FedDev Ontario Invests in Manufacturing at Niagara College

Vance Badawey (r), MP for Niagara Centre, gets a closer look at leading-edge technology at Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, while Ben Laurence (l), a research lab technologist with the College’s Research & Innovation team explains the digital innovation.

Many Canadian small- and medium-sized manufacturers delay adopting new technology, because of the risk of making large, upfront investments without first testing their innovations. By investing in a new advanced manufacturing network in the Golden Horseshoe, the Government of Canada will help Canadian manufacturers address this challenge and speed up technology adoption.

Today, Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced a contribution of up to $7.3 million to Niagara College. This non-repayable contribution, through the Investing in Commercialization Partnerships Initiative, will help Niagara College to create the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation (SONAMI), in partnership with Mohawk College, Sheridan College and McMaster University.

SONAMI will offer a “single-window” approach to supporting manufacturers’ research and development needs, encouraging them to adopt and integrate disruptive advanced manufacturing technologies into their operations with the help of the network.

The project is expected to create or maintain 186 high-quality jobs, result in 170 new prototypes and up to 85 new products being commercialized. It will also provide opportunities for students from the SONAMI partner institutions to prepare for the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow.

The Government’s Innovation Agenda aims to make Canada a global centre for innovation – one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. This investment is an example of that idea in action.


“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting innovation and competitiveness on a global scale. This means connecting our manufacturers to the tools they need to succeed and compete. This project exemplifies the type of collaboration between business, academia, research institutions and government that we need to foster innovation.”

  • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister Responsible for FedDev Ontario

“Today’s announcement is a great example of how our region is coming together to create unique partnerships and keep jobs local. I’m proud of the benefits that this network will have for helping our businesses access the tools and talent they need to succeed now, as well as training the workforce of the future.”

  • Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre

“We at Niagara College are proud to be the leaders of this unprecedented network, which will be a key resource and fill a demonstrated need for small- and medium-sized businesses in the Golden Horseshoe. According to recent research in southern Ontario, there are more than 6,500 manufacturers; nearly 4,000 of them have fewer than 10 employees.”

  • Dan Patterson, President, Niagara College

“Fostering collaboration and strengthening partnerships are a strategic priority for Mohawk. We’re proud to join the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation and we look forward to putting our technology students to work in helping industry partners bring innovative solutions to market.”

  • Ron McKerlie, President, Mohawk College

“Through our Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies, Sheridan brings a breadth of expertise to SONAMI in the areas of additive manufacturing, sustainable energy systems, robotics and automation.  By combining our strengths with our partner educational institutions, SONAMI will deliver compelling value to industry while advancing economic growth in the Golden Horseshoe.”

  • Mary Preece, President and Vice Chancellor, Sheridan College

“This unique partnership provides an opportunity for McMaster to lend its expertise in helping small, regional companies develop innovative manufacturing processes. We look forward to working with Niagara College, Mohawk and Sheridan to prepare Canadian companies to take their products to market and help them compete on a global stage.

  • Stephen Veldhuis, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Director, McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute

Quick Facts

  • FedDev Ontario’s contribution leverages $11.4 million in funding, including $7 million from industry collaborators and $4.4 million from SONAMI partners and regional economic development corporations for total project costs of up to $18.7 million.
  • This project builds on previous FedDev Ontario investments in Niagara College through the Graduate Enterprise Internship ($2.2 million), the Applied Research and Commercialization (ARC) initiative ($1.56 million) and the Prosperity Initiative ($900,000).
  • Since 2009, FedDev Ontario has committed more than $77 million to 119 projects in the Niagara Region. This support is leveraging almost $180 million in in additional support for businesses, organizations and communities.

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Backgrounder: FedDev Ontario Invests in Manufacturing Innovation in the Golden Horseshoe