December 2020
Your monthly news & updates
As the holiday season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and those who have helped to shape our region. It’s been quite a year for us all.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season. We look forward to working with you in 2021.
Four announcements from SWIFT in December
  • SWIFT Announces Windsor Bradband Project. On December 16th, SWIFT has awarded a contract to Cogeco Connexion to expand high-speed fibre-optic broadband services to more than 190 underserved households, businesses and institutions within the City of Windsor.

  • SWIFT Projects Continue to Move Forward in Lambton County. On December 15th SWFIT reported that Execulink Telecom has begun construction of a new fibre-to-the-home network in Lambton County to improve broadband services in the communities of Lambton Shores and Plympton-Wyoming.

  • SWIFT Announces $41.1 Million in Broadband Upgrades for Simcoe County. On December 11th SWIFT announced it has awarded funding to support six fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) projects across Simcoe County to expand broadband services to 12,700 households and businesses. As a result of SWIFT’s competitive tendering process, the total County project value increased by 47%, delivering an additional $13 million in infrastructure investments. The newly announced projects will collectively service approximately 500 kilometres of roadway across 60 communities within Simcoe County.

  • $4.3 Million Project Now Underway in Grey County. On December 9th, SWIFT announced that construction is now underway in Grey County to bring faster, more reliable high-speed services to the Township of Southgate and within the Municipality of West Grey. EH!tel Networks is now moving forward with the construction and implementation of it’s high-speed network to bring better broadband services to more than 1,000 household and businesses within the communities of Holstein, Varney, Orchardville, Yeovil, Dromore, Tartan and Thistle.

Brant Officially Awarded the World Council on City Data ISO 37120 Platinum Certification
County of Brant Council was awarded the impressive World Council on City Data (WCCD) ISO 37120 Platinum Certification and joined the World Council on City Data Global Network. Representing the highest level of certification possible, the County of Brant receives this recognition as part of the Data for Canadian Cities Project, supported by the Federal Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities. The County of Brant was chosen as one of fifteen municipalities in Canada to participate in this federally funded program.
During the virtual Council meeting, the President and CEO of WCCD, Dr. Patricia McCarney and Vice President of Public Affairs and International Relations, James Patava were on hand to present this prestigious award to County of Brant Council.

This international recognition is awarded to municipalities that reach the highest standard in collecting, sharing, and using data to effectively make decisions. Reporting over 90 of the 104 indicators within the WCCD administered ISO 37120, the County of Brant is now among a select group of global municipalities reporting at this highest, platinum level. Within Canada, the WCCD network includes a group of thirty cities, of all sizes, from coast to coast to coast, and a further network of 100 cities globally.

Achieving this certification allows the County of Brant to build new tools and systems to enhance decision making, track progress and compare past performance, year by year, supported by the WCCD. As well, the County of Brant has joined a global network where we can compare, collaborate and learn by sharing performance, solutions and progress with other WCCD ISO certified cities worldwide.

Chatham-Kent Small Business Digital Transformation Grant Program Application Now Available
Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre and Economic Development have launched the Small Business Digital Transformation Grant Program that will allow 50 small businesses across the region to improve their digital footprint. The program, which is running in concert with the existing Digital Main Street program, is designed to help businesses outside of the downtown cores develop their online presence.

On Monday, December 7, 2020, Chatham-Kent council approved $125,000 to be invested into this program, which will allow each business awarded to receive a $2,500 grant.

The grant is designed to be used by businesses to improve websites, search engine optimization, digital marketing, creation of video and photography galleries, increase online marketing efforts, upgrade technology or purchase e-commerce solutions.

Sarnia-Lambton Area Promoting its Hydrogen Opportunities

The unique assets and industrial expertise of the Sarnia-Lambton area will be promoted through a submission to the Ontario government’s Low-Carbon Hydrogen Strategy. 

As part of an extensive industry and stakeholder engagement exercise, feedback and suggestions are welcomed by contacting the Partnership office.

Follow the link below to learn more about Ontario's Low-Carbon Hydrogen Strategy.

WOWC County Projects Featured in Research Paper

A Manual for Developing an Economic Recovery Plan & Task Force for Investment Attraction: Rural EDOs (R-EDO) Edition, authored by Alia Abbas, addresses how rural EDOs can prepare for an economic recovery plan and assemble a team during and after a major disaster.

This research documents the early stages of developing an economic recovery team for investment attraction and how to cope with a global pandemic. This paper serves as a step-by-step guide to be used by EDOs in their communities for establishing an in-house economic recovery team. It provides information on how to implement and/or restructure an EDO and team during a disaster. As a result, EDOs can better strategize an economic recovery plan and team in order to maximize return on investment attraction.

Ontario Helping Employers Train and Hire More Apprentices
The Ontario government is investing $20 million to help small businesses jointly sponsor and train apprentices through the new Group Sponsorship Grant program, increasing the number of people training and working in the skilled trades. The program will reduce pressure on any one employer to see an apprentice through to completion of training and provide apprentices with the support needed to become a registered journeyperson.

Ontario is also investing $274.9 million over the next two years to help apprentices pay for living expenses during their in-class training and ensure they receive a high-quality education in a safe environment. Employers and organizations can apply for the Group Sponsorship Grant at

Governments Helping Ontario Agri-Food Businesses Increase Online Sales
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing over $3.5 million to help more than 700 businesses in the Ontario agri-food sector establish or expand their online presence. This initiative will provide consumers with more local food choices when shopping from home.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations are developing or expanding e-commerce ventures this year.

By focusing more resources online, Ontario agri-food businesses are broadening their marketing channels, increasing online sales and providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund Returns
All 21 CFDC offices in Western Ontario are ready to help Small Businesses in our rural communities. Find your local office and apply today!