News / Ottawa

Ottawa left out of supercluster funding

Mayor Jim Watson says city's tech sector is too often overlooked.

Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains greets members of the aerospace faculty before making a funding announcement at the Ecole Polytechnique, Tuesday, October 10, 2017 in Montreal.

Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains greets members of the aerospace faculty before making a funding announcement at the Ecole Polytechnique, Tuesday, October 10, 2017 in Montreal.

Nine cities are now in the running from dozens of applications to become a government-sponsored supercluster, but Ottawa is not among them.

Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains announced nine short-listed projects this week including agri-food, clean energy and advanced manufacturing clusters that are meant to bring universities, business and other groups together to create new industries and jobs.

Bains said the nine finalists will be whittled down to no more than five proposals with the $950 million the government has allocated spread among the winners.

He said they wanted proposals that would be aggressive and create new jobs.

“We wanted to promote a high-level of ambition, we promoted a competitive process and for us it’s really about the outcomes,” he said.

Bains said the cities that didn’t make the list, could find new opportunities as the finalists refine their final pitches.

“I’m confident there will be further discussions of working with those proposals that did not make the shortlist.”

Mayor Jim Watson said he was disappointed the city didn’t make the cut.

“I think we put together a really good bid, there was a lot of private sector dollars behind the bid. We thought we had a realistic shot at it, so obviously disappointed for the sector.”

Watson said the city’s tech sector is too often overlooked.

“There’s very much an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship taking place in Ottawa. We often get overshadowed by Waterloo. We’re four times bigger than Waterlooo in terms of our tech sector and number of employees.”

Ottawa’s pitch involved several local firms looking at next generation 5G communication technologies and the potential they offer for digital commerce.

Invest Ottawa head Mike Tremblay said the city being passed over was a disappointment, but there is potential to take what they gained in the application process.

“It was a very good experience form the perspective of bringing together all the local capabilities,” he said. “The Super Cluster process brought us together and gave us some new scenarios to think about.”

- with files from Kieran Delamont

More on Metronews.ca