Innovative Saskatchewan employers receive federal support to create hundreds of new jobs and opportunities

News release

Businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Saskatoon and central Saskatchewan receive significant federal funding

July 24, 2019 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Saskatchewan companies and not-for-profit organizations are contributing to the growth of Western Canada’s economy, and the Government of Canada is supporting them as they develop new products and create opportunities.

Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced over $21 million in funding towards 17 projects to promote innovation, skills development, and growth in Saskatchewan.

Collectively, these projects are expected to create 770 new jobs, provide training opportunities for over 900 people, and assist more than 630 small- and medium-sized enterprises to develop their businesses and commercialize their products. Among the recipients speaking at today’s event were:

  • 7shifts Employee Scheduling Software received $3 million through the Western Innovation Initiative to commercialize their cloud-based employee-scheduling platform for restaurants. Earlier this year the company secured one of the largest venture-funding deals in Saskatchewan history.
  • The Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre (The Food Centre) received $3.5 million through the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program to expand its facilities and install equipment to develop and manufacture new products from plant-based ingredients. The project directly supports Saskatchewan’s value-added food processing industry. It is expected to assist 30 small- to medium-sized businesses in its first 18 months of operations.
  • Morris Industries received $1.5 million to commercialize an advanced bale-hauling product for the biomass and European markets.
  • The Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) received $1.6 million to promote western Canadian advanced manufacturing companies at international trade events, such as Europe’s largest agriculture technology trade show Agritechnica.
  • Keewatin Community Development Association received $975,000 to develop the non-timber forest sector in northern Saskatchewan, such as the harvesting of boreal plants for teas and nutritional supplements. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, also highlighted this investment today in Air Ronge, Saskatchewan.

Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan aims to build an economy in which Canadians have access to high-quality jobs and Canadian businesses are well placed to participate in a rapidly evolving and competitive global marketplace.

For more information about Western Economic Diversification Canada, visit www.wd-deo.gc.ca. A full list of the funding recipients in Saskatchewan is included in the backgrounder.

Quotes

“Through the Innovation and Skills Plan, the Government of Canada remains committed to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation, while creating well-paying jobs that help to strengthen and grow the middle class. Funding towards these projects reflect our commitment to support the entire innovation continuum, while creating new commercial opportunities for SMEs in Western Canada.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Saskatchewan entrepreneurs are creative and innovative – always looking for new ways to become more competitive and extend their reach in the global economy. That’s one of the reasons why employment in Saskatchewan has reached record-high levels. The Government of Canada is proud to support this homegrown initiative to stimulate more jobs and growth, new training opportunities, the commercialization of new products, and greater prosperity for Saskatchewan.”

- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“As a rapidly growing business, we value the support of Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Western Innovation Initiative to help us promote innovation and get our prairie-grown solutions into customers’ hands around the globe. We are proud to be part of the thriving technology sector here in Saskatchewan and are excited to be contributing to the overall advancement of the Canadian digital economy.”

- Jordan Boesch, Chief Executive Officer, 7shifts

“The investment in the Food Centre will benefit Saskatchewan’s agri-food sector through enhanced services with expanded capacity to commercialize new innovative technologies and products.  It supports our industry’s commitment to be a global leader in innovation, expand value added food processing and provide industry access to global opportunities.”

- Dan Prefontaine, President, Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre

“For 90 years Morris Industries has been a leader in the development of agricultural equipment innovation for farmers all around the world. We are pleased to partner with the Government of Canada through the Western Innovation Initiative. This support has accelerated development and commercialization of new products into new markets and enhanced our strategy to grow our business.”

- Ben Voss, President and CEO, Morris Industries

“The need for export market expansion and diversification has never been more critical. In concert with annual support received from the provincial government, WD funding provides the support Saskatchewan and Western Canadian exporters need to take full advantage of major international trade shows where innovations are launched, trends are set, and deals are made.” 

- Chris Dekker, President and CEO, Saskatchewan Trade Export Partnership

Associated links

Contacts

Rhonda Laing
Director, Policy, Planning and External Relations
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
306-975-5944
rhonda.laing@canada.ca

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