will host a series of workshops featuring a variety of speakers who will discuss topics such as Canadian finances and economics, future skills, and policy.

Event September 12

Sept 8

Aerospace and the Space Economy (Online)

The Executive Summit Series are quarterly, virtual discussions about issues affecting Canadian business.


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