OTTAWA -- Ontario has signed a new bilateral agreement with the federal government that will support strategic, long-term investments that will spur innovation, economic growth and create jobs in Ontario's agri-food sector.
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Jeff Leal, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Lloyd Longfield, MP for Guelph, on behalf of Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, were in Guelph today to make the announcement.
The new Canadian Agricultural Partnership will set a solid foundation for the future of Ontario's agri-food sector by supporting specialized research and projects that foster innovation and growth while preparing the sector for the second half of the 21st century. The agreement also includes funding to help farmers manage risks that threaten the viability of their farm, such as unpredictable weather or market volatility.
These investments help achieve the federal government's goal to create good middle class jobs by helping food processors develop products that reflect changing market tastes and seize new market opportunities.
Supporting Ontario's agri-food sector is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. This plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
The federal and provincial governments are committing an estimated $1.5 billion in the Ontario agri-food sector: $1.1 billion for Business Risk Management funding and $417 million for strategic initiatives funding. With all cost-shared agreements under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, federal, provincial and territorial governments investments are shared on a 60:40 basis and delivered by provinces and territories to ensure programs are tailored to meet regional needs. Ontario is the first Canadian Agricultural Partnership agreement to be finalized.
Programming will be accessible to producers and processors starting April 3rd 2018, ensuring a seamless transition in support as Growing Forward 2 concludes. Application intake windows for cost-share funding assistance will open in April and additional information and program details will be made available once finalized.
Ontario will continue to work with key partners such as the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the Agricultural Adaptation Council, to ensure that programs are delivered effectively. Ontario’s agri-food and agri-products sectors support more than 800,000 jobs and contribute more than $37 billion towards the province’s Gross Domestic Product.
Ontario is home to Canada’s largest food processing sector, supporting more than 94,000 jobs across the province.
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SOURCE Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
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