WOWC Receives Rural Economic Development (RED) Funding


Southwestern, ON – The Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus has received a grant of up to $74,900from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to expand the ConnectON database and asset mapping services by sharing farming, food processor and manufacturing business data to support the agri-food supply chain.

Completing the Western Ontario Wardens Caucus municipal members agri-food and manufacturing mapping project has provided current, accurate data that can be used to inform and strategize provincial and municipal solutions for economic development, planning and pandemic response and recovery. 

The ConnectON Tool provides valuable insights to Economic Developers, adding another tool to the box for increasing investment attraction to the region.  By mapping the sector assets, we are able to have insight as to where food processing and manufacturing occurs, and where there are gaps.  In turn, this will lead to targeted investment attraction, to fill gaps within the value chain and offer existing business the ability to grow within the Province.


 “Our government is investing in rural Ontario to open doors to economic development across the province. This support through the Rural Economic Development program will build stronger ties within Ontario’s farming and agri-food sectors, by connecting businesses with opportunities as we begin our economic recovery from this pandemic.”

  • Hon. Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

 “This project was the result of collaboration with 60+ regional partnerships and has increased capacity for emergency preparedness.  It will assist economic development practitioners and organizations to source pertinent sector data leading to better decision making.”  

  • George Cornell, Chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, Warden Simcoe County.

“Asset mapping provides the information economic development practitioners and planning staff need to ‘know and grow’ the sector.  In addition to new investment, value chain and supply chain development encourages investments to be retained in rural Ontario.”

  • George Bridge, Chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus Economic Development Committee, Mayor Town of Minto.


The Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (WOWC) is a not-for-profit organization representing 15 upper and single tier municipalities in Southwestern Ontario, representing more than three million residents. The WOWC aims to enhance the prosperity and overall wellbeing of rural and small urban communities across the region. Caucus members work collectively to influence federal and provincial legislation and programs through advocacy, research and analysis and education. For more information, visit

ConnectON is an economic development tool created to support municipal and regional decision making and growth. Currently, municipalities, cities and regions in the Golden Horseshoe, Greater Golden Horseshoe, Eastern Ontario and Western Ontario are participating in asset mapping for the agri-food and manufacturing sectors. Municipalities have the ability to upload, update, select, sort and map their own data, as well as view the data regionally, from neighbouring participating municipalities. There has been significant interest in expanding the geographic areas and adding additional sectors such as tourism and information technology, to the program. Visit


Media Contact

Kate Burns Gallagher, Executive Director Economic Development

Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus

T: 226-374-6654 E: