Ontario Research Foundation

The Ontario Research Foundation (ORF) was established as an independent corporation by a provincial Act in 1928; laboratory facilities were provided at the outset. Although initially academic in outlook, ORF gradually shifted its focus and began to promote industrial development, especially of small companies, through scientific and technological innovations. ORF has developed expertise in ceramics, fuel blends, textile and knitting technology, asbestos analytical methodology, hydro metallurgy, microelectronics, SOLAR ENERGY and POLLUTION research. Its facilities were expanded substantially in 1969. The president is responsible to a board of governors appointed by the lieutenant-governor-in-council from the industrial, commercial and scientific communities.

Initial funding was provided by an endowment fund through the CANADIAN MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION and by a matching provincial grant. Since 1967, annual provincial grants have been tied to foundation income. ORF receives about half of all federal funding granted to provincial research organizations. About half of exploratory research is federally funded; industrial contracts finance most applied research. In 1987 ORF served over 2000 industrial clients. A portfolio style of management prevails, with 9 business centre managers reporting to 2 division heads. Areas covered include problem solving in production and processing, testing, research and product development. Expertise in many fields and specialized equipment are available. ORF was also responsible for drawing the attention of government and industry to research opportunities that promise social and economic benefits. ORF was unable to continue when government subsidies were no longer available in the 1990s. It was assumed by ORTECH and eventually became part of Body Cote.