Ontario Vineyard Improvement Program Guidelines
The Ontario Vineyard Improvement Program (OVIP) was launched April 2011 and is a 4 year program to assist the wine grape industry to make vineyard improvements. This initiative is in line with the industry varietal plan of December 2010 entitled, Aligning the Ontario Grape Supply and Demand: A Varietal Plan for the Grape and Wine Industry Final Report.
These guidelines pertain to the Producer Support Component (PSC) of OVIP. The PSC focuses on wine grape growers by providing direct financial support for eligible vineyard improvements to eligible wine grape growers. OVIP also has an Industry Support Component (ISC) to support projects of benefit to the grape growing sector as a whole.
The PSC will be delivered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) with assistance and support from Agricorp and the Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO).
Table of Contents
A project year aligns with the provincial governments fiscal year from April 1 to March 31 and is referred to as Year. An Intake is the period of time during which OMAFRA is accepting applications. Please see below for details about the program years and intake dates.
Year 1 - April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012
Year 2 - April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013
Year 3 - April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014
Year 4 - April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015
The program is first-come, first-served where funds are approved to the governments maximum annual allocation. Once annual funds are allocated, the remaining applications in the same intake will be included in a priority queue for future intakes. Assessments of these applications will occur once the next intake opens. For this reason, there is no need to resubmit the same application.
The program will be accepting applications for Year 3 during Intake 3, opening December 17, 2012. The scheduled end of Intake 2 is March 29, 2013.
If the demand for funding exceeds the amount available, OMAFRA may decide to close Intake 3 early .
To be eligible to apply for funding, applicants are required to meet ALL of the following eligibility criteria:
Under the PSC, the Government of Ontario will reimburse up to 35 per cent of eligible vineyard improvement costs up to a maximum funding cap per applicant. The cap for each applicant is determined at the time of application and equals $1,000 for each acre under production of hybrid or vinifera wine grapes (classes 5 to 10f).
The maximum funding that each eligible grower can receive, calculated at the rate of $1,000 per acre of established wine grapes farmed by the applicant at the time of application, is capped at a maximum of 100 acres or $100,000 per applicant. Growers can apply to more than one intake to use up their funding cap, but the maximum funding for any one recipient over four years is $100,000.
For the purposes of the calculation, each acre of wine grapes will be assigned to only one applicant. If two or more applicants co-farm wine grape acreage, and there is a dispute as to which applicant should be assigned the wine grape acreage for the purpose of calculating the funding cap, the land will be considered part of the landowners wine grape acreage.
Each acre of wine grapes (classes 5 to 10f) used to calculate an applicants funding cap can only be counted once in any given program Year.
Assessing Wine Grape Acreage to Determine the Funding Cap
Wine grape acreage for the PSC will be calculated on the basis of growing acreage registered by the applicant in VITIS, the electronic vine management database. Applicants who do not have some, or any, of their wine grape acreage (owned and/or leased) registered in VITIS may make a request to Agricorp and/or to GGO to have their vineyard information added to the database.
In signing the application form, applicants will authorize OMAFRA staff to have view only access to VITIS data. If an eligible applicant acquires additional wine grape acreage during the course of the program that would qualify for an increased funding cap (not exceeding the $100,000 maximum), the applicant will be eligible to apply for additional funding in a future intake.
If, after applying for funding under the program, an eligible applicant ceases wine grape production on acreage that was used in the calculation of the applicants funding cap, or sells/leases out that wine grape acreage, this will not affect the amount of funding the applicant is able to access in the program Year in which they were approved to receive funding.
If the same applicant applies again in a future intake, the funding cap will be reassessed based on the acreage at the time of that application. If the new cap is less than the OVIP funding already provided, no additional funding will be approved. If the new cap is higher then the funding previously provided, the applicant can apply for funding in the amount of the new cap less the amount of any funding previously received.
Any new owner/lessee of wine grape acreage will not be able to use that same acreage for the purposes of accessing funding for the remainder of the OVIP. You may apply for an exemption to this stipulation by contacting OMAFRA.
A detailed list of eligible vineyard improvements and ineligible costs is provided in Schedule A. It is important to note OMAFRA will review Schedule A on an annual basis and may revise it to better assist growers in meeting the goals and objectives of the program.
Eligible improvements for the PSC include the following:
Vineyard improvement costs may be eligible for reimbursement in one of two ways:
In order to be eligible, costs must be incurred in the Year in which the application is approved. Work must be completed on the vineyard indicated in the application. All vineyard improvements may be subject to verification by an Agricorp Adjuster or other auditors. OMAFRA will have the sole discretion to determine eligibility for program funding.
The following costs are considered NOT ELIGIBLE for reimbursement under the PSC. A more detailed list is included in Schedule A.
Eligible equipment costs are those purchases of equipment solely-owned by the recipient and considered essential to undertaking the improvements that have been approved.
Recipients must retain ownership of all machinery and equipment purchased at a cost of $5,000 or more, funded under OVIP for a period of four years after purchase.
Used equipment purchases may be eligible for funding under the following conditions:
Recipients will be required to provide invoices for all machinery and equipment purchases, new and used.
Eligible costs must be incurred by the recipient in the same Year
in which the application approval is assigned. Funding cannot be
carried over from one year to the next; therefore, applicants should
only apply for improvements that can be realistically completed
and expensed in the same Year of approval. The complete list of
The following list of considerations is intended to assist applicants in making decisions about which vineyard improvements to include in a single application:
Applicants for Year 3 funding who incur expenditures prior to application approval do so at the risk of not being reimbursed if:
It is important to note the payments received by successful applicants to the Ontario Vineyard Improvement Program will be considered as income for tax purposes.
OVIP applicants may not receive grant funding under any program financed in part or in whole by the Government of Ontario for the same vineyard improvement(s).
In particular, applicants should take care not to receive or apply for funding for the same vineyard improvement(s) under OVIP as under the VQA Support Program administered by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation.
Applicants are required to declare all sources of federal, provincial and/or municipal funding, including the program(s) under which the funding is being provided, in relation to their vineyards.
1. Complete and Submit an Application Form
We encourage applicants to review the OVIP website for program information, forms and other resources at www.ontario.ca/improvingvineyards
OMAFRA staff will be available to answer program questions by calling: 1-888-588-4111
A complete application submission will include:
If the submission is incomplete, OMAFRA reserves the right to deem it ineligible for review and approval. There is no guarantee that OMAFRA will provide applicants with a grace period to remedy deficiencies.
The Program is first-come, first-served and applications for Intake 2 will be time and date stamped simultaneously from all sources commencing on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.
Completed applications may be submitted in one of four ways:
Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO)
Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA)
2. Application Review and Approval
Submissions are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Intake 3, opening on December 17, 2012 will cover Year 3.
OMAFRA staff will review completed Application Forms, verify the applicant's eligibility, wine grape acreage and calculate the applicant's funding cap.
For Intake 3, once all available funding has been allocated for Year 3, remaining applications will be put into a priority queue These applicants will be at the front of the queue for Year 4funding.
Applications placed in the queue will be assessed for approval when the Intake opens for the next Year for which funding is available.
Please note that all applicants should apply on the relevant application intake date, or as soon as possible thereafter, to maximize their opportunities to be considered for the program.
There is one exception that may require an applicant to reapply
to the program. If an approved applicant does not complete the
improvements in the approved Year, the applicant may re-apply in
a future intake to complete the work, provided that those improvements
are still eligible for funding. It should be noted that these
3. Offer to Proceed
Once an application is approved, OMAFRA will send an Offer to Proceed to the successful applicant (Recipient) outlining the terms and conditions of the funding, including the list of vineyard improvements approved for reimbursement.
Recipients must pay strict attention to the eligible invoice dates, and adhere to the project claim submission deadlines; otherwise, costs may be considered ineligible for reimbursement.
The recipient must sign the Offer to Proceed and return it to OMAFRA.
4. Claims Process
Upon the completion of one or more approved vineyard improvements, recipients are required to sign and submit a completed Claim Form in order to obtain reimbursement for eligible costs.
It is important to note that OVIP does not fund cost over-runs; the approved funding in any Year cannot be exceeded.
Recipients must complete, or appoint an appropriate designate to complete, the two- day Growing Your Farm Profits Workshop offered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Growers are strongly encouraged to complete the workshop before applying for OVIP funding, but it is recognized that this may not be practical in all cases.
Vineyard improvements are subject to verification by an Agricorp field adjuster at OMAFRA's discretion.
Vineyard improvement work may need to be verified while the work is being completed and prior to payment.
The claim submission will include the following where applicable:
5. Performance Measures
In order to serve you better, a completed Performance Measures Questionnaire needs to be submitted before final payment is released. This will enable us to continuously improve the OVIP and the industry as a whole.
As a condition of OVIP funding, recipients are responsible for complying with all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations.
Failure to comply in any material respect with applicable laws and regulations may result in disqualification from receiving OVIP payments and may require the repayment of any funds received under OVIP to Ontario.
The Government of Ontario, including its ministries and public bodies, are not legally responsible for the consequences if OVIP recipients fail to comply with any applicable laws and regulations.
Information Sharing, Compliance, Audits and Site Inspections
As a condition of OVIP funding, recipients must agree to authorize ministry use of data collected under the Grape Growers of Ontarios electronic vine management system (VITIS) to enable individual funding caps to be calculated, to provide data for use in verifying applications and to measure performance.
As a condition of OVIP funding, recipients must agree to provide project financial information and permit access for audits, which may include site inspections, to be conducted by OMAFRA and/or its agent(s).
As a condition of OVIP funding, recipients must agree to share information on file with the Government of Ontario, or any of its agencies, in relation to any program which the Government of Ontario has funded, in whole or in part, for the purpose of ensuring against funding duplication and identifying funds that may be owing to the Province under any other provincial funding program.
Once applicants are approved for funding, recipients must comply with the terms and conditions as outlined in these guidelines, the Application Form and the Offer to Proceed.
All signatories to an Application Form are responsible for ensuring the truth and accuracy of all information provided to OMAFRA and/or its agent(s). Any signatory to an Application Form who provides false or misleading information to OMAFRA and/or its agent(s) may be disqualified and required to repay any payments received under OVIP.
OMAFRA will seek to recover any payments from recipients who received a payment under OVIP that they were not eligible to receive in accordance with OMAFRAs recovery policy and all applicable Acts and Government of Ontario directives regarding the collection of debt. Should a recipient have any pre-existing debts owing to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario, OMAFRA may recover against that pre-existing debt through a set-off against any payments a recipient may be eligible to receive under OVIP.
Note that OMAFRA reserves the right to revise these guidelines from time to time. It is recommended applicants confirm they have the most recent version of the program guidelines prior to making an application.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Local: (519) 826-4047