Social enterprise grows to meet demand

News release

New commercial kitchen helps MetroWorks Employment access new markets, create opportunities

June 30, 2021 · Halifax, NS · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the number of Canadians that continue to face barriers to being fully included in their communities, workplaces and the economy. That’s why the Government of Canada is investing to help social enterprises like MetroWorks Employment Association upgrade equipment, reach new markets and expand vocational opportunities for those who face barriers to employment.

Creating communities in which all citizens are fully included

Today, the Honourable Geoff Regan, Member of Parliament for Halifax West, announced a non-repayable contribution of $75,000 to help MetroWorks renovate the Stone Hearth Bakery. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

The Province of Nova Scotia, through the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, also provided $75,000 towards the project.

The federal funding supported the purchase of specialized equipment to meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency requirements for national and international food distribution. The newly completed facility is helping local food entrepreneurs access affordable food manufacturing while providing an additional 20 employment and training opportunities.

Strategic investments like this one are examples of how the Government of Canada is working with organizations to break down barriers to accessibility and inclusion, helping ensure that Canadians of all abilities have a full and equal chance to participate in the economy.


“We’re taking action to ensure all Canadians have an opportunity to participate in an inclusive economy. Supporting social enterprises means they can continue to provide good local jobs and skills development opportunities – breaking down barriers and strengthening communities across the country. Our message is clear: we’re working with you to build a fair and inclusive future for all Canadians.

-   The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“When barriers to accessibility and inclusion are removed, Canadians with disabilities can participate more fully, strengthening communities, and contributing to a more resilient and inclusive economy. This is why I am pleased MetroWorks is continuing to provide real opportunities in Halifax for those who face barriers to employment, while simlutaneously helping our local businesses grow and reach new markets.”

- The Honourable Geoff Regan, Member of Parliament for Halifax West

“MetroWorks has stepped up in a big way, addressing barriers to allow more Nova Scotians to take part in social enterprises that help build strong communities. The expansion of their kitchen has enabled them to increase production capacity, while creating work opportunities for people of various abilities. We will continue to invest in projects like these that support diverse, inclusive economies.”

- The Honourable Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, Nova Scotia Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage

“This funding has allowed us to expand our social enterprise so, not only can we continue to provide the high quality products our customers have come to expect, but also grow our product lines, enter new markets, provide co-packing opportunities to small producers and expand our employability skills program for those with barriers to employment. Wins all around.”

-   Dave Rideout, President and CEO, MetroWorks Employment Association

Quick facts

  • Established 1977 MetroWorks Employment Association is a not-for-profit association that houses social enterprises, such as the Stone Hearth Bakery, which aim to help people overcome barriers and gain the confidence and skills required to obtain meaningful and sustainable employment. 

  • Through its social enterprises, MetroWorks provides approximately 350 training and job skills opportunities on an annual basis.

  • The new, fully-operational kitchen will help position the Stone Hearth Bakery as a leader in co-packing as well as new and small batch food production for small- and medium-sized food businesses.

  • Federal support for this project is provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund (ICF)


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic
Development and Official Languages

Chris Brooks
Communications Director, Nova Scotia
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mikaela Etchegary
Communications and Media Relations Advisor
Department of Communities, Culture and heritage

Dave Rideout
President and CEO
MetroWorks Employment Association
902-453-6246 ext. 105

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