Province Announces New Food and Beverage Growth Fund

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Author: Carolyn

Posted: January 7, 2015

Categories: Food Processing / GoodFoodBites / Policy News

Ontario-logo-prov-squareToday, the province released details on its long anticipated Jobs and Prosperity Fund.  This fund will provide $2.5 billion over the next ten years for projects that enhance productivity and help Ontario companies compete in the global market.

Of particular interest is the new funding stream under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund for food, beverage and bioproduct (e.g. biochemical, bioplastics) manufacturers, the Food and Beverage Growth Fund.   This fund will support large projects (with over $5 million in total eligible costs) that will help to create and retain jobs, strengthen supply chains, increase market access and enhance innovation and productivity.  In the 2014 Budget, the government committed $40 million per year to this new funding program.

Supporting increased investment in productivity and innovation has been identified by Food and Beverage Ontario in their 2013 Food and Beverage Industry Strategy as a key need for the sector – a sentiment that was echoed by participants in Sustain Ontario’s Municipal Regional Food Policy Network at a September 2014 session on food processing.

This is a significant recognition of the importance of the agriculture and food sector to the province’s economy, which contributes $34 billion to Ontario’s Gross Domestic Product and employs over 760,000 people across the province.

Capital investment in Ontario’s food and beverage manufacturing sector has been relatively flat over the past decade, and we have seen an overall decline in the number of food processing plants in the province.  The availability of scale-appropriate processing is key to the long-term viability of Ontario’s local and regional food systems, as they provide markets for local agricultural products, strengthen regional supply chains, and can help to incubate local food entrepreneurs (see the Metcalf Foundation’s report on Nurturing Fruit and Vegetable Processing in Ontario for more insights).

Building local food infrastructure is critical in transforming Ontario’s food systems.  This Food and Beverage Growth Fund is an important step forward in achieving healthy, ecological, equitable and financially viable food systems in Ontario.  It is our hope that this fund will also encourage a diversity of scales and business models and that not only address job growth, but environmental resilience, social good and the health of all Ontarians.  We are excited by this commitment from the Ontario government and hope to see funding that thinks “outside the box” of traditional financing structures and business models.

If you are interested in more information on the Food and Beverage Growth Fund, contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 (TTY 1-855-696-2811) or by email at