Ontario Funds Skills Training For Next Generation Jobs

    McGuinty Government Funds New Digital Media Lab At OCAD

    TORONTO, March 31 /CNW/ -


    Ontario is investing $9 million to help the Ontario College of Art &
Design (OCAD) train the next generation of digital media designers and
    OCAD (http://www.ocad.ca/home.htm) will use the funds for its Digital
Futures Initiative, a digital media and interactive design lab that will bring
together students and private sector partners from a cross-section of
    The lab will graduate students who have business and computer science
knowledge, as well as industrial design and artistic content creation skills.
    Ontario's investment is part of the 2008 Budget
(http://ontariobudget.ca/english/), which outlined skills training,
infrastructure investments, plans to lower business costs and support for


    "Ontario's entertainment and creative cluster is a cornerstone of
Ontario's new innovative economy," said Minister of Research and Innovation
John Wilkinson (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/about/MinisterBio.asp).
"Today's investment is about building on our strengths and the ingenuity of
our people - developing synergies and supporting strategic partnerships to
ensure that when the next Google or iPhone is developed, jobs will be created
in Ontario."
    "We are taking bold steps to secure Ontario's position as a world leader
in the digital media sector," said Minister of Culture Aileen Carroll
(http://www.culture.gov.on.ca/english/index.html). "Enhancing tax credits,
expanding the Interactive Digital Media Fund and investing in OCAD's Digital
Futures Initiative will help our innovators, entrepreneurs and artists make
the most of their talents and fuel Ontario's economy."
    "OCAD and Ontario are well-positioned to capitalize on the blisteringly
hot digital and interactive media market," said OCAD president Sara Diamond
(http://www.ocad.ca/home.htm). "The new lab will disseminate emerging
knowledge rapidly, model new technologies, processes and products and
fast-track product development and commercialization. It will be an asset to
the Ontario economy and an attractor of investment and talent."


    -  Once the lab is in full operation, it will serve a total student
       population of more than 500 graduate students and 3500 undergraduates
       attending OCAD.

    -  Over 80,000 net new jobs in Ontario have been created in the
       entertainment and creative industries cluster since 1999, an increase
       of 38.3 per cent. Job growth in the overall Ontario economy has risen
       by 17 per cent.

    -  Ontario's entertainment and creative cluster is the third largest in
       North America by employment after California and New York.


    -  The McGuinty government is supporting innovation and job growth in the
       digital media sector through:
       -  Next Generation of Jobs Fund
       -  $10 million to help the University of Waterloo
          (http://www.uwaterloo.ca/) create a new Stratford campus
          (http://newsrelease.uwaterloo.ca/news.php?id=4950) focused on
          global business and digital media.
       -  A proposed 10-year tax exemption
          (http://ontariobudget.ca/english/statement.html) for new
          corporations that commercialize intellectual property in Ontario
          developed by Canadian universities, colleges and research
       -  The 2008 Budget (http://ontariobudget.ca/english/bk5.html), which
          proposes to enhance the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax
          Credit and provide $7 million over four years for the Interactive
          Digital Media Fund.
       -  The Ontario Media Development Corporation
          (http://www.omdc.on.ca/Page3256.aspx), an agency of the Ministry of
          Culture, is the central catalyst for the province's cultural media
          cluster including interactive digital media.

                                                     Disponible en français



    Ontario is investing in the next generation of digital media artists,
designers, developers and entrepreneurs as part of a concerted effort to
ensure the continued growth of the industries that will shape our future and
create Ontario's next generation of jobs and prosperity.
    Today's $9 million investment at the Ontario College of Art & Design
(OCAD) (http://www.ocad.ca/home.htm) will help create new research and
training programs in one of Ontario's most innovative, high-growth economic
sectors, Digital Media.
    OCAD is at the forefront of digital and interactive media design and
creation, a key component of the growing global market for entertainment and
digital media. Working closely with industry leaders like Xerox
(http://www.xerox.com/go/xrx/template/013.jsp?Xcntry=CAN&Xlang=en_CA), CHUM
(http://www.ctvglobemedia.com/en/), IBM (http://www.ibm.com/ca/), Microsoft
(http://www.microsoft.com/en/ca/default.aspx), Philips
(http://www.philips.ca/index.page) and Astral Media
(http://www.astralmedia.com/en/default.idigit), OCAD is a driving force in
training Ontario's brightest workers for tomorrow's jobs in highly specialized

    -  Interactive gaming
    -  Animation
    -  News, media and publishing
    -  Graphics and software design
    -  Technology hardware design
    -  Advertising
    -  Advanced materials development
    -  Biotech and health care
    -  Sustainable design

    Ontario is recognized as a North American leader in these new industries,
with some 800 firms in the Greater Toronto Area alone. Leadership in digital
media requires excellence in wireless technologies, software, content
creation, broadband communications, art and design.
    The projected global market for the digital media sector alone is
projected to reach US$1.48 trillion by 2009.


    This investment builds on the recently announced $10 million to help the
University of Waterloo (http://www.uwaterloo.ca/) create a new Stratford
campus (http://newsrelease.uwaterloo.ca/news.php?id=4950) and research and
innovation centre focused on global business and digital media.
    The project will have the support of Canada's largest software company,
Open Text (http://www.opentext.com/corporate/our_history.html), whose
pioneering innovations formed the basis for the Internet's first search engine
    The new campus will generate the next generation of digital media
researchers, entrepreneurs, products and services by bringing together
wned strengths in arts and culture and the University of Waterloo's strengths
in technology. Areas of digital media research and development at the new
campus will include mobile, wireless, sound, video, gaming, web design and
    The goal of Ontario's investments is to ensure that when the next Google
or iPod Touch is developed, jobs will be created in Ontario.

    -   Ontario's entertainment and creative cluster is the third largest in
        North America by employment after California and New York.
    -   The entertainment and creative cluster is growing in Ontario twice as
        fast as the rest of the economy at a rate of 38.3 per cent a year.
        Over the past decade, more than 80,000 new jobs have been created in
    -   The global digital media market is exploding, expected to grow by
        more than 50 per cent by 2009.
    -   Toronto is home to about 40 per cent of Canadian digital media firms.
    -   The Ontario government supports digital media production via a range
        of programs delivered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation
        (OMDC) (http://www.omdc.on.ca/Page3256.aspx), an agency of the
        Ministry of Culture
    -   OMDC programs targeted at the digital media sector include: the
        Interactive Digital Media Fund, the Video Game Prototype Initiative
        and the Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund.
    -   As part of the 2008 Ontario Budget
        (http://ontariobudget.ca/english/bk5.html), the government is
        proposing to enhance the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
        and invest $7 million over four years to expand the Interactive
        Digital Media Fund.
    -   Many of Ontario's digital media success stories, such as Xenophile
        (http://www.xenophile.ca/) Media and Capybara Games
        (http://www.capybaragames.com/), benefited from Ontario government
        support to create innovative, award-winning products.


    In today's competitive business climate, Ontario is focused on investing
in strategic areas where we have the potential to compete globally and win.
    The Next Generation of Jobs Fund
(http://www.ontariocanada.com/ontcan/en/nextgen_main_en.jsp) was created to
invest over $1 billion over five years to support market-driven opportunities
in strategic areas that will strengthen Ontario's economy, including digital
media and information and communications technology.

    Digital Media is one of three focused areas of investment that Ontario is
supporting. Others include:

    -   Health technologies and biopharmaceuticals, which offer the potential
        to deliver better health care - and do it cost effectively.

    -   Clean technologies, which will help improve our environment and
        potentially give us greater choice when it comes to generating clean,
        sustainable energy.

    By focusing and investing in Ontario's strengths, we're creating more
Ontario firsts, like IMAX
(http://www.imax.com/ImaxWeb/static/swf/stl_takeover/welcome.jsp), the
BlackBerry (http://www.blackberry.com/) and Canadarm
(http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/exploration/canadarm/default.asp) -
Ontario-made products and services that are improving the lives of millions of
people around the world and creating a strong, innovative economy and good
jobs at home.

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Sandra Watts, Minister's Office, (416)
314-7067; Perry Blocher, MRI Communications Branch, (416) 326-7717

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