Ontario Supporting More Innovation in Growing Tech Sector
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing up to $77 million in two projects to help Ontario companies adopt, develop and bring to market critical technologies, such as 5G, ethical artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cybersecurity and robotics. The new funding, announced during the Collision Conference in Toronto, will go to the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI).
“Critical technologies fuel innovation and drive growth in every sector, including automotive, life sciences and advanced manufacturing,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “By supporting the Vector Institute and the Ontario Centre of Innovation’s projects, we’re helping more companies access the critical technologies they need to become more competitive, grow and create more good-paying jobs.”
The OCI will receive up to $50 million through the province’s Critical Technology Initiatives program to launch new innovative programming that will help small and medium-sized Ontario businesses develop and adopt critical technologies in sectors including mining, agri-food, and advanced manufacturing.
The Ontario government’s support of technology development and adoption is vital,” said Claudia Krywiak, President and CEO of the OCI. “Ontario’s Critical Technology Initiatives will bring together large firms with innovative SMEs to build an ecosystem that leverages advanced technology assets and regional capabilities. We’re bridging industry needs with innovative SME-driven solutions and integrating different critical technologies to accelerate deployment across sectors.”
The Vector Institute will receive up to $27 million to help more companies connect with Vector’s AI engineers, researchers and AI professionals to help accelerate the safe and responsible adoption of ethical AI. The Vector Institute will also help small and medium-sized businesses increase their competitiveness with AI. This will make it easier for Ontario companies to develop AI applications, while also encouraging collaboration and new partnerships.
“The Ontario government’s strong commitment to the Vector Institute has played a central role in building a world class AI ecosystem in this province,” said Tony Gaffney, President and CEO of The Vector Institute. “We are proud to be part of these efforts to support innovation and will continue to grow the AI talent and skills needed to advance Ontario’s leadership role in the safe and responsible development and deployment of AI.”
Critical technologies can help Ontario companies increase productivity, open new revenue streams, create highly skilled jobs and enhance global competitiveness. The province’s $107 million Critical Technology Initiatives funding supports programs led by not-for-profit organizations that will accelerate the use of critical technology by Ontario companies and enable the development of innovative made-in-Ontario solutions.
Ontario has one of the largest information and communications technology (ICT) sectors in North America and is home to over 400,000 ICT workers. Ontario’s technology sector is centred around the Toronto, Waterloo and Ottawa regions.
AI, 5G and quantum technologies are expected to contribute $29 trillion to the global economy by 2035.
The Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) is an Ontario government initiative through the OCI to accelerate the development, testing, commercialization and deployment of the next generation of electric, connected, and autonomous vehicle and mobility technologies. Through OVIN, Ontario is investing $56.4 million over four years to accelerate the development of next generation electric, connected and autonomous vehicles and mobility technologies.
"Ontario companies have a long history of innovating, commercializing, and adopting technology. As emerging technologies take hold of key industries, the Government of Ontario’s Critical Technology Initiatives will ensure that Ontario companies across multiple sectors remain competitive by commercializing and adopting homegrown critical technologies and in turn export them across the world."
- Raed Kadri Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Business Development and Head of OVIN at the OCI