News

FedDev Ontario announces $5.25 million funding for Marwood Metal and Otter Valley Foods in Tillsonburg

By Chris Abbott, Tillsonburg News

Up to 110 full-time jobs will be created in the Tillsonburg area with up to $5.25 million in funding from FedDev Ontario, announced Wednesday, March 1 at Marwood Metal in Tillsonburg.

Speaking on behalf of The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos announced Marwood Metal Fabrication Limited, a metal-stamping and assembly company supplying the automotive industry, is receiving up to $4.27 million to invest in advanced hot stamping and press technologies, process improvements and facility expansion to accommodate new equipment. The project was expected to create 70 jobs.

Fragiskatos also announced Otter Valley Foods, which provides private label frozen entrees to large grocery chains in Canada, will receive up to $975,000 to increase productivity by adding a new production line and installing a second freezer system, generating up to 40 full-time jobs.

"The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario has done so much in recent years to promote innovation and to promote the continued success of the manufacturing sector in southern Ontario, and in southwestern Ontario in particular," said Fragiskatos, who began his presentation to gathered politicians, Town of Tillsonburg staff, and Chamber of Commerce representatives talking about government investment.

"Governments can invest in just about anything. It's how we do it that matters. Strategic investing is key. There's a difference between simply giving money, and thinking strategically. When you think strategically, you think forward. You think about the future, you think about where trends are going. And with that in mind, we're supporting manufacturing firms that are doing just that."

The outcome of the $5.25 million investment, said Fragiskatos, is greater productivity for both companies, which leads to greater revenue streams and innovation.

"The products that will be produced by both firms will be of a significant quality. They're already great - but of even higher quality - and that will lead to further sales. The greater business growth will allow for further hiring into the future, and those are well-paying manufacturing jobs."

"We're very honoured that our application was received, worked on, reviewed, and back-and-forth conversations, and ultimately the grant that came from that is very, very much appreciated," said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Marwood Metal Fabrication Limited.

"Right now we're embarking on a transformative endeavour that will change us as an organization and bring us to the next level," said Jason Yohemas, CFO of Inovata Foods Corp/Otter Valley Foods Inc. "It will put us on solid footing and allow us to compete as a top North American player in the food industry. And we couldn't have done this without the help we received from our local allies... and in taking this next step, we'd like to thank FedDev Ontario because, not only is it beneficial financially to us, it was a simple and easy process.

"We're going ahead over the next few months with the expansion, and we hope to add around 60 jobs in the community," said Yohemas. "And become a player that's going to be here for a while, and provide long-term opportunities for the folks of Tillsonburg. So I'd just like to thank everyone who's helped us reach this point and we're very excited about our next step."