TORONTO — The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $7 million to quickly increase production and efficiency in meat processing plants across the province. This initiative will help to address supply chain disruptions through the purchase and installation of equipment, such as coolers and freezers, and their associated costs.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), 74 projects are receiving cost-share funding to purchase or upgrade equipment that will improve production and safety measures in free-standing meat plants and abattoirs in Ontario. The program is focused on measures that could quickly increase processing capacity as the industry deals with a shortage of processing capacity, partly related to COVID slowdowns.
“Investing in strategic upgrades across the meat processing sector will help strengthen Ontario’s capacity to continue to produce safe, high quality food,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.” This funding will support a stable meat supply and keep high-quality and affordable Canadian meat products on our grocery store shelves and kitchen tables.”
“COVID made it more difficult for our farmers to find the processing capacity that they needed; these investments are part of our rapid response to help both our farmers and our processing industry to succeed in these challenging times,” said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, provincial Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Today’s announcement is the latest step our government is taking to support the sector to improve productivity and food safety to help keep Ontario’s food supply system strong.”
The $7 million funding is part of both governments’ investments to assist Ontario’s agri-food sector in meeting challenges related to COVID-19. Due to high demand, an additional $3.2 million was added to the original $4 million allocation to fund eligible applications. Some examples of the projects supported through this Initiative include:
- Purchase and installation of machinery including temperature sensors, bench scales, waterproof industrial screen and labeling that will increase overall productivity.
- Converting a regular freezer into a blast freezer that will increase productivity and food safety by allowing the freezing of product at a faster rate than a traditional freezer.
- Purchase and installation of vacuum packaging equipment that will increase the efficiency and speed of processing meat.
“Ontario’s meat processors have made significant investments to maintain production capacity and keep their employees safe throughout the pandemic,” said Carol Goriup, President of Meat and Poultry Ontario. “This funding will help us make further improvements to ensure a stable food supply for our province beyond the pandemic, providing farmers with market access and will connect Ontario consumers with local food. We thank the Government of Ontario for supporting the sector at this crucial time.”
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to approximately 4,400 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.