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FedDev Ontario Minister Filomena Tassi announced Monday that three area manufacturers in different sectors will split $10.375 million in interest-free loans to create more than 100 new jobs.

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Pharmaceutical firm CapsCanada Corp. and auto supply company Uni-Fab each received $5 million, while food maker Cedar Valley Selections received $375,000.

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Lakeshore-based CapsCanada Corp. produces high-quality empty hard capsules for the pharmaceutical and dietary supplement markets. It is also Canada’s only producer of vegan two-piece hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HMPC) capsules.

“Investments in the potential of growing Canadian manufacturers like CapsCanada create good jobs and a growing economy,” Tassi said during a visit to the region.

“With the support of the Government of Canada, they will strengthen Canada’s pharmaceutical supply chain, grow the local economy in Windsor-Essex and create 50 good jobs for Canadians.”

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CapsCanada’s Lakeshore plant manager, Tom Breshamer, said 30 of those people have already been hired, as the plan is to have the new line operational by the end of this year. Those 30 hires bring the plant’s employment to 230 people, and Breshamer says the company plans to hire another 25.

“The equipment that we are getting is the two-piece hard capsule machines and the automated visual inspection machines,” Breshamer said. “We can have five cameras at high speed looking at various aspects of the pods and detecting any defects before they shut down.”

An employee is shown Monday stockpiling inventory at the CanadaCaps Lakeshore plant.
An employee is shown Monday stockpiling inventory at the CanadaCaps Lakeshore plant. Photo by Dan Janisse /windsor star

Breshamer said the expansion of the plant is not just to meet demand in the short term.

“The purpose of this expansion is twofold. It’s to prepare for the long-term future because we know the growth is there, and this is five to 10 years from now.

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“The other part of this is also expanding our offerings. With more machines we can also take more sizes (of capsules)”.

Uni-Fab of Leamington will use their grant to commercialize their automated pallet changer technology for use with CNC machines. The company manufactures aluminum, steel and stainless steel products for the automotive, aerospace and tooling sectors.

“This investment will create 50 local jobs,” Tassi said.

“Uni-Fab is one of the largest metal fabrication shops in Ontario. It is at the forefront of using innovative technology to remain competitive in a changing global marketplace.”

Uni-Fab President Abe Fehr said the new pallet system has been in development for some time and is ready for further production.

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“We have already sold one machine. This partnership with FedDev Ontario allows us to upgrade equipment and grow our operation,” he said.

“We need bigger machines. We have added one and are looking to add another.

“We are also adding manufacturing equipment to improve our overall efficiency. We will reach 200 employees very soon in our future.”

Dignitaries and employees are pictured Monday at CapsCanada's Lakeshore plant after a news conference announcing federal funding for the company.
Dignitaries and employees are pictured Monday at CapsCanada’s Lakeshore plant after a news conference announcing federal funding for the company. Photo by Dan Janisse /windsor star

Cedar Valley Selections is an Oldcastle-based food manufacturer specializing in natural salad dressings and pita chips.

The company, founded by Ameen Fadel and her mother Surria Fadel, plans to use the $375,000 interest-free loan to expand the company into the US market and create five local jobs.

“The money from FedDev Ontario will help purchase equipment and grow our facilities,” said Ameen Fadel.

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“The food and beverage industry is really cutthroat and works on small margins. Our goal is to be the largest pita chip manufacturer in North America.

“This money helps us expand and support our growth, improve quality, productivity and margins.”

It is the second such loan in less than a year for the rapidly expanding company, which now distributes its products nationally through large supermarket chains and a website presence.

Last February, Cedar Valley received $162,134 from the federal government’s Regional Development Fund to expand its production line and add eight jobs.

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CapsCanada plant manager Tom Breshamer speaks at a news conference Monday at the company's Lakeshore facility.
CapsCanada plant manager Tom Breshamer speaks at a news conference Monday at the company’s Lakeshore facility. Photo by Dan Janisse /windsor star


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