LONDON, WATERLOO and TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 23, 2011) - Southern Ontario families will benefit from a new system to develop, test and demonstrate clean water technologies for local, national and global markets thanks to a federal investment in a new partnership, the Southern Ontario Water Consortium. The announcement was made by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), while speaking at the 2011 Association of Municipalities of Ontario Annual Conference and Trade Show. Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo and Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment and Member of Parliament for Thornhill, also made announcements in Waterloo and Toronto.
"One of the most important issues for communities around the world is access to clean drinking water and the safe treatment of wastewater," said Minister Goodyear. "This investment will strengthen southern Ontario's position as a world leader in clean water technologies, create new jobs in our region, while offering solutions for communities across the globe that lack easy access to clean water."
Through the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, universities, private sector companies, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations will work together to develop, test, and pilot market-driven water technologies that are in high demand both regionally and around the world. The FedDev Ontario contribution will go toward the purchase and installation of equipment related to setting up the water system components spanning the London, Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton and Toronto areas.
The project responds to private sector needs for access to actual water environments on a watershed level, and leading edge research expertise to advance water-related technologies and help bring them to the marketplace. It is anticipated that this project will lead to the creation of many high quality jobs, resulting from the expansion of current water companies, the creation of new companies, the attraction of companies from outside the region, and the expansion of public sector jobs in the water industry.
"The federal government's commitment to invest in the Southern Ontario Water Consortium will make our region world-class in clean water technology," said Ed Holder, Member of Parliament for London West. "This is great news for London and all of southern Ontario. It means jobs and the attraction of research and capital into our area."
"This collaboration of water technology expertise is a unique network and tremendous asset to the region. The Southern Ontario Water Consortium will provide enormous benefits to the environment, the economy, and Canadians overall," said Dr. D. George Dixon, Vice-President, University Research and Professor of Biology at University of Waterloo, on behalf of the Southern Ontario Water Consortium.
"This project helps put Ontario in a leadership position in this critical area as urbanization, population growth and climate change continue to challenge global water supplies," said Pat Horgan, vice-president, IBM, who is the major private sector partner in this project. "Ontario now has a bold opportunity to use the most innovative Internet-scale technologies to examine an entire watershed and learn how to better automate and more efficiently manage this precious resource, which is critical to every citizen and our economic growth."
The funding is provided under FedDev Ontario's Technology Development Program, designed to encourage the public and private sectors to collaborate on the development of large-scale, advanced technologies that will result in new market opportunities for southern Ontario.
FedDev Ontario was created as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan to support businesses and communities in southern Ontario. Now in its third year of operation, the Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to support businesses and other organizations through partnerships and investments in skills and training; innovation; research and development; and increased productivity. To learn more, please visit www.feddevontario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.
Contribution to the Southern Ontario Water Consortium
FedDev Ontario is providing the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, under the leadership of the University of Waterloo, with a non-repayable contribution of up to $19,580,000 to build an integrated system for the development, testing, and demonstration of new, market-driven water technologies and services, primarily along the Grand River and adjacent watersheds.
This game-changing initiative will allow southern Ontario water-related technology companies to test their innovations on a watershed-level platform to allow them to compete in a global marketplace.
A Board of Directors for the Water Consortium will help to oversee the building and testing of the system and its ongoing operations, with representatives from eight private sector companies; six participating universities (University of Waterloo, University of Western Ontario, University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University, McMaster University and the University of Toronto); and the Toronto Region Research Alliance (TRRA). In addition, Ryerson University, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, together with more than 60 companies and a number of municipalities throughout southern Ontario are active in the Water Consortium.
IBM Canada Limited is the major private sector partner in this project, providing a contribution valued at $20,068,233 to establish the electronic data system that allows for the real-time streaming, exchange and archiving of data among users.
This regional partnership will help to advance water-related technologies associated with the following key areas:
- watershed management, to better handle groundwater and all forms of run-off into the watershed, reducing threats to water purity and usage;
- drinking water and wastewater treatment, to enable more effective use and reuse;
- ecotoxicology, to detect new and emerging contaminants in the water supply; and
- analytical technologies, to develop sensors, data collection, analysis, processing, management and dissemination of water-related research.
The project is divided into various permanent and mobile components, as well as research expertise spanning across southern Ontario:
- Municipal Flow Scale Wastewater Treatment Facilities for Compliance Testing and demonstration, at the City of London Wastewater Facility Site
- Mobile Field Facilities for Eco-toxicological Measurement, led by Wilfrid Laurier University
- Mobile Field Facilities for Drinking Water Treatment, led by the University of Toronto
- Field Monitoring Facilities, along the Grand River and Mimico Creek Watersheds
- Sensor Development Facilities, at McMaster University
- Computer Equipment and Data Analysis, at the University of Toronto
- Bed Rock Testing, in Guelph
- Wastewater Treatment Facilities for Nascent Technologies, at the City of Guelph Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Groundwater Facilities, at the Canadian Forces Base in Borden
- Analytical Facilities for Drinking Water and Field Collected Samples, at the University of Waterloo
Technology Development Program
The Technology Development Program will strengthen and diversify southern Ontario's economy by providing financial support to bring new technology to market faster. Through the program, FedDev Ontario is investing in projects that will significantly contribute to the development of globally-competitive, market-driven technologies with the potential to develop new business opportunities or benefits for an industry, sector or region.
Not-for-profit organizations (such as innovation and commercialization organizations) and post-secondary institutions are eligible to receive funding. Eligible applicants must have matching private sector or other non-government financial support and may apply for contributions of up to $20 million.
Applications will be accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis and applicants will be notified as their projects are approved. All project activities must be completed prior to March 31, 2014.
For more information, please refer to the program guidelines available on the web site at www.feddevontario.gc.ca.