The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
November 6, 2009
Check against delivery
Thank you Dean.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen, friends and honoured guests.
I am pleased to be here with you today.
Thank you, Rob, for hosting us.
I know that Canadians' number one priority and our government's number one priority right now is our economy.
Our government has reduced taxes, paid down the debt and invested in roads, bridges, waterways, community centres and other important projects. Our Economic Action Plan builds on Canada's strengths and sets the path for our future economic success.
There is evidence that our government's actions are having a real impact and our economy is starting to benefit from our plan.
I was heartened to see that in the last three months, 39,000 new jobs were created in Ontario.
This is progress we all can be proud of.
But this government recognizes that we still need to do more in Southern Ontario. This is why, under Canada's Economic Action Plan, more than $1 billion was allocated for a new Southern Ontario development agency.
The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, or FedDev Ontario as we like to call it, was created to provide the tools and resources that communities and businesses need to diversify and become more competitive.
Over the last few months, we have taken action to develop and deliver economic development programs that will build on the strengths of our communities and create an environment where our people and businesses can thrive.
In fact, I have already announced several significant investments that will help to strengthen the Southern Ontario economy. These include:
Most recently, on October 2, I was in London to launch the Southern Ontario Development Program, or SODP, with a call for project applications under the first intake, worth $40 million.
The SODP is FedDev Ontario's key funding program that supports productivity, innovation, commercialization, community economic development and diversification in Southern Ontario.
That I why I am pleased to announce that our government will invest $15.75 million in the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters SMART program to help small and medium sized manufacturers improve their productivity.
I am also announcing that we will invest an additional $15 million for the first intake of the Southern Ontario Development Program, which brings the total of funding available for projects under this intake to $55 million.
Together, these two investments will create jobs and help local businesses and communities grow and diversify. Our government is delivering on our commitment in the Economic Action Plan to stimulate the economy and support the people in Southern Ontario.
We realize that the manufacturing sector in Southern Ontario – one of the largest commercial sectors in this region – has been hit particularly hard by the recession.
Manufacturers need financial assistance to allow them to effectively compete, retain jobs and deal with economic and financial pressures that threaten their viability.
Our investment in the SMART Program will go towards funding projects at small- and medium-sized manufacturers to help increase their productivity and competitiveness in the global economy.
Hundreds of Ontario manufacturers across the province who have decided to invest in the future of Ontario have already received help through this program.
Now, thanks to our investment – we will be able to help hundreds more.
And I know that Jayson has some exciting news to share with you today.
This program has a proven track record, and through this exciting new partnership, we can extend the life of this successful initiative to increase productivity and create jobs in the manufacturing sector across Ontario.
Overall funding for the SODP is $100 million in 2009/10. And I'm pleased to say that after today, more than $70 million has now been announced.
I will also be making more announcements from the Southern Ontario Development Program very soon.
Our government is delivering on our commitment to create jobs and invest in the economy of the future — today.
We understand the importance of supporting SMEs, manufacturers, communities and non-profit organizations and the critical role they play in our economy.
I look forward to working with many of you as we continue to support people, communities and businesses in this region and pave the way for long-term growth and position Southern Ontario as a future economic leader.
Thank you. Merci.