Canadian Agricultural Partnership Ontario Food Processor Funding

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) is a federal-provincial-territorial suite of government funding programs for food producers and processors. While some programs are available to businesses across Canada, others only provide support to specific provinces. These programs provide support to enhance what was previously available through the Growing Forward 2 initiative.

A stream of CAP, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors program, offers Ontario government funding to businesses that modify or manufacture agricultural products. Through the program, food and beverage processors may offset a portion of eligible costs for a wide range of productivity and competitiveness-boosting projects.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors program, companies may receive up to 25% to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $20k-$250k in grant funding per project.

To receive CAP Ontario government funding, businesses must be deemed an eligible food processor and submit a comprehensive application by one of the program’s rolling deadlines. Applications are typically approved within 60 business days; and upon approval, applicants may begin to incur funding-eligible expenses.

Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors Funding

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors stream is one of three government grants provided provincially through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. As the main funding support system offered for Ontario food and beverage manufacturers, it offers significant incentives to companies investing in productivity-boosting products and processes.

As administered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the CAP Ontario program offers cost-sharing assistance to help food and beverage processors reduce the costs and risks of certain technology and innovation-based projects.

Eligible applicants may access up to 25% to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $20,000 to $250,000 in grant funding, depending on the project’s focus.

This stream of CAP funding closely resembles support provided through the Growing Forward 2 Ontario Processors stream. Since the program’s relaunch in April 2018, the program has been enhanced to provide increased support for food and beverage manufacturers.

Project Eligibility for Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors program provides funding based on the type of project proposed by applicants. The total amount of funding a food processor may receive is mainly dependent on the types of projects completed.

Please Note: CAP Ontario supports the application/completion of up to two projects at the same time. Businesses with multiple projects should consider submitting more than one application to optimize their funding potential.

Consider the following project types to explore if your project is eligible and learn how much funding it is eligible to receive:

ERP and SCM System Implementation

  • Amount: Up to 35% of eligible expenses to a maximum $100,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) or supply chain management (SCM) systems.
  • Eligibility: Maximum 200 employees at the facility where projects are completed.

Technology and Equipment to Improve Labour Productivity

  • Amount: Up to 35% of eligible expenses to a maximum $75,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Improving productivity through capital investments, such as technology and production tools.
  • Eligibility: Maximum 200 employees at the facility where projects are completed. Must be new/novel technology and equipment which has been adopted by less than 20% in the sector in Ontario.

Developing New Products or Processes

  • Amount: Up to 25% of eligible expenses to a maximum $250,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Developing, testing, and marketing innovative products or processes.
  • Eligibility: Maximum 200 employees at the facility where projects are completed.

Marketing Products in Canada

  • Amount: Up to 35% of eligible expenses to a maximum $50,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Implementing a business/marketing plan that helps maintain or expand domestic markets.
  • Eligibility: Maximum 200 employees at the facility where projects are completed.

Marketing Products Internationally

  • Amount: Up to 35% of eligible expenses to a maximum $75,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Implementing a business/marketing plan that helps maintain or expand foreign markets.
  • Eligibility: Maximum 200 employees at the facility where projects are completed.

Business Assessments

  • Amount: Up to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $20,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Receiving third-party business assessments.

Business Plans

  • Amount: Up to 35% of eligible expenses to a maximum $20,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Developing an expansion, human resources, business, or risk management plan.

Water Wells

  • Amount: Up to 30% of eligible expenses to a maximum $6,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Sealing/capping old wells, upgrade existing wells, and upgrade a well’s sanitary seal.
  • Eligibility: Must have a completed 4th edition EFP or peer-reviewed 3rd edition EFP.

Marketing Plans

  • Amount: Up to 35% of eligible expenses to a maximum 25,000/project.
  • Project Focus: Receiving third-party assessments or audits of a processor’s marketing plans.
  • Eligibility: Maximum 200 employees at the facility where projects are completed.

CAP Ontario Grants: Business Eligibility

While each project type maintains its own unique applicant eligibility criteria, most streams of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors program requires applicants to:

  • Operate in Ontario;
  • Directly transform agricultural commodities, food, beverage or agri-based bio-products;
  • Maintain a maximum 200 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees at the facility where a project is completed; and
  • Must have vendor quotes to support project costs.

How to Apply for the Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors Program

To apply for the CAP Ontario: Processors program, businesses must develop a comprehensive application and submit it during one of the program’s periodic calls for proposals. Application review takes approximately 60 business days (3 months) from intake deadline. If approved, projects may begin incurring funding-eligible expenses.

The program’s current call for proposals is August 7 to 28, 2018. If applying in this round, anticipate a project start date in November-December.

How are Funding Applications Reviewed?

All applications assessed through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors program are subject to project-specific evaluation criteria, in addition to:

  • Novelty: How distinctive a new product, process, or technology is to North America (should strive for <20% adoption);
  • Benefits: Compared to current products, processes, or technologies, how significant will post-project benefits be?;
  • Risk: Projects should carry a higher level of risk because of the integration of novel technologies;
  • Knowledge Transfer: Other Ontario-based businesses or members of the value chain should be able to benefit from knowledge generated through the project; and
  • Competitiveness: Should help businesses reduce costs and/or increase the value of their products and services, leading to new competitive advantages.

To explore your business’ eligibility for CAP Ontario Processors funding and learn how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.

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Jeff Shepherd holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph. He is passionate about Canadian business, economics, and politics. As Marketing Coordinator for Mentor Works, Jeff educates business leaders about proactive funding strategies.

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