Agri-Food Open for E-Business - Targeted Intake


The Agri-Food Open for E-Business Targeted Intake has been well received. Due to high demand, the intake has been paused while applications that have already been submitted as of May 25, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. are reviewed and funding decisions are made. If funding is still available following the review of the remaining applications, the ministry will re-open this targeted application intake.


Table of Contents

  1. The Canadian Agricultural Partnership
  2. Agri-Food Open for E-Business - Targeted Intake
  3. Terms and Conditions
  4. Definitions
  5. Application Declaration
  6. Questions and Answers

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) is a five-year federal- provincial-territorial initiative to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri- products sectors, and increase their competitiveness, prosperity and sustainability.

Agri-Food Open for E-Business - Targeted Intake

A programming initiative under the Partnership

Overview

The Governments of Canada and Ontario are supporting the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors to capture online e-business opportunities that will help create new, expanded or enhanced markets and open new retail channels to help generate new revenue streams for future growth.

The Agri-Food Open for E-Business targeted intake will help businesses/organizations quickly expand their marketing channels and respond to new market challenges, increase online sales in the sector and provide consumers with access to more local food.

This targeted application intake features two funding streams:

  1. Bring Your Business Online: Provides a grant of up to $5,000 to eligible organizations/businesses to help establish an online presence.
  2. Develop Online Business Opportunities: Provides cost-share funding for up to 90 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 to develop e-business opportunities on a larger scale.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

In order to be eligible an applicant must:

  • be involved in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors;
  • be in compliance with all Requirements of Law and agree to remain in compliance with all Requirements of Law for the duration of the project;
  • be a legal entity capable of entering into an agreement with the Province of Ontario;
  • provide a Canada Revenue Agency Business Number as part of the application process; and
  • be engaged in the project and be contributing cash towards the project.

In order to apply, the applicant must agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions of the Partnership Agri-Food Open for E-Business Targeted Intake and have the authorized signing officer of the applicant sign and date the application form, including agreeing to the terms and conditions outlined in the Application Declaration (see respective section below).

Stream 1: Bring Your Business Online

Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions.

Target Audience

Eligible agriculture, agri-food and agri-products businesses/organizations (such as farmers, processors, individual farmers markets, on-farm markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries and agricultural associations) that are looking to bring their business online quickly can apply to receive a grant of up to $5,000 in order to capture business opportunities and address marketing challenges through a new, expanded or enhanced online e-business and marketing presence. 

Stream 1 Priorities
  • Agri-food and agri-products businesses develop market channels to retain and/or expand sales with primary objective of bringing products to customers.
Eligible Activities

Costs Incurred on or after April 24, 2020 for the following:

  • Development, enhancement and expansion of an online marketing/sales platform (e.g. e-business capability, website, online ordering, overall online presence)
  • Initial or start-up licensing or subscription fees up to six months
  • Domain acquisition
  • Website design and graphic development
  • Marketing (e.g. Search Engine Optimization, web ads, building social media presence)
  • Distribution system/model development
  • Training key personnel on processes
  • Initial development and validation of new operational processes, including creating processes for logistics of delivery through new marketing channels, shipping, delivery, fulfillment, warehousing and related transactions   
  • Piloting sales practices and systems
  • Minor facility modifications to address social distancing requirements that are directly related to the project (e.g. curb side pickup for online orders)
Ineligible Activities
How is an application assessed?

All applications from eligible applicants are evaluated based only on the information submitted and will not be considered if they are incomplete. Complete applications will be assessed as they are received against set program eligibility criteria.

When may projects start and finish?
  • A project cannot start prior to the application intake launch date of April 24, 2020.
  • Eligible costs can only be Incurred, invoiced and paid for on or after this date. All costs must be supported by documentation (e.g. proof of payment).
  • Projects under Stream 1 must be implemented and completed no later than November 30, 2020, and according to the terms and conditions outlined in the application form and the program guidelines.
  • Projects that are fully completed at the time the application is submitted are not eligible.

Stream 2: Develop Online Business Opportunities

Eligible organizations/businesses either independently or in partnership can apply for up to $75,000 in cost-share funding to develop and implement high-impact online e-business opportunities on a larger scale.

Target Audience

Eligible agriculture, agri-food and agri-products businesses/organizations (such as farmers, processers, individual farmers markets, on-farm markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries and agricultural associations) can apply, either independently or in partnership, to implement high-impact projects.

Stream 2 Priorities
  • Projects that create new, expand or enhance e-business capabilities, which includes marketing and sales platforms with the primary objective of bringing products to customers.
  • Projects that create and/or expand new markets and revenue streams.
  • Projects with results that meet broader business needs that are impactful across the sector (i.e. an online e-business platform for multiple sector businesses).
  • Projects that involve partnerships and/or broader industry support are preferred.
What cost-share funding is available?
  • Funding is available for up to 90 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 per project. Funding requests for less than 90 per cent of eligible costs are preferred.
  • Suggested minimum project size under this stream is at least $15,000.
Eligible Activities

Costs Incurred on or after April 24, 2020 for the following:

  • Development, enhancement and expansion of an online marketing/sales platform (e.g. e-commerce capability, website, online ordering, overall web presence)
  • Initial or start-up licensing or subscription fees up to six months
  • Domain acquisition
  • Website design and graphic development
  • Marketing (e.g. search engine optimization, web ads, building social media presence)
  • Distribution system/model development
  • Training key personnel on processes
  • Initial development and validation of new operational processes, including creating processes for logistics of delivery through new marketing channels, shipping, delivery, fulfillment, warehousing and related transactions
  • Minor facility modifications to address social distancing requirements that are directly related to the project (e.g. curb side pickup for online orders)
  • Piloting sales practices and systems
Ineligible Activities
How is an application assessed?

All applications received are evaluated based only on the information submitted and will not be considered if they do not meet eligibility criteria or if they are incomplete.

Complete applications that meet eligibility criteria are assessed using Merit Assessment Criteria. A merit-based application review process is used to allocate cost-share funds to projects that best meet Merit Assessment Criteria. Only applications that best meet the Merit Assessment Criteria will be approved.

What Merit Assessment Criteria are used to assess the Cost-Share Funding Application?

The Merit Assessment Criteria used to assess cost-share applications are:

Relevance to intended results of the Partnership funding:

  • demonstrated direct alignment and extent to which the Stream 2 Priorities are addressed by the project
  • demonstrated need/benefits/rationale/impact for the project
  • extent to which the project and its activities are new, expanded or enhanced for the applicant/sector(s)

Likelihood of success:

  • demonstrated adequate resources, experience and skills to successfully complete the project
  • demonstrated financial capacity to cash flow project costs
  • demonstration of a well-defined budget, with reasonable project costs that align with the defined eligible/ineligible costs
When may projects start and finish?
  • A project cannot start prior to the application intake launch date of April 24, 2020. Eligible costs can only be Incurred, invoiced and paid for on or after this date. All costs must be supported by documentation (e.g. proof of payment).
  • Projects under Stream 2 must be implemented and completed no later than September 30, 2022, and according to the terms and conditions outlined in the application form and the program guidelines.
  • Projects that are fully completed at the time the application is submitted are not eligible.

Terms and Conditions

Applying for Funding

What types of projects are ineligible?

Projects that are not eligible for funding include those that:

  • Create new Ontario only branding in order to explicitly promote Ontario products over products of another Province or Territory Involve directly influencing or lobbying any level of government
  • Support ongoing operating costs associated with carrying out business
  • Have the sole purpose of coming into or maintaining compliance with Requirements of the Law that pertain to current operations
  • Support activities related to aquaponic food production, aquaculture, seaweed, fish and seafood production and processing (exception: international marketing and traceability activities for fish and seafood)
  • Are located outside of Ontario
  • Organizations that have previously been funded under the Partnership for similar activities or projects
Can I submit more than one application?

Applicants may be approved for one project under each stream of the Agri-Food Open for E-Business Targeted Intake. Applicants cannot submit the same project under both streams of this programming (Bring Your Business Online and Develop Online Business Opportunities). Once a successful applicant receives funding through one of these streams, they are no longer eligible to submit any further projects under that particular stream.

How do I submit an application?

Applicants can submit a completed application using the electronic application form with all supporting documentation by email to agpartnership@ontario.ca.

This form must be filled out using Adobe software, such as Adobe Reader or Adobe Pro. Other PDF reader software, including your internet browser, is not compatible with this form. If you use non-Adobe software, you may be prevented from filling out this form in its entirety, or the content that you enter may not save properly. If you do not already have Adobe software on your computer, you can download a free version here: get.adobe.com/reader. To save and complete the application form:

  1. Save the application form to your computer.
  2. >>>File>>>Save As...[give the file a name]...Save.
  3. Right click on the file and select open with Adobe (if Adobe isn't already your default PDF program)
  4. You can work on completing the application at any time.

The electronic application form for Stream 1 is available here.

The electronic application form for Stream 2 is available here.

The electronic form for additional applicants under Stream 2 on the project is available here.

If you submit an application by email, but do not receive an acknowledgement within three business days, contact OMAFRA at: 1-877-424-1300.

How will I be notified of funding decisions?

The applicant will be notified by email once an application has been reviewed and a decision has been made. There are two possible outcomes:

  • Application is approved - the applicant will receive a notification of approval with details (e.g. value of approved funding)
  • Application is declined - the applicant will receive a brief explanation for the decision.

Claiming Funding for Approved Projects

When is funding paid?

Approved funding is paid after the successful applicant has Incurred and paid for expenses and has submitted a Claim package that meets all requirements and has been approved by OMAFRA.

Each eligible expenditure is reimbursed based on the funding parameters of the funding stream the applicant was approved under (i.e. Stream 1: Bring Your Business Online or Stream 2: Develop Online Business Opportunities).

There will be a 10 per cent holdback of reimbursement until a Final Report (survey) for the project is received and approved by OMAFRA.

How is a Claim submitted?

Claims should be submitted to OMAFRA no later than the Claim deadline date that will be communicated by OMAFRA depending on the project timelines.

OMAFRA may request any additional information from the applicant that is deemed necessary.

What your Claim package must contain:

  • Completed Claim Form
  • Proofs of payment
  • Copies of all paid invoices

Proof of payment must verify:

  • Who paid
  • Who received payment
  • The amount of payment
  • The date of payment

Proof of payment may be any one of the following:

  • Copy of front and back of cancelled cheque
  • Electronic image of processed cheque
  • Statement from banking institution indicating to whom the processed cheque was written, or electronic payment made, and for what amount
  • Credit card or debit card receipt or statement clearly identifying amount and to whom the payment was made. Credit card or debit card numbers and other information, including costs that are unrelated to the project, should be blacked out
What costs are eligible for funding?

Eligible costs must be specifically required for implementation of the project, and may include the following within any limits given elsewhere in this guide:

  • cost of goods (including supplies), services and all related shipping or transportation costs
  • costs of labour that is specifically dedicated to the project (such as contract salaries, benefits, and specific per diem fees)
  • costs for rental of facilities, equipment or machinery
  • costs of communication materials including design, printing, translation
  • travel and meal expenses (see section: What travel and meal expenses are eligible for funding?)

When incurring eligible costs, applicants must follow a process that is transparent, fair and promotes the best value for the money.

All suppliers from which goods or services are purchased must be at Arm's Length from the applicants, meaning not related to the applicants, not affiliated with the applicants, or controlled in any way by the applicants. If you have any questions about whether a supplier meets this requirement, please contact OMAFRA at: 1-877-424-1300 or by email at: agpartnership@ontario.ca.

What travel and meal expenses are eligible for funding?

In order to be eligible, travel and meal costs must be identified and approved as such in the application for an approved project.

Eligible funding for travel expenses for an approved project may be claimed when the most economical transportation and accommodation (i.e., single accommodation in a standard room) is chosen.

The maximum eligible costs for personal vehicles driven within Ontario are:

Number of Kilometres Southern Ontario ($/km) Northern Ontario ($/km)
0-4,000 km 0.40 0.41
4,001-10,700 km 0.35 0.36
10,701-24,000 km 0.29 0.30
More than 24,000 km 0.24 0.25

Reimbursement for meal expenses is subject to the maximum eligible cost value set out in the table below. Original, itemized receipts are required, and the eligible cost value will not exceed the actual amount spent. Taxes and gratuities are included in the maximum eligible cost value.

Reimbursement is for restaurant/prepared food only and not available for alcohol purchases.

Maximum eligible costs for meals:

Meal Type Maximum eligible costs
Breakfast $10.00
Lunch $12.50
Dinner $22.50
What costs are not eligible for funding?

Ineligible costs include but are not limited to costs identified below:

  • In-kind costs
  • Costs Incurred before April 24, 2020 or after the project completion date agreed upon between the applicant and the Province of Ontario
  • Costs Incurred in preparing an application
  • Any cost not specifically required for implementation of the project, and will not be used for a purpose outside of the project
  • Ongoing costs of establishing, expanding or operating a business/organization
  • Normal costs of implementation of a facility expansion
  • Goods or services provided by federal or provincial government departments or agencies
  • Deposits (prepayments) for which goods or services are not yet fully received
  • Costs for training and skills development projects that fulfill any academic requirements towards completion of a diploma or degree
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Sponsorship of conferences and learning events or initiatives
  • Honorariums
  • Membership costs
  • Any travel costs beyond those provided for in this guide
  • Consultant and other contractor expenses for any hospitality (e.g., provision of food or beverages at events), incidentals or food
  • Hospitality (e.g., venue rental, food, beverages, AV, etc.) unless approved by OMAFRA for the project
  • Purchase or lease of land, building or facilities
  • Costs of vehicles, transportation equipment, mobile material handling equipment (powered or unpowered), and construction and agriculture machinery (e.g., farm equipment)
  • Financing charges, loan and lease interest payments, bank fees and charges as well as debt restructuring or fundraising
  • Gifts and incentives
  • Permits and approvals
  • Legal fees
  • Costs related to activities that promote Ontario products explicitly over those of another province or territory
  • Costs related to activities that directly influence or lobby any level of government
  • Costs of basic research
  • Taxes, including Harmonized Sales Tax
  • Any refund or rebate the applicant receives or is eligible to receive
Can I stack cost-share funding for the same project?

Applicants may access other government funding as long as those other programs also allow stacking. The maximum level of total assistance provided from all sources is 100 per cent of the total eligible costs. All funding for a project, including from additional sources, must be listed on the application.

Definitions

Approval Letter: A letter, sent by email from OMAFRA, that is a notification of a conditional approval and stipulates the amount of approved funding. For the Bring Your Business Online stream, the approval letter also includes the legal terms and conditions the applicant must follow to receive project funding. Successful applicants will be required to acknowledge terms and conditions by signing and returning the approval letter to OMAFRA.

Arm's Length: An entity is considered Arm's Length if they are not related, not affiliated persons, or otherwise controlled by another member or members. Refer to Section 251 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) for the detailed statutory provision for determining Arm's Length relationships. If you have any questions about whether a supplier meets this requirement, please contact OMAFRA at: 1-877-424-1300.

Capital Costs: Include costs of machinery, equipment, software development/purchase and installation; renovations; site improvements; leasehold improvements; building improvements and construction.

Claim: A report submitted by the recipient to the Province of Ontario to provide the Province of Ontario with information on which to base a reimbursement payment. Claims must meet all of the requirements agreed to between the Province of Ontario and the successful applicant for the project.

Contribution Agreement: A legal agreement that applicants under the Develop Online Business Opportunities stream must enter into with the Province of Ontario if the project is approved. The legal agreement contains the terms and conditions that the successful applicant must follow to receive cost-share funding.

Incurred (Cost): A cost for which a business has become liable to pay.

Merit Assessment Criteria: Criteria used to establish the level of merit for cost-share funding of each eligible application.

Requirements of Law: All applicable Requirements of Law, as may be set out in statutes, regulations, by-laws, codes, rules, ordinances, official plans, approvals, permits, licenses, authorizations, decrees, injunctions, orders and declarations, or any other similar Requirement of Law.

Streams: Funding is made available under specific streams that have their own parameters, criteria, and terms and conditions.

Application Declaration

In order to apply, the applicant must agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership ("the Partnership") Agri-food Open for E-business Targeted Intake.

The applicant must be a legal entity that is eligible under the Partnership Agri-food Open for E-business Targeted Intake. The individual who signs the application form must be a person who is authorized by the legal entity to sign the form on behalf of the legal entity and to bind the legal entity to the contents therein. The legal entity is referred to as the applicant below. This person is referred to as "you" below.

You must certify on the application that:

  • You have read, understand, and agree to abide by all requirements of the Partnership Agri-food Open for E-business Targeted Intake.
  • All information submitted on the application is true and complete, to the best of your knowledge, belief and understanding.
  • All sources of funding for the proposed project, other than the applicant's, have been disclosed in this application, including sources and amounts from federal, provincial and municipal governments, and such funds do not, and will, not exceed 100 per cent of total project costs.
  • The applicant does not currently owe any money to Ontario, or you have attached a description of the applicant's debt to Ontario to this application.
  • You are not, nor is any officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) a current or former federal public office holder or federal public servant, or, if you, or any officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) are a current or former federal public officer holder or federal public servant, you or that officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) are in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-employment, as applicable.
  • You are not, nor is any officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any), a member of the House of Commons or of the Senate, or if you, or any officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) are, you or the officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) are permitted under the Parliament of Canada Act to receive funding from Canada under the Partnership.

You must further certify on the Application, that the applicant:

  • Shall retain all records relating to any payments made to the applicant under the Partnership including, all invoices and proof of payment for at least seven (7) years from the date on which payment was received by the applicant.
  • Shall consent to Ontario, Ontario's program administrator (if any) or Canada publishing information about the project/activities funded including the amount of funding the applicant has been approved to receive and/or has received under the Partnership, the nature and results of any project/activities funded, along with the applicant's name.

You must further acknowledge and accept that:

  • The Partnership is a discretionary, non-entitlement program and the applicant is not entitled to funding merely as a consequence of submitting an application. Payment is subject to Ontario receiving all the necessary appropriations from the Ontario Legislature, Ontario receiving all the necessary monies from Canada, the applicant and the applicant's project (including all activities) satisfying eligibility criteria, eligible expenses criteria, as well as the applicant's compliance with all terms and conditions of the Partnership.
  • If it is determined the applicant has received a payment the applicant was not eligible to receive, through administrative error or otherwise, the applicant will repay any and all payments that the applicant was not eligible to receive as well as any surplus funding.
  • Any payments made to the applicant may be subject to recovery or offset against the applicant's pre-existing debts to the Crown in Right of Ontario or Canada.
  • Ontario, Ontario's program administrator (if any) or, Canada, including, their respective Ministers, directors, officers, agents, employees or representatives (as applicable) shall not be liable for any damage or loss whatsoever, or howsoever arising, including, damage or loss arising from any advice, opinions, representations, warranties or the provision of information under the Partnership.
  • The information provided for the Partnership may be disclosed by Ontario or Ontario's program administrator (if any) on behalf of Ontario to verify compliance with other provincial and federal funding initiatives administered by Ontario or another program administrator on behalf of Ontario or by Ontario in order to confirm the information provided, to verify eligibility and to ensure there is no duplication of funding.
  • The information provided to the Partnership may, with the exception of the Social Insurance Number of recipients of funding who are sole proprietors or unincorporated entities, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario), the Access to Information Act (Canada) or Privacy Act (Canada).

You must consent to the following on behalf of the applicant:

  • To provide accurate, timely and full information, including supporting documentation, to Ontario or Ontario's program administrator (if any) and will notify Ontario or Ontario's program administrator (if any) immediately in the event there are any changes to information provided.
  • To provide Canada, Ontario and Ontario's program administrator (if any), as well as their authorized representatives, with any information or access to a person, place or thing within ten (10) business days of any request, field verification or audit.
  • To comply with onsite field inspections and/or audits by Ontario or Ontario program administrator (if any) upon notice, and during normal business hours, to verify eligibility, and to evaluate compliance with the requirements of the Partnership.
  • To comply with reviews by Ontario of information related to other programs and initiatives delivered by, or for, Ontario in which the applicant is enrolled or has applied.
  • The use of the applicant's name and contact information by Ontario, Ontario's program administrator (if any) and/ or Canada to contact the applicant for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the Partnership programming, or for any other similar purpose.

In the event of a conflict between anything set out in Guidebooks, Guidelines and the Minister's Order, the Minister's Order will prevail.

Errors and Omissions Excepted.

Questions and Answers

Who is eligible to apply?

A: To be eligible to apply, applicant's must:

  • be involved in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors;
  • be in compliance with all Requirements of Law and agree to remain in compliance with all Requirements of Law for the duration of the project;
  • be a legal entity capable of entering into an agreement with the Province of Ontario;
  • provide a Canada Revenue Agency Business Number as part of the application process; and
  • be engaged in the project and be contributing cash towards the project.

Applicants should carefully review the program guidelines and eligibility criteria before submitting an application.

Q: Are Brand Owners eligible to apply?

A: Owners of an established brand or intellectual property, who are located in Ontario, and who have an agreement or arrangement for the transformation of their product(s) may apply if:

  • They are actively engaged in the transformation of agricultural commodities (food, beverages or agri-based bioproducts) in Ontario;
  • Are currently selling; and
  • Project aligns with the established Project Stream Priorities.

Q: Are Municipalities eligible to apply:

A: Municipalities are not-for-profit organizations and are eligible to apply; however, the project must focus on supporting the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors and established Project Stream Priorities.

Q: Who is not eligible to apply?

A: Businesses not involved in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors, as well as restaurants and food services, including catering service.

Q: Can I submit project costs that I incurred before the Agri-Food Open for E-Business Targeted Intake announcement date of April 24, 2020?

A: No. Only costs incurred, invoiced and paid for on or after April 24, 2020 are eligible. All costs must be supported by documentation (e.g. proof of payment).

Q: Can I submit a project that is already completed?

A: A project cannot start prior to the application intake launch date of April 24, 2020. Projects that are fully completed at the time the application is submitted are not eligible.

Q. What approvals or requirements are necessary for communications products related to my project?

A. Most projects will not have any special approvals or requirements. Core project activities (e-Business and marketing activities) that involve creating products central to project implementation (such as but not limited to a new online store front, mobile application or e-flyer to promote agri-food products) are not considered Communications Products under this agreement and are not subject to additional requirements.

Additional requirements will apply should you wish to undertake communication activities that are incidental to the project that speak to the undertaking of the project itself and/or reference the source of funding for the project. These activity types, such as news releases and news conferences, communiqués, backgrounders, will require approval from Ontario and Canada and are be subject to branding requirements of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca