FedNor invests in Blue Sky Net for additional three years of operational funding


January 21, 2021 – North Bay, Ontario – Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario – FedNor (originally news release)

Anthony Rota, Member of Parliament for Nipissing–Timiskaming, today announced Government of Canada investments totaling $1,110,810 for two projects that will help businesses attract skilled workers and innovate and access new technologies to make them more productive and competitive. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor.

As part of the announcement, FedNor funding of $1,034,050 will support the ongoing operations of Blue Sky Net (BSN) for a three-year period, enabling the organization to deliver a variety of information and communications technology (ICT) activities in the Nipissing–Timiskaming, Sudbury East, Manitoulin and Parry Sound East regions. As part of the initiative, BSN will work with local stakeholders to assess ICT trends and talent gaps, identify and implement solutions to increase skilled talent to support digital industries. They will also coordinate local and regional broadband deployment, and help increase digital technology adoption and awareness.

The remaining $76,760 is helping the City of North Bay develop and implement a workforce attraction and retention strategy designed to support North Bay employers. This two-year pilot project provides employers with access to human resources (HR) support and will focus on four key areas: identifying current resources; developing tools and training ; providing one-on-one HR support; and hosting virtual job fairs and recruitment events. This project is a collaboration among local workforce organizations including the Workforce Planning Board (Labour Market Group), Employment Service Agency (YES Employment), Social Services Administration Board, North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce and career centres within North Bay post-secondary institutions.


“Broadband, technology and a skilled workforce are the foundation of a strong economy. This $1.1 million investment will help Northeastern Ontario achieve success on all these fronts by connecting more businesses and communities, advancing technology adoption and attracting talented workers to fill employment gaps. This is part of our plan to help Northern Ontario get ready for tomorrow’s economy.”

–       The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor 

“Communities and businesses across the region will benefit from Government of Canada investments in Blue Sky Net and the City of North Bay. This FedNor funding will help Northeastern Ontario harness the power of technology and innovation to support business and economic growth, create jobs and attract and retain skilled workers. Today’s announcement will help businesses enhance their productivity and competitiveness, leading to more good-paying jobs that support local families and strengthening our regional economy.”

–       Anthony Rota, Member of Parliament for Nipissing–Timiskaming

“This strong show of support from FedNor and the Government of Canada demonstrates confidence in the work we do to spur innovation, support skills training and help businesses adopt new technologies and processes. The funding announced today will help us improve connectivity and access to technology for business and residential consumers by expanding infrastructure, increasing knowledge, developing applications and investing in businesses.”

–       Susan Church, Executive Director, Blue Sky Net

“North Bay businesses are growing and our workforce attraction and retention strategy is helping them find skilled workers and address related challenges. We are pleased that FedNor recognizes the importance of this pilot project and the results our partnership initiative will deliver in the form of jobs, growth and a thriving business sector.”

–         Peter Chirico, Mayor, City of North Bay

Quick facts

  • The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program (NODP), through which FedNor invests in projects led by municipalities, First Nations, and other organizations and institutions that support community economic development, diversification, job creation and self-reliant communities in Northern Ontario.
    • Since 2015, FedNor has provided more than $314 million in NODP funding to support 894 projects across Northern Ontario.