Ontario Driving Cutting-Edge Tech in the North
Investments Will Enhance Digital Infrastructure, Education and Training in Northwestern Ontario
Ontario is investing in innovative technology in Northwestern Ontario through projects that will improve digital infrastructure in remote communities, enhance education and training for students, and create good jobs.
Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, was joined by Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay--Atikokan, to announce funding for six projects in Thunder Bay through the province's Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC).
To help position Thunder Bay as a top destination for training and innovation in the manufacturing sector, Confederation College will receive $2 million for a new Technology Education and Collaboration (TEC) Hub equipped with the technology and tools required to enable innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration. It will also fund research and training for students in apprenticeship, trades and technology programs.
Building on this, the province is investing in five additional projects to improve and boost technology and connectivity:
- More than $2.9 million in the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to complete wireless upgrades that will increase Internet speed and capacity for new and existing customers, and will provide an upgraded fibre network from Thunder Bay to Marathon
- A further $355,860 in the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to improve their current facilities to better respond to an increase in clients, outreach, and programming created by the new Confederation College Technology, Education and Collaboration (TEC) Hub
- More than $2.9 million in TBaytel to increase the fibre Internet service capacity of 12 project locations in four rural municipalities, including the City of Thunder Bay, Fort William First Nation, Oliver-Paipoonge and Shuniah
- More than $2.2 million in the Western James Bay Telecom Network to improve residential Internet connection speeds for homes in the Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Attawapiskat First Nations
- More than $1.8 million in the Keewaytinook Okimakanak to purchase satellite bandwidth and install equipment to increase bandwidth in Fort Severn and Peawanuk First Nations.
Supporting innovative technology and connectivity in the North is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and easier access to affordable child care.
- Ontario is investing a total of $12.4 million in six projects in Thunder Bay through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.
- Ontario’s 2018 Budget will expand the NOHFC, introduce new programs and increase funding by 50 per cent, representing $85 million over the next three years, to grow and diversify the economy and attract further investments.
- Since 2013, the province has invested more than $621 million through the NOHFC in over 3,845 projects, leveraging more than $2.2 billion in direct economic activity and creating or sustaining over 15,300 jobs in Northern Ontario.
- In the Thunder Bay area, the NOHFC has invested more than $108 million in 757 projects that have helped create or retain more than 2,455 jobs since 2013.
“Our government is committed to supporting the development of innovative technology and creation of good jobs in the North. Through Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation funding for Confederation College’s new Technology Education and Collaboration Hub, students will be able to train with current and innovative technologies, helping them attain the skills required to build the highly skilled workforce that will support good jobs and grow the northern economy.”
“Confederation College continues to position itself as a leader in research and innovation. This investment in the TEC Hub will help attract new talent to the region, as well as ensure students from the North remain in the North to study, work and build their brightest future.”
“We are grateful to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation for its continued vision in supporting our efforts to offer improved opportunities for learning in the technology, engineering, manufacturing and trades sectors. Our TEC Hub will provide the necessary facility for our programming delivery to evolve, while this funding helps us to launch a fund development campaign. The ‘TEC Campaign’ will enable us to fill the new space with the state-of-the-art equipment needed to best facilitate student learning and community access.”