August 2020
Your monthly news & updates
The Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus advocates on behalf of the region
On Wednesday, August 19th the Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus had the opportunity to meet with multiple Ministers from the Government of Ontario.

The discussion focused on our key priority areas of; municipal finance, economic development, public health and long term care.

Government representatives that attended the meeting included;
  • The Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • The Honourable Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance
  • The Honourable Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care
  • The Honourable Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure
  • The Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • The Honourable Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
  • The Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education
  • Jane McKenna, Parliamentary Assistant for Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
  • Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues
  • Robin Martin, Parliamentary Assistant for Ministry of Health
  • Jim McDonell, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

To view the full advocacy briefing click here

Windsor-Essex COVID-19 Economic Task Force Publishes Cross-Border Tips For Manufacturing Sector 
The Windsor-Essex COVID-19 Economic Task Force - through two of its Committees (Manufacturing and Logistics, Transportation and Cross-Border Issues), deliberated on how best to support the movement of business travelers who are critically important to the Region’s integrated supply chain. Led by the Canadian Association of Mold Makers, Automate Canada and the Canadian Tooling and Machining Association, the Manufacturing Committee worked with the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation and the Consulate General of Canada - Detroit to develop a suite of tools and actions to support business travelers crossing the border to maintain the manufacturing supply chain in North America.  
One of the actions taken was the development of a comprehensive guidebook for crossing the border. The guidebook - “Cross-Border Tips for Manufacturing Sector Employees During COVID-19” - is intended to be an evergreen document to ensure that manufacturing employees cross the border with ease and remain safe when working in a cross-border environment. The guidebook is being released to the public today and is downloadable on the websites of all of the contributing partners.

Middlesex County Teams Up with Local Businesses and Nonprofits to Launch Restaurant Support Fund 
To further support the local restaurant industry impacted by COVID-19, Middlesex County in partnership with Club House® for Chefs and McCormick Canada has teamed up with five organizations to create the London-Middlesex Restaurant Support Fund.

In partnering with Pillar Nonprofit Network, the Middlesex London Food Policy Council, rTraction and the Western Fair District, this fund offers up to $1,000 in grants to qualifying London-Middlesex-based, independent operators of restaurants and bars in need of financial assistance as they adapt their businesses through the pandemic crisis. Club House for Chefs and McCormick Canada started the fund with a $30,000 contribution. 100% of the funds will go directly to operators in need. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to contribute to help as many operators as possible on the road to recovery.

Applications open on August 13 and will be fulfilled on a rolling basis until the funds are exhausted. To qualify for grant assistance, independent restaurant and bar operators in the greater London area must fill out the online application and follow the instructions.

Building the Future Survey: Deadline Extended to September 4th
This survey is being conducted as part of the Building the Future: Rural Infrastructure and Regional Economic Development research initiative, funded through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.

This research initiative is examining the capacity of different communities in rural Ontario to respond to infrastructure pressures and how these capacities impact their short- and long-term economic well-being. Information gathered through this survey will be used to examine the current infrastructure pressures and opportunities facing rural Ontario communities, and to develop recommendations for addressing these issues through both immediate and long-term policy alternatives

Always in Season: A Practitioner’s Guide to Local Food
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is pleased to announce the provincial and federal government’s support of OFA’s project, Always in Season: A Practitioner’s Guide to Local Food.

Through Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding, OFA, its partners, and Wilton Consulting Group developed a toolkit for communities to guide them through potential activities, key performance metrics, funding opportunities, and ways to collaborate to support the agri-food sector.

The project aims to increase local food sales, provide new opportunities for local producers for value-added agriculture, enhance agri-tourism and culinary tourism opportunities, and elevate the brand of local agricultural products. Through interviews with stakeholders across the province, OFA learned of many innovative approaches to supporting the agri-food sector, and ways communities are helping their producers sell more local products and encourage agri-tourism.

OFA is proud to partner on this project with the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance, Greenbelt Foundation, South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation, Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance, Greenbelt Fund, Meat and Poultry Ontario, Rural Ontario Institute, Food and Beverage Ontario, Rural Agri-Innovation Network, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Ontario East Economic Development Commission and Farm and Food Care Ontario.

To learn more and access the toolkit, visit

Ontario Drives Innovation in the Automotive Sector
The Ontario government is launching the next round of applications for the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP). An important part of the government's Driving Prosperity auto plan, the $10-million O-AMP provides auto parts companies with funding to invest in new technologies and support innovation in Ontario's automotive supply chains.

Ontario's Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) connects the province's world-leading automotive and technology sectors, high-quality post-secondary institutions, first-class talent and regional infrastructure to support entrepreneurship and create jobs.

Two renewable fuel producers scale up to increase productivity and economic growth in rural southwestern Ontario

Parliamentary Secretary Kate Young announced $10 million for two southwestern Ontario clean energy organizations to expand operations and create 57 new jobs.

5 CFDCs in Western Ontario were original investors in this project (IGPC), Enterprise Brant, Waterloo Wellington Community Futures, Venture Niagara, Grand Erie Business Centre and Community Futures Oxford. All 5 supported it at the idea stage and continue to support this business today as a group being the 8th largest shareholder of IGPC.