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New Funding Will Improve Food Production and Safety in Ontario

OLIVER ANDERSON, Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

The governments of Canada and Ontario are committing up to 7 million to rapidly increase processing capacity in meat processing plants across the province. This initiative builds on the 7.2 million invested last year through the first intake and is part of the governments’ continued investments to support the sector’s growth and strengthen the food supply chain.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the second intake of the Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative will provide up to $150,000 per project for handling and processing equipment to increase efficiency, productivity and food safety. It will also cover consulting and engineering costs associated with planning future projects. The intake will open for applications on November 19th, 2021.

“The livestock processing supply chain is dedicated to innovating and improving their capacity to produce safe, high-quality food,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “These investments will further position the sector to compete at home and in global markets through new productivity-boosting technologies.”

“Ontario livestock processors have worked tirelessly since the COVID-19 pandemic began to ensure Ontarians had access to fresh, local, and high-quality meat products for their families,” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “While the sector continues to face extraordinary processing capacity challenges, our government is stepping up with this important investment to help Ontario meat processors and abattoirs continue producing the safe and healthy food millions of Ontarians rely on each and every day.”

The Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative will provide funding for eligible free-standing meat plants and abattoirs to implement measures that will improve efficiency and productivity through short-term investments in equipment. Eligible project costs can be incurred as of November 12th, 2021. Eligible projects must be completed with equipment delivered by March 21st, 2022. Recipients will have until June 30th, 2022, to have their equipment installed.

“The pandemic has highlighted some of the vulnerabilities in our sector, including the need to increase processing capacity,” says Carol Goriup, President of Meat & Poultry Ontario. “This funding demonstrates our governments’ commitment to providing solutions that will help move the industry forward. We thank the federal and provincial governments for their continued Partnership and this crucial funding that will help our sector invest in solutions that will benefit both processors and consumers.”

“The lack of sufficient processing capacity in Ontario has been a limiting factor to a healthy competitive market for the province’s beef sector,” said Rob Lipsett, President of Beef Farmers of Ontario. “The first intake of the Meat Processing Capacity Improvement Initiative was fully subscribed, which speaks to its critical value to the livestock processing sector. We are grateful for the continued investment by both levels of government to support this initiative, which in turn, will help position our sector to better meet the demands for Ontario beef at home and abroad.”

“Ontario Pork welcomes government support to strengthen processing capacity in the province,” said John de Bruyn, Chair of Ontario Pork. “Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed that the lack of processing is a bottleneck for our industry and for local food supply. We appreciate today’s announcement as another step in facilitating the growth of processing capacity here in Ontario.”

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed over $100 million in cost-share support to more than 5,000 projects through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.

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