Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative - Fall 2020 Snapshot Report

Published on November 19, 2020

Supporting High Technology Growth And A Healthy Business Environment In Kanata-Carleton

November 2020

Dear Residents of Kanata-Carleton,

This business initiative sets the framework for advancing the interests of the Kanata and West Carleton business community during my term at Queen’s Park.   

Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative establishes four pillars of business development to support our local business community. 

1) Profiling the Kanata North Footprint

2) Attracting Venture Capital

3) Strengthening Networks with the Education Community

4) Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell Services

My local initiative is to build on the Provincial Government’s efforts to foster an encouraging business climate that will spur economic activity. I wish to make it easier for local businesses and entrepreneurs, innovators, and freelance professionals to succeed, whether they are operating in Kanata or in Kinburn – or any of the neighbourhoods in this City. With a planned set of objectives and coordinated action, I hope the activities outlined within this initiative gain momentum through my term in office and bring greater prosperity to our local business community.

For your reference, the original business document can be found here and the March 21, 2019 media release can be found here.

With COVID-19, we are living through unprecedented times and there are many challenges before us. There are many health issues – as well as many important business and economic issues to deal with. 

Every level of government is focused on addressing the daily priorities of the COVID-19 crises. We are also looking ahead to what will be our “new normal” and how we must manage through a transitional period to get to that “new normal.”  The Ontario Government has been active in planning for the restoration of business activities and encouraging growth and innovation in the post-COVID global marketplace. For business owners and managers, I encourage you to stay informed of the programs and services made available by the Ontario Government:

COVID-19: Ontario Support for Businesses

https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-support-businesses

For businesses in Kanata and West Carleton, you should know the three levels of government are providing various programs and services to support the business community. It is important that our local business owner can leverage all of the support necessary to stay in business and, ultimately, to grow and proposer in the years ahead. My Community Office will work with the Ottawa Board of Trade and our business associations in Kanata and West Carleton to ensure the local businesses are aware of and use the available support initiatives.

I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the work of local business and community leaders. Thank you to Jamie Petten, President of Kanata North Business Association, Jennifer Stewart, Chair of the Carp BIA, Lauri Moussa of Kanata Central BIA, Mischa Kaplan and Mark Nisbett, board members of the Ottawa Board of Trade as well as representatives with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Also my thanks to the many collaborations with the municipal leaders representing Kanata and West Carleton: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, and Ottawa councillors Allan Hubley, Jenna Sudds and Eli El Chantiry.

Your input and work have assisted me in profiling Kanata and West Carleton in Toronto and supporting local enterprises here in our City. I am pleased with what we have done together so far – and look forward to taking the next steps in promoting our area and supporting our businesses through 2021 and in the years to come.

Your Kanata-Carleton MPP,

Dr. Merrilee Fullerton

 

1) Profiling the Kanata North Footprint

Objectives

To advocate for local businesses and community interests at Queen’s Park, my MPP Community Office is:

  • working with local business networks to assist in the growth of the high tech sector
  • fostering and facilitating new relationships in the community and abroad
  • supporting business owners with a focus on eliminating unnecessary government regulations

Key Activities 

On-going Collaboration with Business Leaders

My MPP Community Office has established key working relationships and are collaborating on strategic objectives to advance Kanata North technology companies and the greater Kanata-Carleton business community. Again, many thanks to the on-going work with Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) executive members – former Chairperson Amy MacLeod and Executive Director Veronica Farmer and the current Chairperson Vicki Coughey and Executive Director Jamie Petten. Thanks also to Carp BIA, Kanata Central BIA and Ottawa Board of Trade.

Established a “Kanata North Day” at Queen’s Park

KNBA travelled to Toronto on February 26, 2020 to conduct a series of meetings with Ontario Cabinet Ministers on priority issues for the local high tech sector.

My Queen’s Park Office was pleased to facilitate the “Kanata North Day” visit and host the delegation in their sessions with my cabinet colleagues and government officials.

The Kanata business representatives viewed Question Period and met with:  

  • Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott
  • Finance Minister Rod Phillips
  • Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney
  • Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Minister Vic Fedeli

Photos below are from meetings with Ministers Caroline Mulroney and Laurie Scott

On-going Tours by Senior Ontario Cabinet Ministers

My MPP Community Office staff are continuously arranging meetings and briefings with senior Ontario Government Ministers. In the last two years there have been dozens of tours by ministers: 

  • Premier Doug Ford (with tours of Renaissance Repair & Supply, Blackberry QNX facilities and Leonardo DRS Technologies Canada- met with KNBA)
  • Both Ontario Finance Ministers (former) Vic Fedeli and (current) Rod Phillips
  • Both Ontario Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Minister (former) Todd Smith and (current) Vic Fedeli 
  • Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney
  • Labour Minister Laurie Scott
  • Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy

 

Photos above: On June 25, 2020 local businesses participated in a roundtable discussion with Rod Phillips, Ontario's Minister of Finance and the Chair of a special cabinet committee - the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. Business leaders Sir Terry Matthews, Leo Lax, John Luszczek and others spoke about the Province's opportunities for growth, and what the Ontario Government might do to support the high tech sector. Thank you to Kanata North Business Association President Jamie Petten who facilitated the discussion on local priorities. The roundtable was an excellent opportunity to provide input to Minister Phillips who is focused on initiatives that will restore and grow Ontario's economy. 

Pictured with KNBA (then) Chair Amy MacLeod and Executive Director Veronica Farmer, Kanata North City Councillor Jenna Sudds, and the KNBA Executive Members (in centre from left to right) Kanata-Carleton MPP Merrilee Fullerton with the (then) Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Minister Todd Smith and Labour Minister Laurie Scott on May 16, 2019.

Photos below: Premier Doug Ford on separate visits and tours through 2019 and 2020: Renaissance Repair & Supply, Blackberry QNX autonomous vehicle facility, Leonardo DRS Technologies Canada, and in one of the briefing sessions with KNBA.

  

  

 “The Kanata North Business Association is appreciative of the many opportunities MPP Merrilee Fullerton has provided for productive discussions with Premier Ford and the several Ontario Ministers who have visited our technology park. Opportunities such as these enable Kanata North Business Association to showcase the technology, talent and impact within our 500-plus member companies.

“MPP Fullerton is a key partner in our collective efforts to advance the economic and growth agenda of Kanata North as Canada’s largest technology park. We look forward to continuing to work closely with her to achieve our shared objectives.”

--Jamie Petten, KNBA Executive Director

Profiling Kanata North activities 

I am pleased to take part in many of the exciting activities and demonstrations that are showcasing the technology expertise in Kanata North:

  • Official launch of Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Test Facilities
  • International launch of a trial demonstration of CAV technology – the Ride the Pod trial
  • CAV Canada Conference – highlighting Kanata North's CAV cluster 
  • TECHNATA, a tech expo and talent hunt organized by KNBA 
  • Ottawa Board of Trade consultations to review issues concerning local business community
  • 5G Roundtable - hosted meetings for Kanata business leaders and KNBA to speak with the Ontario Finance Minister and discuss 5G issues and the development of the digital economy
  • Accompanied Premier at announcement of $1.21 billion for Phase 2 of the LRT (and a step closer to Phase 3 extending to Kanata)

Photos above and below: In May 2019, I attended the official launch of the Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Test Facilities – the first of its kind in North America – riding in an electric car designed and built by students at Collège La Cité.

At the “Ride the Pod” international launch event in Kanata North on August 26, 2019. Ottawa L5, in partnership with Aurrigo and the Kanata North Business Association, hosted a wonderful ceremony to highlight to the world the autonomous vehicle technology progress being made at Kanata North's CAV cluster. I was pleased to share the inaugural ride that day with Sir Terry Matthews.

Shop Local Awareness Campaigns

My Community Office implemented a “Shop Local” awareness campaign for the 2019 Christmas holiday shopping season. This campaign was reinstituted in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic and we have maintained the shop local message throughout 2020.

“I call on Ottawa residents, as they make their purchases, to think about supporting our local business community. Buy at your neighbourhood retailer and small business, and consider Ottawa’s many medium- and larger-sized businesses for your manufactured goods and contract services. Make a conscious effort to buy local, shop in Ottawa shops, and do your business within the Ottawa business community. Support local businesses first and foremost.”

In 2020, we coordinated the MPP campaign to highlight other local community campaigns: City of Ottawa, Ottawa Board of Trade, KNBA, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Business Journal, 1310 News, 580 CFRA and more. Thank you to the efforts of Mayor Jim Watson and local City Councillors Alan Hubley, Jenna Sudds, and Eli El-Chantiry. 

   

2) Attracting Venture Capital

Objectives

My MPP Community Office is a source of information and will help to:

  • make connections for businesses to learn about the opportunities for venture capital assistance
  • make connections to provincial ministries and agencies that provide business support
  • raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy venture capital market for local businesses and the high tech industry

Activities

At my MPP Community Office, we have on-going exchanges with Invest Ottawa - https://www.investottawa.ca/ - and the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards. We have consulted with President and CEO Michael Tremblay to raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy venture capital market for local enterprises. We have also focused on objectives to expand markets, foster growth and innovation, employ more people, and generate greater profits and returned investment for our local businesses. 

In 2020, I worked closely with Invest Ottawa and its Accelerator to secure provincial funding through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream for local tech firms working on novel COVID-19 solutions. 

We are continuously profiling local business developments at Queen’s Park. Today, Kanata is included in the same breath as the high tech hubs in Toronto and Waterloo. 

“MPP Fullerton never misses a chance to raise the profile of Kanata North and the significance of Ottawa’s high tech sector.  Our tour of Kanata-Carleton earlier this year was very informative.  She is very effective in showcasing local interests and her plan is evidence that she knows what it takes to create the conditions necessary to grow a successful business.”

 - Hon. Vic Fedeli,

 Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

 

3) Strengthening Networks with the Education Community

Objectives

As a coordinating agent, my MPP Community Office will help to:

  • strengthen the ties between local businesses and our Ottawa education community
  • foster greater linkages between the high tech industries and Kanata-Carleton businesses, and our education institutions and public school system
  • champion more sciences, math, data-management and computer technology in our schools

Activities

Profiling Learning Institutions’ Ties to Local Business

We have been profiling local learning institutions and prompting discussions about new relationships between business and the education community. Some exciting initiatives in our community include:

  • University of Ottawa and its Kanata North office is facilitating greater networking opportunities between alumni, industry, researchers and co-op students working in high tech
  • Carleton University is partnering with Ottawa L5 Public CAV Test Facilities; and President Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon is championing “Ottawa as an education city”
  • Algonquin College is establishing DARE District on campus, a new centre that combines an energy lab, Indigenous entrepreneurship hub, library, and analytics centre
  • La Cite has opened a 40,000 square-foot Excentricite as a collaborative work space for students pursuing business concepts and commercializing products

Investing in Local Training and Job Development

On September 11, 2020 the Ontario government announced an investment of more than $2.2 million to help over 600 job seekers in Ottawa to acquire job training in the high tech and information technology sectors. Part of the new funding will go towards the In-Tac partnership with KNBA to support “Discover TechNata” a virtual Tech Expo and Talent Hunt.

Supporting the Digital Health Network

We have been working with the leadership of the Digital Health Network in Ottawa, which is a marriage of health institutions, learning institutions, and local high tech companies to drive innovation in the delivery of health care services. We have also been supporting initiatives taken up by the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Bruyere Research Institute and others.

 

4) Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell Services

Objectives

My MPP Community Office is working to improve broadband infrastructure provided to the greater Kanata-Carleton business community and, specifically, to secure greater Internet services and better cell services for West Carleton businesses and residents.

Activities

My MPP Community Office is tracking promises that have been made by every level of government to provide greater broadband coverage throughout the western reaches of the City of Ottawa. This includes enhancing high-speed, high-capacity telephone, TV and Internet over optical fibre into the rural areas. We are ensuring all options are considered for West Carleton as it is recognized that this area has the slowest download speeds of anywhere in the City of Ottawa.

On November 4, 2020, the Ontario government announced an investment of nearly $1 billion over six years to improve and expand broadband and cellular access. Over the past several months, Ontario has partnered with the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) to invest $71 million in a $213 million project to improve access to cellular service and mobile broadband in Eastern Ontario. Details of the latest Ontario government announcement can be found here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59057/ontario-investing-nearly-1-billion-to-expand-and-improve-broadband-and-cellular-access

Photo below: At the 2020 Association of Municipalities of Ontario in May, concerns relating to broadband access in rural communities were discussed with myself and cabinet colleagues.