BLYTH—As pandemic pressures wear on, Ontario abattoirs and slaughter plants can apply for public grants of up to $150,000 each to expand processing capacity, starting Nov. 19.
Up to $7-million is up for grabs, the combined pledge of the governments of Canada and Ontario to the second intake of the Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative. It’s a follow-up to $7.2 million pumped into the program’s debut round last year, which was fully subscribed and “speaks to its critical value to the livestock processing sector,” noted Rob Lipsett, President of Beef Farmers of Ontario.
Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said the money would help address “extraordinary processing capacity challenges” faced by the industry to “continue producing the safe and healthy food millions of Ontarians rely on each and every day.”
With dollars flowing through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the initiative offers funding for eligible free-standing abattoirs to improve efficiency and productivity through short-term investments in equipment. Eligible project costs can be incurred as of November 12, 2021. Equipment must be delivered by March 21 next year and installed by June 30.
The grants will further position Ontario meat processors “to compete at home and in global markets through new productivity-boosting technologies,” federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau remarked.
“The pandemic has highlighted some of the vulnerabilities in our sector, including the need to increase processing capacity,” observed Carol Goriup, President of Meat & Poultry Ontario. “This funding demonstrates our governments’ commitment to providing solutions that will help move the industry forward. We thank the federal and provincial governments for their continued partnership and this crucial funding that will help our sector invest in solutions that will benefit both processors and consumers.”
The federal and provincial governments have committed over $100 million in cost-share support to more than 5,000 projects since June 2018, through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.