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FedNor Update

Your Partner in Northern Ontario

FedNor is the Government of Canada’s economic development organization for Northern Ontario. Through its programs and services that lead to job creation and economic growth, FedNor works with businesses and community partners to build a stronger Northern Ontario.

In this Update, you’ll see what we’ve been up to recently and learn how FedNor investments are supporting projects that are making a real impact in the lives of the residents of Northern Ontario.

Visit our main page to learn how FedNor can support your project!

FedNor Update – February 2020

What’s New

New FedNor Minister and Parliamentary Secretary Appointed

On November 20, 2019, the Honourable Mélanie Joly was appointed Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, as well as Minister for all of Canada’s Regional Development Agencies, including FedNor. In her ministerial roles, Minister Joly has worked to promote Canadian culture, and to grow and increase the visibility of Canada's tourism sector. She has also worked to safeguard Canada's two official languages while promoting the use of French in Canada and around the world.

In December, Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for FedNor, and will support Minister Joly’s efforts in the region. Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, MP Sheehan studied political science at Lake Superior State University. Prior to entering politics, he spent his career working in both the private and public sectors supporting business, community, and economic development.

Recent Events

International Plowing Match

For five days this past September, the FedNor-supported International Plowing Match shone the spotlight on Northern Ontario and transformed the small town of Verner into a virtual city, attracting more than 80,000 visitors to the farming community. This world-class event garnered unprecedented attention for the West Nipissing region, drawing tourists from across the country to take part in this celebration of agriculture and rural living. The crowds witnessed plowing competitions, enjoyed musical entertainment, lumberjack demonstrations, and rodeo-style events. They also has the opportunity to discover products and services from the hundreds of vendors and exhibitors at the IPM, the largest event of its kind in North America. Kudos to the hundreds of volunteers who helped make this event possible.

Upcoming Events

Northern Ontario Mining Showcase

From March 1 - 4, 2020, the international spotlight will shine on more than 110 exhibitors from across Northern Ontario at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Annual Convention, to be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The FedNor-funded Northern Ontario Mining Showcase will once again claim the title as the largest pavilion at this year’s event, which annually attracts approximately 1,100 exhibitors, 2,500 investors, 25,000 attendees from more than 130 countries. Since 2016, the PDAC convention has provided the ideal opportunity for Northern Ontario mining-related businesses and organizations to increase sales, access new markets and establish new domestic and international partnerships. In 2019 alone, Northern Ontario exhibitors saw increased sales in excess of $30 million. The convention also provides a platform for the industry to demonstrate how it is embracing innovation and promoting the use of clean-tech to better protect the environment and create good jobs in our communities.

Investment Highlights

Between April 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019, FedNor announced investments totalling $50.2 million for 111 projects located in communities across Northern Ontario. These investments have supported key priorities including innovation, business growth, agriculture, clean tech, youth and more.

For a full listing of recent FedNor investments, visit our news release section.

Some key investments recently made by FedNor:

New software testing centre for Indigenous peoples

Indigenous Business, Technology, Skills Training
With a $2.6-million FedNor investment, PLATO Testing developed and has officially opened its new Centre of Excellence in Lottery and Gaming Software Testing in Sault Ste. Marie. The initiative is a meaningful step towards achieving PLATO’s goal of employing 1,000 Indigenous software testers in 20 communities across Canada. Through the Centre of Excellence, the company is working to address the technology talent shortage in Canada by providing meaningful employment and creating business opportunities while supporting innovation.

Mining company develops clean drilling tech

Innovation, Clean-tech, Mining, Export Development
North Bay company Drillco Mining and Exploration has developed the first clean-tech modular drilling system available to the mining industry. With the support of FedNor, Drillco is now marketing its new, innovative product for sale across Canada and internationally. The system will help mining firms improve their efficiency, while protecting the environment and creating good jobs right here in Northern Ontario.

Diversifying to attract visitors and businesses

Tourism, Community Economic Development, Business Growth
The Township of Schreiber is moving ahead with the construction of the North Shore Express and Discovery Centre and the revitalization of its downtown core to bring in more visitors and attract new business investment. The community, a historic rail town nestled on the North Shore of Lake Superior, will also use FedNor’s recent $1.7-million investment to recruit a consultant to support their economic diversification efforts.

Strategic new projects benefiting Parry Sound-Muskoka

Community Development, Women Entrepreneurs, Infrastructure, Tourism
Thanks to a FedNor investment totalling more than $5 million, businesses, communities and organizations across Parry Sound-Muskoka are now advancing a number of key projects in the region. These initiatives include improvements at the Honey Harbour waterfront, regional tourism marketing, the creation of industrial lots at Parry Sound Municipal Airport, as well as the expansion at a local food and beverage company with funding through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.

Success Stories

Turning Ideas into Reality


With a wealth of technology and equipment at its disposal, Fortin Discovery Lab, housed with the FedNor-supported NORCAT regional innovation centre in Sudbury, is helping innovative entrepreneurs and businesses transform concepts into certified products ready for export anywhere in the world. Read more

Powering Progress


Learn how Sault Ste. Marie solar panel manufacturer Heliene is creating jobs, diversifying its green technology products, and developing panels that will be used to power satellites. Read more

Shifting into High Gear


With the support of an investment pool run by a network of Community Futures Development Corporations, a Hearst car dealer has diversified its business with a major expansion that has transformed the company into a key provider of service and custom work for Hi-Rail vehicles used in the rail industry. Read more

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