MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwired - Aug. 28, 2013) - The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today met with senior representatives of Apex Industries Inc., a privately held manufacturer, solutions provider and distributor for the aerospace, defence, oil and gas, mining, marine and commercial construction sectors. The meetings are part of the Minister of State's three-day visit to Atlantic Canada, during which he is reaching out to the science and technology community to discuss how businesses can become more innovative and productive in today's economy. During his meetings at Apex Industries, the Minister of State was accompanied by Robert Goguen, Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe.
"Our government understands the important role that science and technology plays in laying the groundwork for the industries and jobs of the future," said Minister of State Rickford. "Science, technology and innovation are drivers of economic progress and key to enhancing prosperity and competitiveness."
"Our government is strongly committed to initiatives that support science, technology and the growth of innovative Canadian firms," said Mr. Goguen. "Like so many small and medium-sized businesses in New Brunswick, Apex Industries is doing some really innovative work. These businesses are critical to the Canadian economy, and our government will continue to put in place the tools that Canadians need to grow, create jobs and secure their long-term prosperity."
Minister of State Rickford also took the opportunity to discuss the benefits of the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and the support it provides to small and medium-sized companies, including Apex. A cornerstone of Canada's innovation system, IRAP provides a range of technical and business advisory services and financial support to qualified innovative small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada. Firms helped by this program are better equipped to perform basic research and development (R&D), commercialize new products and processes, and access new markets.
"Over the years, we have continued to invest in a highly skilled workforce, added high-end machinery and worked diligently to strengthen our capabilities through software and process optimization. Productivity improvement is a must-do in the competitive sectors in which we compete," said Keith Parlee, Chief Operating Officer, Apex Industries Inc. "Apex and IRAP's commitment to supporting these important R&D projects is a winning combination. It keeps Apex and other Canadian companies at the forefront of our markets."
Economic Action Plan 2013 supports the leveraging of R&D and business innovation, leading to job creation, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians. Of this support, an additional $20 million was provided over three years for a new pilot program to be delivered through IRAP. The program will enable hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises to commercialize their products or services more quickly and effectively by providing them with credit notes to help pay for research, technology and business development services at universities, colleges and other research institutions.