$417 Million Ontario Growing Forward 2 Funding Program Feeds Innovation, Competitiveness and Market Development

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL--(Marketwired - Jun 25, 2013) - SIAL Brazil 2013 -- The Ontario Food Cluster -- the largest food and beverage processing jurisdiction in Canada and among the three largest in North America -- is inviting global food processing companies to invest and expand in Canada's largest province. Processors located in Ontario may access the comprehensive new Growing Forward 2 program, backed by $417 million in federal and provincial funding that encourages innovation, collaboration and market driven outcomes by focusing on increased profits, expanded markets, and managing risks.

"The food processing industry is a priority for the Province of Ontario," said Gerald Pisarzowski, Vice President, Business Development, Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance and Ontario Food Cluster member. "In addition to several targeted tax incentives, Growing Forward 2 gives us a valuable toolset to help attract international, expanding agri-food companies that want to take advantage of Ontario's excellent proximity to 450 million affluent food consumers through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Companies that locate and invest in Ontario can qualify for the Growing Forward 2 program."

For new and existing companies operating in Ontario involved in processing, modifying or transforming agriculture commodities, food, beverage, or agricultural based bio-products, funding assistance is available for:

  • Business and Leadership Development
  • Labour Productivity Enhancements
  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Market Development
  • Animal and Plant Health
  • Assurance Systems (e.g. food safety, traceability, animal welfare)

In the areas of skills development, training, planning, audit and assessments, new or existing Ontario-based food processing companies can also take advantage of funding for:

  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Leadership development
  • Labour productivity
  • Sustainability awareness (wastewater, energy)
  • Marketing plans
  • Succession Planning
  • Food safety planning and assessments

Innovation organizations across the province are also ready to work with Ontario-based agri-food processing companies on applied research and commercialization activities. Two such organizations are the Value Chain Management Centre and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. 

The Value Chain Management Centre (www.valuechains.ca) is Canada's only organization dedicated to improving the profitability and competitiveness of agri-food businesses through promoting and enabling the development of closely aligned value chains. The Centre focuses on issues like food traceability, food waste reduction, and organizational innovation.

The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (www.vinelandresearch.com) is a world-class research centre dedicated to horticultural science and innovation in areas including applied genomics, horticultural production systems, robotics and automation. Located in Canada's Niagara Region, Vineland's mission is to deliver innovative products and production solutions that address the needs of the horticulture industry and advance Canada's research and commercialization agenda.

Food and beverage processing in Ontario is expected to grow to a $40 billion industry by end of 2013, and the agriculture and agri-food sector is the province's number one employer.

Information on funding programs and several targeted tax incentive programs are online at www.ontariofoodcluster.com/incentives.

About the Ontario Food Cluster

The Ontario Food Cluster builds international trade and investment opportunities for its expanding 3,200-company agri-food and beverage sector. Food and beverage processing in the province is expected to grow to a $40 billion industry by end of 2013, and the agriculture and agri-food sector is Ontario's number one employer. Ontario food exports total $9.91 billion, with 130,000 people working directly in agri-food processing/manufacturing and wholesaling, and another 483,000 in related sectors such as food service, retail and specialty stores. The Ontario Food Cluster cities and regions include City of Brantford, City of Hamilton, City of London, County of Elgin, County of Middlesex, Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance, Guelph, Niagara Region, Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance, Waterloo Region and Windsor-Essex. The Cluster also partners with Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. www.ontariofoodcluster.com for more information.

Contact Information:

Ontario Food Cluster Contacts

Gerald Pisarzowski
Vice President, Business Development
Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance
Phone: +1 416-843-8692

Jill McCubbin
market2world communications inc.
Phone: +1 613-256-3939