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Durham Region Supporting Ontario Shores’ Mental Health Innovation Incubator

Durham Region Innovation Incubator
Published Date

The Region of Durham, in partnership with all eight area municipalities, is pleased to announce funding to support Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) in developing a business case to create Canada’s first-ever Mental Health Innovation Incubator.

The vision is that this living lab would connect clinical experts with private sector entrepreneurs; to co-design, co-develop and scientifically evaluate new technologies in the clinical setting. It would focus on the co-development, acceleration and adoption of mental health-related innovations by:

  • Improving and optimizing the quality and accessibility of mental health patient care and patient outcomes.
  • Creating operational efficiencies for health-care providers, hospitals and health systems.
  • Creating a scalable innovation model to drive broad-based changes in mental health care.
  • Creating opportunities for direct engagement in innovation.
  • Establishing new research platforms that advance care.
  • Supporting the development of new health technologies and innovations and broader economic development.
  • Creating jobs that are led by emerging health technology companies.
  • Providing physical laboratory space in the inpatient mental health setting for entrepreneurs to work alongside mental health clinicians and scientists to co-create innovative solutions for commercialization and business growth.

This initiative is a great example of Durham’s municipalities working together towards the common goal of supporting our innovation community to help solve the world’s biggest challenges. This funding will support the development of a business case that will be used to apply for federal funding and to create partnerships for this initiative.

The Region is dedicated to leading, facilitating and supporting various investment attraction and expansion initiatives in Durham. Expanding mental health services, supporting innovation, and improving quality of life are highlighted in the Strategic PlanRegional Recovery Framework and Action Plan, and this activity supports the Region’s Intelligent Communities Framework.

To learn more about economic development in Durham Region, visit InvestDurham.ca.


“This would be a first of its kind in Canada. We’re extremely excited to be investing in this business plan because, if successful, the Mental Health Innovation Incubator would establish Ontario Shores and the Region of Durham as national and even international leaders in mental health innovation. Through the creation of a living lab, Ontario Shores will be able to combine research and data-driven approaches to provide exceptional, life-saving services to residents living with complex and serious mental illness.”

– John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer

“Ontario Shores is an exemplary model of how Durham’s innovation community can ensure our region remains globally competitive; they are paving the way as local business leaders to drive innovation and growth. Through the Durham Economic Development Partnership with our area municipal partners, we are investing in development of the Mental Health Innovation Incubator with a shared goal of not only improving mental health services, but also enabling economic growth and job creation in Durham Region.”

– Simon Gill, Director of Economic Development and Tourism

“The Living Lab is a shining example of how Ontario Shores and partners can come together to advance mental health care with a commitment to quality and best outcomes. The pandemic has exacerbated the challenges faced by people living with mental illness and amplified the need for innovation towards evidence-based mental health care. We will continue to collaborate and advance mental health and addictions care now and into the future.”    

– Sanaz Riahi, Vice-President, Practice, Academics and Chief Nursing Executive, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences

Quick facts

  • Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences is a public teaching hospital in Whitby, Ontario that provides specialized assessment and treatment services to individuals living with complex and serious mental illness. With more than 100 years of history and excellence in mental health, Ontario Shores is dedicated to safe and evidence-based approaches, using clinical best practices and the latest advances in research. To learn more, visit OntarioShores.ca.
  • In 2021, the Region of Durham was named one of the Smart21 communities of the year. To learn about the projects and stories that embody our vision for an Intelligent Region, visit durham.ca/IntelligentCommunities.
  • Funding is provided by the Region of Durham’s Strategic Initiatives Division and Economic Development and Tourism Division, as well as the Durham Economic Development Partnership (DEDP).
  • DEDP is a collaboration between the Region of Durham’s Economic Development and Tourism Department, and all eight area municipalities’ economic development offices. It is made up of members from the Municipality of Clarington, City of Oshawa, City of Pickering, Township of Brock, Township of Scugog, Township of Uxbridge, Town of Ajax, and Town of Whitby. This partnership allows economic developers from across the municipal and regional levels to work together to provide seamless service delivery to Durham’s business community.

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Brooke Pollard – Communications Advisor

905-668-7711 ext. 2997 or @email

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