Market Access Initiative

A targeted intake to support the agri-food and agri-products sectors impacted by trade restrictions.

Purpose of the Market Access Initiative

The Market Access Initiative is a targeted cost-share intake available to help businesses and organizations across the Ontario supply value-chain that are directly involved in or support the production, processing and/or sales of agri-food or agri-products for domestic or export markets and have been directly impacted by trade restrictions (see definitions).

This targeted intake will focus on a range of trade efforts under the following project categories:

Applying for Cost-share Funding

Who Can Apply?

Applicants across the Ontario supply value chain made up of "for-profit" and "not-for profit" legal entities that are directly involved in or support the production, processing and/or sales of agri-food or agri-products for domestic or export markets and have been directly impacted by trade restrictions.

The applicant must be a legally recognized entity as defined below, who must:

  • 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;
  • provide a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Business Number as part of the Partnership application process, if applicable;
  • be involved in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors, and;
  • be capable of entering into a funding agreement with the Province of Ontario.
Not-For-profit

A legally recognized entity that is:

  • a registered charity, as defined in the Income Tax Act (Canada), and remains in good standing with the CRA; or
  • a corporation incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation or similar entity under an Act of Canada or a province or territory of Canada and is in good standing under that Act; and
  • has operations in Ontario (i.e., located in Ontario) and, where applicable, has;
  • a membership composed primarily of Ontario residents/businesses/organizations.
For-Profit

A legally recognized entity engaged in a business that has:

  • operations in Ontario; and
  • has a valid and up-to-date Premises Identification Number* (Premises ID) for the business location where the project is to take place.

*To register for a Premises ID, visit the Provincial Premises Registry (PPR).

Aquaculture Sector

Under this targeted intake, businesses in the aquaculture sector are not eligible for cost-share funding with the exception of projects in international marketing for fish and seafood products.

What Cost-share is Available?

Funding is available for 75 per cent of eligible costs. Please refer to the project category description for further details on what cost-share dollar amount is available.

Applicants may only apply to one project category in one application. Applicants who have been notified of application decisions may then apply again for funding consideration.

What types of projects are ineligible?

Projects that are not eligible for cost-share funding under the Partnership, include those that:

  • Promote Ontario products explicitly over those of another province or territory and/or include Ontario specific promotional campaigns or branding (including the use of the Foodland Ontario logo);
  • Support normal operating costs associated with carrying out a business;
  • Are for the sole purpose of coming into or maintaining compliance with Requirements of the Law that pertain to current business operations;
  • Involve directly influencing or lobbying any level of government; or
  • Are located outside of Ontario
What costs are eligible for cost-share funding?

Eligible costs are specific to each project category and are listed in the project category description.

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

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

When Do Projects Start and Finish?

The start date for each project is the date OMAFRA approves the project. This date will be communicated in the Approval Letter to the successful applicant.

Projects must start within three (3) months from the date communicated in the Approval Letter and should take no longer than six (6) months from the project start date to complete. If a project requires longer than six (6) months to complete, the applicant must provide a demonstrated rationale in the application for the required completion time.

Eligible costs can only be incurred, invoiced and paid for by the applicant on or after the start date.

Eligible costs must be incurred and invoiced by the project completion date stated in the Contribution Agreement.

How Do I submit an Application?

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

The electronic application form is available here

Application forms should be saved to your computer and filled out using Adobe software, such as Adobe Reader. Applications should not be filled out on an internet browser, as these forms 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.

If you do not receive an acknowledgement of application receipt within two business days, contact OMAFRA at: 1-877-424-1300.

How often can I apply?

Applicants may only have one application under consideration at any given time. Applicants who have been notified of application decisions may then apply again for funding consideration for another project.

How is an application assessed?

Applications will be assessed as they are received, based on the information submitted. Applications that do not meet eligibility criteria or are incomplete, will not be considered. Complete and eligible applications will be assessed using the Merit Assessment Criteria outlined below.

A merit-based application review process will be used to allocate cost-share funds to projects that best meet the Merit Assessment Criteria. Only applications that best meet the Merit Assessment Criteria will be approved for funding.

Merit Assessment Criteria used to assess applications are:

Relevance to intended results of the Market Access Initiative:

  • Demonstrated direct alignment with the applicable project category
  • Project addresses identified challenge/need or opportunity from trade restrictions
    • Applicants must clearly demonstrate the trade restriction challenges, issues and/or opportunities being addressed by the project. This includes quantifying the impacts of those trade restrictions if applicable, e.g. affected sales, forward contracts, market pricing, significant border delays and related costs, etc.

Benefits:

  • Extent to which project results in increased access or expansion to new or existing domestic or export markets (e.g. reduced business/market risks, increased sales etc.)
How will I be notified of cost-share funding decisions?

You will be notified by email once applications have been reviewed and decisions have been made.

There are two possible outcomes:

  • Application is approved - you will receive an Approval Letter with details (e.g., value of cost-share approved, earliest project start date) and be required to enter into a Contribution Agreement with the Province of Ontario and follow all of its terms and conditions. You will also receive confirmation of Claim procedures and submission deadlines, and a final report that must be completed. You will be required to register your business information through the Province of Ontario's Transfer Payment Common Registration system, an online registration tool.
  • Application is declined - you will receive a brief explanation for the decision.

Project Category Descriptions

Assessment and Planning for Market Development

Purpose of Project Category

Projects will focus on supporting applicants to develop plans and assessments to access new and emerging or expanding domestic or export markets.

Available cost-share
  • 75 per cent cost-share funding of total eligible costs, to a maximum of $20,000 cost-share per project.
Eligible Activities
  • Market analysis, research, and assessment for existing or expanding markets
  • Development of business, marketing, strategic or export plans for developing a new and/or expanding market
  • Investigation of regulatory requirements or standards for new markets
Ineligible Activities and Expenditures
  • Ontario specific promotional campaigns or branding (including the use of Foodland Ontario logo)
  • Product samples for in-store or in-market product demonstrations from normal production
  • Ongoing production of product packaging
  • Commercialization plan for a new product that has never been sold

Accessing Markets and Development of Products or Processes - Domestic

Purpose of Project Category

Projects will focus on supporting applicants to implement marketing plans that focus on sector diversification to help access or expand new or existing domestic markets.

Available cost-share
  • 75 per cent cost-share funding of total eligible costs, to a maximum of $30,000 cost-share per project.
Eligible Activities and Expenditures
  • Implementation of a marketing plan, including (but not limited to):
    • Brand development, focus groups or consumer studies
    • In-store product demonstration
    • Planning, organizing and/or participating in trade shows (beyond normal business) and other marketing events in Canada
    • Sales, marketing and promotional activities
    • Travel and meal expenses related to investigative domestic travel for the purpose of assessing new or emerging markets (see section: What travel and meal expenses are eligible for cost-share funding?)
    • Translator or translation services required for domestic investigative travel for the purpose of assessing new or emerging markets, including trade mission fees.
  • Specially produced product samples (not from normal production) for market research, tradeshow and/or specific events (e.g., lab or pilot plant samples made specifically for marketing purposes)
  • Shipping product samples for tradeshows and not intended for re-sale
  • Labeling and packaging development and production for a trial run, excluding the cost of the normal production run of the packaging
  • One-time testing of products to meet established standards, certifications or market requirements, including analytical and quality testing
  • Understanding the logistics of delivery to new markets, including, but not limited to, components such as freight costs, feasibility, travel time, transportation modes, etc.
Ineligible Activities and Expenditures
  • Ontario specific promotional campaigns or branding (including the use of Foodland Ontario logo)
  • Product samples for in-store or in-market product demonstration from normal production
  • Ongoing production of product packaging
  • Legal costs associated with the creation of a new entity
Required Documentation
  • Applicants must have a plan for market development to demonstrate the project has a high likelihood of success in accessing or expanding the domestic market.
  • Please Note: For applicants undertaking initiatives as part of pre-vetted or invitational events such as trade missions, existing materials for such events would satisfy this requirement.

Accessing Markets and Development of Products or Processes - International

Purpose of Project Category

Projects will focus on supporting applicants to implement marketing plans that focus on sector diversification to help access or expand new or existing export markets.

Available cost-share
  • 75 per cent cost-share funding of total eligible costs, to a maximum of $30,000 cost-share per project.
Eligible Activities and Expenditures
  • Implementation of a marketing plan, including (but not limited to):
    • Brand development, focus groups or consumer studies
    • In-store product demonstration
    • Planning, organizing and/or participating in trade shows (beyond normal business) and other marketing events abroad
    • Sales, marketing and promotional activities
    • Travel and meal expenses related to investigative international travel for the purpose of assessing new or emerging markets (see section: What travel and meal expenses are eligible for cost-share funding?)
    • Translator or translation services required for international investigative travel for the purpose of assessing new or emerging markets, including trade mission fees.
  • Specially produced product samples (not from normal production) for market research, tradeshow and/or specific events (e.g., lab or pilot plant samples made specifically for marketing purposes)
  • Shipping product samples for tradeshows and not intended for re-sale
  • Labeling and packaging development and production for a trial run, excluding the cost of the normal production run of the packaging
  • One-time testing of products to meet established standards, certifications or market requirements, including analytical and quality testing
  • Understanding the logistics of delivery to new markets, including, but not limited to, components such as freight costs, feasibility, travel time, transportation modes, etc.
Ineligible Activities and Expenditures
  • Ontario specific promotional campaigns or branding (including the use of Foodland Ontario logo)
  • Product samples for in-store or in-market product demonstration from normal production
  • Ongoing production of product packaging
  • Legal costs associated with the creation of a new entity
Required Documentation
  • Applicants must have a plan for market development to demonstrate the project has a high likelihood of success in accessing or expanding the export market.
  • Please Note: For applicants undertaking initiatives as part of pre-vetted or invitational events such as trade missions, existing materials for such events would satisfy this requirement.

Terms and Conditions

When is cost-share funding paid?

Approved cost-share funding is paid once you have incurred and paid for all expenses, and your submitted Claim package has met all the requirements and been approved by OMAFRA.

Each eligible expenditure is reimbursed at the approved cost share funding percentage.

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

The Final Report submitted for the project must include a certification that the project has been completed within the project timelines stated in the Contribution Agreement, and the project must fulfil all other requirements stated in the Contribution Agreement.

How is a Claim submitted?

Claims should be submitted to OMAFRA no later than by the Claim deadline date given in the Contribution Agreement. Only one Claim should be submitted per project.

OMAFRA may request any additional information from the applicants that is deemed necessary (e.g., copies of any permits obtained by the applicant in conducting the project, photos).

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 if I miss a deadline?

You may forfeit your cost-share funding if you do not complete the project according to the timelines given in the Contribution Agreement.

What travel and meal expenses are eligible for cost-share 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 cost-share 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 tables 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 in Canada (CAD):

Meal Type Maximum Eligible Costs
Breakfast $10.00
Lunch $12.50
Dinner $22.50

Maximum eligible costs for meals outside of Canada (CAD):

Meal Type Maximum Eligible Costs
Breakfast $20.25
Lunch $19.85
Dinner $50.00

What costs are not eligible for cost-share funding?

Ineligible costs include but are not limited to costs identified as such in the applicable Project Category Description, and the following:

  • Costs incurred before the approval of the project by OMAFRA or after the project completion date identified in the Contribution Agreement between the applicant and the Province of Ontario
  • Costs incurred in preparing an application
  • In-kind contributions
  • Any cost not specifically required for implementation of the project
  • Normal costs of establishing, expanding or operating a business or 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 fulfil 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.)
  • 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
  • Any Capital Cost item that is funded by government sources at 75 per cent or more
Can I stack cost-share funding for the same project?

Applicants can only access one funding source under the Partnership for a single project. However, 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 cost-share funding.

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 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.

Claim: A report submitted by the business 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 stated in the Contribution Agreement between the Province of Ontario and the applicant for the project.

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

CRA Business Number: The CRA Business Number is a unique number the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) assigns your business as a tax ID. It is a nine-digit identifier that is used when dealing with federal, provincial or local governments.

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

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

Project Category: Cost-share funding is made available under specific Project Categories, which each have their own parameters, criteria, and terms and conditions.

Premises Identification Number (Premises ID): A Premises ID is a unique identifying number assigned to a parcel of land that is associated with agri-food activities. In Ontario, premises are identified and registered in the Provincial Premises Registry. For more information on applying for a Premises ID, go to: ontariopid.com.

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.

Trade Restrictions: Tariff or non-tariff barriers or restrictions on the trade of goods and/or services between Canada and one or more other countries that have led to a material negative impact on a business and/or a sector.

Application Declaration

In order to apply, you must agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership ("the Partnership") Cost-share Funding for Market Access Initiative.

The applicant must be a legal entity that is eligible under the Partnership Cost-share Funding for Market Access Initiative. The individual who signs the application form must be a person who is authorized by the applicant to sign the form on behalf of the applicant and to bind the applicant to the contents therein. 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 Cost- share Funding for the Market Access Initiative.
  • All information submitted in this application is true and complete, to the best of your knowledge, belief and understanding.
  • All sources of funding for the proposed project, other 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 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 that 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 for the Partnership may 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 that 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.

Logos of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Government of Ontario, and the Government of Canada.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 29 August 2019
Last Reviewed: 29 August 2019