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Ontario backs food sector networking plan

Ontario’s government will back a networking project that’s expected help the province’s food manufacturers and processors compete globally and train skilled staff.

The province on Monday pledged $1.94 million from its Rural Economic Development program for the Food Sector Manufacturing Innovation Network project.

The project will be run by the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC), a non-profit organization of manufacturers “dedicated to facilitating member development towards greater global competitiveness,” headquartered at Owen Sound, Ont.

The project, the province said, “will help increase the sector’s global competitiveness through peer-to-peer networks, advanced skills training, internship opportunities and the development of an accessible online network.”

The province said the network project “has the potential to help retain jobs in over 200 food sector manufacturing and processing companies that represent over 15,000 employees.”

Companies taking part in the EMC network project “will also have the opportunity to provide up to 300 internship positions for local youth,” the province said.

“By providing the industry with highly skilled workers who have 24/7 access to online resources and networking, we anticipate a five per cent growth in exports,” Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi said in the province’s release.

“Bringing together a core group of 200 food sector manufacturers and processors, this project will develop an advanced ‘Food Sector Innovation Network’ that will benefit all Ontario food sector stakeholders,” EMC president Al Diggins said in the same release.

“By engaging this dedicated peer-to-peer knowledge network, Ontario’s food sector companies will further enhance their global competitiveness, enterprise-wide capabilities and access to world-class knowledge network resources.”

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