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Home / News / April 2021 Newsletter

April 2021 Newsletter

Hamilton’s 2020 Success Stories

Despite the pandemic, much of Hamilton’s economy continued to operate – and, in fact, thrived in some circumstances. Not only did the City of Hamilton achieve its third best year on record for building permit values in 2020 (approximately $1.3 Billion), but it was also the best year on record for industrial permit activity. We welcomed major global brands like Amazon and Bridgestone, saw continued construction on major Canadian operations from DHL and L3 Harris and construction cranes continued to dot the skyline in our downtown core.


COVID Business Impact Survey Results

Hamilton’s Economic Development Office, in partnership with Workforce Planning Hamilton and in collaboration with the Flamborough, Hamilton and Stoney Creek Chambers of Commerce and the City’s 13 Business Improvement Areas recently completed an extensive survey to assess the state of the local economy and the labour force during the COVID-19 pandemic. The intent was to glean real-time information that would assist the City and its partners in establishing levels of assistance for those Hamilton businesses working to navigate the pandemic.

Over 1,500 businesses from all 15 Wards across the City responded to the survey which represents almost a 50 percent increase over the first Business Impact Survey which took place in April 2020. Results from the 2021 survey are currently being summarized and will be shared with City Council and the business community in the coming weeks.

Economic Development Action Plan Update

Over the course of the next couple of months, Economic Development and Tourism and Culture staff will be putting the final touches to the 2021 – 2025 Economic Development Action Plan. This document will serve as the City of Hamilton’s blueprint for both the recovery and growth of the economy over the next five years. Crafted over the past year, the plan is a product of extensive consultation with representatives from a wide spectrum of civic groups and interests- from public sector, to business community, to non-profit and those focused on equity, diversity and inclusion. The plan will be presented to the City’s General Issues Committee before the end of the second quarter of 2021. Once approved by Council, the document will be made fully available to the public on the website. Further information will be shared in the Q2 edition of the Economic Development newsletter.

Hamilton COVID Concierge for Business

COVID-19 has affected not only Hamilton’s public health, but its economic health as well. That is why the City of Hamilton and the Flamborough, Hamilton and Stoney Creek Chambers of Commerce created a website and phone line that will help Hamilton businesses navigate the pandemic from a business standpoint and ensure the business community has the real-time answers to keep moving forward. The site covers items from government assistance programs to operational issues, licensing and by-law issues and public health issues. The phone line is staffed Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm. As Hamilton moves forward through the pandemic and the government requirements of businesses remain fluid, this site will be important to understand the latest information and how to get in touch with the right resources in a timely fashion. Visit the site by clicking here or call 905-521-3989

Innovation Factory receives $6M in Funding

On March 30th, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced a FedDev Ontario investment of $6 million for Hamilton’s Innovation Factory, which will work alongside the Synapse Life Science Consortium to launch the Southern Ontario Pharmaceutical and Health Innovation Ecosystem (SOPHIE).

SOPHIE will bring together Synapse’s network of experts in the life sciences field with Innovation Factory’s experience helping businesses accelerate the commercialization of their products. Through an annual cohort, businesses will receive the advisory services, testing capabilities and financial support needed from experts in the healthcare field to develop and commercialize their specialized health innovations and scale up their companies. Support though SOPHIE will create 50 jobs, maintain an additional 100 jobs and encourage 100 firms to either establish themselves or grow in southern Ontario. This investment will also leverage over $7.5 million in other investments.

This full-service innovation hub in Hamilton will boost Ontario’s position as a place to develop, test and commercialize innovative healthcare solutions while providing a single-window contact to facilities and expertise for Ontario’s next generation of innovative life science companies—creating a robust pipeline of made-in-Canada healthcare solutions.

Synapse Winners Announced

On March 24, Hamilton’s thriving life science ecosystem gathered virtually for Innovation Factory’s eighth annual Synapse Competition, Ontario’s premier life science pitch competition.

This year’s top three finalists, ToeFX, Synmedix and PharmAssess Diagnostics each delivered their pitch to the judging panel, competing for their share of $80,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, while the remaining finalists competed in a “Quick Pitch” – a pre-recorded, short pitch presentation.

ToeFX was named the grand prize winner, taking home a prize of $38,000 in cash, an in-kind legal package from Ridout & Maybee LLP, and a one-year membership with Life Sciences Ontario and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Synmedix took second place receiving $15,000 in cash, an in-kind legal prize from Gowling WLG as well as a one-year membership with Life Sciences Ontario and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

PharmAssess Diagnostics came in third place receiving an in-kind Legal package from Bereskin & Parr, and in-kind prize package courtesy of Shift Health, as well as a one-year membership with Life Sciences Ontario as and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Pathlogix won the “Quick Pitch” prize of $2,500 cash.
For more information about these companies and the Synapse Pitch competition, follow this link HERE.


Site Selection Magazine Puts Hamilton in Focus

Site Selection Magazine out of Atlanta, GA is one of the preeminent economic development and investment publications in North America. Recently, they took a greater look at Hamilton’s economy and the great progress that the city has been experiencing over the past few years. Coverage in this publication will reach site selectors, developers, and those companies looking to start up or expand Inclusion for the first time ever shows that Hamilton is now truly on the North American investment map and a city to strongly consider for a number of investors nationally and internationally. For more on the article, CLICK HERE.

Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council Launches 2021 Strategic Plan

The Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council (HIPC) is a community table that seeks to create a seamless settlement experience for immigrants in Hamilton. With partners from various sectors – including settlement, education, business, health, social services, municipal affairs, and persons with lived immigration experience — they work together to create a welcoming community with relevant and accessible services. HIPC is funded by IRCC and sponsored by the City of Hamilton.

HIPC recently launched a new term of council that well represents Hamilton’s immigrant populations and approved a strategic plan for the period 2020-2025 based on a collective impact model, including an evaluation framework and new operating principles.

To learn more about HIPC, visit their new and updated website

Urban Land Institute Mayoral Series – Hamilton Featured

Recently, The Urban Land Institute hosted a virtual panel called “Hamilton: A Bigger Picture.” This event provided a summary of some of the investment highlights from the past year and some major projects on the horizon. If you are interested in understanding much more about Hamilton’s growing economy, click here.

Hamilton Economic Development Remembers Neil Everson

Hamilton’s Economic Development Office sadly lost a true leader and good friend last week- former Director Neil Everson.

Over the course of his career he lived a life of great influence and activity in building Hamilton’s economy to one of the top ranked economies in Canada.

After over 25 years of service with the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Neil was directly responsible for leading the first Tax Incremental Financing program for any city in Ontario, spearheaded the first Small Business Enterprise Centre in the city and was the director when international brands like Canada Bread, Maple Leaf Foods, Tim Hortons and Stackpole made the decision to “invest in Hamilton”.

Going beyond this economic growth and diversification, Mr. Everson led the city effort to achieve the internationally recognized Accredited Economic Development Organization designation in 2012. Hamilton became the second organization in Canada and the first city government in Canada to be accredited.

Along with serving as an International Economic Development Council (IEDC) board member and participating as the first Canadian economic development “Expert Panel” member for IEDC’s Technical Assistance Program, Mr. Everson also participated in many international projects. This includes his work on a Canadian International Development Agency sustainable development project in Dalian (do you mean Dalian), China. He was also given a secondment by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to conduct a review of the economic development operations of the City of Ostrava in the Czech Republic. Additionally, Mr. Everson provided best practices and advice to help IEDC succeed in expanding work into Canada.

In 2016, City of Hamilton Council bestowed the commemorative designation “Neil Everson Way” on Cormorant Road in the Ancaster Industrial Business Park to recognize his outstanding contributions to the City of Hamilton’s economy.

We in the Hamilton Economic Development Office have lost a great leader, colleague and friend and our sincere condolences go out to his family in this time of loss.

For more information on Neil’s accomplishments and his life, please read his obituary HERE.


The Trade Accelerator Program is designed to help accelerate small businesses by preparing them for expansion into international markets. This comprehensive program is a one-stop-shop that is delivered in six virtual group sessions where businesses will learn from industry experts and peers on how to navigate the global export marketplace. The program will culminate with a customized strategic export business plan that has been carefully vetted by top industry experts.  To register for the April 2021 cohort – program starts on April 27th, please register here.


Collision Conference is one of North America’s biggest technology and innovation conferences. Based in Toronto, it is considered by Bloomberg to be “one of the world’s biggest tech conferences”. It has grown from 7,500 attendees in 2015 to almost 20,000 in 2019. With the pandemic, it has shifted entirely online and runs from April 20-22 and expects 40,000 people to connect online over the course of the conference. Click here for more information!