Growing Forward 2 Ontario Business Grants & Loans – Processors – Capacity Building – FAQ

Wheat grainsGrowing Forward 2 is a program jointly funded by the Canadian federal and Ontario provincial government to support the growth and development of agriculture and agriculture industries in Canada and Ontario.

Question: What Ontario Business Grants and Loans Programs are offered by Growing Forward 2?

Answer: Growing Forward 2 offers the following programs through the federal government: AgriInnovation Program and Agri-Marketing Program.  At the Provincial level in Ontario, there are two streams of funding: Capacity Building and Project Implementation. These streams of Ontario government funding are open to Producers, Processors and Organizations and Collaborations.

Question:For Processors in Ontario, Who is Eligible for Government Business Grants through the Growing Forward 2 Program?

Answer: Existing and new processors are eligible for Ontario business grants and loans from the Growing Forward 2 program. Existing processors are eligible if they are working in the processing, modification, and/or transformation of agricultural commodities, food, beverage or agricultural based bio-products in Ontario, have filed business or farm income taxes in the last year and have a Premises Identification number. New processors are considered eligible if they can forecast business earnings of $30,000 or more, have not been in the processing business in the prior 2 years and have filed personal income taxes (not business or farm taxes).

Question: For Processors in Ontario, What Types of Projects are Eligible for the Capacity Building Stream?

Answer: Projects eligible for funding are: Strategic Planning, Audits and Assessments, and Training, Education and Skills Development.

6 focus areas of Growing Forward 2 Ontario Business Grants and Loans Program:

  1. Environment and Climate Change
  2. Plant and Animal Health
  3. Market Development
  4. Assurance Systems (Food Safety, Traceability, Animal Welfare)
  5. Labour Productivity Enhancement
  6. Business and Leadership Development

Question: What are Some Examples of Projects Eligible for Ontario Government Funding?

Answer: For the focus area of Environment and Climate Change:

  • Sustainability Courses
  • Energy Use Assessment
  • Development of a sustainability plan

Growing Forward 2 focus area of Animal and Plant Health:

  • Seminars or workshops on animal disease identification and health status
  • Assessment of biosecurity risks
  • Development of an Emergency Response Plan for serious livestock disease outbreaks

Growing Forward 2 focus area of Market Development:

  • Participating in ‘how to export’ programs offered by local economic development associations
  • Retaining advisory services to assist in developing an export marketing plan to bring products to a new export market
  • Gathering market assessment data to evaluate future opportunities within a sector
  • Undertaking targeted market research and marketing analysis to develop a new product

Growing Forward 2 focus area of Assurance Systems:

  • Food safety training courses based on priority topics or national or international food safety programs
  • An on-site assessment conducted by a licensed sanitation or pest control company or qualified auditor of a national/international food safety program based on priority topics
  • First time food safety audits for national/international programs
  • Traceability courses enabling processors to comply with regulations, meet market requirements and gain operational benefits
  • Completion of business assessment or business analysis for traceability
  • Completion of an action plan to meet business goals in traceability
  • Training staff on humane animal handling methods
  • Assessment of animal welfare practices to meet consumer or trade requirements

Growing Forward 2 focus area of Labour Productivity Enhancement:

  • Retaining advisory services to perform an automation and technology assessment to identify potential process improvements, provide technology and automation investment options and develop performance benchmarking metrics
  • Retaining human resources expertise to develop a Workforce Stability Plan
  • Lean manufacturing process improvement courses (awareness/knowledge building to support understanding of key productivity concerns)

Growing Forward 2 focus area of Business and Leadership Development:

  • Participation in a course designed for executives supporting business and leadership skills development
  • Business assessment and performance benchmarking to provide information on current status, measure success and justify Best Management Practice (BMP) adoption
  • Support for business planning, such as advisory services to develop a feasibility plan

Question: What Expenses Are Eligible for Ontario Government Grants Support Under the Capacity Building Stream?

Answer: Costs that are eligible for reimbursement must be associated specifically with the project and include:  the costs of goods, services, supplies, and all related shipping or transportation costs; labour costs such as contract salaries, benefits, and specific per diem fees (this is not applicable for staff of the applicant); costs for rental of facilities; and costs of communication materials including design, printing, translation, etc.

Question: What Expenses are not eligible for Ontario Business Grants Support under the Capacity Building Stream?

Answer: The following expenses are not eligible:

  • Normal operating costs
  • Normal costs of establishing a commercial operation
  • Minor assets and capital items (including computer equipment)
  • Purchase or lease of land
  • Refundable portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)
  • Travel, meal and hospitality expenditures
  • Financing charges and loan interest payments
  • Legal fees
  • Gifts and incentives

Question: What Amount of Funding is Available through Growing Forward 2 Ontario Government Grants and Loans?

Answer: Ontario government funding is available on a cost-sharing basis (non-repayable grant) of up 50% of the project costs.

Question: Is There a Maximum Amount of Funding for Small Business Available?

Answer: The maximum amount of government funding for business available to a processor under the Growing Forward 2 Program is $350,000 over the 5-year term of the program. This includes funding from both the Capacity Building Stream and the Project Implementation Stream.

Question: Is There a Limit on the Number of Projects that a Processor can do under the Capacity Building Stream?

Answer: There is no limit to the number of projects a processor can apply for and complete under this funding. In addition, a processor may apply for and be actively engaged in more than one project at the same time. The only limit is the total amount of funding available under the program.

Question: When Are Applications Accepted for this Government Funding for Business?

Answer: Applications are being accepted now, on an on-going basis.

Question: When Must Ontario Business Grants & Loans Supported Projects be Completed?

Answer: Projects must be completed within 18 months of the approved project start date.

Question: How do I apply for Ontario Small Business Grants and Loans Funding?

Answer: Contact a Mentor Works Canadian government funding expert to finding out more.

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  1. Hello Tracy,
    Thank you for your interest ~I see that you have been following Growing Forward 2 developments closely as well! I have responded to your query by email. Looking forward to getting in touch with you.

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