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Ontario Investing $3 Million for Biotechnology Hub in Sarnia

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Ontario Investing $3 Million for Biotechnology Hub in Sarnia

Province Supporting Growing Cluster to Create Jobs, Increase Competitivenes

Ontario is partnering with Bioindustrial Innovation Canada to support a new hub in Sarnia-Lambton that is expected to create 400 high-value jobs, strengthen the province's industrial competitiveness, and raise the profile of Ontario as a world leader in biotechnology.

Ontario will invest $3 million over four years through the Business Growth Initiative to build the Centre of Excellence for the Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry Innovations at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, Canada's largest clean-tech incubator. The centre will focus on bridging critical gaps and addressing commercialization challenges faced by the biotechnology sector, including developing expertise, forging commercial partnerships, and accessing risk-capital to help bring discoveries and technologies from the lab to the marketplace. 

Biomanufacturing is the process of turning sustainable feedstock -- renewable resources such as agricultural and forestry by-products and wastes -- into energy, value-added chemicals and materials for use in a variety of everyday products such as plastics, personal care products, automotive parts and food additives. The use of plant-derived chemicals and bio-manufacturing processes can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional petroleum based production methods. For example, BioAmber, a sustainable chemical company in Sarnia produces plant-derived succinic acid and is able to achieve a 100 per cent reduction in GHGs over conventional methods. Similarly, EcoSynthetix, a Burlington-based renewable chemicals company produces paper coatings while cutting GHG emissions by 63 per cent compared to the norm.The bioeconomy is a growing sector in Ontario as consumers and manufacturers are looking for more environmentally-friendly alternatives in the products that are purchased. 

Accelerating the growth of key regional clusters like the bioeconomy in Sarnia-Lambton is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale-up and modernizing regulations for businesses.
  • Ontario's chemicals sector is the largest in Canada and Sarnia-Lambton is Ontario’s main chemical cluster. The sector accounts for approximately 40 per cent of Canadian shipments and employs 26,000 people.
  • In 2008 Ontario anchored the development of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada through a $10-million contribution that created innovation infrastructure at the Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.
  • In 2011, the province also invested $15 million in BioAmber Inc. to establish the world’s first and largest commercial scale bio-succinic acid plant in Sarnia.
  • According to Pike Research, the global green chemicals market is expected to grow to nearly $100 billion dollars by 2020.
  • Eastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area/Niagara also serve as other key chemical clusters in the province.

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“Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative is supporting highly skilled jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy. This Sarnia-based centre of excellence will provide our province with a powerful new hub to align and advance the commercialization of industrial biotechnologies.This strategic investment will help accelerate the great work already taking place at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park and propel Ontario to the forefront of the biotechnology sector, leading to further economic growth and prosperity in the Sarnia-Lambton region.”

Reza Moridi

Minister of Research and Innovation

“We are pleased to partner with the province to provide a strong link between concept and commerce in the bioeconomy. Through this initiative, we will help advance the biotechnology ecosystem in Sarnia and southern Ontario that will produce real, lasting, positive effects on the economy of the region and Ontario.”

Murray McLaughlin

Executive Director, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada

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