$11.5 million in funding will support increased capacity at provincial abattoirs and help farmers ad
The governments of Canada and Ontario are committing up to $11.5 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) for two important new programs, one of which will assist meat processors on projects to rapidly increase processing capacity, and one that will help farmers adjust to current market challenges. The Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative is an up to $4 million program that will provide up to $150,000 per project for improvements to product handling and processing equipment. It will also cover consulting and engineering costs associated with planning future projects and will open to applications on December 4th. Today’s announcement is an immediate response by the governments to support Ontario’s meat processors and abattoirs and is part of a long-term commitment to help the sector. Eligible projects must be completed with equipment delivered by March 1st, 2021. Recipients will have until May 31st, 2021 to have their equipment installed. “Investing in strategic enhancements across the meat processing sector will help strengthen Canada’s capacity to continue to produce safe, high quality food,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Farmers and food processors are great innovators and we will continue to provide the tools they need to compete at home and around the world.” “COVID-19 has created new challenges for our livestock processing sector and as a result impacted our farmers so, today, we are taking steps to help plants increase their productivity and capacity,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This funding is just one part of our long-term commitment to help Ontario’s meat processing and abattoir sectors become more efficient, while continuously raising the bar on our food safety standards.” “These investments support Ontario’s meat processors in enhancing their businesses,” said Neil Ellis, Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Equipment upgrades and innovations are key to the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the agri-food sector.” This new program comes four days after Minister Hardeman announced a new application intake under the Partnership at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s annual general meeting. An investment of up to $7.5 million will support farmers in making enhancements to their operations. Farmers can receive support for a variety of investments that help them adjust to current market challenges. Examples of projects that can be funded through this programming include developing a product that will open new sales markets for a farm business, investing in new technology and equipment to enhance labour productivity, and improving food safety systems to meet or exceed international certification standards. This new intake is delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) and will open on December 9th, 2020. “We applaud the federal and provincial governments for this timely funding for our sector,” said Carol Goriup, President of Meat & Poultry Ontario. “This support will be invaluable with helping our sector manage the increased demand for local meat and poultry products we have experienced throughout the pandemic.” “Protecting Ontario’s food supply is fundamental to ensuring our food sovereignty,” said Peggy Brekveld, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “We have seen over the past eight months that it doesn’t take much to unsettle our food supply chains. Ontario farmers have demonstrated throughout this pandemic their commitment and ability to adapt and innovate, and these government programs will foster that spirit and shore up Ontario’s food security.” This funding is in addition to other supports launched this year to assist the sector in meeting challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes a portal to connect farms and other agri-food sector business with labour needs to job seekers, the creation of the $26.6 million Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program, a commitment of $25.5 million to help minimize COVID‑19 exposure risks in the workplace and support the province’s food supply chain through the Agri-food Prevention and Control Innovation Program and the recent investment of an additional $50 million into the Risk Management Program, one year earlier than originally promised. Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to approximately 4,200 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.