Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative -- A Six Month Report

Published on November 20, 2019

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

Photo: Pictured with Kanata North Business Association’s (then) Chair Amy MacLeod and Executive Director Veronica Farmer, Kanata North City Councillor Jenna Sudds, and the KNBA Executive Members are (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

 

 

Dear Residents of Kanata-Carleton,

In March 2019, as your provincial representative for Kanata and West Carleton, I released a business initiative for my term in office. Central to the initiative is the objective to raise greater awareness of the local business community within the City of Ottawa, at Queen’s Park, and with audiences who will be interested in the attractive prospects of doing business in Kanata and West Carleton.

Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative established four pillars of business development to support and help advance 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

Now is the time to profile the local high tech and business community so that we can create new opportunities and attract new talent, new business, and new investment. Please see the checklist of activities that are being pursued. I hope and trust this initiative will gain momentum through my term in office and bring greater prosperity to our local business community, which will benefit all of us in Kanata-Carleton.

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

 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, the 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

Activities 

1. We work closely and meet regularly with Kanata North BIA executive members – (then) Chairperson Amy MacLeod and Executive Director Veronica Farmer - to discuss the high tech business community and local issues. We have facilitated many KNBA one-on-one briefings - most significantly in the first six months of this initiative was the March 2019 briefing for Premier Doug Ford.

2. We have arranged meetings and briefings with senior Ontario Government Ministers:

  • Premier Doug Ford (with tour of Renaissance Repair & Supply)
  • Both Ontario Finance Ministers (former) Vic Fedeli and (current) Rod Phillips
  • Ontario Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Minister Todd Smith 
  • Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney
  • Labour Minister Laurie Scott
  • Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy (earlier in Nov 2018)

3. I have attended and profiled Kanata North activities:

  • The CAV Canada Conference – a national event highlighting Kanata North's connected and autonomous vehicle cluster 
  • The official launch of Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Test Facilities – with the first four-season test track of its kind in North America
  • The international launch of a trial demonstration of CAV technology – the Ride the Podtrial
  • The TECHNATA - a tech expo and talent hunt organized by KNBA 

4. We have been working with the leadership of Digital Health Network in Ottawa, which is a marriage of health institutions, learning institutions, and local high tech companies to drive innovation in health care services delivery.

5. We have been consulting with the local business community – both business owners and representatives (i.e. Ottawa Board of Trade). I met with local businesses, and toured many businesses such as Nordion’s boardroom and Calian’s new headquarters, the Oui8 Bakery on Hazeldean Road, and the new location for Carp Foodliner convenience store. I also connected with business leaders, such as Mischa Kaplan and Mark Nisbett, who are board members of the Ottawa Board of Trade.  

6. We are supporting business owners with a focus on eliminating unnecessary government regulations. I chaired a High Tech Roundtable with Ontario’s Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, and I also chaired a Local Business Roundtable focusing on reducing red tape.

Our Government, through its provincial ministries and agencies, provide greater business support to foster confidence in our business community. Restoring trust and accountability in government and its finances is foundational to our decisions at Queen’s Park.  I have communicated this locally: “We are striving to create a business climate that will 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.” (April 2019 Mayor's Breakfast) 

7. We have planned a “Shop Local” awareness campaign for the 2019 Christmas holiday shopping season. ”This year I will promote a shop local campaign through the holiday shopping months of November and December. I am asking everyone to please shop at our local Kanata and West Carleton businesses. Small businesses play a critical role in our economy and in our communities; they are responsible for most of the employment opportunities. So, by supporting our local businesses we are supporting our community.”

8. I am focused on a critical quality of life issue for Kanata – the current # 1 concern: traffic congestion on March Road.

  • Announcing Support for LRT – The Province provided $1.21 billion for Phase 2 of the LRT (and a step closer to Phase 3)
  • Getting the Minister’s attention – Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney met with Ottawa City's Chair of Transit Commission Allan Hubley to discuss Ottawa transportation issues, including March Road.

I am consistently raising this issue in my discussions at the City of Ottawa and at Queen’s Park. 

 

2) Attracting Venture Capital

Objectives

As a source of information, my Community Office 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

1. We have met with Invest Ottawa - https://www.investottawa.ca/ - and toured the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards. We have consulted with the president and CEO Michael Tremblay to raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy venture capital market for local enterprises.

2. We are in on-going discussions with Invest Ottawa, 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.

In working with Invest Ottawa we are looking to expand markets, foster growth and innovation, employ more people, and generate greater profits and returned investment for our local businesses. 

 

3) Strengthening Networks with the Education Community

Objectives

As a coordinating agent, my 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

1. As the former Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, I was in a unique position to profile local learning institutions and prompt discussions about new relationships between business and Ontario’s greater education community.

2. We are supporting exciting initiatives in our community to strengthen the ties between Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions and Kanata North and our local business community, such as:

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

3. As mentioned before, we have been working with the leadership of the Digital Health Network in Ottawa. I am in discussions regarding the developments of the local health network and initiatives taken up by the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Bruyere Research Institute and others. I am particularly interested in the innovative work that is focused on seniors’ healthcare services.

 

4) Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell Services

Objectives

The Community Office is working to improve the 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

1. My 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. 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.

2. We have been in meetings with Ottawa City Councillor Eli El-Chantiry regarding Internet and cell services in West Carleton. We have also met with Kanata North Councillor Jenna Sudds on Internet services. I look forward to future meetings with newly re-elected federal MP Karen McCrimmon. I am also interested in the work of neighbouring MPP Randy Hillier, who is studying what might be possible to improve broadband services for residents of rural eastern Ontario.

3. We met with one of the lead consultants of the MM2020Project in Mississippi Mills. This initiative extends better Internet services (high-speed, high-capacity telephone, TV and Internet over optical fibre) to all rural areas of the community.

 

Media Contact for Merrilee Fullerton, MPP:

Tiffany Lepack                           613-599-3000

Constituency Assistant            merrilee.fullerton@pc.ola.org