Province Enhancing Certified Site Program to Help Municipalities Attract New Jobs and Investment
August 17, 2016
Posted by: Jacqueline O'Hara
Ontario is helping municipalities compete globally and attract new jobs and development by enhancing a provincial program that certifies industrial lands as ready for development.
The Investment Ready: Certified Site program can help get projects off the ground faster by marketing sites that have undergone rigorous due diligence to international investors. It gives potential investors easy access to important property information such as availability, completed environmental assessments, utility costs and transportation access.
Ontario is making several changes to the program to make it easier for businesses and municipalities to participate:
- Expanding eligibility to include smaller, non-contiguous lands within business and industrial parks, not just large contiguous industrial lands of 10 acres or more
- Doubling the amount of eligible certification expenses reimbursed to municipalities, from $25,000 to up to $50,000
- Increasing the range of eligible expenses to cover the full certification process, including application, post-certification site changes and marketing activities
- Doubling the certification designation, from two to four years
- Introducing a pre-application consultation to help provide municipalities with quick answers to questions about the program before applying
Ontario now has 16 certified sites. The program recently led to retailer Giant Tiger buying one of these sites in the Township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal in Eastern Ontario. It is building a 600,000 square foot state-of-the-art distribution centre on the property, which is expected to support up to 300 jobs in the region.
Helping communities across the province attract new investment is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario's history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
- Ontario has the only province-wide site certification program in Canada. This strengthens the province's ability to compete with the United States, which has more than 35 certification programs.
- Ontario's 16 certified sites and over 20 industrial properties now undergoing certification will be transitioned into the enhanced program without financial impact.
- Certified sites are integrated into Ontario's investment attraction strategy, and receive top consideration for strategic investment opportunities in the province.
- Changes to the program were made following consultations with municipalities and are in alignment with recommendations from a comprehensive program review led by Deloitte Consulting.
- Pre-application consultations for the next intake round are open until December 31, so municipalities can find out more about how to be top-of-mind for potential investors.
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