Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors

Canadian Agricultural Partnership for Ontario ProcessorsThe 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.

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.

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Program Overview: What is the Canadian Agricultural Partnership for Ontario Processors?

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, it has been enhanced to provide increased support for food and beverage manufacturers.

Applicant Eligibility Criteria

Most streams of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors program require applicants to:

  • Be an established Ontario-based manufacturer; and
  • Be directly involved in transforming agricultural commodities, food, beverage, or agri-based bio-products.
  • Have a valid and up-to-date Premises Identification Number;
  • Have a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number;
  • Maintain a maximum 200 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees at the facility where a project is completed; and
  • Have vendor quotes that demonstrate project costs.

Transformation of agricultural commodities requires (at a minimum) polishing, peeling, cutting, slicing or shredding, where applicable.

This includes, but is not limited to, manufacturers of:

  • Food and beverage products;
  • Tobacco-based pharmaceuticals or other bio-products;
  • Health or nutrition supplements;
  • Ornamentals (flowers, shrubs, sod, etc.); and
  • Pet food products.

Applicants Ineligible for CAP Ontario Processor Grants

Alternately, applicants deemed ineligible for Ontario’s CAP Processor program include:

  • Cigarette manufacturers;
  • Restaurants and food services, including catering services;
  • Companies in the aquaculture sector;
  • Retail food services; and
  • Packaging material manufacturers.

Project Eligibility: CAP Ontario Agri-Food and Beverage Grants

Projects requesting funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors program are generally deemed eligible if they fit into one of the program’s main funding support areas. These include (but are not limited to):

  • ERP implementation;
  • Ingredient and waste monitoring and improvement;
  • Productivity improvements (technology, production tools, etc.);
  • Projects focused on new product development, testing, and marketing costs;
  • Implementation of a business or marketing plan to expand or maintain domestic/international markets; and
  • Development of business assessments, audits, or plans by a third party.

Please Note: For an extended list of project areas supported through CAP for Ontario Processors, please read Mentor Works’ program deadline blog.

Projects Ineligible for CAP Ontario Processor Funding

Alternately, projects that are ineligible for CAP Ontario funding include activities such as:

  • Promoting Ontario products over those of another province or territory;
  • Supporting normal operating costs associated with carrying out a business;
  • Coming into or maintaining legal compliance;
  • Supporting basic research; and
  • Directly influencing or lobbying any level of government.

Canadian Agricultural Partnership Ontario Expense Eligibility

One-time expenses that are necessary to support the completion of project activities are generally deemed eligible for funding support through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors program.

Expenses Ineligible for CAP Ontario Processors Support

Some expenses cannot be covered through CAP funding. These expenses include (but are not limited to):

  • Any recurring expenses or expenses incurred prior to funding approval;
  • Food safety assessments;
  • Product verification assessments;
  • Retail or food service listing fees;
  • Direct supply chain and logistics costs;
  • Ongoing software licensing costs or fees;
  • Travel and meal costs;
  • Ongoing assessments that are a part of standard business practices;
  • Staff and consultant costs;
  • Professional services not directly related to the eligible activity; and
  • Any expenses relating to assessment outcomes, including certification fees, legal fees, licenses, registration fees, and investment or banking charges and fees.

Additional CAP Ontario: Processors Funding Resources

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

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 has a deadline of November 26, 2019. 

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 food manufacturing grants and learn how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.

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Posted: July 12, 2013. Updated: November 8, 2019.