Up to $1 Million Grants Available!
The Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative (GCII) offers grants of up to 50% for projects that increase the competitiveness of Ontario’s commercial greenhouse sector and lead to the development/adoption of innovative technologies. Funding is offered to business partnerships as well as not-for-profit organizations for activities related to the following:
- Production & Market Development: Improve production efficiencies, diversify and accelerate market development
- Biosecurity: Improve biosecurity, resistance management and emergency preparedness
- Environment: Improve environmental stewardship and sustainability
Eligible expenses include project-related:
- Capital costs including shipping and installation to a maximum 50% of the total budget.
- Wages and benefits;
- Rental/lease of facilities, land and equipment;
- Design, printing and translation of promotional/educational materials;
- Research institution overhead (maximum 25% total budget);
- Travel, meals and accommodation
Applicants are encouraged to request funding of $50,000 to $1 million for projects ending no later than November 30, 2022. Ongoing operating expenses, building construction, land acquisitions plus costs expenses associated with achieving regulatory compliance are ineligible. Project costs already approved for funding by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership will not be considered. Regrettably, this program does not support competitiveness or innovation activities related to growing marijuana. The deadline to submit an application is June 19, 2020.
Program Supports Agricultural and Agri-Food Organizations
The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Youth Employment and Skills program contributes 50% up to $14,000 towards the wages and benefits of a new hire. Eligible employees are Canadian citizens and permanent residents up to 30 years of age who are unemployed, underemployed or students. Positions must be full-time (30+ hours/week), last a minimum of 4 months and provide work experience towards increasing employability in the agriculture/agri-food sector. Applicants that hire youth facing employment barriers (e.g. people living with disabilities, single parents) are eligible to receive an additional $5000 as well as up to 80% of the wages of a new hire.
Funding for the Forest Sector
The Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program offers 30% 4-year interest-free loans towards projects costing $3 million or more. Up to 50% of the loan may be forgiven if project job creation and investment targets are reached. Supported costs include equipment purchases, building retrofits, export marketing, R&D, training and project-related wages. Funding is available for Ontario wood product manufacturers and processors such as pulp & paper mills, saw mills, secondary manufacturers (e.g. furniture, cupboard and stair case makers) and bio-economy projects. Projects are assessed on number of jobs to be created as well as overall benefits to the sector and Ontario. Loan repayment rate is 3% plus Ontario’s cost of borrowing. First deadline to submit a pre-proposal is June 19, 2020.
The CanExport program offers funding of up to 75% to a maximum of $75,000 for developing export markets. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to:
- Market research (e.g. hiring a market consultant –maximum funding $50,000)
- Development of new marketing tools for international markets (e.g. translation of brochures into another language)
- Legal/advisory fees, such as for securing a distribution agreement or IP protection
- Travel to target markets
- Tradeshow attendance and product promotion
Applicant targeted country or sub-national markets must have previously generated less than $100,000 in revenues or no more than 10% of entire sales. The United States is divided into 5 sub-national markets, while China, Brazil and India are divided into 4 sub-national markets. Eligible applicants are Canadian incorporated/limited liability partnership businesses that have less than 500 full time employees and generate $100,000 to $100 million in annual sales revenue. Project expenses must be at least $20,000 to be considered for funding. Applicants can submit one application per government fiscal year (FYE March 31) but must have completed their initial export project prior to re-applying.
$1 million Available for Labour Retention and Attraction as well as Training
The Addressing Labour Supply and Training Challenges program advertises 90% funding towards projects that implement new, enhanced or expanded approaches to attract, train and retain labour in the agri-food and agri-product sectors. Eligible Ontario public and private sector organizations include but not limited to food packaging produces, logistics/transportation operations, equipment manufacturers, veterinarian services, nutraceuticals, etc. as well as agriculture producers and processors. Examples of possible eligible projects are providing in-house technical skills training on specific technologies, outreach activities that connect labour supply with opportunities in the agri-food and agri-products, sector and regional employment events. and creating employee advancement programs. Although individual applications are accepted, preference will be given to multi-partnered projects that have broad sector benefit. Note that the program is not accepting application from aquaculture since the sector already has schools (of fish).
The Agri-Food Open for E-Business program offers two funding Streams to support online market development for Ontario agriculture, agri-food and agri-products businesses/organizations (e.g. farmers, processors, farmers markets, on-farm markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, associations, etc.).
Steam 1: Provides up to 90% funding to a maximum of $5,000 towards establishing an E-business presence for retaining and/or expanding sales through selling directly to customers. Projects must begin no earlier than April 24,2020 and be completed by November 30, 2020
Steam 2: Provides up to 90% funding to a maximum of $75,000 towards projects that create new, expand or enhance e-business capabilities (including marketing and sales platforms for bringing products to customers), and/or towards projects that create and/or expand new markets and revenue streams. Projects must begin no earlier than April 24,2020 and completed by September 30, 2022
Eligible Activities include but not limited to:
- Development, enhancement and expansion of an online marketing/sales platform (e.g. e-commerce capability, website, online ordering, overall web presence)
- Initial or start-up licensing or subscription fees up to six months
- Domain acquisition
- Website design and graphic development
- Marketing (e.g. search engine optimization, web ads, building social media presence)
- Distribution system/model development
- Training key personnel on processes
- Initial development and validation of new operational processes, including creating processes for logistics of delivery through new marketing channels, shipping, delivery, fulfillment, warehousing and related transactions
- Minor facility modifications to address social distancing requirements that are directly related to the project (e.g. curb side pickup for online orders)
- Piloting sales practices and systems
- The market development and promotion of new “Ontario-only” branding that compete against another Province’s or Territory’s product.
- Business as usual expenses.
Applicants can apply for both Streams. Preference will be given to projects that have and benefit more than one eligible business.
Please note that obtaining funding will be highly competitive as the total program budget is $2.5 million.