Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative Strategic Solutions
Seizing opportunities, addressing emerging issues and advancing innovations to achieve Ontario Partnership outcomes.
Table of Contents
The Partnership supports Ontario's agri-food and agri-products sector to adapt and grow, as well as help ensure Ontario produced agri-products and agri-food resources are safe, healthy, and sustainable. This category focuses on bold, innovative, and collaborative projects to drive key outcomes for the sector related to Ontario's Partnership economic development, environmental stewardship, protection and assurance, as well as research and innovation priority outcomes.
Strategic Solutions projects will focus on collaborative opportunities with partners throughout the value-chain to accelerate the creation and adoption of innovative solutions to sector challenges, and advance sector opportunities to drive competitiveness and sustainability.
This Strategic Solutions Project Category will have a two-stage application process (Pre-proposal and invited full application).
Project results must advance Ontario's Partnership outcomes in the following priority areas:
Protection and Assurance
Research & Innovation
Detailed description of Ontario's Partnership outcomes.
Collaborative Partners working together across the supply value-chain made up of "for-profit" and "not-for-profit" legal entities to address emerging issues and/or opportunities. Legal entities must have operations in Ontario and be capable of entering into a funding agreement.
Entities located outside of Ontario may participate in Strategic Solutions Project Category if their supply value-chain is primarily located in Ontario.
Projects must primarily benefit the broader Ontario agri-food and/or agri-products sector(s). Applicants are strongly encouraged to work with contributing Project Partners to strengthen the project and ensure benefits accrue to the agri-food and/or agri-product sector(s).
Project partners may include but are not limited to: "for-profit" entities, "not-for-profit" entities, clusters or consortiums of associations/organizations along the sector value chain, and/or academic/research institutions. Project Partners must submit a Partner Declaration form as part of the full application.
Entities located outside of Ontario may be a project partner, if the supply value-chain is primarily located in Ontario. Project must benefit the broader Ontario agri-food and/or agri-products sector.
Project partners cannot also be venders/suppliers to the project.
Applicants must be represented by a lead entity capable of entering into a funding agreement with the Province of Ontario. The lead entity must provide a Canada Revenue Agency Business Number as part of the application process.
Not-For-profit: A legally recognized entity that is:
For-Profit: A legally recognized entity engaged in a business that has operations in Ontario and is capable of entering into a contribution agreement with the Province.
Not Eligible to Apply
Federal, provincial and territorial government departments, ministries or agencies, including any employees thereof, are not eligible.
Academic/research institutions are not eligible to apply as a sole applicant. However, they may apply with a project partner.
Applicants may apply for up to 75 per cent of eligible costs. Funding may be provided at the amount or percentage requested or at a reduced amount or percentage, depending on the merit assessment of the project and funding availability.
Applicants that demonstrate leverage from other sources (such as project partners, consortiums or other programs), which amplifies the impact of potential funding will receive additional merit consideration during the assessment phase.
Project Size Minimum and maximum funding amounts
Aligned to support impactful projects under the Strategic Solutions Project Category, the suggested minimum government contribution to a project is $250,000 while the maximum suggested government contribution is up to $1 million.
Capital costs that are eligible may be funded to a maximum of $500,000 per project.
Stacking cost-share funding
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 government funding (federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal) that an Applicant can receive towards the total eligible costs of a project cannot exceed 85 per cent of eligible project funding. All funding for a project, including from additional sources, must be listed on the application.
Applicants must provide evidence of financial capacity to demonstrate that they can successfully undertake, cash flow and sustain the proposed project, should the project be approved for funding under the Strategic Solutions Project Category. Project funding is provided on a reimbursement basis based upon specific milestones or completion of activities. Lead entities of approved projects will receive funding as required milestones are met and reports are approved by OMAFRA.
A project cannot start prior to the date that OMAFRA approves the project. This date will be communicated in the Approval Letter after a full application has been assessed. Eligible costs can only be incurred, invoiced and paid for on or after the start date.
Projects must be implemented and completed no later than December 1, 2022 and according to the terms and conditions of the Contribution Agreement between the Province of Ontario and the successful lead entity.
Under the Strategic Solutions Project Category, innovation is defined as the application of new ideas to solve problems and address challenges. This includes the creation of new products, the generation of a new practice, or the demonstration of utility of a new process or system.
Examples of innovation include the following:
As part of the application process, Applicants are expected to describe the level of innovation of the proposed project using the innovation criteria below.
As part of the Pre-proposal process, applicants will need to provide credible, non-biased evidence to demonstrate the project's level of innovation and potential benefit to the sector. Potential sources of evidence could be, but not limited to:
All approved projects will require a knowledge transfer plan that will detail the approach to sharing knowledge and project results broadly with industry and/or sector to allow for broader sector adoption. Applicants must detail the approach to knowledge sharing project results across the sector, as part of the application process (Pre-proposal and invited full application).
Projects will focus on a range of activities, such as, but not limited to:
Because of the anticipated size and scope of projects, this category has a two-stage application process:
Stage 1: Pre-Proposal
The purpose of the Pre-proposal is to obtain an overview of the proposed project. Applicants should review eligibility and project requirements before completing a Pre-proposal template. It is the responsibility of the applicant to read and comply with the program eligibility and Project requirements.
Stage 2: Full Application
Any costs associated with the application process, including the cost to prepare a Pre-proposal and full application, are at the applicant's own expense and is not eligible for funding.
How often can I apply?
There is no limit to the number or value of applications that each entity can submit, or to cost-share projects an entity can complete.
Eligible Costs are costs necessary for the implementation of the project and may include any limits given elsewhere in the guide.
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 Lead Entity or Project Partner(s), meaning not related, affiliated, or controlled in any way. If you have any questions about whether a supplier meets this requirement, please contact OMAFRA at 1-877-424-1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ineligible costs that apply to the Strategic Solutions Project Category includes, but are not limited to:
Projects that are not eligible for cost-share funding include those that:
All Pre-proposals and full applications meeting the eligibility criteria will be assessed using a merit-based review process. A merit-based review process is used to allocate funding to projects that best meet the merit assessment criteria. Applications will be assessed based upon the information provided in both the Pre-proposal and full application. The full application must be consistent with an applicant's approved Pre-proposal. The project must continue to meet all eligibility criteria set out in Program Guidelines. Pre-proposals and full applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria will not move onto the merit-based assessment review.
The ministry may consult applicants to obtain clarification on details of their application or additional information, where deemed necessary for assessment.
Lead entities will be required to enter a contribution agreement with the Province before funds can be provided for their project. The lead entity will be required to register through the Province of Ontario's Transfer Payment Common Registration (TPCR) system (an online registration tool), cash flow all project costs, receive all funding paid by OMAFRA and receive a T4A for all funding paid by OMAFRA. No payments will be made to the Lead Entity until the Agreement has been signed and all conditions for disbursement have been fulfilled.
Project payment(s) will be made based on Project progress, performance and reporting. OMAFRA will monitor the progress and deliverables of a Project as outlined in the Agreement.
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.
Travel and meal expenses 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 and meal 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:
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):
Maximum eligible costs for meals outside of Canada (CAD):
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 (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 and equipment and installation; software development including implementation and customization, and information technology equipment including installation, renovations; site improvements; leasehold improvements; building improvements and construction.
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.
Incurred (Cost): A cost for which a business has become liable to pay.
In-Kind Contributions: Fair market value attributed for goods and the fair value attributed for services, that are contributed to this project and require no outlay of cash during the term of the Contribution Agreement by you or a partner.
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.
Project Category Description: Each Project Category Description provides the parameters, criteria and terms and conditions specific to a Project Category under which cost-share funding is made available.
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.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership supports the sector to adapt and grow, as well as to help allow products produced in Ontario and Ontario's resource base to be safe, healthy, and sustainable. The Strategic Solutions Project Category supports projects that will drive sector growth and competitiveness through one or more of the following areas:
Economic development projects support the competitiveness and long-term sustainability of the sector and its value chains through productivity improvements, market development, and reduced barriers to economic growth. The sector can improve labour productivity with projects that support attraction and retention of skilled workers, reduction of costs, and adoption of innovative production systems, technologies, and automation solutions.
The sector can take advantage of market opportunities with projects that help to access, expand, and/or retain export and domestic markets, including those resulting from new/improved assurance systems. This priority area supports the sector to diversify sales channels, increase profits, and to scale-up and achieve the next level in production, sales, and service. Economic development projects also encourage the adoption of best practices and tools to help the sector proactively manage and minimize risks, such as impacts of market volatility, production losses, and extreme events and disasters. These projects also seek to increase collaboration among sector players and to develop industry resilience.
Protection and Assurance
Effective risk management and assurance systems in food safety and plant and animal health enhance public trust in the sector, increase competitiveness, and protect Ontario's resource base. This involves building sector capacity to anticipate, mitigate, and prevent risks, and attain higher levels of recognized national/industry standards and codes of practice.
This priority area challenges the sector to continue to raise the bar on food safety practices and keep pace with evolving food safety risks and market requirements. Projects may drive new/improved traceability, transparency, and integrity in the agri-products system and improve ability to substantiate product attributes and claims. This priority area also supports the prevention, detection, and mitigation of animal disease threats, promotion of farmed animal welfare through the value chain, prudent management of antimicrobial use in agriculture, and adoption of best management practices. It includes building industry's plant health capacity and ability to address plant agriculture risks, and increased coordination and shared responsibility among plant health partners to proactively prepare for emergencies and respond to climate change.
Increasing environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation and mitigation is critical in helping the sector adapt, grow, and remain resilient. This priority area focuses on improving water quality and soil health, while also providing additional co-benefits to climate change, pollinator habitat, and strengthening the productivity and long-term sustainability of the sector.
Projects may seek to increase sector awareness, understanding, and adoption of best management practices to improve soil health and water quality, and minimize nutrient loss within the Great Lakes watershed. Advancing sustainable farming practices such as use of cover crops and reduced tillage approaches has cross-sector benefits and enhances productivity and growth across the supply chain. Various research, monitoring, and surveillance efforts are useful to measure progress towards soil and water improvements and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Projects may also build awareness of the importance of soil health and water quality for long-term sector productivity and sustainability.
Research and Innovation
This priority area supports the sector to build and share knowledge of opportunities and/or challenges, translate this knowledge into action, and adopt best practices or innovations. It involves collaboration within and beyond the sector to address challenges and opportunities and to create, commercialize, and bring innovative technologies, products, practices, and processes to market.
In this priority area, the sector is investing and building capacity for the future in innovative ways. This may involve: undertaking world class research and scientific, economic, and data analysis; technology and product development; knowledge dissemination; accelerating the commercialization of new technology (products, practices, processes, and systems); fostering creative partnerships to drive positive change in the sector; and other collaborative research and innovation activities that significantly enhance the sector's competitiveness, productivity, and sustainability.
In order to apply, you must agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) Cost-share Program for Sectors.
The lead applicant must be a legal entity that is eligible under the Partnership Cost-share Funding Assistance Program for Sectors. The individual who signs the application form must be a person who is authorized by the lead applicant to sign the form on behalf of the lead applicant and to bind the lead applicant to the contents therein. This person is referred to as "you" below.
You must certify on the Full Application that:
You have read, understand, and agree to abide by all requirements of the Partnership Cost-share Funding Assistance Program for Sectors. The Partnership Cost-share Funding Assistance Program Guide for Sectors sets out the Terms and Conditions for the initiative and the Project Category Descriptions.
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 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 85 per cent of total project costs.
You do 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 Initiative 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 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 and collaboration members (if applicable).
You must further acknowledge and accept that:
The Partnership is a discretionary, non-entitlement program. Payment is subject to Ontario receiving all the necessary appropriations from the Ontario Legislature, Ontario receiving all the necessary monies from Canada, the Partnership eligible activities criteria, eligible costs criteria, ineligible activities criteria, ineligible costs criteria, priorities and target audiences 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.
On-site 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.
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.
Applicant's name and contact information to be used 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.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300