Ontario’s Investment Ready: Certified Site Program

By Marion Fantetti

Don’t miss this opportunity to market your industrial property – ideal to investment attraction!

Ontario’s Investment Ready: Certified Site Program is an investment attraction program that was launched by the Province in December 2013.  This program aims to identify, via a website, all lands in Ontario that are in fact investment ready.  It will be a tool used by many, especially site selectors, to see what parts of Ontario are in a position to quickly move to an investment stage.  We know that this is a critical step for us to be certain that Windsor-Essex is on the investment map – literally.

Directly on the heels of this launch in December, the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation hosted an information session for commercial realtors, business developers, land owners, and municipal administrators with a presentation made by the Program Manager from the Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Employment.  We knew it was important for them to know about the program, what it takes to make these swaths of land certified for investment, and what the next steps are.

The initial launch of this program in December, 2013 was well represented by Windsor-Essex with over 50% of the applications from Southwestern Ontario coming from our region alone!  The Ministry was both impressed and encouraged by this response remarking on both the variety and sizes of sites from our region.  The second intake for applications opened on February 15, 2014 and recently closed on April 15th.  The next intake is slated for sometime in the Fall.

We are looking forward to hearing that more of our municipalities, developers and land owners are taking advantage of this investment attraction program to produce another ‘bumper crop’ of applications.  This program has clearly heightened the senses of many within the senior leadership of our municipalities when taking a look at their strategic plans for their community.

For the Economic Development Corporation, this is a key opportunity to be certain that when investors look at the Ontario map, they see as many properties as possible identified as certified investment ready, right here in Windsor-Essex!

The Certified Site Program at a glance:
The Certified Site Program is open to public and privately owned properties that are industrial zoned sites consisting of 10 acres or more.  The program provides financial and international marketing support for the property.

This program is extremely beneficial in that, a property with an Investment Ready: Certified Site designation is attractive to investors and site selectors because it:

  • provides important background information on the site’s availability, utilities, transportation access and environmental record;
  • encourages faster site selection decisions;
  • can help Greenfield or expansion projects get started.

Investment ready sites also benefit from:

  • an international marketing campaign aimed at the site selection community;
  • a profile on www.InvestinOntario.com;
  • promotion at key global real estate, site selection and investment attraction events.

Once the property is certified, it maintains the designation for 2 years and you can apply for an additional 2 years once the designation expires.  Your site will be promoted on the Province’s website for as long as it is certified, or until it is sold.  See the link below for full information on the Program and criteria.

Some of the primary criteria for the Pre-Screening Application process includes:

  • The minimum property size for sites must consist of at least ten (10) acres of adjoining developable land;
  • Applications must be submitted jointly with whether a municipality or an Economic Development Organization;
  • There is no limit to the number of applications that these 2 organizations can sponsor, but keep in mind that they and municipalities are limited to two (2) sites for potential funding with re-imbursement.  If a community wishes to certify more than 2 properties per year, additional sites can be certified without receiving reimbursement;
  • All applications/sites will be scored on their own individual merits;
  • A site must be free from easement, liens and development constraints.

The Program has someone on hand at all times to respond to questions by e-mail or telephone. Visit www.ontario.ca/certifiedsite or email investmentready@ontario.ca

Also, if you have any questions about the Program or Pre-Screening application process, do not hesitate to contact me at 519-255-9200, Ext. 2222 or at mfantetti@investwindsoressex.com.

To stay current with other programs and initiatives, be sure to visit our News Section at www.choosewindsoressex.com


Marion Fantetti, Business Ombudsman

Marion Fantetti is the Business Ombudsman for the
WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

The Business Ombudsman Initiative

By Marion Fantetti

Some exciting news!  Today, Sandra Pupatello, CEO of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corp. announced a new initiative of direct outreach to businesses – the Business Ombudsman.

I’m Marion Fantetti and I’m excited to take on this role as the Business Ombudsman and for what it means for our business community – a direct point of contact to help them get through hurdles that may be impacting their business , and where they need answers quickly.  For example, when there are issues relative to government that our business people can’t resolve – we step in.  It’s also part of a differentiator in being able to promote our business-friendly environment to local businesses as well as to investors.

I have a great team of CAOs from the City of Windsor and the County of Essex – essentially the most senior official of every town in our region, along with representatives from our local Federal and Provincial MP and MPP offices. They are the conduits into their administration where some resolution may be required to assist our local businesses.

What does this mean?

Everyone recognizes the importance of assisting our existing businesses, any new ones, and of course, any perspective investors. This ‘team’ approach will demonstrate that we are business-friendly and outreaching to business to help them grow and be satisfied.

I’ll be reaching out to the business community with more information on this new initiative as we move forward.

For businesses, I think they will find that there is whole body of resources out there for them and my job is to make sure they get to those resources, and that they get answers quickly.  Why?  Because we want them to be in a position to grow and do well.  We want businesses in our region to do well and we are taking specific measures to help them and help them find answers.  Those answers may not always be “yes” or “no” but businesses need to know that we are going through all the proper channels and work through how public policy, government regulations and legislation affect Windsor-Essex County businesses; “stick handling” through the processes.

This role is really important to economic development – think of it as a canary in the coal mine – you get to see the issues before they are really big and unmanageable – you get to see the trends that are happening in the industries so that we get ahead of them before they get too bad.

If there are issues or policies impacting the growth of our businesses, we will know about it and we’ll let the key decision makers know about it, proactively, ahead of time.

Watch for my blog where I will be sharing key information on rising issues, trends and good news stories about business in our region. In this blog, I’ll have the opportunity to share information on common business issues and celebrating successes. I also look forward to sharing some great things happening in our business-friendly environment…so please stay tuned – I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you too!

To get in touch with me either give me a call at 519-255-9200 x2222 or send me an email at mfantetti@investwindsoressex.com

This is all part of a plan to promote the Windsor-Essex region as the most business friendly environment, anywhere! 


Marion Fantetti, Business Ombudsman

Marion Fantetti is the Business Ombudsman for the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation