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Speeches

SAIT-AIM Centre for Innovation

February 17, 2012
Calgary, Alberta

Notes for an address by

The Honourable Lynne Yelic
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

Funding Announcement

Corresponding Documents: News Release | Photo Gallery

Check Against Delivery

Thank you, Dr. (Alex) Zahavich.

Good morning everyone. It is an honour to be here on behalf of our Government.

To begin, I would like to acknowledge my fellow platform guests: Mr. Joel Darichuk, Senior Manager of Alta Injection Molding (AIM); and Dr. Alex Zahavich, Director of Applied Research and Innovation Services for SAIT Polytechnic.

I am pleased to be here at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, or SAIT, to make an announcement that will help strengthen an important economic driver in our communities.

Our Government is committed to positioning key economic sectors to take advantage of emerging opportunities so that they can continue to grow and create jobs. One example of such an opportunity is the manufacturing of composite materials. Composites, which are also called reinforced plastics, can be used to create a vast array of high quality products with significant market demand.

From consumer products like sporting goods or automobile parts, to piping that can withstand corrosion, or even components for commercial aircraft and satellites, composite materials have a proven ability to make products stronger, lighter, and more durable. In fact, when it comes to finding new ways of using composite materials to develop products, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

For manufacturing businesses here in Alberta, that translates into exciting new possibilities to develop applications for markets as diverse as transportation and construction to aerospace and defence. Businesses in those sectors are increasingly using composite materials because they represent a durable, lower cost alternative to use in their manufacturing processes.

This is why I am pleased to announce today that our Government, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, is investing $3.5 million dollars towards SAIT Polytechnic to establish a Centre for Innovation that is focused on the creation of composite-based products. Through this initiative, SAIT will work closely with Alta Injection Molding, an Alberta-based company, to establish a leading-edge Centre to serve local manufacturing companies.

By providing local businesses with access to the equipment and resources they need to commercialize new composite-based products, the Centre is expected to have a significant impact on the growth of Alberta’s manufacturing sector. For example, companies from any industry will be able to access services ranging from product design and testing to production and packaging. There will also be additional supports such as an advisory team to assist companies with patents and connecting to investors.
Ultimately, by combining the applied research expertise of SAIT with the technical and operational expertise of a partner, such as Alta Injection Molding, this initiative will help ensure entrepreneurs can take their businesses to the next level and bring new ideas to market more quickly.

Today’s investment complements our Government’s dedication to ensuring Western Canadian businesses are equipped with the techniques and expertise to use composite materials in their manufacturing processes.

Last month, for example, I had the pleasure of announcing more than $9.8 million dollars towards establishing a Pan-Western Composites Research Network. With a presence in all four western provinces, this network will bring academics and businesses together to share the latest research and practical application of composite materials.  As a result, it will further enable western Canadian businesses to adapt to evolving changes in their fields in order to remain competitive.

Today’s investment also builds on our Government’s previous support for enhancing the ability of SAIT Polytechnic to provide applied research services to Alberta’s small business sector, including investments of: $4 million dollars to construct and equip the Enerplus Innovation Centre, which will be housed within the upcoming Trades and Technology Complex; and $1 million dollars to establish the Centre for Innovative Information Technology Solutions, which includes the lab that we are in today for this announcement.

Through investments like these we are taking another step to ensuring that western Canadian businesses have every chance to succeed. Ultimately, I believe this will help build towards a prosperous future for the West and all of Canada.

On behalf of the Government of Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada, I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this initiative. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the ongoing work of both SAIT Polytechnic and Alta Injection Molding in leading this project and ensuring it becomes a reality.

I look forward to hearing about the positive outcomes that are realized as a result of this collaborative effort.

Together, we are building a stronger West for a stronger Canada.

Thank you.