WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 17, 2011) - More children in southern Ontario will be able to experience real-world scientific issues and innovations thanks to an investment in Actua announced by Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

"Our Government recognizes the importance of preparing young people for today's high-tech economy," said MP Braid. "By developing our next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, we can help drive innovation and keep the economy growing in southern Ontario for years to come."

Actua, a national science, engineering and technology youth outreach network, will receive up to $1.25 million to enhance its customized programming designed to engage youth who are typically underrepresented and underserved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This includes Aboriginal youth, girls, underprivileged youth, at-risk youth and youth living in remote areas or inner-city neighbourhoods. The funding will help Actua create more spaces in southern Ontario for children to participate in summer camps, classroom workshops, clubs and community outreach activities. These are delivered by university undergraduate students in science, technology and engineering programs who are instructors for Actua network members.

"We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to grow our southern Ontario members' capacities to deepen the impact and broaden the reach of our STEM programming, especially for youth who are underserved and underrepresented in STEM. This FedDev Ontario contribution will enhance Actua's significant contributions to building the next generation of Ontario innovators!" said Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO of Actua.

The investment is provided through FedDev Ontario's Youth STEM Initiative, aimed at encouraging students in kindergarten through grade 12 to pursue an education or career in the STEM fields. For more information about the program and Actua, please refer to the backgrounder.

FedDev Ontario was created as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan to support businesses and communities in southern Ontario. Now in its second year of operation, the Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to support businesses and other organizations through partnerships and investments in skills and training; innovation; research and development; and increased productivity. To learn more, please visit www.feddevontario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.


Contribution to Actua

Actua is a national science, engineering and technology youth outreach network. More than 3 million young Canadians have been inspired through their participation in Actua's positive, hands-on educational workshops, camps and community outreach initiatives.

FedDev Ontario is providing Actua with a contribution of $1.25 million through the Youth STEM Initiative to enhance its programming in southern Ontario. In particular, Actua will expand three of its programs that focus on making science accessible to all youth: the National Aboriginal Outreach Program, the National Girls Program, and the Go Where Kids Are Program. These initiatives were designed to break down barriers and foster active participation of a full diversity of Canadians. Over the next three years, Actua anticipates reaching an additional 17,000 youth in southern Ontario. Of that total, an estimated 10,000 girls, 2,250 Aboriginal youth, and 450 at-risk and marginalized youth will benefit from the new summer camps, classroom workshops, clubs and community outreach activities.

Through this partnership, Actua will also support an estimated 200 jobs per year, mainly for undergraduate STEM students, for the next three years. These students are the instructors for Actua's ten southern Ontario members located at the following nine universities in southern Ontario: University of Guelph; the University of Toronto; York University; Queen's University; Carleton University; the University of Ottawa; the University of Western Ontario; McMaster University, and the University of Waterloo.

Each year, Actua's growing network of member organizations reach more than 200,000 young Canadians in more than 450 communities nationwide. Actua's major funders include: GE Canada, Suncor Energy Foundation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Shell Canada, Synapse – CIHR Youth Connection. More information is available at www.actua.ca.

Youth STEM Initiative

FedDev Ontario's Youth STEM provides funding to eligible not-for-profit organizations to expand, enhance and coordinate the reach and impact of educational outreach programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for children and youth in kindergarten through grade 12. The initiative is designed to encourage young people to pursue further studies and careers in these fields, creating a future talent pool that is well-positioned to fuel business innovation and growth in southern Ontario.

Applications for funding are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis. For more information, please refer to the program guidelines available on the web site at www.feddevontario.gc.ca.

Contact Information:

Gary Toft
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario