Southern Ontario Spotlight - May 2020

Southern Ontario Spotlight



Government of Canada COVID-19 response

FedDev Ontario supports businesses and communities through COVID-19

FedDev Ontario supports businesses and communities through COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, FedDev Ontario is here to help southern Ontario businesses, organizations and communities navigate this challenging time.

On May 11, Canada’s regional development agencies launched the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), a national $962-million program providing targeted relief funding to small businesses, organizations and communities that have been unable to obtain support through other federal COVID-19 measures. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this support on April 17 as part of $1.7 billion in new targeted measures to protect Canadian jobs and provide more support to businesses and organizations dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

In southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario is delivering $213 million to help relieve the economic impact of COVID-19 for small businesses and $39.4 million to support rural businesses through the Community Futures Development Corporations.

Visit our Regional Relief and Recovery Fund page for more information and to apply.

We also continue to offer flexibilities to existing clients, including deferring repayments, considering alternative project costs and activities, accelerating reimbursements and extending performance reporting deadlines. Clients are encouraged to contact their project officers to discuss options.

New COVID-19 support from the Government of Canada

New COVID-19 support from the Government of Canada

As the Government of Canada continues to take immediate, significant and decisive action to support businesses, communities and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is updated regularly with the measures to support Canadians and help stabilize the economy. 

In addition to the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, the latest support includes:

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.
  • The federal government reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, which will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 percent of three monthly rent payments. 
  • Up to $306.8 million to support small- and medium-sized Indigenous businesses and Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses. 
  • $500 million to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors so they can continue to support artists and athletes.
  • $250 million to assist innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access existing COVID-19 business support, through the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.
  • $20.1 million for Futurpreneur Canada to support young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19. The funding will allow Futurpreneur Canada to provide payment relief for its clients for up to 12 months.
  • Support for Farm Credit Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses and food processors to ensure Canadians have quality food on their grocery store shelves and kitchen tables.
  • The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), which provides bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, to keep their operations going.

As we navigate this pandemic, it is also important to support our mental health. The Government of Canada has put together a number of resources to help Canadians care for our physical and mental well-being through this difficult situation.

Minister Joly discusses COVID-19 in virtual meetings with stakeholders

Minister Joly discusses COVID-19 in virtual meetings with stakeholders

Minister Joly continues to meet with businesses, associations and chambers of commerce across the country to ensure they have the support they need during this challenging time. On April 17, Minister Joly joined a virtual roundtable session hosted by the National Angel Capital Organization to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada’s innovation sector. Watch a recording of the session on LinkedIn.


Also this month, Minister Joly took part in a webinar with Elevate on the Federal Government's response to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as sessions with the Milton, Windsor-Essex, Greater Niagara, South Niagara, Peterborough and London Chambers of Commerce and Ontario Global 100, a network of Ontario CEOs.

New Industry Strategy Council will assess COVID-19 impact in Canada

New Industry Strategy Council will assess COVID-19 impact in Canada

The Government of Canada's new Industry Strategy Council, announced on May 8 by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, will draw on expertise from senior business leaders to study the scope and depth of COVID-19's impact on industries. Serving as an advisory board to inform government's understanding of specific sectorial pressures relating to COVID-19, the Council will build on Canada's strong partnerships between government and industry and enable private sector representatives to share directly their perspectives on the scope of challenges being faced across industries. 


FedDev Ontario recipients support COVID-19 response

Collaboration is key to fighting COVID-19
Collaboration is key to fighting COVID-19

Colin Slade, Quality Assurance Lead for the Producer Alliance, holding one of the network's face shields.

Collaboration is key to fighting COVID-19

In southern Ontario’s rich innovation ecosystem, FedDev Ontario clients are collaborating to quickly manufacture medical supplies and answer the call to help fight COVID-19. Many of their encouraging efforts are profiled below.


Baylis Medical partnered with Canadian manufacturers consortium Ventilators for Canadians to manufacture ventilators for hospitals across Canada. The company intends to produce 10,000 ventilators.


The Producer Alliance filed for Health Canada approval to manufacture Class 1 medical devices at the Venture13 Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centre. This group of Cobourg-area manufacturers, engineers, producers and volunteers came together to produce over 200 face shields per day for healthcare workers.


Ben Machine Products and L3Harris/Wescam are partnering to manufacture and donate reusable face shields to Trillium Health Partners.Trillium approached Ben Machine Products Co. on April 2 for support creating reusable face shields. By that afternoon, the company had created a simple design in partnership with L3Harris/Wescam and, within a week, they had donated 1,000 units.


Thank you to all businesses, organizations, communities and individuals who are rapidly pivoting to support Canada’s response to COVID-19. To learn more about Ontario manufacturers that have joined the effort, read the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing’s list of more than 200 companies from across Ontario that are manufacturing medical devices, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

Canadian medical advances support COVID-19 response
Canadian medical advances support COVID-19 response

New Quality Assessment Products from Microbix Systems Inc. will support clinically effective COVID-19 testing globally.

Canadian medical advances support COVID-19 response

As we face an unprecedented global situation, the need for innovative solutions is critical. Many innovators in  southern Ontario continue to answer the call for medical equipment and technologies.


Mississauga-based Microbix Systems Inc. attained licensing enabling the immediate usage of its quality assessments products (QAPsTM) to help ensure the accuracy of COVID-19 disease testing. The company has capacity to make enough QAPs to verify the accuracy of 1.5 million diagnostic tests per week, and began shipping QAPs to labs across Canada on April 30.


McMaster University researcher Donald Arnold is co-leading one of the world’s largest clinical trials of a potential treatment for COVID-19 in collaboration with academic and health partners across the country. The consortium will study the effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy, where blood plasma is drawn from recovered COVID-19 patients and their antibodies are used to treat other patients with acute COVID-19. The trial is expected to involve 1,000 patients from across the country.

Crowdsourcing COVID-19 solutions in Canada’s innovation corridor
Crowdsourcing COVID-19 solutions in Canada’s innovation corridor

Go Fog It's proprietary 360° Fogging Disinfection Protocol spreads microns of safe disinfectant that kill 99.99% of viruses present, including COVID-19

Crowdsourcing COVID-19 solutions in Canada’s innovation corridor

Always ready to adapt and respond to changing market conditions, southern Ontario’s business accelerators, incubators and industry organizations have quickly launched new initiatives to support COVID-19 response efforts.


Evrlinx, winner of Ryerson University’s national #HackTheCurve tech challenge, is receiving $15,000 in funding and more than $200,000 in services to help strengthen Canada’s supply chain for personal protective equipment with its hassle-free online marketplace.


Ryerson also partnered with Dalhousie University to launch Lab2Market-Health (L2M-H), a four-month program that provides resources, training and guidance to help graduate students and research institutions bring new vaccines, therapeutics, devices and diagnostic tools to market.

The Accelerator Centre launched Ontario’s COVID-19 Support and Recovery Cohort, which will provide companies with $30,000 in seed funding and $10,000 in business support to accelerate the launch of products and services related to COVID-19.


London-based Go Fog It will receive $20,000 in seed funding and a personalized suite of business services as winners of the first Recovery and Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge, an initiative co-presented by WEtech Alliance and Communitech that supports technology-enabled solutions for COVID-19. The company’s disinfectant fogging services will help stop the spread of coronavirus and support business owners with their new disinfecting responsibilities as they reopen to the public.


Bioenterprise Corporation is offering additional cost coverage and flexibilities for companies and eligible projects that are addressing COVID-19 through its SmartGrowth Program, which helps grow food and agri-businesses while strengthening the regional economy.


The Southern Ontario Smart Computing for Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) is waiving fees and fast-tracking applications for collaborators to use its network of high-performance computing resources to support COVID-19 research and advanced manufacturing efforts.

SONAMI members engage in 15 special projects to help Canada build a supply of essential equipment and therapeutics
SONAMI members engage in 15 special projects to help Canada build a supply of essential equipment and therapeutics

Left: CAMDT Research Technologist Ramzy Ganady holding one of the plastic face shields printed in Sheridan’s CAMDT. Right: Simon Heathcote, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Lab Manager, holding a 3D-printed face shield.

SONAMI members engage in 15 special projects to help Canada build a supply of essential equipment and therapeutics

The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) and its member institutions are switching gears to support Canada’s healthcare workers as they combat COVID-19:


  • The Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT) at Sheridan College is producing 5,500 face shields for local healthcare workers;
  • Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre is producing 37,000 face shields, including 12,000 for the Niagara Health System, and has acquired a Medical Device Establishment Licence (MDEL Class 1) to supply face shields to hospitals frontline healthcare providers outside of the Niagara region;
  • Mohawk College is supplying face shield bands to the Family Health Team in Cambridge;
  • McMaster University is repurposing equipment to produce face shields and 3D-printed laryngoscopes for Hamilton Health Sciences;
  • Researchers at Conestoga College’s Smart Manufacturing and Advanced Recycling Technologies Centre are co-developing a software application that will help critical supply chain workers maintain physical distancing;
  • Lambton Manufacturing Innovation Centre (LMIC) at Lambton College partnered with local craft brewery, Refined Fool, to help produce hand sanitizer for donation to Bluewater Heath. The team is also working on rapid prototyping services for the design and fabrication of personal protective equipment for Bluewater Health, and helping Link2Feed, a company that provides emergency food organizations with software solutions to manage operations and resources, with an online client enrolment tool.
  • Fanshawe College’s Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI), has partnered with KGK Sciences and Brock University to develop and test peptide inhibitors against SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It is believed that the peptides could help the immune system more quickly detect and fight against the virus.

LinkedIn Highlights

Across Canada, many organizations are shifting their operations to help the COVID-19 response efforts. Thanks to Napanee-based FireRein Inc, which stopped production of its innovative fire suppressant to produce hand sanitizer for frontline healthcare workers in Hastings, Lennox and Addington and Frontenac Counties, and to Trent University, which donated ethanol to support Peterborough-based Black’s Distillery in its switch to produce hand sanitizer.

#Waterloo Region companies Tri-Mach Group Inc. and Dejero Labs have joined the fight against COVID-19. Tri-Mach Group are producing sanitary PPE barriers to protect essential workers.


Dejero Labs is offering its LivePlus app to eligible broadcasters allowing them to deliver top-rate content from the comfort of their own homes.


Also in the region, Intellijoint Surgical Inc. made a donation that will enable Grand River Hospital to purchase tablets so more patients can videochat and connect with loved ones while in the hospital.

There are a number of resources available to support businesses positioned to help.

Review the full list of resources on LinkedIn.

Answer a few quick questions about your business needs and get a tailored list of right-for-you supports, including new COVID-related supports. Funding, loans, wage subsidies, expert advice and more – all in one place.


COVID-19: Key resources

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Find out if you are eligible and apply online

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

Resources for businesses affected by COVID-19

COVID-19 information

How FedDev Ontario is assisting southern Ontario businesses


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