The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
November 12, 2009
Check against delivery
Thank you Pat.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen, friends and honoured guests.
It is wonderful to be here at the Sarnia Campus of the University of Western Ontario.
Thank you for hosting us today.
Our small businesses and entrepreneurs are extremely important to our economy. They play a vital role in job creation and economic growth.
I am pleased to be here today to share with you some of the ways we are providing the support and resources they need.
Our government is working hard – through partnerships with businesses and programs such as the Canada Small Business Financing Program, the Export Guarantee Program and the Canada Business Service Centres – to strengthen the economy.
Our Economic Action Plan builds on Canada's strengths and sets the path for our future economic success. We have reduced taxes, paid down the debt and invested in roads, bridges, waterways, post-secondary institutions and other important projects.
And there is evidence that our government's actions are having a real impact and our economy is starting to benefit from our plan. For example, since June, 26,500 new jobs have been created in Ontario.
But we still need to do more. Southern Ontario's economy is still facing a number of challenges like a stronger Canadian dollar, increased global competition and a need to expand and diversify markets.
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 announced more than $300 million in funding to help develop and support economic development programs that will build on the strengths of our communities and create an environment where our people and businesses can thrive.
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.
And just last week, I was pleased to announce $30 million in additional funding available under the SODP.
This funding included a $15-million top-up for the first intake of SODP, bringing the total of funding available for projects under this intake to $55 million.
It also provided a $15.75-million investment in the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters SMART program.
And today I am pleased to announce that our government will invest $1.6 million in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Export Market Access Program to help small- and medium-sized businesses gain access to and expand in global markets, and increase export sales of Ontario-made goods and services.
This program has a solid track record, and through this exciting new partnership, we can build on existing knowledge and capacity in order to create jobs in Southern Ontario.
We want businesses to succeed and grow not simply because success will mean more – and better jobs – for workers today, but also because it will set the stage for the prosperity of our country tomorrow.
We understand the importance of supporting small and medium businesses, 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.