Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Ontario government funding program was created to support food processors, producers, and organizations/collaborations across the province. These Ontario government grants seek to encourage innovation, tackle key industry issues, increase market access, and grow the profits of Ontario food businesses to ensure a sustainable future. Through the Processors stream of GF2 Ontario, 35-50% of eligible project costs (to a maximum contribution of $350,000) will be provided to Ontario businesses that can demonstrate an ability to improve six focus areas, as defined by the Ministry.
The next intake period for GF2 Ontario Processors will be held between March 4, 2016 and March 24, 2016 and application submissions will only be accepted during that time. Get your questions answered here.
Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Ontario Small Business Grants: Project Focus Areas
OMAFRA has identified a variety of project themes that are important for Ontario agriculture’s continued success. They include:
- Plant and animal health;
- Market development;
- Leadership and business development;
- Environment and climate change adaptation;
- Assurance systems; and
- Productivity and labour enhancement.
Food & Beverage Processor Eligibility for GF2 Ontario Government Grants
Under the “Processors” stream of Growing Forward 2 Ontario, there are specific types of food processors eligible or ineligible to receive funding. Please ensure your business is eligible prior to proceeding with applications.
Agri Processors Eligible for Growing Forward 2 Ontario Small Business Grants
Food processors may be deemed eligible for the GF2 Ontario funding program if they:
- Constitute a legal entity;
- Are in compliance with Canadian and Ontario provincial laws;
- Manufacture food, beverages, agricultural commodities, or agri-based bioproducts in Ontario (including health/nutrition supplements, pet foods, and tobacco-based pharmaceuticals);
- Have a current, valid Premises Identification Number;
- File business/farm taxes with the Government of Ontario; and
- Have a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) number.
Food & Beverage Processors Ineligible to Receive Ontario Government Funding
Small business grants, provided through Growing Forward 2 Ontario, are unavailable to any entity deemed ineligible by the Minister, including (but not limited to):
- Retail food services;
- Food services and restaurants (including catering businesses);
- Cigarette manufacturers; and
- Food packaging manufacturers.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario: Processors Stream Eligible Expenses
Applicants that are successfully approved into the GF2 Ontario stream for food processors must ensure that their project expenses are eligible in order to receive the full value of Ontario government grants.
Eligible Growing Forward 2 Ontario Project Expenses
- Costs incurred for land rental, machinery, facilities, communication materials, and travel expenses (including car rentals, parking, etc.);
- Cost of goods, services, and supplies required for project completion;
- Contractors and external labour; and
- Capital expenses including building construction, equipment, infrastructure, and plant upgrades* (maximum of $100,000).
* Applicants must provide a minimum 25% of capital expenses through cash contributions.
Project Expenses Ineligible to Receive Government Business Grants
Ineligible project expenses include (but are not limited to):
- Normal operating costs, those not specifically required for project completion;
- One-time labour, facility rental, or travel costs for audit, assessment, planning, skills development and training projects;
- Training or skills development projects that provide a degree or diploma;
- Coaching and mentoring;
- Sponsorship of events, such as conferences and seminars;
- Purchase or lease of land, facilities, and buildings;
- Financing charges, including loan interest payments and bank fees;
- Legal fees;
- Gifts and incentives;
- Costs related to activities that will hinder the agri-food industry in other provinces/territories; and
- Costs incurred before OMAFRA project approval or after the mutually agreed upon project completion date.
Continue Learning about Growing Forward 2 Ontario for Food Processors
- Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance Awarded $331k in Funding for Agriculture
- Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Invests $180k in 4 Ontario Food Processors
- Canadian Agricultural Partnership Grants for Ontario Food Processors
- Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Invests over $250k in Agri-Food Businesses
- Get Ready for the Canadian Agricultural Partnership