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Commentary

FedNor: an important agency in Northern Ontario

June 1, 2014
by Dick DeStefano
In: Dick DeStefano

The following interview with Aime Dimatteo, director general of FedNor and formerly executive director of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, points out the importance of government support for the mining sector in Northern Ontario and the funding which is provided to support companies that create growth.

What is the role of FedNor in Northern Ontario?

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

What impact does FedNor have on the overall economy of Northern Ontario?

Between April 2006 and March 14, 2014, FedNor invested more than $453 million in 1,840 projects to benefit Northern Ontario’s economy. During this period, FedNor has helped create and maintain close to 39,000 jobs. However, measuring FedNor’s true success involves more than merely counting the projects we support or the millions of dollars we invest. Our goal is to ensure that these investments and projects are having a positive impact on the economy of Northern Ontario communities.

How important are the 500 plus mining suppliers in Northern Ontario within the mandate of FedNor?

FedNor recognizes that mining suppliers are an essential component of Northern Ontario’s economy, not only because they help support mining operations here at home, but also because they contribute to the region’s economic growth through the export of their goods and services, and their innovation, research and development activities.

FedNor’s programs and services, including its support of Community Futures Development Corporations, are well suited to assist Northern Ontario’s mining suppliers innovate, grow and create jobs.

Can you identify the other specific sectors you support in Northern Ontario?

FedNor acts as a catalyst for economic development, business growth and job creation throughout Northern Ontario. As such, its activities cover all major business sectors in the region, from mining and forestry to tourism and agriculture, and from new energy generation solutions to health sciences.

What is the Targeted Manufacturing Initiative for Northern Ontario?

FedNor’s Targeted Manufacturing Initiative for Northern Ontario (TMINO) helps Northern Ontario manufacturers boost their productivity, leading to sales growth, increased exports and job creation. Through TMINO, companies can apply for financing to assess the need for productivity improvements, and to modernize their operations by upgrading and improving equipment used in the manufacturing process.

What other new programs for private companies are being contemplated for the mining supply sector in the future?

The broad mandate of the Northern Ontario Development Program (NODP), FedNor’s flagship economic development and business growth program, provides us with the flexibility we need to respond effectively to a wide range of economic issues and priorities in Northern Ontario. This enables FedNor to work directly with mining sector partners to fund projects that meet the industry’s specific needs.

How does FedNor measure its support programs?

We look at a number of things, including net economic benefit to Northern Ontario, especially in the short-to-medium-term (up to five years); development, growth and increased competitiveness of SMEs; creation and retention of jobs in Northern Ontario; and opportunities to leverage investment from other funding sources.

One of the recent benefactors of the TMINO packages was SAMSSA member Rock-Tech in Sudbury, a manufacturer of equipment designed for underground applications, which is in the stages of expanding. Ricky Lemieux, president of the company said, “The TMINO support was very helpful in assisting us with funding for a plant layout specialist to set up our new plant efficiently.”

FedNor has a number of specific support programs which are identified on their website.

www.fednor.gc.ca

www.rock-tech.net

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About Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano is Executive Director of SAMSSA [email protected]

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