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$7-million for future Ottawa tech testing facility; 220 new jobs expected

The federal government says 230 current jobs will also be retained, thanks to its funding.
autonomous vehicle
Blackberry QNX autonomous vehicle on display at Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle test facilities on May 17, 2019. Jenn Pritchard/Ottawa Matters

The federal government has announced it is investing $7-million in the first integrated test facility of its kind in North America, which is based in Ottawa.

Minister of Economic Development and Official Language Mélanie Joly says the new funding will help small and medium-sized enterprises commercialize their transformational technologies, while also creating 220 new jobs.

She announced the investment at Area X.O, formerly known as Ottawa L5, on Tuesday. Area X.O consists of a public and private test track, equipped with advanced telecommunications and networking infrastructure.

In collaboration with the City of Ottawa and major industry partners, Invest Ottawa will also be adding advanced technology to the test sites, alongside a 3D printing platform for prototypes.

The project also includes a mobile 5G-equipped command centre, which can provide a secure network to any location. This is expected to give developers the tools they need to accelerate development on several tech sectors, including telecom, smart agriculture, defence, security and public safety.

The Government of Canada says its working on building on regional strengths to help secure the country's position as an innovative tech leader, while creating the right conditions for growth post-COVID-19.

"While we fight against the global pandemic, we are also focused on the future, and on building back better and stronger," Minister Joly explains.  "The leadership shown by Invest Ottawa will not only help us keep pace, but will help to keep Ontario and Canada on the cutting-edge of mobility innovation."

This money is in addition to $16.9-million announced by the federal government for Invest Ottawa back in April 2019, as part of its $52.4-million investment to help 30 Ontario companies scale up and achieve revenues of at least $100-million by 2024. 

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