CANADA – The government of Canada have availed up to Canadian$ 7 million (US$ 5,592,125) to rapidly increase processing capacity in meat processing plants across the Ontario province and enable continuous production of safe and high-quality meat.

The Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative, through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, will provide up to CA$150,000 (US$ 119831) per project for handling and processing equipment that increase efficiency, productivity and food safety. The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, CA$3-billion (US$ 2396625000) joint funding initiative of the federal and provincial governments to support Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors.

The supplied funds will also cover consulting and engineering costs associated with planning future projects. The application process which opens on 19 November builds on an earlier CA$7.2-million (US$ 5751900) investment.

The Canadian federal and provincial governments have invested more than $100 million (US$ 79887500) in cost-share support to more than 5,000 agricultural projects since June 2018

Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Lisa Thompson, said that Ontario livestock processors have worked tirelessly since the COVID-19 pandemic began to ensure Ontarians had access to fresh, local, and high-quality meat products for their families.

“While the sector continues to face extraordinary processing capacity challenges, our government is stepping up with this important investment to help Ontario meat processors and abattoirs continue producing the safe and healthy food millions of Ontarians rely on each and every day,” she said.

The Initiative will provide funding for eligible free-standing meat plants and abattoirs to implement measures that will improve efficiency and productivity through short-term investments in equipment.

“The pandemic has highlighted some of the vulnerabilities in our sector, including the need to increase processing capacity. This funding demonstrates our governments’ commitment to providing solutions that will help move the industry forward,” says Carol Goriup, President of Meat & Poultry Ontario.

Rob Lipsett, President of Beef Farmers of Ontario welcomed the funding citing that the lack of sufficient processing capacity in Ontario has been a limiting factor to a healthy competitive market for the province’s beef sector. The Chair of Ontario Pork, John de Bruyn, also lauded the funding remarking that lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed that the lack of processing is a bottleneck for the industry and for local food supply.

“We appreciate today’s announcement as another step in facilitating the growth of processing capacity here in Ontario,” he said.

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