FedDev Ontario supports expansion of Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation

News release

$14-million investment will enable network to grow to 10 partners, enhance its reach into the manufacturing community and support over 550 jobs

July 11, 2019 - Welland, Ontario

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of helping Canadian manufacturers adopt leading-edge technologies so they can grow and compete both at home and abroad.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, along with Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, announced a FedDev Ontario contribution of $14 million to Niagara College to expand the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI). This announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

Created in 2016 with a $7.3-million contribution from FedDev Ontario, SONAMI is a network of seven post-secondary institutions that pools the resources and expertise of its members and matches them to the needs of smaller manufacturers. This enables them to adopt cutting-edge technologies into their operations to increase productivity and create innovative new products, grow and diversify their businesses into new markets and become more competitive.

With new funding, SONAMI will expand its geographic reach beyond the Niagara Region by adding three new post-secondary institutions. Companies will be able to connect to a broader range of expertise and knowledge in areas such as bio-industrial manufacturing, green product manufacturing and “Industry 4.0” technologies, including digitally enabled and intelligent manufacturing.

The expanded network will provide technical knowledge and expertise to another 240 businesses as they work to commercialize up to 240 new products. The project will create and maintain 552 permanent jobs and provide skills training and development for up to 360 students and researchers, preparing young Canadians for the jobs of today and tomorrow.


“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the advanced manufacturing innovation ecosystem in southern Ontario, a vital manufacturing region in Canada. The SONAMI network offers the linkages and expertise that our smaller manufacturers need to seize new opportunities, develop the workforce of the future and adopt the latest technologies to remain competitive on a global scale.”
- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario

“The Government of Canada proudly supports our advanced manufacturing sector, a pillar of the regional ecosystem in southern Ontario. SONAMI’s award-winning partnership model offers a single window for smaller manufacturers to access leading-edge expertise and facilities. With this FedDev Ontario funding, SONAMI will expand its network, allowing even more businesses to access the support they need to innovate, grow and compete in the economy of the future.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Niagara College and its SONAMI partners are pushing the limits of what our manufacturers can do. The network has already demonstrated its ability to help companies grow and create jobs for the Niagara Region and well beyond. I look forward to seeing the successes that will come from an expanded network.”
- Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre

“Today’s announcement is a great example of how the most innovative solutions happen through collaboration. FedDev Ontario’s support to expand SONAMI will not only help to create jobs here in the Niagara region, but also help more manufacturers adopt leading-edge technology and access the expertise needed to succeed now, as well as build skills for the jobs of the future.”
- Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines

“We are thankful to FedDev Ontario for this significant new investment in SONAMI. Niagara College is proud of the network’s tremendous success as a one-stop shop for advanced manufacturing applied research in southern Ontario. With this expansion, we will continue to help small- and medium-sized enterprises remain competitive, while enabling our students to gain valuable skills working on cutting-edge solutions for our industry partners. Together, we are stimulating the economy while building essential skills for tomorrow’s workforce.”
Dan Patterson, PhD, President, Niagara College

Quick facts

  • Led by Niagara College, the SONAMI partnership includes Mohawk College, Sheridan College, McMaster University, Conestoga College, Fanshawe College and Lambton College.

  • Through the funding announced today, SONAMI will reach beyond its existing client base of nearly 12,000 manufacturing businesses across southern Ontario.

  • To date, SONAMI has worked with 109 businesses to commercialize more than 140 products.

  • Niagara College received the 2019 Research Partnership Award from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) for the significant impact SONAMI has had on the regional economy. The SONAMI project administrator also received CARA’s Walter Hitschfeld Award for her dedication and exceptional impact on research administration.

  • FedDev Ontario’s non-repayable contribution is leveraging over $24 million in funding, including $14 million from industry collaborators and $10.3 million from SONAMI member post-secondary institutions.

  • This year marks 10 years of FedDev Ontario delivering funding and business services to support innovation and growth in southern Ontario.

Associated links


Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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Website: www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca

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