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

Economic Monitor – How data helps drive investment

By Wendy Stark

When a national or global corporation considers whether or not to invest in a region, the decision-makers want to know whether the community will be a good fit for their business. They look for information about the population, labour force, recent expansions and relocations by other companies and anything else that will give them a sense of the region’s prospects.

Site selectors look at a community in a slightly different way. When they evaluate a region, they typically look for ways to compare it to other locations being considered by their clients. They compare statistics like the unemployment rate, gross domestic product, employment in various sectors and growth rate forecasts. They use these comparisons to make recommendations to their clients.

To community organizations and existing Windsor-Essex companies, statistics are important for their internal planning processes.

Every month, the WEEDC produces an Economic Monitor that provides a snapshot of the Windsor-Essex economy including useful statistics. Some statistics, such as unemployment rates, building permits and housing starts, change every month; others, including the gross domestic product and employment by industry, change quarterly or semi-annually.

WEEDC regularly purchases data from Statistics Canada and from the Conference Board of Canada, and gathers information from various other sources including Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Service Canada and municipal administrative offices.

Most important, perhaps, are the forecasts from the Conference Board which provide a glimpse into the future of the region. All of this information is presented in the Economic Monitor along with explanatory notes, giving potential investors and community stakeholders a picture of the current economy and insights into what’s in store for Windsor-Essex in the next year or two.

You’ll find current and archived issues of the Economic Monitor on the WEEDC website: View April’s Economic Monitor Now

Wendy Stark, Economic Development Officer, Windsor Essex Economic Development CorporationWendy Stark is an Economic Development Officer for the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation.