Archived — Speaking Points for Agency Information Session
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The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
January 23, 2014
Check against delivery
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, friends and guests. Thank you for the warm welcome. C'est un grand plaisir d'être avec vous aujourd'hui.
I am very happy to be back in Clarington once again. I have spent some time here in the past and I am thrilled that MP O'Toole is here and was able to organize today's information session.
In fact, right here in the Durham region, we supported such projects as the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa through the Agency's Applied Research and Commercialization (ARC) initiative, which provided $1.38 million and enabled UOIT to enter into collaborations with 26 companies. And overall, we have committed over $29 million to more than 90 projects.
Having said that, I know that this area has faced difficulties, and frankly, with the current local unemployment rate at 7.1%, you and I know there is still work to do. Today, we are faced with unprecedented global competition and technology that changes, improves or becomes obsolete over night. In addition, the consumer landscape changes rapidly making products that were once in high demand, no longer needed. However, I know that this area's economy has a strong historical base in milling, is more recently a base in nuclear generation, and is of course home to an international motorsport park.
So despite some great accomplishments here and in communities like this one all over the region, we know that there are challenges that remain. And that is why we are working to help create, grow, retain and attract businesses. And, this begins by looking at all of the potential that exists in communities like this one.
In terms of tapping into that potential, we all have a role to play, and let me start by speaking a little bit about our Government's priorities. Overall, we are confident that we have set the right macro-economic conditions and provided the necessary targeted investments from across federal departments and agencies to retain, attract and grow Canadian businesses.
For example, since 2006, our Government has lowered taxes, made Canada the first tariff-free zone for manufacturers in the G-20, eliminated unnecessary regulatory burdens and improved conditions for business investment. These steps have established a solid foundation that has allowed Canadian businesses to create jobs and drive economic growth.
We have extended the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for machinery and equipment, ensured fair and transparent government procurement and provided important and timely job training.
We have opened the door to new markets with millions of new customers with the groundbreaking Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that has been reached in principle, between Canada and the European Union (EU).
And our Government has a wide spectrum of programs to support workers (through skills training), businesses (through access to capital) and communities.
We have invested directly in game-changing projects and growing companies where the return on our investment has and will be of direct benefit to taxpayers and the country. But we cannot do it alone. We need businesses and other levels of government to contribute to good economic outcomes.
In our first four years, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, or FedDev Ontario as it is more commonly known, invested over $1.1 billion in southern Ontario. This has resulted in partnerships with more than 5,300 organizations and over $1.5 billion in additional leveraged investments from almost exclusively non-government sources to support businesses, manufacturers, organizations and communities in southern Ontario.
In addition, FedDev has a direct role in delivering local infrastructure programming throughout Ontario with programs such as the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF). Budget 2012 committed $150 million nationally over two years for the CIIF, to support the rehabilitation and improvement of existing community infrastructure facilities. In Ontario, 430 CIIF projects were approved with a total federal contribution of $49.6 million.
Of course, we will continue to invest in those companies and organizations that will provide this country with the greatest return on our investment.
And that ladies and gentlemen brings me to why I am here to speak about today: our Agency's new vision.
As Minister of State for FedDev Ontario, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the innovation and potential that exists across this region; the ideas, resources, technologies, products, services and the people.
Folks, with renewed funding of $920 million as a result of Economic Action Plan 2013, we are now taking the Agency's efforts to date to the next level. Over the next five years, we will focus on: building on our successes, co-investing in world-class innovation platforms, commercializing innovation, creating an entrepreneurial environment with access to financing; and creating prosperity by boosting productivity and diversification.
And so, with that, I'd like to tell you about four new initiatives that were recently launched with a combined total of over $530 million in available funding.
The Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives (or SOPIs) are a new suite of four initiatives designed to support and develop a stronger, more vibrant southern Ontario economy.
High-growth businesses and new entrepreneurs are critical to southern Ontario's competitiveness. These entrepreneurs face challenges in of raising adequate capital in Canada, developing entrepreneurial skills, and accessing the expertise and connections of the investment community. That is why the Agency has re-launched the Investing in Business Innovation initiative, or IBI as you know it.
IBI will continue to provide support and financing to help high-growth potential businesses attract private-sector investment and advice that will accelerate their growth and realize their potential.
We have also launched the Investing in Business Growth and Productivity initiative, or IBGP. This initiative supports economic growth and job creation by helping businesses diversify markets and expand facilities, adopt new technologies and processes to improve productivity.
The SOPIs will also cultivate partnerships.
We have done some great work in this area, but we know that while Canada ranks high in innovation and scientific discovery, we are less effective in converting research, new ideas and technologies into products and services that fare well in commercial markets.
That is why I am pleased to tell you about the new Investing in Commercialization Partnerships initiative, or ICP. ICP supports business-led partnerships with a focus on developing globally-competitive products and services.
The SOPIs will build stronger communities.
The new Investing in Regional Diversification initiative, or IRD, will help with this.
IRD supports the long-term development of stronger, more diverse economies in southern Ontario communities. IRD leverages unique regional assets and local expertise to attract new investment and opportunities for economic growth and development.
As well, we have launched the new Advanced Manufacturing Fund. With an investment of $200 million over the next five years, we are helping manufacturers in the province to build momentum and push to be more competitive on the global stage.
Through this Fund, we will encourage eligible manufacturing firms and organizations in Ontario to develop transformative products and technologies. It will support investments that create new and innovative products or production methods, with commercialization within five years.
I am also excited to mention the renewal of the Eastern Ontario Development Program with an investment of $48 million over five years. This program has a proven track record for protecting jobs and creating opportunities for the local businesses and communities of eastern Ontario
Now having said all that, I see our role not just being that of an investor ― FedDev Ontario is a thoughtful and strategic investor with serious expectations about what our funds can do for the region in partnership with businesses, post secondary institutions and communities.
The Agency is also a champion for the region. This means ensuring the government in Ottawa understands the needs and opportunities in the region and that our various partners understand broad government priorities and what the whole of the federal government has to offer in terms of the range of programs and services that are available to people, communities and businesses across the country.
Our purpose today is to introduce our new suite of programs, while playing our third role, that of convenor. In my mind, this is about bringing the right people together at the right time to talk about the right things. We help to get the conversations started, and we help people to turn the conversation into concrete action.
Ladies and gentlemen, I will conclude as I started, a strong Canada depends on us working together and each doing our part. Governments must do their part to provide the right conditions and targeted investments. I also recognize that some factors such as high energy costs, property tax and real estate in Ontario are outside of the federal government's jurisdiction, and these issues must be looked after as well. Academia must focus on commercializing research and developing curricula that supports productivity and innovation. And industry must step up to the plate as they have the potential to compete and win globally.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing all of the possibilities that will come to light as a result of these new opportunities, and now someone from FedDev Ontario will be available to discuss in further detail the programming I have outlined.
Thank you. Merci.
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