Government of Canada announces support for jobs and economic growth in Sarnia–Lambton

News release

Sarnia–Lambton receives official Foreign Trade Zone designation to help boost exports and create trade opportunities

April 13, 2021 – Sarnia, Ontario

One of the busiest commercial land border crossings in North America, strategically located on the Ontario–Michigan border, Sarnia–Lambton is a dynamic hub for national and international trade and a key contributor to Ontario’s economy. To support the local economy to grow and diversify in the wake of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is helping to bolster Sarnia’s position as a great place to do business and invest.

Today, Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages), announced Sarnia–Lambton’s official designation as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Point—a single point of access to resources and information relating to programs that relieve duties, tariffs and taxes for businesses engaged in importing and exporting.

The FTZ designation will allow Sarnia–Lambton to market themselves as a hub for international trade and to provide coordinated access to government FTZ programs helping to attract more business and foreign direct investment (FDI) to the area.

Home to a skilled workforce rich in industries such as chemical refinement and agriculture, multiple transportation modes and strong infrastructure, the FTZ point will help bolster trade and export opportunities for businesses, in turn supporting them to expand and create new jobs. Business owners from underrepresented groups such as women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities will also be encouraged to participate in available FTZ programs.

Today’s announcement reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to strengthening the economy by helping local businesses access the tools they need to succeed and creating new opportunities for trade.


“Workers and businesses are essential to the success of our economy and have the support of the Government of Canada. The newest FTZ Point in Sarnia–Lambton will bring many opportunities for trade and entrepreneurship to the region.”
- Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages)

“The Government of Canada’s designation of Sarnia–Lambton’s FTZ Point will build on the region’s strengths, contributing to a diverse workforce and fostering the region’s international opportunities and global hub potential. Business owners and workers should be proud of their tenacity during this crisis, and the government is dedicated to supporting initiatives that will ensure our economy thrives.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario

“I am pleased that Sarnia–Lambton is being designated as a Foreign Trade Zone Point. The area has always been a vital link for trade between Canada and the United States. This announcement builds on the area's strengths and increases our competitive advantage.”
- His Worship, Kevin Marriott, Warden, County of Lambton

“The Foreign Trade Zone designation is a bold step forward into boosting business, investment and development in Sarnia–Lambton. Congratulations to the Sarnia–Lambton Chamber of Commerce for leading the way on this exciting step into the future.” 
- His Worship, Mike Bradley, Mayor of Sarnia

“The timing of today’s Foreign Trade Zone Point for Sarnia-Lambton is historic, as we are witnessing an industrial and environmental evolution. Beyond our globally recognized expertise in these areas, the ability to streamline the trade of goods and services beyond our borders is paramount in the sustainability and growth of our communities. This new designation provided to us by the Government of Canada adds to our value proposition in conducting business in Sarnia–Lambton.”
- Allan Calvert, Chief Executive Officer, Sarnia–Lambton Chamber of Commerce

“Today's announcement will raise the profile of the Sarnia–Lambton area and reduce red tape for exporters. Not only will it strengthen market access for our existing businesses, it will also add to the Sarnia–Lambton area’s efforts to attract jobs and investment—while elevating our area as a hub for international trade and leveraging our exceptional transportation infrastructure.”
- Stephen Thompson, CEO Sarnia–Lambton Economic Partnership

Quick facts

  • The FTZ Point designation improves access to existing programs and promotes Canada’s advantage. It allows the region to coordinate programs that benefit businesses, such as the Duty Deferral Program, the Duties Relief Program, the Drawback Program, the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program and the Export Distribution Centre Program.

  • Working alongside the Sarnia–Lambton Chamber of Commerce, FedDev Ontario played a key role in bringing together stakeholders in the region to engage, assess and ultimately achieve this designation.

  • Ontario is home to five FTZ points, with a total of 16 located across Canada.

  • Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested over $42 million in 24 projects in the Lambton census division, including $27 million in Bioindustrial Innovation Canada to establish the Centre for Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry Innovation (COMM SCI) and then expand its services to clean tech companies in Eastern Ontario through the Ontario Bioindustrial Innovation Network (OBIN).

Associated links


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

Media Relations
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505

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