FedDev Ontario announces support to drive automobility innovation in Windsor-Essex

News release

$5 million to catalyze growth of next-generation mobility cluster, transition local economy, attract investment to the region and create jobs of the future

September 6, 2019 — Windsor, Ontario

With more than a century of automotive manufacturing expertise, a highly skilled workforce and an ideal geographic location, the Windsor-Essex region is well-positioned to become a leader in mobility innovation. The Government of Canada recognizes that economic diversification is key to resilience and is making strategic investments that leverage regional strengths to create the right conditions for continued growth in our evolving economy.

Today, Marco Mendicino, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Eglinton–Lawrence, announced a FedDev Ontario investment of up to $5 million to grow an automobility innovation cluster in the Windsor-Essex region. This announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

This funding will help the region transition from reliance on traditional automotive manufacturing by leveraging new opportunities in next-generation mobility innovations, smart technologies, and automation. To develop the cluster, the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (WE EDC) will partner with local organizations and businesses to advance automobility technologies, with a focus on connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles. In collaboration with University of Windsor, including the Cross-Border Institute, the project also aims to help Canadian firms better integrate with international supply chains.

This initiative will help to augment the region’s capacity to support businesses, including new entrepreneurs, in seizing new economic opportunities, while attracting talent, and new businesses to the region. As a result of this project, WE EDC is expected to support 165 companies, establish 20 new partnerships, attract $9 million in foreign direct investment, and create and maintain 665 jobs in the region.

Today’s investment aligns with Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, which addresses the changing nature of the economy and seeks to create new opportunities for businesses, and all Canadians, to participate in the innovation economy.


“Economic diversification and growth are what keeps our communities strong and resilient. Windsor-Essex is an integral region for economic development, trade and partnerships, and collaboration on this exciting new initiative is key to the region seizing new opportunities afforded by the innovation economy.”
- Marco Mendicino, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Eglinton–Lawrence

“Canada’s strength in automation is playing a key role in shaping the future of the Windsor-Essex region. Our government is doing its part to anchor the next generation of mobility innovations locally, while helping to attract global investors and creating new business opportunities for our workers. By supporting WE EDC and institutions like the University of Windsor, we are driving innovation, growth, and creating quality jobs in this region and benefitting all of southern Ontario.”
- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario

“Automotive companies are re-branding themselves as technology companies.  As Canada's automotive capital, we also need to re-brand ourselves to showcase the innovation and technology happening here in the Windsor-Essex Region.  Today's announcement is an important step in helping to do so.  I am excited about building on this investment so we can drive economic diversification for our City, our Region.”
- His Worship, Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor

“Today's announcement allows the Windsor-Essex Region to create, grow and nurture an inclusive and prosperous economy that supports and attracts businesses to the Region to foster entrepreneurship, innovation and diversification.  Let's work together to build on the strengths of our County and our people, to be bold and be visionaries.”
- Gary McNamara, Warden of the County of Essex

“The Windsor-Essex Region is "where Canada begins" and, it is time that we stand proud of what we make, grow and create.  This investment will allow us to capitalize on our locational advantage and build on our existing strengths by working together to encourage diversification and continued prosperity.”
- Stephen MacKenzie, President and Chief Executive Officer, WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

“Universities and colleges increasingly play an important role in community economic development and diversification through market-relevant research, teaching and community engagement. And the University of Windsor is proud to be part of this announcement and the key role that the University’s Cross-Border Institute will play in the initiative. We look forward to continuing to contribute to the economic success of Windsor-Essex, and the region’s efforts to diversify and innovate.”
- Robert Gordon, President, the University of Windsor

Quick facts

  • Established more than 50 years ago, WE EDC is a not-for-profit organization focused on advancing economic development and prosperity of the region through business growth, attracting new businesses to the region and supporting entrepreneurship.

  • The term “automobility” describes the movement of people and goods through vast technological advancements in the automotive industry, as well as the information and communications technology, transportation and warehousing sectors.

  • 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

Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505
Website: www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca

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