FedNor investing over $3.2 million for economic development and innovation projects in North Bay and region 

News release

Federal funding will help businesses scale-up, expand, and create up to 210 jobs across the region

February 3, 2023 – North Bay, ON – Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario – FedNor

The Government of Canada, through FedNor, is investing in technology to help large and small businesses become more innovative, competitive and successful, contributing to growth and the creation of quality jobs in Northern Ontario.   

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor, announced a Government of Canada investment of $3,218,500 to support four initiatives led by Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (IION) and Canadore College that will support regional innovation, create jobs, and strengthen the economy of Northeastern Ontario.

Of the total, IION will receive close to $2.5 million to implement three strategic initiatives: 

·       $1.1 million under the Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF) to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increase commercialization and boost productivity through the existing Step Forward Entrepreneurs Program (SFEP). The program provides up to $10,000 in non-repayable funding to qualifying businesses for sales and marketing, product development, or business enhancement initiatives. SFEP is expected to help 80 companies create 60 jobs and maintain 105 more;

·       $925,000 in JGF funding to build on its IION-Research and Prototyping in Development (iRAPID) initiative by helping up to 75 businesses accelerate commercialization activities for innovative companies that require assistance for a specific research and development (R&D) project. iRAPID will assist companies develop locally-made products, processes or services and encourage "Made in Canada" solutions. Up to 45 new jobs are expected to be created with an additional 80 maintained; and

·       $473,500 JGF funding to support businesses increase their productivity and competitiveness while accelerating commercialization by implementing phase three of the Skills Development Placement Program (SDPP). The SDPP provides qualified workers with a 16-week work placement and matches them with innovative companies to gain hands-on experiences and develop transferable skills in a risk-free environment. Over a 3-year period, it is expected that the SDPP will create 40 full-time contract positions and maintain another 60 jobs.

In addition, as part of the announcement, Canadore College will receive FedNor funding of $750,000 through the Regional Growth Through Innovation Fund to implement the Responsive Innovation 4.0 (RI 4.0) initiative which will enhance the regional innovation ecosystem and support critical applied research needs. The initiative will meet the innovation needs of Northern Ontario businesses and organizations by increasing their capacity for scale-up and product development.  Canadore's Innovation Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping (ICAMP) is undertaking up to 30 individual research projects to help develop and commercialize new or modified products, processes, services or technologies and bring these new products to market. The initiative is expected to create 65 new jobs and maintain 60 others.


“I am pleased that this funding through FedNor will provide the necessary assistance to help companies increase their productivity, commercialize and take their business to the next level. In addition to supporting job creation, the federal government is working with small businesses in the Nipissing–Timiskaming region, and across Northeastern Ontario, to take advantage of new business opportunities that will support their growth and sustainability.”    

-        Anthony Rota, Member of Parliament for Nipissing–Timiskaming

“Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (IION) and Canadore College are leading the way in developing the tools that will bring success for small and medium-sized businesses in our region. Through these investments of over $3.2 million announced today, FedNor is helping businesses adopt new technologies, increase productivity, create new jobs, and stay competitive.”

-        The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor

“We are on the verge of an exciting future as we rapidly transition to new, adaptive economic models, and a redefined ‘regional globalization’. Consequently, assisting businesses to grow through multiple processes of constant innovation, helping to create new opportunities, and their translation into successful commercial outcomes remains job one.”

-        Rob Deline, Executive Director, IION

“Canadore is grateful for the continued support of FedNor. The funding announced today by Minister Hajdu and MP Rota will give ICAMP the capacity to engage in projects that responsively meet the innovation needs of local and regional businesses and organizations in Northern Ontario. So far, the Responsive Innovation fund at ICAMP has helped 18 companies with a total of 24 projects.  These projects bring economic development and employment to the region. ICAMP is looking to provide another round of funding beginning in April to continue to help forge new and lasting strategic business alliances for a stronger North.”

-        George Burton, President and CEO, Canadore College 

Quick facts

  • The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s programs which provide financial support to projects that lead to job creation and economic growth, and through which FedNor works with businesses and community partners to build a stronger Northern Ontario.

    Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (IION) is a Regional Innovation Centre that assists innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing companies develop and scale. IION works collaboratively with a variety of strategic partners throughout the province to promote client growth and help to position them for future success. IION is located at Canadore College in North Bay and proudly serves the districts of Nipissing, Timiskaming, Parry Sound, and Muskoka.

    Canadore College trains people through applied learning, leadership and innovation. It provides access to over 80 full-time quality programs, has outstanding faculty, and provides success services to students from nearly 400 Canadian communities and 25 international countries. The College, its students, and alumni add $369 million to the Nipissing Parry Sound service area economy. Approximately 1,000 students graduate from Canadore each year, and they join 60,000 alumni working across the globe.  

Associated links


Andrew MacKendrick 

Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor


Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

Media Relations

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