Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative

The Fall 2022 Update 

Fostering a positive business climate and developing new business opportunities in Kanata and West Carleton is a priority for me.

Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative was originally released on March 21, 2019. Many of the goals and planned activities that comprise this initiative were developed through my consultations with business owners and community leaders. They are being refined as a result of my ongoing discussions with constituents as well as the ever-changing economic landscape of our local businesses. 

Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative is founded on “Four Pillars of Sustainability and Growth”: 

1. Profiling Kanata’s High Tech Footprint

2. Attracting Venture Capital

3. Strengthening Networks with the Education Community

4. Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell Services 

As explained at the time of the initiative’s launch, I had long observed that the Kanata-Carleton business community had not been given enough recognition for its contributions to our city, our province, and our country. Our technology companies and dynamic business community should receive greater attention from decision makers in government and in business. My initiative’s primary objective is to profile local high tech companies and businesses so that we can create opportunities and attract new talent, new business, and new investment in Kanata and West Carleton.

This local initiative is to build on the Ontario 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 the objectives and coordinated action that is set out with the identified pillars of sustainability and growth, I hope business development will gain momentum through my term in office and bring greater prosperity to our community.

Updates in 2019, 2020, and 2021

Through the years I have been tracking developments in the high tech and business community and have been providing constituents with regular updates. These updates present background on my efforts to support the local business community. My earliest updates in 2019 and 2020 included mention of:

  • an established “Kanata North Day” at Queen’s Park
  • Ontario Premier and senior provincial cabinet ministers touring Kanata businesses 
  • “Shop Local” awareness campaigns 
  • work with Invest Ottawa to attract venture capital
  • ties between local universities and colleges and the business community
  • work to extend broadband, Internet and cell services

In March 2020, our realities changed dramatically with the onset of a global health pandemic that caused business disruptions and a new set of challenges. We have been living through unprecedented times. Since Summer and Fall of 2020, the Ontario government has been active in planning for the recovery of our provincial economy. The 2021 and 2022 Ontario Budgets established a framework for building towards long-term economic prosperity and greater innovation in Ontario’s marketplace. The provincial government is intent on providing a sense of certainty for the business community to plan its next steps.

Locally, I want to project the same sense of certainty for Kanata-Carleton businesses. 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 the set of objectives and coordinated activities set out in this business initiative, I hope to help bring greater prosperity to our community.

In my last update released in the Fall of 2021, the provincial government’s pandemic relief plan was featured. I reported that the Ontario Small Business Support Grant provided 459 Kanata and West Carleton businesses with more than $12.1 million in grant funding.

Another feature of the last update was the government’s $1.5 million financial support for the opening of Hub350 in Kanata North Tech Park. There is more news on this in the following pages.  

Other highlights of the report include collaborative efforts with BIAs, business groups and leaders to support business recovery, and news on an aggressive “Shop Local” awareness campaign that was extended over 12 months. You will also read about visits to local businesses by the Ontario Premier and senior provincial cabinet ministers, and work with Ottawa universities and colleges to continue to strengthen ties with Kanata North.  

Thank you

It is important to me that local business owners can leverage all of the support necessary to recover and prosper in the years ahead. My MPP Office is working with business associations to ensure local businesses are aware of and use the available Ontario government support programs and services. 

I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks for the work being accomplished by community and business leaders (photos above are a series of business meetings earlier in the year). Thank you to the executive teams and members of the Kanata North Business Association, the three BIAs of Kanata Central, Carp Road Corridor, and Carp, as well as the Ottawa Board of Trade, and the representatives with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Your commitment and support of Kanata and West Carleton is greatly appreciated.

Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, MPP

Kanata-Carleton

The Four Pillars of Sustainability and Growth 

  1. Profiling Kanata’s High Tech Footprint

Our local high tech community has a story that must be told. Other technology hubs in Canada have celebrated their story and it is time for Kanata to boast of its assets and advantages.                  Our Kanata North Tech Park and the vast range of local high tech companies provide the foundation for a dynamic hub with welcoming business networks and a beautiful community in which to live and raise a family. My goal is to advocate for local businesses and community interests at Queen’s Park. We are currently:

  • 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

2. Attracting Venture Capital

Venture capital is the lifeblood for developing new technologies and growing businesses. My MPP Office works closely with Invest Ottawa to support new economic development and business opportunities in Kanata and West Carleton. My office helps 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

3. Strengthening Networks with the Education Community

I look for opportunities to take full advantage that the City of Ottawa is an “education city” by fostering connections and working relationships between the local business community and Ottawa’s education institutions. As a coordinating agent, my MPP Office helps 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

4. Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell Services 

West Carleton businesses and homes deserve greater Internet services and better cell services, especially given that many are only 25-40 kilometers away from the Kanata North Tech Park. My MPP 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 throughout the rural areas of our community.

THE FALL 2022 UPDATE

  1. Profiling Kanata’s High Tech Footprint

There were numerous exciting business events and tours in Kanata over the last twelve months in which the provincial government played a part.

Hub350 in the Kanata North Tech Park

In late 2021, the opening of Hub350 was significant for our high tech and business community as this facility brings together corporate partners, academic institutions, investors, banks and government funds to accelerate the growth of companies. Hub350 will also establish a Digital Lab to promote innovation with five national media partners to broadcast news, events and history from Kanata North to attract investment and businesses to the Tech Park.The Hub350 project will foster the growth and success of existing locally founded companies, and also protect the direct investments made by foreign multinationals who operate in the technology park. In the provincial news release, I stated:

“Hub350 will be a tremendous asset to the development of the high tech sector in Kanata and throughout the Ottawa Region. The provincial government is pleased to be supporting the Kanata North Business Association, which has done a remarkable job in bringing together all the essential elements of a dynamic high tech sector and providing the space for new synergies and opportunities to take hold. My congratulations to the many community leaders, and all the companies and organizations, who are making this important initiative a reality and contributing to the growth and prosperity of our business community.”

The Premier and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade were present at a funding announcement supporting the opening of Hub350. The Minister of Digital Government and the Minister of Small Business & Red Tape Reduction have toured the new facilities as well to discuss with the Kanata North Business Association the support the Ontario government has provided for the technology sector.

Through the last few years, the Ontario Premier and senior cabinet ministers have often visited Kanata-Carleton. They are no strangers to the Kanata and West Carleton business community.

The Nokia Expansion

Nokia is building its new Canadian headquarters and research and development facilities here in Kanata. The plans will transform its 26-acre campus at the Kanata North Business Park into a corporate, residential and commercial hub. The company’s $340 million investment is being supported with contributions from all three levels of government.
 
The Ontario Premier and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade were on hand at the announcement. The photo below is the Premier with Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia.

“This monumental investment from Nokia shows once again that there is no better place for businesses to grow and jobs to be created than here in Ontario.  We are proud to work alongside our partners to secure hundreds more in demand, high skill jobs for the Ottawa region and we welcome this long-term commitment from Nokia to our province, and our workers.” – Ontario Premier

The decision to build its new research and development facilities in Kanata is excellent news for our community. The expansion will directly create more than 340 high value jobs in Ottawa and the surrounding region. More than 2,500 workers are expected to be employed in Ontario by Nokia once the project is completed in 2027. Nokia will also create additional intern positions for 100 students.

Nokia’s expansion will support the growth of Kanata North’s high-tech sector and increase economic activity for residents and businesses of Kanata.

GaN Systems

I was pleased to have both the Premier and the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade visit GaN Systems Inc.

This Kanata high tech business is developing new technology in the semiconductor industry for the power electronics market. It has become a global leader in GaN (gallium nitride) power semiconductors with offices in North America, Europe, and Asia and serving more than 2,000 customers worldwide. It is incredible to have GaN Systems here in our high tech business community.

Nordion and Sotera Health  

I regularly have meetings with Kanata’s international high tech companies. In the photo above, I am with Riaz Bandali, President of Nordion. I want to thank Riaz for providing his insights on Ontario’s high tech industries.
 
Nordion and its Sotera Health family of companies is an important health care provider around the world. For example, Nordion is the world’s largest provider of Cobalt-60 used in the gamma sterilization process that is used in medical, pharmaceutical, and food safety industries.

Supporting Small Business

The MPP “Shop Local” Campaign

My on-going “Shop Local” awareness initiative promotes and profiles local business developments in Kanata and West Carleton. The campaign encourages people to shop at local retailers, contract local services and trades, and make their online purchases from local businesses.

“When you have a choice, please consider buying local. Shop at your local retailer. Contract local services. Shop online from Kanata and West Carleton businesses. By supporting local businesses you are supporting our community.”

Government Support for Businesses Recovering from the Pandemic

Throughout 2021 and 2022 the Ontario government has been extending help to small businesses meeting the challenges of the pandemic. I have been reaching out to the local business community to inform both employers and employees of the many programs the province is offering.

The Ontario government has provided the following support programs: Business Costs Rebate Program, Cash Flow Program, Electricity Rate Relief Program, and Small Business Relief Grant. Together they have provided important relief to help businesses through this difficult time.

Energy and Tax Rebates: The government provided eligible businesses with a rebate payment of up to 100 per cent for property tax and energy costs that they incurred while subject to restrictions.

6-Month Tax Relief: To improve cash flow for businesses, the government made available up to $7.5 billion available with a six-month interest-and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. This penalty and interest-free period started on January 1, 2022.

Reduced-Cost Energy Program (includes families): The government provided 21 days of electricity rate relief to families and workers spending more time at home, as well as to small businesses. To help Ontarians get through this difficult time, electricity rates had been reduced to the lowest price, the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents, 24 hours a day – in the cold of winter.

$10,000 to Eligible Closed Businesses: A Small Business Relief Grant of $10,000 was provided to small businesses that were subject to closure. This money was available for a wide range of small businesses — restaurant and hospitality businesses, arts facilities, and it was also extended to before-school and after-school programs.

Reconnect Ontario 2022 Program: The government is investing nearly $20 million to support municipalities and festival and event organizers. Funding may be used for expenses, such as programming and production, promotion, mobile applications and website development, and implementation of health and safety measures.

Through the pandemic, the Ontario government supported both businesses and workers with more than $10 billion of programs:

  • extended COVID-19 paid sick days
  • increased the Employer Health Tax exemption from $490,000 to $1 million
  • supported a reduction in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premiums
  • allowed businesses to accelerate write-offs of capital investments for tax purposes
  • reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate to 3.2 per cent
  • provided the Digital Main Street program, which helped more than 20,000 businesses across the province to increase their digital presence in 2020-21
  • introduced the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant
  • lowered high Business Education Tax rates for job creators
  • lowered electricity bills through measures such as the Comprehensive Electricity Plan, with the government paying for a portion of high-priced, non-hydro renewable energy contracts
  • provided targeted COVID-19 support through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which delivered $3 billion in urgent and unprecedented support to over 110,000 small businesses across the province
  • cut wholesale alcohol prices to provide approximately $60 million annually to support restaurants, bars and other businesses
  • made it easier for businesses to create and extend patios and permanently allowed licenced restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order

The Ontario government website details all COVID-19 related programs and services for businesses.

2. Attracting Venture Capital

This year my MPP Office staff and I have had on-going exchanges with Invest Ottawa at the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards regarding new economic development and local business opportunities.

Sonya Shorey, Vice President at Invest Ottawa and I have been meeting to discuss local investment climate, provincial support programs for business, and the latest activities at Invest Ottawa.

Invest Ottawa does an excellent job attracting new business and talent to our community of 1,750 knowledge-based businesses. Here are some of the points Invest Ottawa highlights about the community: 

  • highest concentration of tech talent in North America (CBRE 2021)
  • one of the top three cities in Canada for quality of life and one of the best communities in Canada (Mercer, 2020)
  • responsible for 90% of Canada’s industrial telecommunications R&D
  • the least expensive Canadian city in which to live and work (Mercer, 2020)

I would like to commend the energy and enthusiasm of all who are making a difference at Invest Ottawa.

3. Strengthening Networks with the Education Community

My MPP Office is regularly in contact with Ottawa’s four post-secondary institutions — University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College, and Collège La Cité. Our goal is to foster connections and working relationships between the local business community and the education institutions.  In the last twelve months two specific developments have taken place in our community. (Photo is of the unveiling of Carleton U’s space in Hub350.)

Academic offices located within Hub350

This from the Hub350 website:   

Hub350 is the epicentre for the nation’s top talent — providing access to exceptional post-secondary opportunities and ensuring that the best and brightest Canadians stay where the action happens, right here in Canada’s capital region.

KNBA and Hub350 are proudly partnered with four academic anchors – uOttawa, Carleton University, Queen’s University and Algonquin College – to support and acquire top talent for our member companies.

Our academic partners provide students with access to member companies offering exceptional career opportunities through hackathons, recruitment roadshows, career fairs and more. In fact, both uOttawa and Carleton have recently opened Kanata-North campuses, supporting the vital integration of post-secondary institutions into the technology park.

Hub350 also leverages the experience and talent of long-time industry experts, up-and-coming researchers, top financial investors and corporate leaders to guide next-generation technology workers. Our network of mentors is unrivaled, allowing us to provide experiential and immersive learning opportunities that help recent graduates as they transition from school to the job market, setting them on the path to future success.

Kanata’s technology park is the place to be for graduates eager to become a part of Canada’s vibrant and growing technological ecosystem; and with the advent of virtual innovations, they can take advantage of all that Hub350 has to offer no matter their geographic location. Because #SeriousTechLivesHere.

SOURCE:  https://www.hub350.com/pages/pillars

The Nokia Expansion Announcement had a Special Mention to Students

The Nokia announcement regarding its new campus in the Kanata Business Park included information about new opportunities for Ottawa area students. Nokia is planning to introduce an additional 100 student internship positions in the science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields. This will ensure that more students are able to benefit from education opportunities that will lead them to the jobs of the future.

Nokia currently has a full intern program. However, the additional intern positions that are part of the company’s expansion and commitment to Kanata are great news for students looking for a career and life in our beautiful community.

4. Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell Services

My MPP Office is tracking promises that have been made at 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.  

Background

In the last two years the Ontario government has made significant investments of nearly $4 billion to implement a plan that will place high-speed Internet into all communities across the province.

  • In the Fall of 2020, the Ontario government announced an investment of nearly $1 billion over six years to improve and expand broadband and cellular access. 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.
  • In the 2021 Ontario Budget the government committed a historic new investment of $2.8 billion in broadband infrastructure to help ensure that every region in the province has access to reliable high-speed Internet by the end of 2025.
  • Then, in April 2021 the government passed legislation that will help reduce barriers that can cause delays with building high-speed infrastructure in communities. This will help provide access to reliable, high-speed Internet sooner, while strengthening communities and the economy.
  • In August 2021, the Ontario government announced $109 million for Telesat’s next-generation Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network, to meet future demand for high-speed connectivity at home and around the world. This investment secures dedicated high-speed satellite bandwidth for local Internet service providers to purchase at reduced rates, enabling them to provide affordable, high-speed connectivity services, including LTE and 5G, to various communities across the province.

From the Capital Magazine, a publication of the Ottawa Board of Trade.