CHRISTA ROETTELE, Communications Branch, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The Ontario government is launching a new Winery Agri-Tourism COVID-19 Relief Initiative to support agri-tourism businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario wineries and cideries with on-site stores, whose businesses were impacted by COVID-19 safety measures to stop the spread of the virus, will be eligible for this one-time grant.
Businesses which saw a revenue decline in at least one area of their operations, such as decreased tourism, tours, events and tastings, or have faced increased expenses to comply with public health safety measures for COVID-19, will be eligible to receive support.
“Ontario’s wineries and cideries have told us their businesses are being hit hard by the economic impacts of this pandemic and the cancellation of large events and tours,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “With this announcement, our government is taking the necessary steps to provide these businesses with the support they need to continue operating, recover and to maintain these good jobs in the agri-food sector.”
“Our government recognizes the significant impact of the Agri-Tourism sector on Ontario’s social and economic recovery,” stated Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “The launch of a new Winery Agri-Tourism Relief Initiative will support and maintain the vital jobs of those who continue to fight to ensure this sector is able to come back stronger than before.”
The 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, committed to providing a one-time $10 million grant to help wineries and cideries impacted by COVID-19 and ensure agricultural production and local jobs are maintained in Ontario’s rural communities. As the delivery agent of the new Winery Agri-Tourism COVID-19 Relief Initiative, Agricorp will send applications for the program directly to eligible wineries and cideries on July 20th, 2021.
This new relief initiative builds on government programs aimed to protect jobs and support local producers. This extends the VQA Wine Support Program and the Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to 2022-23.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact for our rural communities and on Ontario’s agri-tourism community. Which is exactly why our government is committed to helping them get back on their feet,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “This one-time investment will provide grants to eligible wineries and cideries with on-site stores in 2021 to help them thrive following a tough year.”