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OTTAWA – The new Ottawa Convention Centre (OCC) today launched the “idea BUILDERS™ OCC Conference Grant Program”, a ground-breaking initiative designed to provide financial assistance for public conferences that focus on important issues that affect Canadians and the National Capital Region.

The program provides a stage where people come together to learn and grow by sharing their knowledge, views and practices. The OCC aims to financially support multi-disciplinary public conferences, and enable the advancement of social, health, and economic policy development through events taking place in Canada’s new iconic convention centre, set to open in April 2011.

Grant recipients will be organizations or individuals who hope to undertake a public conference in Ottawa at the OCC between April 2011 and March 2012. Relevant areas for consideration could include: peace and security, innovation, technology, economic development and competitiveness, human rights, environment or public policy, among others.

The program will provide cash and in-kind cost reductions totalling up to $10,000 in value to eligible conferences which can be applied to direct costs associated with producing the event, including marketing, travel, accommodations, and speaker services.

“As Canada’s Meeting Place, OCC is determined to help initiatives that bring people together to exchange their views and knowledge on issues that affect Canadians,” said Patrick Kelly, OCC President. “The idea BUILDERS™ OCC Conference Grant Program will promote linkages with our local academic institutions, including the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University, and organizations focused on stimulating the local economy.”

“The idea BUILDERS™ OCC Conference Grant Program will highlight the wealth of expertise and talent Ottawa has to offer, “said Erin Kelly, Executive Director, Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. “The opportunity to exchange ideas at our beautiful new Ottawa Convention Centre will ultimately benefit all Canadians.”

The program’s initial Call for Applications will run from October 13 through December 31, 2010, with evaluation of submissions in early 2011. Evaluation will be undertaken by a peer review committee convened by the OCC and comprised of experts from multiple disciplines.

The OCC, an agency of the Government of Ontario, will open in April 2011. The redevelopment project is on time and within budget.