May 2021
Your monthly news & updates
May a Busy Month for SWIFT Projects

SWIFT Broadband Expansion Plans Moving Forward In Wellington County
  • SWIFT announced that construction of new broadband infrastructure continues to move forward in Wellington County as Cogeco Connexion breaks ground to bring high-speed internet service to more than 280 additional homes and businesses in the community of Eden Mills.
SWIFT Broadband Expansion Plan Now Underway In Essex Countynty
  • SWIFT is pleased to announce construction is now underway to improve broadband service in Essex County as TekSavvy Solutions breaks ground in the community of Lighthouse Cove.

SWIFT Broadband Expansion Plan Continues To Roll Out Fibre-Optic Projects In Lambton County
  • SWIFT announced that Brooke Telecom has begun construction of a new fibre-to-the-home network in Lambton County to bring fast, reliable internet connectivity to more than 570 households and businesses in the communities of Wanstead, Rokeby, Walnut and Sutorville.

SWIFT Broadband Project Continues To Bring Greater Connectivity To Wellington County
  • SWIFT announced that 275 more households and businesses now have access to high-speed internet, as NFTC completes construction of a $2 million fibre-to-the home network to bring improved broadband service to residents living in the communities of Yatton, Creek Bank and Goldstone.

SWIFT Awards Contract In Middlesex County
  • SWIFT awards final pending Middlesex County contract to EH!Tel Networks. In total Middlesex County will receive $13 million in broadband upgrades to support seven fibre-to-the-home projects.

SWIFT Broadband Project Breaks Ground In Chatham-Kent
  • SWIFT announced that TekSavvy Solutions has broken ground on a fibre-optic project to bring high-speed internet access to more than 500 homes and businesses in Chatham-Kent.

SWIFT Broadband Project Brings Greater Connectivity To Norfolk County
  • SWIFT is proud to report over 900 homes and businesses in Norfolk County now have access to high-speed internet as Execulink Telecom completes construction of a fibre-to-the-home network to bring improved broadband service to residents living in the communities of Turkey Point and Normandale.

Wellington County New Local Food Map

The brand new Wellington County guide to food and farms in the region has arrived!

Finding locally grown food in Guelph and Wellington County is becoming easier every day.  It's being served up at farm stores, farmers' markets, restaurants, retail stores, and at community events. Look out for the Taste Real brand to identify food from the region.

The Guelph Wellington Local Food Map is the community's guide to farm markets, retailers, restaurants,  breweries, and other businesses that feature food grown in Guelph and Wellington County.

Copies are being distributed to libraries and participating locations across Wellington County. Pick up a free copy at a local business or request a map by mail to explore local food this summer.

OBIAA Releases Digital Main Street Ontario Program Report:
More than 14,000 Small Businesses Received Assistance

OBIAA is releasing this report, Digital Main Street: Keeping Small Businesses Connected, and an accompanying video, to shine a spotlight on the success of Digital Main Street Ontario Grants Program and some of the businesses that have not only survived but flourished during the pandemic, thanks to this innovative program.

Since June 2020, OBIAA has distributed more than 4,000 Digital Transformation Grants worth $10 million and 87 Digital Service Squad Grants worth $4.2 million to 255 communities. In addition, the program has assisted more than 14,000 main street small businesses with advice, training and resources.

Ontario Supporting Agri-Food Sector with New Labour Strategy
The Ontario government is launching an agri-food labour strategy that will address sector labour challenges and ensure a stronger, more sustainable and innovative agri-food industry.
Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development announced the strategy and two initial projects during a virtual roundtable with leaders from Ontario’s agri-food supply chain.

“Many of our partners in the agri-food sector have voiced their concerns about labour disruptions to our food processing and supply chain due to the pandemic and they shared the need for a labour strategy for agriculture and food processing,” said Minister Hardeman. “That’s why we are committed to working with all partners to plan for today, and beyond the recovery period and help set up the sector for future growth. By developing this labour strategy, we will position this sector for success and ensure Ontario’s food supply chain is protected and remains strong.”

New Ways to Engage for
Rural Ontario
The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is preparing to provide more ways for rural communities and the ag-sector to connect to each other and access information about the issues that matter to them.

ROI’s transformation project, funded through the Ontario government’s Grassroots Growth Initiative, identified tools to engage rural leaders so they can be better prepared to accelerate rural community development.

ROI will be introducing on-line spaces for issues dialogues and case study workshops so that rural leaders with particular concerns and passions can connect, share success stories and choose solutions suitable for their own communities.

Governments Investing in Meat Processors Capacity in Ontario
TThe governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $7 million to quickly increase production and efficiency in meat processing plants across the province. This initiative will help to address supply chain disruptions through the purchase and installation of equipment, such as coolers and freezers, and their associated costs.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), 74 projects are receiving cost-share funding to purchase or upgrade equipment that will improve production and safety measures in free-standing meat plants and abattoirs in Ontario. The program is focused on measures that could quickly increase processing capacity as the industry deals with a shortage of processing capacity, partly related to COVID slowdowns.

Farm Income, 2020
Realized net income for Canadian farmers rose 84.2% to $9.9 billion in 2020, as strong growth in receipts outpaced slightly higher expenses. This increase followed a 10.5% gain in 2019 and a 32.7% decline in 2018. Excluding cannabis, realized net income was up 71.9% to $9.5 billion.

Rising crop receipts fuelled by strong export demand, combined with lower machinery fuel and fertilizer prices, pushed realized net income higher.

Farm cash receipts, which include crop and livestock revenues, as well as program payments, rose 8.3% to $72.2 billion in 2020—the largest gain since 2012 (+8.7%).

Market receipts rose 8.2% to $68.7 billion in 2020 on higher crop receipts, while livestock revenues were down 1.1%.

WOCFDCA: Welcomes New Executive Director

Sarah Meharg joins the WOCFDCA as the Executive Director. She is born and raised in Caledonia Ontario; a rural community located along the Grand River.  

Sarah started her educational journey studying sociology at McMaster followed by Professional Addiction Studies and most recently Business Administration with a specialization in Management. She is quite possibly a forever student with goal to obtain a Master’s in Leadership.  

Sarah is passionate about leadership which sparked her interest in the WOCFDCA. It is an incredible shift, however an amazing opportunity to to help businesses and communities in Western Ontario’s rural areas develop and implement strategies to deal with a changing economic environment. Throughout the global pandemic she has witnessed the strength and resiliency in small rural communities and believes that with support and collaboration we will make significant gains for our communities together.  
Sarah is excited to start this new journey with the employees and board of directors as we advocate for funding, partnerships, sustainability and opportunities for economic growth in rural Western Ontario.