Canada and Ontario investing up to $6 million in market development effort

Canada and Ontario investing up to $6 million in market development effort
Apr 17, 2023

The two governments are looking to provide a financial helping hand to enable Ontario agri-food products reach new markets.

By Andrew Joseph,; Photo by Mark Stebnicki

Via the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), the federal government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario will invest $6 million to help agri-food businesses and industry organizations expand into domestic and foreign markets.

Grow Ontario Market Initiative is a new, cost-sharing method to help food and beverage processors, farm businesses, and agri-food sector organizations take the necessary actions to reach new markets.

Examples of eligible projects could include market analysis and planning, product development activities, and/or new market-entry promotional efforts to expand opportunities for Ontario food products.

“By supporting the diversification of products and markets, we are contributing to the growth of Ontario’s agri-food industry,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “These investments will help our producers and processors meet evolving market needs and strengthen our sector's resilience.”

Ontario Minister Lisa Thompson of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) stated, “Our government’s Grow Ontario Strategy has set out ambitious expansion targets for our agri-food sector, and this initiative will help eligible businesses to have the necessary means to enter new markets both foreign and domestic.

Thompson continued: “The potential for growth in Ontario’s agri-food sector is tremendous and we’re committed to making sure agri-food businesses of all sizes have the support they need to make this area of our provincial economy even more competitive.”

Under the Grow Ontario Market Initiative, applicants can receive up to 50 percent cost share for eligible costs, to a maximum of $60,000 per business for producers and food and beverage processors, and up to $125,000 for sector organizations. Eligible businesses can apply for support through this program starting on May 19, 2023.

“Our government is proud to support Ontario’s food and beverage processors, farm businesses, and agri-food organizations through the new Grow Ontario Market Initiative,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “By creating the right conditions for businesses to grow and succeed, we continue to develop new markets for Ontario products to strengthen our long-term economic outlook, provide good jobs, and bring new investment opportunities to the province.”

This initiative was developed following discussions with agri-food sector businesses and sector organizations. It builds on other actions our government has taken to support the sector’s growth, such as a Minister-led agri-food trade mission to Japan and Vietnam in February 2023. It also follows investments of $10 million through the Food Security and Supply Chain Fund and $22 million through the Agri-tech Innovation Program.

Sustainable CAP is a five-year (2023-2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal‐provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agri‐food, and agri‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 percent federally and 40 percent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by the provinces and territories.

The Grow Ontario Market Initiative will be delivered by OMAFRA, with further details soon available online or by calling 1-877-424-1300. Applications for the Grow Ontario Market Initiative will be accepted as of May 19, 2023. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis subject to the availability of funding allocated to the initiative.

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