October 2020
Your monthly news & updates
SWIFT Makes First Connections
High-speed internet is now available to Wellington County residents in the Ariss area. The newly established broadband coverage is being offered by Eh!tel Networks and is the first area to receive access to high-speed internet as part of SWIFT’s ongoing Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion efforts.

Construction of the $2.6 million broadband project began in April, with Eh!tel Networks accelerating the rollout of its high-speed services to bring customers online in a phased approach, starting in Ariss. 
In total the project intends to increase broadband access to more than 650 homes and businesses within Wellington County.

Coverage throughout the remaining project area will continue to improve as work is now underway in portions of Inverhaugh and Ponsonby with construction expected to be completed and service fully available by mid-2021.

Perth County Receives #SafeTravels Stamp
Perth County has been awarded the World Travel & Tourism Council #SafeTravels Stamp. The Safe Travels Stamp is an international symbol designed to allow travellers to recognize governments and companies around the world, which have adopted health and hygiene, standardized protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

Grey to examine if people moving to County due to COVID-19
Grey County is trying to get a sense of how many people are choosing to make the move to Grey County due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grey County council passed a motion that an analysis of the effects the pandemic has had on growth in the County be included as part of a recently approved Growth Management Study update.

A Blue Mountains residency survey sent out with tax notices indicated that some part-time residents are now considering making the town their permanent home due to COVID-19.

County of Brant Welcomes New Conestoga College Agricultural Equipment Operator Program
On Friday, October 2, 2020, the Governments of Ontario and Canada announced the investment of $180,000 for the development of a new college program that will provide education and training on the latest agriculture equipment to be hosted in the County of Brant by Conestoga College.

This pilot program will provide skills for those currently working in the agriculture sector, along with those who are looking to find employment in an agriculture equipment operation role. The development of the pilot program was initiated by the County of Brant's Economic Development with Conestoga College and in collaboration with the South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation (SCOR) and the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

Global Manufacturer Investing $5M in New Sarnia-Lambton Expansion
Manufacturer creating 90 jobs and investing over $5-million.

CIMC, a world leader in commercial transport trailers is investing over $5-million in Sarnia, with plans to create 90 assembly and light manufacturing jobs. Maximizing the use of an existing building on Ube Drive in Sarnia, the facility will allow CIMC Refrigerated Trailer Co. Ltd. to supply refrigerated trailers to its extensive Canadian customer base, which was previously served from other North American locations.

“We are pleased to be establishing our first Canadian manufacturing location in Sarnia,” said CIMC Plant Manager, Andy Wang. “The Sarnia-Lambton area’s highly skilled workforce, coupled with excellent proximity to major markets makes it an ideal location to manufacture commercial transport trailers for our Canadian customers.”

Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum
The 12th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum is being hosted virtually by Huron County on November 18-19, 2020. Join us for two half-days of sessions, a virtual tour of Huron County and some of its most exciting agricultural and rural projects.

If your portfolio includes rural planning, economic development or any aspect of the agriculture sector – food, farming, ag value chain businesses, workforce attraction, or agricultural innovation you won’t want to miss the 2020 Forum. The Forum will be of interest to municipal economic developers, planners, council members, CAOs, and supporters of local economic development initiatives. The Forum looks at leading edge collaborations and innovations to grow the ag sector and your community. 

Covid19 Impacts on Rural Employment September 2020
In rural Ontario the employment gap due to COVID-19 has been closing in each month subsequent to April. In fact, in rural Ontario by September, 2020, the calculated employment gap was not a negative gap at all and had fully flipped to a positive value. September rural employment was 2.5% above the level in September 2019 in Ontario.

Several sectors have seen growth during COVID such as financial services and construction and others such as accommodation and food service was a sector hard hit but has now made sufficient gains to get back to where things were. 

Ontario Supports Small Main Street Businesses with $60M
Ontario's Main Street Recovery Act, 2020, is proposed legislation that would support small businesses and modernize rules to allow them to innovate and meet the challenges of today.

The plan includes a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Other measures include, Digital Squads, mental health support and Ontario's Small Business Recovery Webpage

Rapid Housing Initiative

The Government of Canada, through CMHC, has launched the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). A $1 billion program to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing.

The initiative provides capital contributions (upon signing a funding agreement with CMHC) under two streams to expedite the delivery of affordable housing.

The RHI will support the creation of up to 3,000 new permanent affordable housing units.

SOFII is a program designed to promote growth among small and medium-sized businesses in Southwestern Ontario
The Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) is a program designed to promote growth among small and medium-sized businesses by providing them with the funds they need to develop and innovate products and services, create jobs, and make a positive economic impact on their surrounding communities.

Many businesses and business owners throughout the region struggle to obtain traditional forms of funding to further the growth of their business. However, the SOFII program makes financial aid possible when other forms of funding are unavailable. Business owners who are interested in obtaining a loan through the SOFII program should contact the WOCFDCA office.