Archived — Government of Canada Investing in Jobs and Growth in Guelph

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For immediate release
November 16, 2012

Guelph, Ontario — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Regional Minister for Southwest Ontario, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), today announced an investment in the University of Guelph's Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) that will help southern Ontario businesses create new green products for the expanding biomaterials market.

"Our Government is committed to investing in jobs and growth in fast-growing new areas such as the biomaterial sector," said Minister Finley. "Our investment in the University of Guelph's Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre will allow the Centre to expand its laboratory facilities, helping to ensure researchers have the tools they need to develop and assess new bio-based products that have tremendous commercial applications."

An investment of up to $1,947,838 through FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative will help the BDDC buy new equipment and expand its laboratory by approximately 3,400 square feet. These improvements will give the BDDC the space and tools it needs for biomaterial engineering, including testing of potential new products made from biomaterials, such as agricultural-based biocomposites. It is also expected that the project will directly create 12 jobs during implementation, with the potential of many more jobs through commercialization of products using biomaterials.

Biomaterials can be made using agricultural residues and non-food agricultural fibres, such as switchgrass, corn stover, wheat straw, soy hull, oat hull and miscanthus, combined with plastics including recycled plastic and bioplastics, to produce a wide range of green bioproducts. Businesses are increasingly looking for biomaterials that can substitute for non-renewable materials such as petroleum-based plastics predominantly used in the auto industry, consumer products and packaging.

Testing biomaterials for factors such as durability, stability, resistance to extreme temperatures, and level of biodegradability is critical to ensuring that the new product meets both market and environmental standards.

Strengthening the capacity to develop and test biomaterials in southern Ontario will help regional businesses better compete in this growing industry and meet the increasing global demand for sustainable products by creating new green products.

"This is an investment in the future," said University of Guelph President Alastair Summerlee. "It will allow us to expand and enhance our Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre, where scientists from across the disciplines are working together on viable solutions to some of today's most pressing problems. They are finding new uses for agricultural products, creating green alternatives and making Canada a world leader in the field."

"We sincerely thank FedDev Ontario for this timely contribution that will accelerate the creation of innovative green, biomaterials-based solutions to create a sustainable competitive advantage for businesses in our province and beyond in the fast-growing bioeconomy", said Dr. Amar Mohanty, Premier's Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation and Director, BDDC.

For more information on the BDDC, please refer to its website at

FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative is designed to encourage businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and post-secondary institutions in southern Ontario to undertake projects that will result in a more productive, diversified, and competitive economy. Applications for funding are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region's strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region's businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative and diversified. To learn more, please visit or call 1-866-593-5505.

Follow us on Twitter @FedDevOntario

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For more information, contact:

Stephanie Thomas
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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