Conestoga news

October 5, 2009 10:35 AM

Governments of Canada and Ontario Announce Knowledge Infrastructure Projects Underway: Groundbreaking Celebrations at Conestoga College

CAMBRIDGE AND WATERLOO, Ontario, September 25, 2009 - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) and MP for Cambridge, along with Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Leeanna Pendergast and John Tibbits, President of Conestoga College, today celebrated groundbreakings at the Cambridge and Waterloo campuses of Conestoga College. The college is to receive federal and provincial funding totalling $72 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and Ontario’s 2009 Budget.

Groundbreaking Ceremony

The project will include construction of the first building at the new Cambridge campus site, a 260,000 square-foot structure housing two facilities. The School of Engineering and Information Technology will focus on training in advanced manufacturing, robotics, renewable energy, telecommunications and information technology. The Institute for Food Processing Technology will mirror the most advanced technologies, processes, and health and safety standards of advanced processing plants. It will focus on advanced skills training in areas such as food safety, process automation, industrial electrical systems, refrigeration technologies and plant management/supervision, and will address the current and future need for skilled workers in this large and important sector of the economy.

The project also includes a 12,000 square-foot stand-alone facility at the Waterloo campus for the Conestoga/OIRCA Roofing Skills Training Centre and a 10,000-square-foot addition to the main campus building for the HVAC Skills Training Centre. Some funding will be used for an expansion and renovation to support motive power skills training at the Guelph campus. When complete, the entire project will create an additional 2,350 student spaces and 800 new spaces for apprentices.

Conestoga College is partnering with the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors on the Institute for Food Processing Technology in Cambridge and with the Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association (OIRCA) for the Roofing Skills Training Centre in Waterloo.

In total, the governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $1.5 billion in 49 projects at Ontario’s colleges and universities, through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) and the Ontario 2009 Budget.

"Canada’s government is investing in innovation and infrastructure to promote employment, help our economy recover quickly and improve the quality of life for Canadians," said Minister of State Goodyear. "This investment is creating jobs for people now, while providing the infrastructure that Conestoga College needs for years to come."

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program, a two-year, $2 billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at Canadian post-secondary institutions is part of the $12 billion in new infrastructure investment allocated under Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The program is providing real economic stimulus and employment by creating local jobs for engineers, architects, trades people and technicians. It is also helping to generate the advanced technological infrastructure needed to keep Canada’s research and educational facilities at the forefront of scientific advancement.

"These investments in Conestoga College are just another example of what partnerships between governments, the college, community and industry can do. Students and professors can work together in new spacious facilities with access to the latest technologies that will push the boundaries of what tomorrow's students can discover," said Leeanna Pendergast, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga. "These new facilities will mean immediate jobs for our community, invaluable training for the knowledge-based economy, and a better Ontario for our children."

The Government of Ontario, in its 2009 budget - Confronting the Challenge: Building Ontario’s Economic Future, is committed to investing in infrastructure and has designated $780 million to colleges and universities to modernize facilities and boost long-term research and skills training capacity over the next two years.

"This day is testimony to the vision and the productive partnership of Conestoga, the federal and provincial governments, the Region of Waterloo, and the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo," said John Tibbits, President of Conestoga College. "In addition, our partnerships with the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors and the Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association will make Conestoga a key contributor to the growth, development and productivity of the economy. With this new campus and these new training centres of excellence, Conestoga will be able to expand operations and broaden our offerings in applied learning and research, in order to support the growth of this dynamic region."

"The Institute of Food Processing Technology has been a clear and necessary vision since January 2007," said Craig Richardson, chair of the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors. "I'm encouraged to see that visions of this magnitude can be brought to reality by aligning the shared interests of industry, government and academia. The food and beverage industry in Ontario is delighted to be building this strategic partnership with Ontario's number one recognized community college, and we look forward to many more collective initiatives with Conestoga."

"The single biggest factor affecting all stakeholders in the roofing sector today is the lack of a qualified workforce in the numbers necessary to service the needs of the construction industry in this province," said Don B. Marks, executive director of Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association (OIRCA). "We share Conestoga's vision that the Waterloo campus will become the focal point for the recruitment and training of construction workers in southern Ontario. The OIRCA/Conestoga Roofing Skills Training Centre will allow the roofing industry to assume the responsibility to take control and manage its own human resources."

For more information about the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, including program criteria, application instructions and a list of the approved projects to date, please visit

For information about how the Government of Ontario is helping to build and revitalize infrastructure across the province, please visit

For further information (media only), please contact:

  • Media Relations Industry Canada
  • Gary Toft, Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)
  • Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities: Tanya Blazina
    Senior Media Relations Coordinator
  • Conestoga College: John Sawicki
    Public Affairs Office
    Kitchener, Ontario
    519-748-5220, ext. 3336

For more information about the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, view this document (pdf).