Ontario changes $8M in greenhouse funding
By Greenhouse Canada
By Greenhouse Canada
The Ontario government has announced a change to the delivery of $8 million in existing funding to the Ontario greenhouse sector.
The provincial government has been working with The Ontario Greenhouse Alliance (TOGA) to streamline the Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative (GCII). The program has been redesigned to fund additional projects, with a focus on new projects that would not have been otherwise possible.
“Ontario greenhouse vegetables and ornamentals are available across North America and operations are growing to meet increasing demand for high-quality products in other markets,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We are working with our partners to make sure we deliver maximum value for our investments. We’re also focused on helping greenhouse farmers strengthen their operations so they can be more competitive, and continue to contribute to the success of our agri-food sector.”
Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) welcomes this news, seeing it as a necessary bridge for their members who “struggle to maintain balance sheet integrity when dealing with the negative competitive impacts of previous policies.”
Flowers Canada (Ontario) is optimistic that this will promote industry development and growth, and ultimately “enable farmers across the province to access new opportunities to advance the sector.”
“Some of the fine details are still being finalized, but to our knowledge the key change is the cost share ratio,” says Andrew Morse, executive director of FCO. “The program will move from 90/10 to 60/40 cost share.”
The Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) will be delivering the redesigned program. The not-for-profit funding administrator will initiate contact in the next 10 business days with applicants who submitted their applications by the deadline and do not have signed agreements, providing more details about the GCII.
“The new provincial government has put considerable effort into reviewing several programs to ensure effectiveness, and we support that effort,” says Morse. “The GCII intake closed last September with unused resources: there was some interest in re-opening the program with some updated requirements to ensure that the full value could be utilized to its best potential.”
This year, the Ontario government has also taken steps to reduce electricity costs, end the cap and trade carbon tax, extend natural gas to more of rural Ontario and keep the minimum wage at $14 per hour.
According to the Government of Ontario, the greenhouse industry grows by approximately 150 acres per year and makes up 3,900 acres across the province. Last year, Ontario’s greenhouse sector supported over 81,000 jobs across the value chain.