FedNor funding for Thunder Bay businesses

COVID-19 has hit hard many sectors in northern Ontario and manufacturing is no exception. As an important sector to Canada’s economy, the government of Canada announced that is helping northern Ontario companies to modernize their processes with involves adopting new technologies, improving productivity and maintaining a highly skilled workforce.

On March 17, on behalf of the Government of Canada and FedNor, Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay—Rainy River, announced investments totaling $848,748 to help three businesses in Thunder Bay expand their operations, enhance competitiveness and boost profitability.

Once complete, these investments are expected to help create 22 high-quality jobs in Thunder Bay.

The three Thunder Bay companies that will benefit from investments provided through FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program and its Steel and Aluminum Initiative, include: Nu-Tech Metals Sales & Service Ltd., Thunder Bay Hydraulics and, Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co.

Powlowski said it is in everyone’s long-term interest to have a strong economy to keep the jobs that exist and also to stimulate economic growth.

Nu-Tech Metals Sales & Service Ltd. was allocated $382,000 which will help with assembly line upgrades, adopting new technologies to modernize production and to purchase a fibre laser cutting table.

Kyle Felbel, manager of Nu-Tech Metals and Sales Services, said the funding means a lot to the company.

“It’s been a monumental acquisition and rehabilitation of our production facility,” Felbel said. “It opens new doors. COVID has kind of closed them a little bit but the fact that we’ve kept everyone here and then some has just been wonderful.”

Thunder Bay Hydraulics received funding to expand their commercial markets. The company makes hydraulic scissor lifts mainly for private residences and want to expand production to include commercial places. The FedNor funding allowed them to do this by creating 10 jobs.

A loan of $190,000 was allocated to Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. They produce 5,000 bottles a week and want to triple production. This contribution will help to create nine jobs and create a pharmaceutical grade cleanroom.

“Thunder Bay has its share of problems,” Powlowski said. “Anyway that the government can help to stimulate the economy is certainly welcome.”

Powlowski said targeted intervention like this one, will help the economy in the long run, adding that he hopes to see more to help improve the economy of Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski holds up a bottle of Heartbeat Blueberry Habanero Hot Sauce, made locally by the Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co., one of the recipients of FedNor funding on March 17. The hot sauce company currently produces 5,000 bottles a week and will use hte funding to triple production. -Submitted photo