Governments Driving Research and Innovation in Ontario

Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative funding projects that boost production and increase trade opportunities for home grown products

October 12, 2023

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Table of Contents

  1. Content
  2. Quick Facts
  3. Additional Resources
  4. Related Topics

TORONTO – The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $16.5 million through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) to support agri-food research and innovation projects that will help Ontario develop new technologies, practices and solutions for the agri-food sector. These actions will strengthen the sector to be more competitive in global markets.

The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) will provide a multi-year suite of funding opportunities to support research and innovation activities that advance the sector. These funding streams include applied research, pilot and demonstration, knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) and commercialization of products, including a new Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub. Funded projects will align with the agri-food sector’s research priorities to deliver new knowledge, products and practices.

“Innovation is vitally important to strengthening the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in a sustainable way,” said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, federal minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This funding will support applied research and commercialization so Ontario can continue to produce healthy, safe, and high-quality food.”

“Ontario is committed to driving research and innovation that delivers tangible results for our agri-food sector. This is a pillar of our Grow Ontario Strategy,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Through this investment, we are ensuring our farmers, processors and entire value chain have access to Ontario made solutions, tools and best practices that will result in increased yields, reduced costs of production and efficiencies for years to come.”

Ontario applicants with capacity for research and development are encouraged to apply in these upcoming competitive intakes.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will deliver the applied research, pilot and demonstration and KTT funding streams. Bioenterprise Corporation will deliver the commercialization stream. The first application intakes – for three of the streams opens on November 2, 2023.

This initiative is important as research and innovation are critical in bringing new technologies and processes to market and for developing new practices for on-farm solutions. This investment will benefit all of Ontario by bolstering a resilient agri-food sector that continues to produce safe and healthy food, while also increasing trade opportunities for Ontario grown and made food items.

Sustainable CAP is a five-year (2023-2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal‐provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs designed and delivered by the provinces and territories.

Quick Facts

  • The OAFRI applied research, pilot and demonstration and commercialization streams will open on November 2, 2023. More information is available online.
  • The OAFRI research priority areas are: food safety, plant health, animal health and welfare, soil health, water quality and quantity, sustainable production systems, productive land capacity, competitive production systems, innovative products and product improvements, and trade, market and targeted sector growth.
  • Eligible applicants include a university or college, a research organization or foundation, an industry organization or business, a non-governmental organization, or a municipal or Indigenous government or agency of Ontario.
  • Under the applied research and pilot and demonstration steams, the maximum funding per project is up to $200,000, and for the commercialization stream it is up to $150,000.
  • The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario provides strategic advice, advocacy and leadership in Ontario’s agri-food research and research infrastructure such as this initiative.
  • A goal of the Grow Ontario Strategy is to see over 250 patents and licences granted through OMAFRA-funded research by 2030.
  • Supporting continued and targeted investments in science, research and innovation to address key challenges and opportunities in the agri-food sector was among the priorities set for Sustainable CAP by the federal-provincial-territorial agricultural ministers in The Guelph Statement.

Additional Resources

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO)

Bioenterprise Corporation

Grow Ontario Strategy

Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative

OAFRI-supported research projects

Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership

Related Topics

Rural and North

Information about the province’s Far North and rural communities. Get connected to business improvement organizations and learn more about funding and programs that support rural, northern and Indigenous communities. Learn more