Ontario government invests in

The Government of Ontario loosened its purse strings on Wednesday, announcing funding of up to $17.3 million to improve online information and services in 16 communities across the province through the Connect Ontario: Partnering for Smart Communities (COPSC) program.

The money, which is part of a five-year, $50-million program, will be used to invest in community Internet portals that act as windows to the regions’ municipal services, activities and businesses. The program encourages regional partnerships to improve online communities and has 27 regional partnerships to date.

In a statement, David Turnbull, associate minister of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation, said the government is investing in and developing “smart” communities across the province.

Of the $17.3 million, the government has earmarked $6.6 million specifically for Northern Ontario, in an effort to level the playing field for northern communities, said Al McDonald, enterprise, opportunity and innovation parliamentary assistant and North Bay MPP, in a statement.

The following Ontario-based recipients will receive up to $1.1 million each to develop a community Web portal: SmartSudbury.com; NEONET Virtual Town Square in Cochrane; Northern Genesis in Thunder Bay District; Greenstone Connected, Connecting the Rainy River District to Global Ontario; Faster Lake of the Woods in Kenora; Kingston’s Land O-Lakes Network; Hastings-Quinte; and Elgin for Elginconnects.ca.

Connected Niagara will also receive up to $1.1 million in funding from COPSC to develop its economic development Web site for both local residents and businesses.

The COPSC program can be found online at: www.ontariocanada.com/ontcan/en/rts/rts_connect-ontario.jsp.