Government of Canada invests in Windsor-Essex businesses to spur growth in the manufacturing sector and create 80 jobs

News release

Minister Joly announces over $6 million for four advanced manufacturers to expand capabilities, meet rising market demand and create 80 skilled jobs

November 9, 2020  Windsor, Ontario

With a diverse workforce and strategic positioning at a major border crossing, Windsor-Essex is home to many manufacturers that are diversifying the regional economy—from traditional and innovative automotive parts, to new drug therapies, to agricultural solutions and beyond. However, the COVID-19 crisis has had unprecedented repercussions on this key sector of Ontario’s industry. The Government of Canada is well-aware of the economic impacts of the health and economic crisis on the businesses of Windsor-Essex and is committed to supporting them.

This why the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, along with Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh, announced a total FedDev Ontario investment of $6.3 million to support the scale-up and growth of four leading manufacturers in Windsor-Essex: Pancap Pharma Inc., Crop Defenders Ltd., Hawk Plastics Ltd., and Whitfield Group.

Canadians need good jobs they can rely on and today’s announcement will play a key role in strengthening the economic fabric of the region by creating 80 quality local jobs. Building on the resiliency shown by the business owners and workers of Windsor-Essex, the Government of Canada is committed to provide meaningful and targeted investments to ensure that we can all get through the crisis, but also that our economy comes roaring back, stronger than before, once our economy fully re-opens.

These investments from the government are also leveraging more than $22.4 million in additional investments in Windsor-Essex, and the companies supported today will increase regional supply chain spending. This will help to spur growth in the region as a whole.

Businesses supported

Pancap Pharma Inc. (Pancap) produces Pancreatic Enzyme Products (PEP), a treatment for pancreatic insufficiencies attributed to cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis and other pancreatic diseases. With a $3.5-million repayable contribution from FedDev Ontario, Pancap established its new 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Windsor incorporating state-of-the-art equipment and new technologies that will reduce manufacturing times by 50 percent from 12 weeks to six weeks and allow Pancap to triple its annual production of PEP products. Through this expansion project, 50 new skilled jobs will be created in Windsor.

Crop Defenders Ltd. produces biological pest control solutions to help growers defend against aphids, a common pest that often plagues greenhouse vegetables. An $899,000 repayable contribution from FedDev Ontario will allow Crop Defenders to expand its facility, acquire new equipment and scale up operations to mass-produce JERVI (its unique aphid control solution) for sale to greenhouse producers. Through this investment, the company’s first-in-Canada sustainable solution will benefit horticultural and greenhouse growers in Canada and create 10 new full-time jobs in Maidstone.

Hawk Plastics Ltd. manufactures innovative injection molded custom plastic parts primary for the automotive sector. With FedDev Ontario’s $880,372 repayable contribution, Hawk Plastics will expand its production facility by 8,000 square feet to accommodate its new advanced and robotic production equipment. In addition to increasing productivity and quality, advanced technical capabilities will allow the company to produce lighter-weight plastic components to meet growing demands from Tier 1 and 2 automotive suppliers. The project is anticipated to create 10 new manufacturing positions and maintain 20 in Tecumseh.

Whitfield Group is a trusted source for repairs, engineering changes, hard facing and laser heat treatment of plastic injection, die cast, and stamping tools for the automotive sector. With FedDev Ontario’s $1-million repayable contribution, Whitfield Group will acquire new leading-edge production equipment, including the most advanced wire and laser welding and cladding systems available, to advance its additive manufacturing capabilities. The scale-up will allow the company to create new intellectual property and customize its systems to fit process requirements, which will support efforts to diversify to new sectors. The project is expected to create 10 new manufacturing positions and maintain nine jobs in Oldcastle.


“The manufacturing sector is at the centre of many well-paying jobs in communities across Canada. Today’s announcement is proof of our Government’s commitment to support our manufacturers through this challenging time. We know that by investing in these four manufacturers, they are creating good quality jobs for people in the Windsor-Essex region and supporting the local economy. Our message to Canadians business owners and workers is clear: we’ve long supported the manufacturing industry, we’ve been here for you with immediate measures during the COVID-19 crisis and we will continue to work with you to support good jobs and help Canadian manufacturing come back strong.”
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)

“This FedDev Ontario investment will help the Windsor-Essex community further develop its network of incredible talent and leading-edge innovation in the evolving manufacturing sector. These businesses have the capacity to manufacture products for a wide range of sectors, from automotive to life sciences to agri-food, which are diversifying the regional economy.”
Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh

“We applaud FedDev Ontario for its support of our pharmaceutical expansion in Canada, and specifically Windsor. Although the medications manufactured by Pancap Pharma are prescribed across Canada and other parts of the world, we choose Windsor-Essex for our expansion due to its cluster of pharma, nutritional and food sectors, and its strong manufacturing base.”
- John Mikhail, President, Pancap Pharma Inc.

“Canada has become the third largest user of biocontrol products in the world, but still, most of the products are coming from overseas. Crop Defenders Ltd. strives to bring more of that manufacturing business and the jobs associated with it to Canada. With this support, we will be able to mass produce this product locally at a commercial scale to ensure that this game-changing innovation reaches the growers who need it the most.”
Dr. Ishtiaq Rao, President, Crop Defenders Ltd.

“It is nice to have the support of the Government of Canada through these difficult and uncertain times. This FedDev Ontario contribution will help Hawk Plastics stand as a leader in the industry through technical advancements and improved efficiencies to meet demand and reduce costs. As our company statement reads, ‘we make it happen’."
Matt Urquhart, President, Hawk Plastics Ltd.

“The favourable terms and conditions of the FedDev Ontario repayable contribution will help the Whitfield Group, Essex County, Ontario, and Canada invest in cutting-edge technologies, and hire and train highly-skilled technical employees. These employees and technologies will help us better serve our existing customers, while supporting diversification into new lines of business.”
Sean Whitfield, General Manager, Whitfield Group

Quick facts

  • More than one in 10 of Ontario’s jobs are in the manufacturing sector, recognized as Canada’s manufacturing heartland.

  • Established in 1993, Pancap Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical manufacturer of prescription medications called Pancreatic Enzyme Products (PEP), used primarily to treat cystic fibrosis patients and pancreatic illnesses, in addition to other products. Owned by the Mikhail brothers, Joe, John and Lou, the company currently plans to employ up to 80 highly skilled workers in Markham and Windsor.

  • Established in 2007, Crop Defenders Ltd. stemmed from founder Dr. Ishtiaq Rao’s experiences in agricultural pest control. The company currently employs 35 people at its Maidstone facility.

  • Established in 1982, Hawk Plastics Ltd. first began with Founder Bob Urquhart operating a 50-ton press out of his garage. Today, the company is owned by Bob’s son, Matt Urquhart, and is comprised of 110 full-time employees operating from two manufacturing facilities and three warehouse facilities in Tecumseh, Ontario.

  • Established in 1985, Whitfield Group is a global leader in the development of Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology—an advanced additive manufacturing / laser cladding technology for industrial use, typically used to repair or add additional material to existing components and reduce waste.

  • Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested more than $485 million in 299 manufacturing projects across southern Ontario. In Windsor-Essex, the Agency has invested over $65 million in 75 projects, with total project costs of over $205 million.

Associated links


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

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505

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