Producers are among the most vulnerable when it comes to mental health issues. Stress, anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion and burnout are all high among producers.

If you are in crisis, please visit your local emergency department or call 911 immediately.

Stressed? Help is available. Click here.

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By Clint Cameron, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Tax season is coming up and while it’s always important to stay on top of deadlines and new rules, there are changes to three specific federal tax filing requirements that farmers should pay particular attention to for 2024.

Underused Housing Tax

In 2022, the federal Underused Housing Tax (UHT) Act became law, putting a tax on the value of vacant and underused housing owned either directly or indirectly by people who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

For the farming sector, the UHT’s onerous annual filing requirements and steep penalties for non-compliance, which ranged from $5,000-$10,000, were a major concern. Following advocacy from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and other organizations, the federal government announced the following proposed changes in its 2023 Fall Economic statement:

  • Exemption for farmers: farm businesses will be exempt from filing the UHT for the 2023 tax year and beyond as long as more than 90% of ownership is by Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Lower penalties: minimum penalties for failing to file a UHT return were lowered to $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for corporations for each UHT return not submitted.

The proposed changes, which would apply for the 2023 tax year and beyond, still need to be introduced and passed through legislation in order to come into effect.

Key takeaway for farmers: UHT still applies for the 2022 tax year, so any farmers who were required to file a UHT return for 2022 but have not yet done so, should file by April 30, 2024 to avoid penalties and interest.

T3 reporting rules for federal trusts

The federal government has introduced new reporting requirements for trusts, including those used in farm business and estate planning, that will take effect for taxation years ending after December 30, 2023.

  • Annual filing: Although there are some exemptions, most Canadian trusts must now file an annual T3 return even if the trust didn’t dispose of capital property or owe any tax during the year.
  • More information: those filing a T3 will need provide much more information than in the past, including names, addresses, birth dates, jurisdiction of residence and taxpayer identification numbers of anyone involved with a trust (trustees, beneficiaries, settlers or influencers of trust decisions).
  • Non-compliance penalties: the filing deadline for 2023 T3 returns is April 2, 2024. Penalties start at $25 per day for each day the return is late, with a minimum penalty of $100 and a maximum of $2,500. In more severe cases, penalties could be $2,500 or 5% of the highest fair market value of the assets held by the trust during the year.

Key takeaway for farmers: Farm businesses who use family trusts to hold private company shares, such as a farm corporation, as well as trusts used for estate planning or holding personal-use assets must now file an annual T3 return. Not sure if these rules apply to your farm? Consult a professional who is knowledgeable in farm trusts; filing unnecessarily can complicate estate planning and impose unintended legal and financial challenges.

Electronic filing for HST returns becomes mandatory

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has implementing new electronic filing requirements for GST/HST returns starting in 2024 for anyone with a GST or HST number, with the exception of charities and a few listed financial institutions. For CRA purposes, electronic filing options include:

  • GST/HST NETFILE: a direct online submission to the CRA.
  • My Business Account: A secure CRA portal for various business tax accounts.
  • Represent a Client: A service for accountants to file a return on behalf their clients.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): Electronic payment of net tax through Canadian financial institutions.
  • GST/HST TELEFILE: A telephone-based filing system using a touchtone phone.
  • GST/HST Internet File Transfer: Submission through third-party accounting software.

Key takeaway for farmers: for those without access to a computer or a reliable Internet connection, filing by phone using GST/HST TELEFILE is a valid electronic filing option.

It can be a bit overwhelming to keep on top of the evolving tax landscape, so OFA has put together an easy-to-follow fact sheet that summarizes these key changes and where to go for more information. It’s downloadable on the OFA website.

In addition to farming and running a business that offers services to farmers, I have also spent a large part of my career in the corporate world. So I’m no stranger to the paperwork that comes with being in business. Here are a few tips to make things easier at tax time:

  • Keep good financial records and make sure those records and your books are up to date.
  • Look for updates on changes from the OFA, accounting firms, financial institutions and others.
  • Consult professionals, like accountants, tax specialists, financial advisors or estate planners, to help you navigate any new requirements and ensure you’re compliant.

For more information, contact:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218
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SPARK V3 Symposium is presented by Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS). This year we are BACK and ready to showcase new high-growth potential emerging companies! This is our 3rd annual SPARK Symposium designed to accelerate Canadian Ag Tech and Green Tech companies who are seeking to expand their businesses and add new product lines! 

EVENT DETAILS:

 DATE: Thursday, April 4, 2024

 LOCATION: The GrandWay Events Centre (7445 Wellington County Rd. 21, Elora)

TIME:

11.30 am Doors open

12-1 pm Lunch available

1-4 pm Pitches and presentations 4-5 pm Networking 

New this year!

We are asking each participant to pay a $25 attendance fee. All of the funds raised will be matched by GRAS! Live at the event you will have a chance to vote for your favourite pitch, via a poll, and one of the pitch companies will be awarded the funds. Pre-registration is required, tickets will not be sold at the door.

**No refunds will be issued for this event.**

Speakers: 

Emcee: Dr. Deb Stark, Independent Director

Deb calls herself a leader and a learner with a lifelong interest in Canadian agriculture and the people who feed us. She is a former Deputy Minister of OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) and Chief Veterinary Officer for Ontario.She spends her time volunteering and sitting on boards including the University of Guelph (Vice Chair), Ontario Genomics (past Chair), the Golden Triangle Angel Network and most recently, the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network.

 

Keynote Speaker: John Wilkinson, Wilkinson Insights Incorporated

John is uniquely positioned to speak to the GRAS Board on issues which matter to us … Research, Innovation, Business Development, and the Environment.

 Currently the CEO of Wilkinson Insight Incorporated, he serves as Vice Chair of the Huron-Perth Healthcare Alliance, and is on the Board of Directors of Greenfield Global, the Council of the Great Lakes Region, the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Ontario Arts Foundation. He also serves as an Advisor to many start-ups, including SilicoLabs, Curious Public and Stageview TV.

 John was the Liberal MPP for Perth-Middlesex, then Perth-Wellington, from 2003-2011 and was the first Certified Financial Planner elected to the Ontario Legislature.He served in the Provincial Cabinet as the first full-time Minister of Research and Innovation, where he implemented the $1.6 billion Ontario Innovation Agenda.

He was also the Minister of Revenue and shepherded the largest Ontario tax reform in forty years. Finally, he served as the Minister of the Environment where he oversaw the passage of the Water Opportunities & Water Conservation Act to steward Ontario’s fresh water supplies.

 

Speaker: Mike McMorris, Livestock Research Innovation Corporation

Mike grew up on a farm just outside Elora and graduated from the University of Guelph with a BSc in Animal Science and an MSc in Animal Breeding and Genetics. He has worked with OMAFRA, Beef Farmers of Ontario, Agricorp, AgSights and is now CEO with Livestock Research and Innovation Corporation. He is passionate about creating a better future through innovation, knowing that any move toward that future ultimately comes down to people.

 

Pitch Companies

1)     CATTLEYTICS

 CATTLEytics offers dairy farmers and cattle owners tools to farm smarter. They design and maintain software and data systems that enable proactive animal health management. Their hardware solutions, such as cattle thermometers and automated dosing devices, further elevate efficiency. Their dairy management software will empower farmers to manage their operations seamlessly while promoting sustainability metrics. www.cattleytics.com

 

2)       HEALTHY HYDROPONICS

 Healthy Hydroponics InnoTech helps growers with broad-spectrum microbiome and disease detection for their crops. They use the latest genomic technologies and data-driven insights to simplify early pathogen detection, remediation and crop loss prevention. www.healthyhydroponics.ca

 

3)        NATURE RECOMBINED - ApiSave

 The ApiSave™ product is designed with combating antibiotic resistance in mind. Their extract has shown to be extremely effective against multi-drug resistant harmful bacteria. Also, their product is 100% natural. They plan to market quickly to save bees from extinction and maintain food security worldwide. www.apisave.com

 

4)         PROTEINS EASY CORPORATION

Proteins Easy Corporation implements the science surrounding recombinant production of fusion proteins for the biotechnology industries worldwide, be they biocatalysts for the biodomain and green chemistry, antibodies, antigens, enzymes, growth factors, hormones, biomaterials, or cosmeceuticals. www.proteinseasy.com

 

Get Tickets Here

 

GUELPH, ON [February 21, 2024] – A new cost-share funding program was announced today that will support marketing projects to promote Ontario farmers at farmers’ markets across the province. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is contributing $50,000 to the initiative as a result of a first-ever partnership with Farmers’ Markets Ontario (FMO).

“Farmers’ markets are one of the strongest direct links between farmers and consumers, and OFA is proud to partner with FMO to strengthen those connections even further,” says OFA President Drew Spoelstra. “This new partnership is an excellent complement to the OFA’s Home Grown campaign, which focuses on raising awareness of the bounty of food, fibre, fuel and flowers we produce here in Ontario.”

Under the new program, funding will be available for marketing and awareness projects to promote and support local farmers who are participating at farmers’ markets. Individual farmers’ markets can apply to FMO for up to 50% of their total project costs to a maximum of $2,500 in grant funding. The program will be administered by FMO.

“Active and prosperous farmers’ markets contribute vibrant, healthy communities and we are excited to launch this new collaboration with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and shine a spotlight on the farmers who play such key roles at local markets,” says Elmer Buchanan, Vice Chair of FMO and director with the Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture. “More than a million Ontarians shop at farmers’ markets, making FMO members a key pillar of a strong and growing local food value chain in our province.”

Application forms and programs will be available through Farmers’ Markets Ontario in April. Applicants must be a member of Farmers’ Markets Ontario to apply.

About Ontario Federation of Agriculture
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province and serving as the leading advocate and strongest voice of Ontario’s farmers. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA represents and champions the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. Home Grown is a public awareness initiative of the OFA to advocate for the importance of Ontario farms as a source of food, fibre, fuel and flowers.

About Farmers’ Markets Ontario
Farmers’ Markets Ontario is a not-for-profit organization representing over 180 farmers’ markets in Ontario. FMO is the only recognized provincial voice for farmers’ markets and dedicated to assisting and supporting their efforts. Ontario’s farmers’ markets contribute an estimated $2.47 billion dollars annually to the provincial economy in direct, indirect and induced economic impacts. 

For more information:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Catherine Clark
Executive Director, Farmers’ Markets Ontario
613-475-4769 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Paul Maurice, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

January marks the renewal season of membership in the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and there are a number of ways that farmers, farm businesses and agricultural organizations can hold a membership in the OFA.

Most well-known is the Farm Business Registration membership. In Ontario, farms that have earned a gross income of at least $7,000 in the past year are required to register their business through Agricorp in order to qualify for certain programs and benefits.

Registered farm businesses are eligible for the farm property class tax rate for farmland and farm vehicle license plates, as well as being able to apply for special government programs for agriculture.

These include, for example, the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program for losses to crops or livestock caused by wildlife, and government cost-share programs for initiatives boosting soil health and water quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or protecting species at risk.

Similar to how the federal government relies on data gathered through the Canadian Census to help with decision-making, the provincial government uses statistics and information generated through FBR to support agricultural program and policy development.

With registration, farmers select a membership in one of Ontario’s three accredited farm organizations – and every year, they decide which organization they wish to belong to and support with their membership fee.

Other forms of membership in the OFA include Individual Farm Membership, which represents individuals who are or have been directly involved in farming but who do not otherwise quality for Farm Business Registration.

OFA is also pleased to include 29 agricultural and commodity organizations among our valued members. OFA is a strong believer in the power of partnerships and working together to achieve common goals.

I’m a director on OFA’s provincial board, where I have represented farmers in Peel, Simcoe and York since 2021. My wife and I were dairy farmers in the small bilingual community of Lafontaine just west of Penetanguishene for 50 years, and today, we raise broiler chickens and grow crops together with our son, Alex, who is the fifth generation of our family on our farm.

I’ve been a member of the OFA for decades, and I believe strongly in the value of farmers having a strong organization who can represent our sector and our issues with a united voice.

Our advocacy work yields important outcomes for farm businesses and rural communities on topics as wide-ranging as taxation, farmland preservation, farmer wellness, rural infrastructure and supply chain resilience, to name just a few.

As a provincial organization, our advocacy focuses primarily on the provincial government, but we are also active federally as members of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. As well, we dedicate resources to working with municipalities as a significant amount of legislation affecting farmers actually stems from local government.

That’s why, for example, we make sure we participate in key events like the annual conferences of Economic Developers Council of Ontario, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association, the Ontario Good Roads Association, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and others.

To put it simply, to me advocacy means being able to help people who affect our lives and our farming businesses understand who we are and what we do – and what impact their decisions have on those of us who produce food, fuel, fibre and flowers.

This means working closely with our membership and local Federations and collaboratively with government, other farm organizations and industry partners to find and put the proper tools in place so that as farmers, we can keep our businesses profitable and efficient.

And I like to think that OFA, who represents approximately 88% of Ontario’s farmers, is best positioned to be that leading, trusted voice for our sector.

We appreciate the support of our members and their trust in us to represent their interests and turn their concerns into action that helps ensure Farms and Food Forever.

For more information, contact:

Rachelle Kerr
Communications Coordinator
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-803-4957
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CONSTITUTION               Revised – October 2023

link in pdf format 

Article 1: Title/Name

 

This organization shall be known as the Wellington Federation of Agriculture.

 

Article 2: Definitions ADDED

 

  1. The Wellington Federation of Agriculture will be referenced as “WFA”
  2. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture will be referenced as “OFA”
  3. The County of Wellington will be referenced as “County”

 

Article 3: Objectives

 

  1. To work towards improving the welfare of the individual farmer and the farming industry
  2. To bring the views, concerns, and recommendations of the membership to the OFA for policy development and action, and to interpret for all members the OFA policy that is developed
  3. To communicate core agricultural information effectively and promptly to the farming community
  4. To accurately present agriculture in the County to the community at large
  5. To work in collaboration with OFA
  6. To encourage social, electoral, and educational activities as they affect agriculture ADDED
  7. To engage with government officials and policymakers to provide input, share information, and advocate for policies and regulations that align with the needs and goals of the agricultural industry. ADDED

BYLAWS

Bylaw 1: Membership

 

  1. A Member of WFA shall be any Registered Farm Business with membership with OFA or anyone with an Individual Farm Membership with OFA, who resides in the County and the City of Guelph
  2. Members of WFA shall have the right to attend and vote at all WFA General Meetings and to seek election to the WFA Board of Directors. ADDED
  3. Only one person per membership is permitted to cast a vote during a voting process. ADDED

 

Bylaw 2: Board of Directors

 

  1. A Board of Directors will be established with representation as follows:
    1. President
    2. Past President ADDED
    3. 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents
    4. Up to three Directors representing each municipality in the County and the City of Guelph
    5. Up to ten Directors-at-Large

 

  1. The Board of Directors will have the responsibilities of:
    1. The management and regulation of all business of WFA between Annual General Meetings
    2. Establishing new positions and making changes to existing positions as deemed necessary by the organization
    3. The implementation of WFA and OFA organizational policy
    4. Making a full report of WFA’s activities, including the presentation of a reviewed financial statement at each Annual General Meeting.
    5. The use of WFA’s funds in accordance with approved budgets. ADDED
    6. The hiring, contractual agreement and management of a WFA administrator. ADDED

 

Bylaw 3: Duties

 

  1. President ADDED

The responsibilities of the President will include:

Chairing all General, Board and Executive Meetings

  1. Chairing all General, Board and Executive meetings.
  2. Acting as spokesperson of WFA
  3. Promoting OFA membership within the agriculture community
  4. Keeping well informed of relevant issues
  5. Being prepared for WFA activities
  6. Developing a positive relationship with the media to promote agriculture
  7. Delegate responsibilities as needed

 

 

 

 

  1. Vice Presidents ADDED

The responsibilities of the Vice Presidents will include:

  1. Assuming the duties of the President in their absence
  2. Serving as a member of the Board of Directors
  3. Assisting the President in performing their duties
  4. Keeping well informed of relevant issues
  5. Being prepared for WFA activities
  6. Preparing for the role of President

 

  1. Past President ADDED

The responsibilities of the Past President will include:

  1. Providing guidance and wisdom to the Board of Directors and Executive as needed.

 

  1. Directors ADDED

The responsibilities of the Directors will include:

  1. Attending and participating in Board meetings regularly
  2. Present issues and concerns of the Members
  3. Assisting with WFA activities outside of meetings
  4. Participating in WFA Committees
  5. Assisting in the recruitment, orientation, and retention of Board members

 

Bylaw 4: Executive

 

The Executive shall consist of the President, Vice Presidents, and Past President.

The responsibilities of the Executive will include: ADDED

  1. Overseeing financial operations of WFA
  2. Review any issues from the Board that require extra attention
  3. Serve as the Officers of WFA
  4. Overseeing any volunteers and staff contracted by WFA

 

Bylaw 5: Officers

 

The Officers shall consist of the President, Vice Presidents, and Secretary-Treasurer.

 

Bylaw 6: Secretary-Treasurer

 

  1. The roles of Secretary and Treasurer shall be served by the Administrator
  2. The Administrator will be hired from outside of the WFA Board
  3. When vacant the position will be publicly advertised. ADDED
    1. Applicants will be interviewed by a selection committee comprising the President and at least two other members of the Board of Directors.
    2. The Committee will recommend the hiring of a suitable applicant pursuant to the contractual terms of engagement.
  4. Responsibilities include handling and reporting on WFA’s finances and correspondence, taking minutes at all General, Board and Executive Meetings and performing other duties as directed by the Board and Executive. ADDED

 

 

Bylaw 7: Committees ADDED

 

  1. WFA may form ad hoc committees for a specific, temporary purpose.
  2. Standing Committees are:

i) Scholarship Committee

ii)Budget Committee

iii)Nomination Committee

  1. Committees will be made up of members of the Board of Directors
  2. Committees will report their work to the Board

 

Bylaw 8:  Quorum

 

  1. The quorum for all General Meetings shall be 15
  2. The quorum for all Board Meetings shall be 4. UPDATED
  3. The quorum for all Executive Meetings shall be 3

 

Bylaw 9: Fiscal Year ADDED

The fiscal year will run from October 1st to September 30th of each year.

 

Bylaw 10: Elections ADDED

 

  1. Elections for all WFA positions on the Board of Directors will occur at the Annual General Meeting.
  2. All elected positions of WFA are for a one-year term
  3. A nominations committee will be struck by the Board of Directors in advance of the Annual General Meeting, the duties of this committee listed in WFA’s policy document.
  4. Nominees for elections must be current Members as per Bylaw 1.
  5. Nominations can be made verbally or in writing by any Member in advance of, or from the floor, at the Annual General Meeting.
  6. Elections shall be held by a secret or private voting method, the details of the voting and ballots listed in WFA’s policy document.
  7. Vacancies on the Board of Directors between Annual General Meetings will be handled by the Board of Directors as listed in WFA’s policy document.
  8. All such vacancies to be filled require a 2/3 vote by the Board of Directors for approval

 

Bylaw 11: Meetings

 

  1. Annual General Meeting: UPDATED 

 

 i)The WFA Annual General Meeting will take place a minimum of 14 days before the OFA AGM

ii)The WFA Annual General Meeting will take place within 60 days following the end of WFA’s fiscal year.

  1. Notice of such meeting to be given either by mail or email, or notice on the WFA website, or insertion in the local press, or in WFA’s social media accounts, or all, at least ten full days in advance of the fixed date.
  2. The agenda will include the election of the Board of Directors, a Financial Statement, the appointment of Auditors and election of representatives to OFA as stated in the Article on Representation to OFA.

 

  1. Special Meetings:
    1. Special General Meetings may be called by the Board of Directors
    2. The Secretary will call a Special General Meeting on a written request signed by twelve Members.
    3. Notice of a Special General Meeting will be given at least seven full days, by insertion in the local press, email, or notice on the WFA website.
    4. Special Meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by the Executive
    5. Special Meetings of the Executive may be called by the President

 

  1. Board Meetings:
    1. The Executive will call at least ten Board Meetings in each year
    2. The dates to be determined by the Executive, for which at least three full days notice in writing or email will be given to each member of the Board.
    3. The meetings will deal with routine business and correspondence and other matters relevant to WFA services and operations.

 

Bylaw 12: Conduct of Meetings

 

  1. All meetings of WFA will be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order

 

Bylaw 13:  Attendance at meetings

  1. All meetings will follow a hybrid format combining in-person and virtual attendance options to accommodate both remote and on-site participants. ADDED

 

Bylaw 14: Expulsion and Suspension

 

  1. The expulsion of a member of the Board of Directors may be declared for any cause - after investigation - by a three-fourths vote of the Board of Directors present at the meeting called to consider the question.
  2. A member of the Board of Directors may be suspended in the same manner

 

Bylaw 15: Amendments

 

  1. The provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of Members present at a General Meeting.
  2. Notice of proposed amendments shall be posted electronically on WFA’s website and available by request for mailing for no fewer than 10 days prior to the General Meeting that amendments shall be presented at for voting on ADDED

 

Bylaw 16: Representation to OFA

 

  1. WFA will undertake the election and appointment of its delegates for OFA’s convention and representatives for OFA’s Policy Advisory Council at WFA’s Annual Regional Meeting.
  2. The number of allowable delegates will be determined by OFA ADDED

 

Bylaw 17: Indemnification ADDED

 

The WFA shall indemnify any Directors, Officers and Contractors to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law when they are or may be made a party to legal proceedings by reason of their association with the WFA.

 

Bylaw 18: Insurance ADDED

WFA shall purchase Director and Officers liability insurance on behalf of its Board of Directors, contractors, and volunteers.

 

 

WFA is pleased to sponsor an annual Award program to encourage Wellington County students to pursue post secondary studies in agriculture or an agriculture related field of study (it’s relation may be established by applicant in the body of the essay)
Four awards of $1000 (minimum) each are available to students who reside in Wellington County-The Flewwelling Award, the John Sealey Bursary, the Ray Baptie Bursary and a WFA Board of Directors Bursary. More students may be awarded or a higher amount awarded at the discretion of our committee and budget availability. Any year of study may apply, but applicants may not have previously received a bursary.


Requirements:
1) Complete the WFA Ag Student Award Application.
2) Write an ‘essay’ of approximately 500 words in which you indicate why you should be a recipient of the above- mentioned award (Basically 500 words about yourself, and how you plan to use your knowledge to work within or support the Ag Industry post study)
3) Submit proof of attending a post secondary school program including documentation of program year that you are enrolled in. (This documentation to be received by Sept 15th, after official enrollment)
4) If you are notified as being the recipient of a bursary, you must forward a photo suitable for a media release by WFA prior to receiving your cheque.
Applications can be received by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by contacting Katherine Noble, WFA Administrator at 519-323-7294, 
Deadline for applications : September 1st of each year

The leadership of Ontario’s agricultural organizations named below are pleased to find common ground with the Ontario government in respect to protecting farmland under the proposed Provincial Planning Statement, with thanks to Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, for their willingness to meet with farmers on this issue, better understand our position and work together to find a resolution on this matter.

By Paul Vickers, Executive Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Leadership recruitment and development are foundational to the long-term success of any business or organization. At the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), for example, attracting dedicated leaders and supporting their skills development plays a key role in our organization’s management and succession planning approach.

The OFA is led by a board of directors who are chosen for those positions by farmers in designated zones across Ontario. In June every year, a certain number of board positions, which are three-year terms, are up for election – giving candidates a chance to put their name forward for a seat on the board and farmers the opportunity to vote for who they would like to be their representative.

Wellington County –

Wellington County’s population is expected to increase by 61% by 2051 which will put notable pressure on area farmland. Understanding the impacts of the agri-food system is crucial to help balance the needs of Wellington County’s population growth while continuing to strengthen the agrifood  system.

The Wellington Federation of Agriculture (WFA) recently released a report that examines the agri-food system in the County. Wellington County’s agri-food system contributes $2.8 billion to Canada’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The primary agriculture sector in Wellington County plays a crucial role in the economy by contributing $841 million to Ontario’s GDP and employing over 12,260 people. Wellington County accounts for a notable portion of the provincial agricultural supply chain, too, producing 5.8% of 2021 provincial farm cash receipts.

WFA recognizes the Grand River Agricultural Society as a valued partner in our shared mission of supporting the local agricultural industry and are thankful for the generous financial support towards this project. The Society’s work demonstrates its deep commitment to protecting our valuable farmland and ensuring its sustainability for future generations.

 

Updated: May 12, 2023

OFA does not support the Planning Act amendment specified in Schedule 6 of Bill 97 to give the Minister the ability to issue MZOs that are not consistent with policy statements, provincial plans and official plans. However, OFA understands the need for the Minister to have the power of an MZO and we support MZO usage in areas of the province that are without robust local planning processes. We have no objection to MZOs being used within the lands that would be considered the Urban Envelope.

As a strong advocate for the protection of Ontario’s farmlands for their long-term ability to produce food, fibre, fuel, flowers, and nursery stock, OFA is unable to support amendments to the Planning Act that would give the Minister or any other planning authority the ability to make planning decisions which are not consistent with the PPS 2020. On balance, the policies of the PPS 2020 represent the minimum standard in support of protecting the environment, farmland and public health and safety.

 

The leadership of Ontario’s agricultural organizations, named below, are united in asking the Ontario government to take pause on its recently released Proposed Provincial Planning Statement and newly proposed Bill 97.

We stand in strong opposition to the 3 lot severances per farm parcel proposed in prime agricultural areas as well as other measures that weaken local farmland protection. We request that the limited circumstances permitting residential lot creation in prime agricultural areas under the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020, be retained in the new Proposed Provincial Planning Statement.

 

WFA AGM and OFA Regional Meeting is at The Grandway this year on Oct 28!  Tickets are $20 each and feature a plated Pork Tenderloin dinner.

Guest Speaker is Tim May aka 'Farmer Tim'!

For tickets email Katherine Noble at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Oct 14--we now accept etransfer!

Dinner is at 7, meeting portion starts at 8.

Do you want to make rewarding contributions to the future of our agricultural industry-both locally and provincially?

The Wellington Federation of Agriculture (WFA) is a local, general farm organization with over 1500 members, affiliated with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and dedicated to uniting the farming community through grassroots leadership and cooperation

 

We are currently seeking an individual to provide administrative services to our board on a part-time basis, working from home. (average 15 hours/week)

 

The WFA Administrator reports to the WFA President and Board of Directors and will provide administrative services for the Federation, assisting the County Federation Board of Directors in achieving its mandate:

 

  • To improve the welfare of the individual farmer and the farming industry
  • To bring the viewpoints, concerns and recommendations of the membership to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) for policy development and action and to interpret OFA policy so developed to all members of the WFA
  • To effectively and promptly communicate core agricultural information to the farming community
  • To accurately present Wellington County agriculture to the community at large
  • To work in collaboration with the OFA

 

Provides a key link between Board, members, and community; and will endeavour to build and maintain exceptional service-driven relationships and effectively resolve member concerns, plan events and manage internal and external communications.

 

Key Position Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Follows all County Federation policies/procedures, Health and Safety
  • Have a reliable vehicle, Driver’s License and insurance.
  • Work closely with local OFA Member Service Representative and WFA Board Directors

 

Financial:

  • Prepare monthly financial statements, circulate bank statements to Board
  • Support the annual financial review in preparations of annual financial statement
  • Pay accounts following Board approval of expenditures and co-signing of cheques
  • Prepare Annual Reports for Annual Meeting
  • Calculate Per Diems for Directors

 

Administration:

  • Support the individual County President and decisions made by the Board
  • Arrange and attend all meetings (in person or virtual), provide refreshments if required
  • Prepare agendas in cooperation with President
  • Take minutes and distribute to Board
  • Follow-up directives by the Board and support committees
  • Create letters on behalf of the President or County Federation, and mail or email after Board approval
  • Research information in advance of meetings
  • Review correspondence and forward to President and Directors
  • Maintain files of information and post to ‘slack’
  • Maintains and manages website, social media accounts
  • Refer to WFA Constitution, policies, and bylaws and Roberts Rules of Order
  • Maintain files, general information; historical information
  • Planning and executing of planned events
  • Coordinate Annual General Meeting

 

Education:

  • Completion of a minimum two years post-secondary, Diploma from an accredited educational institution or equivalent experience preferred in agricultural industry.

 

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Above average computer skills, Microsoft Office familiarity, electronic filing of information and photos
  • Ability to manage a home office
  • Strong background within the agricultural industry and the passion and energy to help it flourish
  • Experience working with Boards of Directors/Not for Profits
  • Demonstrates experience in creation of flyers, posters, and newsletters, event planning

 

Requirements:

  • Strong language and communication skills, written and verbal
  • Strong planning and organizational skills
  • Attention to detail and deadlines
  • Available to attend evening meetings and occasional weekend events
  • Self-disciplined and motivated to work alone from home
  • Ability to multitask and pivot 

 

Working Conditions:

  • Works in a home office environment as well as out in the field as required
  • Will be required to work flexible hours (evening and weekend) to attend meetings or events and functions
  • May deal with conflict and member relations issues causing stress at times
  • Spends a frequent amount of time driving to events, meetings and member venues
  • Travel required
  • Possesses a reliable vehicle and Ontario Driver’s License + insurance

 

Please forward resumes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 5 pm July 22nd, 2022

Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

GUELPH, ON [June 10, 2022] – Ontario is losing 319 acres of farmland every day.

That is the average daily loss of farmland, according to data from the latest Census of Agriculture that was released last month. It is a steep climb from the 175 daily average loss that was recorded in the 2016 Census of Agriculture.

“To see a daily loss of 319 acres of farmland is a shocking jolt of reality that is simply not sustainable if we hope to have any kind of food sovereignty or independence in Ontario,” says Peggy Brekveld, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “While urban growth isn’t the only cause of farmland loss, it can’t be denied that development is putting intense pressure on Ontario farmland. Urban development is leap-frogging the Greenbelt and straining against urban-rural boundaries.”

Farmland is a finite, but diminishing resource, and the availability of prime agricultural land is fundamental to Ontario’s future. A country’s ability to feed its own population is an important pillar of a well-functioning and sustainable society.

But to do that, we need to ensure that we have land where we can grow our food, and in Ontario that space is limited. While the province is geographically large, much of the northern reaches cannot be farmed because of the Canadian Shield and climate. In the South, cities and towns cover much of the landscape. All told, only about five per cent of the province’s land is suitable for growing food or raising livestock.

Losing 319 acres of this land daily is the equivalent of losing nine family farms each week.

“What will that look like in 10, 50 or 100 years if left unchecked?” asks Brekveld. “Once this farmland is gone, it’s gone forever. We are not saying don’t build. We get the province has to accommodate growth. What we are saying is to build in the right places through long-term strategic land-use planning.”

The 319 acres per day figure was calculated based on a comparison of the total farm area in the province in the 2016 Census of Agriculture (12.4 million acres) versus the 2021 Census of Agriculture (11.7 million acres). The difference of 582,392 acres is divided by five to reach an average annual loss of 116,478.4 acres per year. Divide that by 365 days to 319.12 acres per day.

About the Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit www.ofa.on.ca.

About Home Grown

A public awareness initiative of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Home Grown is a campaign to advocate for the importance of Ontario farms as a source of food, fuel and fibre. Arable farmland is the most important natural resource, but Ontario is losing an average of 175 acres of farmland to urban development every day; that is the equivalent of five family farms paved over every week. It is the objective of Home Grown to help develop a workable plan to guide responsible development in Ontario, ensuring growth to provide housing and support local tax bases while also protecting productive farmland.

Join the conversation on Twitter @OntarioFarms and Facebook /ontariofarms. For more information, please visit homegrown.ofa.on.ca.

For more information, contact:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218
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WFA is hosting an Ag Debate for the riding of Wellington Halton Hills

Available on Facebook live and recorded, and on recorded on youtube.

Participate live via zoom

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85823422101?pwd=RC9VRGczaU85M1lnMnh4TUplRXRmUT09

By Paul Maurice, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The care, well-being and safety of livestock is of the utmost importance for farmers, especially in cases of transportation. Anyone involved in transporting animals, directly or indirectly, has the responsibility to ensure their livestock are ready for the journey.

In an effort to improve animal welfare and reduce risk to livestock during transport, amendments to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Health of Animals Regulations: Part XII: Transportation of Animals were enacted which requires new rules to be followed during animal transportation. These changes were implemented to improve the well-being of animals during the entire transportation process and are the result of many years of consultation with key industry stakeholders.

Following a two-year period focused on education, awareness and compliance promotion, enforcement of the transport regulations officially came into effect on February 20, 2022. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) wants to remind members of notable changes to the regulations to ensure compliance and the welfare of livestock before, during, and after transportation.

Under the new regulations, anyone transporting animals commercially or for business/financial benefit must keep records related to the movement of those animals. These records include the name and address of the producer, ID number, measurement of floor area available to the animals, date, time and place, a description of the animals, and the last time they were given food or water. A Transfer of Care (TOC) document is now required for situations where the responsibility and care of livestock is transferred from one party to another. For example, a TOC is needed when a producer loads their animals on the trailer of a commercial shipper, or when transporting animals to an auction market or abattoir. This document provides proof that a load of animals has arrived or that the care/responsibility of those animals is passed on from one person to another.

The definitions of unfit and compromised animals have been updated in the regulations, with specific directions to determine if your livestock are safe for transport. The transportation of any animal considered unfit is a direct violation of the regulations, with the exception of receiving care recommended by a veterinarian.

Anyone involved in animal transport must assess the fitness of each animal while ensuring all provisions of the regulations are met. Then, only animals fit for the intended trip need to be selected, prepared, and loaded. To help determine if your animals are fit for their journey, the CFIA has developed a user-friendly brochure and guide for producers and a one-page fact sheet for signs of an unfit or compromised animal.

Significant changes have been made to the time frames during which animals are in transport without feed, water, and rest (FWR). Feed, water and rest intervals now vary by species and age of animal, and cover cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses, and birds. It is also important to note that compromised animals have additional FWR requirements.

A verbal or written contingency plan is now needed for those transporting animals for business, including commercial carriers. The plan covers unforeseen delays or cases of an animal(s) becoming compromised or unfit during loading, confinement, transport or unloading and establishes steps to be taken to reduce or mitigate animal suffering in the event of these circumstances. A template for contingency plans can be found in Appendix 2 of the CFIA’s interpretive guidance document. Anyone required to have a contingency plan must inform all those involved in transporting of the animals (directly or indirectly) or who take part in the decision-making of the contingency plan.

Those not in compliance with the new regulations as of February 20, 2022, may be subjected to verbal or written notices and monetary or non-monetary penalties. CFIA’s enforcement approach will balance the need to ensure the care and well-being of animals during the entire transportation process, while supporting the different industry sectors in complying with the regulations.

OFA is committed to the continuous improvement in animal care and handling practices and increasing animal welfare. If you are involved in activities related to the loading, transport, or unloading of animals, ensure you are familiar with and follow the federal transport of animal regulations.

For more information, members can view CFIA’s ‘Then and Now’ fact sheet, demonstrating how the regulations have changed since the amendments in 2020.

For more information, contact:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218
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May be an image of text

September 9 at 7:30.  Visit our events page for links/phone in number

Deadline Sept 1.

Must be in an ag related post secondary program

Resident of Wellington County

Not a previous award recipient

complete application and 500 word essay

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

Stay-at-home exemption letter

Updated: January 14, 2021

In response to the Ontario government’s stay-at-home orders which came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 14, 2021, OFA has developed the Stay-at-Home Exemption Letter for members and their employees. The letter clearly outlines that under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, any person (farmer or employee) carrying the letter is considered exempt from the stay-at-home order while conducting essential business activities.

The letter clearly identifies businesses that are permitted to stay open as well as a list of essential activities related to the agriculture and food sector that are exempt.

The purpose of the letter is to allow farmers and employees to travel in order to conduct business.

GUELPH, ON [December 7, 2020] – Ontario’s conservation authorities provide a watershed level planning perspective that transcends municipal borders, one that the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) supports and one that deserves support, not only from the province but also from municipalities.

“Agriculture and conservation authorities have a vested interest in the health and sustainability of our land and our waterways,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA President. “Ensuring conservation authorities can adequately fulfill their roles and responsibilities is important in enabling farmers and landowners to be able to protect our most vital land and water resources.”

This is about the long-term planning for protecting and preserving our productive land and water resources.

The proposed amendments to Schedule 6 will negatively impact a conservation authority’s role in watershed level planning as well as their role in keeping development out of hazardous areas, such as flood plains, erodible beaches, etc.

That watershed level planning perspective transcends not only municipal boundaries, but also the boundaries of unique features, such as the Oak Ridges Moraine, as well as protected spaces like the Greenbelt Plan area. Development activities occurring outside the Greenbelt will have negative impacts to protected spaces in the Greenbelt Plan area.

OFA strongly supports plans for an agricultural representative to have a voice and seat at the board table of the conservation authorities. We believe those on the board should have a vested interest in the conservation authority area they’re representing.

However, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has proposed a new section to Schedule 6 which would require a conservation authority to issue a permit when the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing issues a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO), which can override a conservation authority’s watershed-based decision. The new section requires the conservation authority to issue the permit even if the application does not meet their criteria for issuing a permit and/or contravenes provincial policies and plans. OFA opposes the government’s abuse of its MZO powers.

As an organization, we understand the importance of conservation authorities to be able to implement stop work orders when things are not going well or as planned. In those situations, prompt action is vital.

OFA also agrees that conservation authorities have a role and responsibility in development related to natural hazards and the conservation and management of lands, the ability to appeal planning decisions is appropriate.

OFA emphasizes that there is only one Ontario landscape, meaning that the full range of land uses found across Ontario; urban, rural, agricultural, natural heritage, cultural heritage and mineral extraction, must share that landscape. Our agricultural areas not only provide us with food, fibre and fuel, but also a broad range of environmental and ecological goods and services that benefit all Ontarians. Ontario’s conservation authorities play a vital role in fulfilling that perspective through their role in watershed level planning.

It is evident that more time and consultation is needed to develop workable solutions for all stakeholders.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit ofa.on.ca.

For more information, contact:

Peggy Brekveld
President
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cathy Lennon
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
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GUELPH, ON [November 23, 2020] – The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is preparing for a year of growth and opportunities for the agri-food sector with a new leader at the helm. Peggy Brekveld has been elected as OFA’s 32nd President and the third female President in the organization’s history. She will serve in the position for a one-year term.

Working together and collaborating with other organizations during the pandemic has been vital in keeping the agri-food sector strong and addressing the ongoing issues that our industry continues to face. This year more than ever, our industry has come together as many voices, with one message, to better support Ontario farmers.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recognizes that as we navigate through a global pandemic, there are many competing issues, priorities, and concerns that continue to take precedence throughout the province. Many don’t realize that a strong domestic agri-food sector is the key to food security, economic recovery and growth.

When challenges arise, the agri-food industry has been able to come together as one to best support, not only Ontario farmers, but the provincial economy and families across the province. As Ontario’s largest general farm organization, OFA has the ability to build bridges, strengthen connections, and support the 200 commodities and agri-food stakeholders across our province.

Throughout the pandemic, our industry has been able to come together to tackle critical issues that have threatened the structure and wellbeing of our sector. Earlier this year, a freedom-of- information (FOI) request was filed asking for the names and farm business registration numbers of all farms in Ontario. OFA, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, and National Farmers Union – Ontario were able to collaborate on this issue and effectively mediate the situation, ensuring that the request was withdrawn.

When Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020, was introduced, Ontario’s livestock and poultry commodity organizations, the food processing sector, and OFA worked together to strongly support and advocate for the legislation to be passed.

On a national scale, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, commodity organizations, and provincial organizations such as OFA have been advocating for changes to improve the AgriStability program to help manage production and market risks. The ongoing collaborative effort that agri-food organizations are taking has been well received at the recent Federal- Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Ministers’ meeting.

The agri-food industry is diverse, with many organizations advocating for support. We are stronger when we can forge and strengthen partnerships and speak up for agriculture as one voice.

This year, OFA has been able to collaborate with organizations to advocate for the industry and produce resources to help spread awareness or support individuals through various labour initiatives. OFA was able to work alongside Meat and Poultry Ontario and livestock representatives on a Meat and Poultry Growth Strategy, to launch a series of training videos through the Feeding Your Future initiative.

We have also been able to work with rural and municipal organizations to expand broadband internet across rural Ontario, and countless other initiatives and committees at the local, provincial and national level.

OFA staff and board members will continue to expand our network and collaborate with industry stakeholders through 2021, identifying new ways to support and grow the agri-food industry, and achieve our priorities.

The future of agri-food depends on the strength of our industry’s voices collectively. As the African proverb states, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’

For more information, contact:

Peggy Brekveld
President
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
807-707-2814

Cathy Lennon
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883

Updated: November 21, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Canadian government and the Ontario government have announced financial assistance measures for individuals and businesses, including farm businesses. OFA has developed a summary of existing programs and new financial assistance measures that may be relevant to Ontario farm businesses.

Please note this summary is provided for information purposes only and program details may have been amended since this summary was drafted. Therefore, we recommend you rely on official program guidelines instead of this summary when applying (E&OE).

New Programs

Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF)

Overview: Created by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), “Canada United” is a national fundraising campaign which aims to bring partners together to support local Canadian businesses. The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) will provide small businesses (including farmers) relief grants of up to $5,000 to offset costs related to purchasing personal protective equipment, making physical modifications to their business to meet local health and safety requirements, and/or adopting digital technologies to move more of their business online. CUSBRF will be managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network in support of other chambers and partners. The federal government contributed $12 million to the CUSBRF.

Who is eligible: Eligible small businesses (including farmers) must have between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales; and have up to 75 employees. A pre-application checklist is available online.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2020/10/minister-ng-announces-support-for-small-businesses-through-the-canada-united-small-business-relief-fund.html

How to apply: Starting on Oct 26, 2020, small businesses can apply online through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce website (https://occ.ca/canada-united-small-business-relief-fund/).

Ontario-Canada’s Emergency On-Farm Support Fund

Overview: AAFC will invest $11.6 million to compensate Ontario farmers for some costs associated with on-farm mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on farms. This funding originates from part of the $35 million national funding announced July 31, 2020 in 50:50 cost-share funding to assist farm employers with the costs of additional on-farm mitigation measures, including living quarters, to improve the health and safety of all farm workers and limit the spread of COVID-19. Eligible costs include infrastructure improvements to living quarters, temporary or emergency housing (on- or off-farm), as well as PPE, sanitary stations, and any other health and safety measures. Ontario farmers can claim for preventive expenses including a combination of workplace modifications, PPE, transportation and temporary housing will double to $15,000. The program will also include a new category for small capital projects of up to $100,000 for housing modifications, workplace modifications and equipment to allow greater physical distancing for workers.

Who is eligible: Ontario farm employers of Canadian and temporary foreign workers.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/07/government-of-canada-invests-in-measures-to-boost-protections-for-temporary-foreign-workers-and-address-covid-19-outbreaks-on-farms.html & https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58785/governments-investing-266-million-to-further-protect-ontario-agri-food-workers-during-covid-19

How to apply: (Update: Oct 27, 2020) – In Ontario, the $11.6 million federal investment will be delivered through the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program (see below for details). OMAFRA intends to make updated program guidelines and submission forms available soon (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/agrifoodprogram.htm).

Ontario’s Northern Ontario Recovery Program (NORP)

Overview: Announced on September 28, 2020, NORP is targeted to assist Northern Ontario businesses adapt to new COVID-19 public health guidelines and protect employees and customers. Eligible projects may include: Building renovations and new constructions; Customer and employee safety installations; Equipment purchases, including personal protective equipment (PPE); Marketing for new business initiatives; Restructuring of business operations.

Who is eligible: Northern Ontario businesses, opened for over one year as of March 17, 2020, that experienced a revenue loss or expense increase as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and were impacted by the March 24, 2020 Ontario Emergency Order that closed in-person workplaces/worksites for non-essential businesses (although a business would not have had to close down completely itself to qualify).

Website for more details: https://nohfc.ca/en/news/2020/ontario-launches-recovery-program-for-northern-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19

How to apply: Applications are available from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) until December 31, 2020.

Ontario’s supports for small businesses in control or lockdown areas

Overview: (Updated) – On November 20, 2020, the Ontario government announced an additional $300 million in financial relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures. Combined with the funding announced on October 7, 2020, a total of $600 million in financial relief is available. Eligible businesses could receive rebates for municipal and education property taxes, and energy costs, including electricity and natural gas (or where natural gas is not available, propane and heating oil). Funding will cover the entire length of time that regionally targeted public health restrictions are in place.

Who is eligible: Support is available for businesses that were required to close or significantly restrict services in public health areas categorized as control or lockdown (or formerly categorized as “modified Stage 2”).

Website for more details: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58790/ontario-continues-to-support-restaurants-during-covid-19-pandemic & https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs

How to apply: Applications are now available online: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/

Ontario Main Street Relief Grant: PPE support

Overview: On October 7, 2020, this $60 million initiative was announced as part of the proposed Main Street Recovery Act, 2020. It will provide a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Who is eligible: Ontario businesses should review requirements when applying.

Website for more details: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs

How to apply: Applications are now available online: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/

Ontario-Canada Digital Main Street platform

Overview: On June 11, 2020, this $57 million initiative was announced. It is targeted to assist 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence. Three programs are available under the initiative: ShopHERE powered by Google (to build online stores for small businesses); $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant (to small businesses for adoption of new technologies and digital marketing; Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce and Businesses Improvement Areas may also apply for a Digital Service Squad grant and provide one-on-one support to businesses); Future-Proofing Main Street (to provide digital transformation services and support to help existing businesses create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content). Also announced, the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Recovery Activation Program (RAP), offering digital consulting sessions, will be available province-wide.

Who is eligible: Ontario businesses should review requirements when applying.

Website for more details: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/ontario/ and for details on the Recovery Activation Program: http://supportbusiness.bot.com/RAP/

How to apply: Sign up for application details using the above-noted website; (for the Recovery Activation Program, applications are available: https://wtctoronto.com/scaleup/applynow-rap/).

Ontario’s Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program

Overview: On June 12, 2020, the Ontario Government enhanced the previous $2.25 million Ontario-Canada Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program by committing up to $15 million. Farm businesses can apply for 70 per cent funding (up to a maximum of $7,500) for initiatives like purchasing personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and redesigning workstations. The $7,500 limit is calculated based on the amount of all payments made under both the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program and the previous Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program. Project costs incurred on or after March 15, 2020 will now be eligible under the enhanced programming. The program has been expanded to include operations that provide off-farm packing services (i.e. cooling, storing, washing, sorting, packing) for products such as fruit and vegetables, as well as organizations that offer corn detasseling services. Support is also now available for producers and other operations to assist with costs for short-term accommodation and transportation related to preventive measures, as well as those incurred in addressing an illness or outbreak.

Who is eligible: A registered Ontario farm business, with a valid FBR number or allowable exemption, with intensive use of labour where employees may operate within close proximity of one another, or where the operator is responsible for accommodating workers on- or off-site. Ontario corn detasseling businesses and Ontario off-farm primary packing businesses (e.g., cooling, washing, sorting, packaging, storing) for primary agricultural commodities (e.g., fruits and vegetables) are also eligible.

Website for more details: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/agrifoodprogramguide.htm

How to apply: Apply online: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/agrifoodprogram.pdf Applications will be continuously processed upon submission, while funding is still available.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

Overview: (Oct 9, 2020) The federal government announced its intention to introduce legislation to provide rent and mortgage support until June 2021 directly to qualifying businesses, charities and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop. The program will subsidize a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations will be able to make retroactive claims for the period beginning September 27 and ending October 24, 2020. A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25 per cent for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy.

Who is eligible: Organizations should review requirements when applying.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/11/canada-emergency-rent-subsidy.html

How to apply: Application details to be released after Bill C-9 receives Royal Assent.

Canada’s Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund

Overview: The federal government announced $100 million for Farm Credit Canada to be the sole investor in a new Venture Capital Fund, in partnership with Forage Capital Inc. This Fund can provide companies with the stability and flexibility they need to rebuild their business models during challenging times. The fund will primarily offer convertible debt investments, as well as other flexible financing solutions. Convertible debt investments give companies the flexibility of paying down debt or providing the investor with equity in the business.

Who is eligible: The Fund will consider investments along the entire Agri-Food system with a focus on companies that have suffered a significant disruption to their business model and have a well-defined need for new capital.

Website for more details: https://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/about-fcc/media-newsroom/news-releases/2020/fcc-invests-150-million-into-canadas-agriculture-and-food-industry.html

How to apply: Contact Forage Capital Inc. (http://www.foragecapitalpartners.com/)

Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Overview: The federal government announced a $962 million fund specifically targeted to those businesses and organizations that have been unable to access existing support measures. The initiative includes $675 million to support regional economies, businesses, organizations, and communities across Canada and $287 million to support Community Futures Development Corporations to specifically target small businesses and rural communities.

Who is eligible: Businesses and organizations unable to access existing support measures.

Website for more details: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/icgc.nsf/eng/h_07682.html

How to apply: For loans up to $40,000, contact your local Community Futures Office: https://cfontario.ca/find-cfdc-office-pf-en;

For loans over $40,000, contact your Regional Development Agency, in Southern Ontario: http://www.feddevontario.gc.ca/eic/site/723.nsf/eng/h_02581.html?OpenDocument;

in Northern Ontario: http://fednor.gc.ca/eic/site/fednor-fednor.nsf/eng/h_fn04591.html;

Ontario-Canada AgriRecovery (cattle & hog) Initiatives

Overview: The federal government launched national AgriRecovery initiatives of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants. This new federal funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing. (Update: June 17, 2020) – The governments of Canada and Ontario has announced they will invest up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. The beef cattle set-aside program will provide beef farmers with up to $5 million in support. Farmers will be able to claim $2 per head of cattle per day to help pay for additional maintenance costs should they have to keep their market-ready animals on their farms for extended periods of time. The hog sector support program will provide hog farmers with up to $5 million to help cover additional maintenance costs. Ontario is also providing up to $1.5 million to process and package surplus pork for food banks, to provide those in need with fresh, locally produced pork products.

Who is eligible: Details still to be released.

Website for more details: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/05/05/supporting-canadas-farmers-food-businesses-and-food-supply &

https://news.ontario.ca/omafra/en/2020/06/canada-and-ontario-support-beef-and-hog-farmers-during-covid-19.htm

How to apply: Application details still to be released.

Canada’s $5 billion increase to Farm Credit Canada’s lending capacity

Overview: Farm Credit Canada (FCC) received an enhancement to its capital base that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity. Focus will be on assisting the industry in addressing cash flow challenges so that businesses can remain focused on business-critical functions.

Who is eligible: Farmers, agri-businesses, and food processors.

Website for more details: https://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/covid-19.html

How to apply: Customers facing financial pressure may contact their FCC relationship manager or the FCC Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301.

Canada’s Income Tax Payment Deferral

Overview: (Update: Sept 23, 2020) – CRA further extended the payment due date for 2019 individual tax returns and 2019 or 2020 corporation, or trust returns, as well as for installment payments to Sept 30, 2020. CRA will waive late-filing penalties where a 2019 individual return or a 2019 or 2020 corporation, trust return is filed late if it is filed by Sept 30, 2020. CRA will also waive arrears interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporation, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020 to Sept 30, 2020, and from April 1, 2020 to June 30,2020 for Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) returns.

Who is eligible: All businesses owing income taxes.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

How to apply: Check the above website for filing due dates and extended payment due dates.

Canada’s Work-Sharing Program

Overview: Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. It provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the government is introducing temporary special measures, including the extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.

Who is eligible: The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing.html

How to apply: Ontario employers should email completed applications (available on the website noted above) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Overview: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is a temporary wage subsidy for employers that aims to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19. (Update: Oct 9, 2020) – The federal government extended CEWS until June 2021. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

Who is eligible: Individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non-profit organizations and registered charities.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/news/2020/08/canada-revenue-agency-opens-applications-for-enhanced-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html

How to apply: Applications are online: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html

Canada’s 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

Overview: Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (noted above) may qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, 2020. The Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 for each eligible employee and to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer.

Who is eligible: Eligible employers are individuals, partnerships, non-profit organizations, charities, or Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation), who are eligible for the small business deduction: and have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html

How to apply: Whoever is responsible for making your payroll remittances must manually calculate the subsidy. Your current payroll remittance of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that you send to the CRA can be reduced by the subsidy amount.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

Overview: The CRB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, if they are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Who is eligible: Self-employed individuals and those previously employed, who are not entitled to EI benefits.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit.html

How to apply: Apply online (website above) through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Overview: The CRSB is for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 ($500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks).

Who is eligible: Workers who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19; are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19; or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-sickness-benefit.html

How to apply: Apply online (website above) through either the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Overview: The CRCB is for care givers who are unable to work because of care giving responsibilities ($500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household).

Who is eligible: Workers unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19; or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit.html

How to apply: Apply online (website above) through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Canada’s Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Overview: The BCAP will support access to financing for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions. Business Development Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) will employ their internal risk management practices to provide more than $65 billion in financing at market rates to businesses with viable business models.

Who is eligible: All credit-worthy businesses with viable business models whose activities fall within the mandate of either BDC and/or EDC are eligible to benefit from BCAP.

Website for more details: https://www.bdc.ca/en/special-support/special-support-edc-business-credit-availability-program-bcap-guarantee

How to apply: Contact your financial institution. (Update: Aug 31, 2020) – The extended application deadline is June 2021.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Overview: The CEBA is being expanded to a $60,000 interest-free loan. Up to $20,000 of that amount will be eligible for complete forgiveness if the remaining amount is fully repaid on or before Dec 31, 2022.

Who is eligible: Businesses and not-for-profits can determine their eligibility by using the CEBA Pre-Screen Tool (https://verify-verifier.ceba-cuec.ca/). As of Oct 26, 2020, eligible Canadian businesses that currently operate through a personal bank account can apply for CEBA, but they must open a business bank account at their financial institution. (Update: Nov 17, 2020) – The announced CEBA loan limit increase to up to $60,000 will be available soon to all eligible previous and new applicants.

Website for more details: https://ceba-cuec.ca/

How to apply: Contact your financial institution to apply. The government’s CEBA Call Centre number is: 1-888-324-4201 (Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST). The extended application deadline is Dec 31, 2020.

Ontario’s support for industrial and commercial electricity users

Overview: (June 26, 2020) – The Government of Ontario announced that companies that participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will not be required to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours, as their proportion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for these companies will be frozen, providing more stable electricity pricing for two years.

Who is eligible: Industrial and Commercial electricity users participating in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI).

Website for more details: http://www.ieso.ca/en/Sector-Participants/Settlements/Global-Adjustment-Class-A-Eligibility

How to apply: Applies automatically – customers will not need to anticipate and reduce their electricity demand during peak hours.

Ontario’s new fixed electricity price for time-of-use rates

Overview: Effective November 1, Winter time-of-use (TOU) prices are: Off-Peak at 10.5 ¢/kWh, Mid-Peak at 15.0 ¢/kWh, and On-Peak at 21.7 ¢/kWh.

Who is eligible: Residential, farm and small business customers on time-of-use pricing.

Website for more details: https://www.oeb.ca/newsroom/2020/ontario-energy-board-sets-new-electricity-prices-households-and-small-businesses

How to apply: Pricing applies automatically – no customer action is required.

Ontario’s COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)

Overview: Ontario government’s $9 million CEAP for residential customers provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. The program is being delivered by electricity distributors, gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers. The government also announced $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to help small businesses that are struggling to pay their energy bills because of the COVID-19 emergency. Through CEAP-SB, small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise. Small business and registered charity customers could also be eligible for up to $425 in support towards their natural gas bill.

Who is eligible: Residential electricity and gas customers (or spouse) who are unemployed on the date of their application for CEAP; and have received Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) since March 17, 2020. Eligibility details for small business customers through CEAP-SB are available on the website noted below.

Website for more details: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-ceap

Residential CEAP details: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-ceap/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-0

CEAP-SB details: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/covid-19-energy-assistance-programs/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-small

How to apply: Apply for CEAP (both Residential and Small Business applications) through your utility.

Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
(Now closed)

Overview: Announced $900 million to help Ontario business tenants through forgivable loans to eligible commercial property (retail, industrial, office) owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The forgivable loan would be conditional on the property owner and tenant entering into a rent forgiveness agreement (including a moratorium on eviction for three-months) pursuant to which the property owner would reduce the tenant’s monthly rent to 25 per cent of rent that relates to fixed costs. The property owner would be responsible for the remaining 25 per cent.

Who is eligible: An eligible small business tenant is one that: Pays monthly rent not exceeding $50,000 in gross rent payments; and is, a non-essential small business that has temporarily closed, or who is experiencing a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.

Website for more details: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/4/ontario-canada-emergency-commercial-rent-assistance-program.html

How to apply: Application intake is now closed: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
(Now closed – However retroactive applications (Aug 30 – Sep 26) are being accepted until December 2, 2020)

Overview: To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, this benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB replaced the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. (Update: Aug 20, 2020): Access to additional 4 weeks of CERB (for maximum of 28 weeks). On Sept 27, CERB beneficiaries will transition to Employment Insurance benefits. The government intends to create 3 new programs: The Canada Recovery Benefit for self employed workers and workers not eligible for EI ($400 per week), the Canada Recovery Care Giving Benefit for care givers who are unable to work because of care giving responsibilities ($500 per week), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate for reasons related to Covid-19 ($500).

Who is eligible: The CERB covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who cease working for reasons related to COVID-19 for at least 14 consecutive days within the four-week period in which they apply for the payment, and for those who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Workers earning up to $1,000 a month and those who have recently run out of employment insurance will now also be eligible. Eligibility is proposed for seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI benefits and can’t find their usual seasonal work as a result of the pandemic.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

How to apply: Apply online (website above) through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Ontario-Canada Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative (now closed)

Overview: 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 for a Canadian Agricultural Partnership 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.

Who is eligible: An applicant must have a Canada Revenue Agency Business Number; be involved in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors; and be engaged in the project and be contributing cash towards the project.

Website for more details: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/ebusiness.htm#eligible

How to apply: Due to high demand, the intake was paused while applications that were submitted by May 25, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. are reviewed and funding decisions made. If funding is still available following the review of the remaining applications, OMAFRA will re-open the application intake.

Ontario’s Electricity Disconnection Ban Extension (now closed)

Overview: The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) extended the winter ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for residential customers until July 31, 2020.

Who is eligible: Residential, farm and low-volume small business electricity customers.

Website for more details: https://www.oeb.ca/newsroom/2020/oeb-covid-19-update

How to apply: Contact your electricity utility.

Canada’s Deferral of HST Remittance and Customs Duty Payments (now closed)

Overview: Businesses, including self-employed individuals, could defer until June 30, 2020 their remittances of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), as well as customs duties owing on their imports.

Who is eligible: Business who must remit HST and Customs Duties.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-gst-hst.html

How to apply: New deadlines applied automatically.

Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Quarantine Assistance Program (now closed)

Overview: The announced $50 million is to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers with temporary foreign workers (TFWs) with the costs associated with the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. Up to $1,500 per TFW will be provided to employers or those working with them to ensure isolation protocols are fully met.

Who is eligible: Above-noted employers with TFWs adhering to the upon-arrival 14-day isolation protocol.

Website for more details: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/mandatory-isolation-support-for-temporary-foreign-workers-program/?id=1588186409721

How to apply: Online applications are available on the above-noted website. (Update: Sept 23, 2020) – Applications were to be submitted by Sept 15, 2020.

Canada’s Surplus Food Rescue Program (now closed)

Overview: Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada (AAFC) launched the $50 million program on June 15, 2020. This time-limited program will assist eligible participants to purchase (at cost or below cost) surplus food commodities from producers and food processors. The food is then to be distributed to vulnerable Canadians. Surplus food may be fresh (such as produce), or in need of further processing due to its highly perishable nature (fish or meat).

Who is eligible: Community or charitable organizations/municipal government and agencies who can acquire and deliver the most surplus product to vulnerable Canadians.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/agriculture-agri-food/news/2020/06/government-of-canada-implements-surplus-food-rescue-program-to-help-alleviate-food-concerns-of-vulnerable-canadians.html

How to apply: Application intake for the Surplus Food Rescue Program is now closed.

Canada’s Emergency Processing Fund (now closed)

Overview: The $77.5 million program will provide project funding to assist food businesses to implement changes required by COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of workers, including plant retrofits. The program will also provide repayable contributions (loans) to assist businesses with Strategic Investments to improve, automate, and modernize food processing or manufacturing facilities to manage surplus stock; increase production; or that are operating at less than full capacity or closed, including conversion or adaptation of existing greenhouses to increase horticultural production.

Who is eligible: Eligible applicants are for-profit organizations (including cooperatives) involved in agricultural food manufacturing or processing, This includes agricultural producers growing or rearing product which have a processing line to processes products grown or reared at the facility. For example, greenhouses that also clean, sort and package their or other greenhouses production. Also eligible are agricultural producers that are converting or adapting existing greenhouses to increase year-round horticultural production. Activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by Sept 30, 2020.

Website for more details: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/emergency-processing-fund/?id=1591291974693

How to apply: Application intake for the Emergency Processing Fund is now closed.

Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) (now closed)

Overview: Increased funding of $9.2 million is to assist in helping to create up to 700 new positions in agriculture for youth (ages 15 to 30). The YESP will provide agriculture employers up to 50% of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth up to $14,500.

Who is eligible: Farmers, agri-businesses, and industry associations are eligible. Employers may apply for funding retroactive to Apr 1, 2020, with projects to be completed by Mar 31, 2021.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/agriculture-agri-food/news/2020/05/government-of-canada-enhances-youth-employment-and-skills-program-to-help-create-new-positions-for-youth-in-the-agriculture-sector.html

How to apply: Due to a high demand, the application intake closed July 6, 2020.

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Ins. Board’s Financial Relief Package (now closed)

Overview: The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) deferred premium payments for six months for all businesses in the province. Employers participating in the financial relief package must report deferred amounts by Oct 31, 2020. Any repayment of deferred WSIB premiums will not begin before Jan 2021. WISB to release repayment installment schedule for deferred amounts this fall.

Who is eligible: All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance were eligible to defer WSIB premium payments until Aug 31, 2020.

Website for more details: https://www.wsib.ca/en/financialrelief

How to apply: Deferral period has now past.

Existing Programs

Ontario’s Risk Management Program (RMP) (including SDRM)

Overview: Ontario’s Risk Management Program (RMP) provides financial assistance when market commodity prices fall below established support levels for eligible livestock and grains and oilseeds commodities. As part of the RMP program, Self-Directed Risk Management (SDRM) accounts enable eligible horticultural producers to receive Ontario government contributions when producer deposits are made, up to the maximum indicated on the deposit notice. The SDRM deposit maximum is based on eligible Allowable Net Sales. (Update July 16, 2020) Ontario has increased funding for Ontario’s Risk Management Program by $50 million, to provide up to $150 million per year starting in the 2020 program year.

Who is eligible: Livestock, grains & oilseed, edible horticulture producers of eligible commodities can participate in the RMP program. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the program guidelines (available from Agricorp).

Website for more details: https://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/RMP/Pages/Overview.aspx

How to apply: Contact Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999. Ontario farmers had until July 30, 2020, to apply for or make changes to coverage under RMP for livestock and RMP: Grains and Oilseeds.

Canada/Ontario’s Agri-Invest Program

Overview: The Agri-Invest program allows farmers to make an annual deposit into an account based on their Allowable Net Sales (ANS) and then receive matching government contributions up to a maximum government contribution of $10,000 per year. Participants can withdraw funds from their account at any time after the matching funds have been received.

Who is eligible: Farmers reporting farming income for tax purposes are eligible. However, a yearly minimum ANS of $25,000 is required to trigger the minimum matchable deposit of $250. Also, sales of supply-managed commodities are excluded from the Allowable Net Sales calculation.

Website for more details: www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/AgriInvest/Pages/Overview.aspx

How to apply: To participate, farming individuals must submit a T1163 income tax form to Canada Revenue Agency. Corporations must submit a Statement A to Agricorp.

Canada/Ontario’s Agri-Stability Program

Overview: The Agri-Stability Program is a whole-farm, margin-based program available to eligible farmers regardless of the commodities they produce. Under the Agri-Stability Program, a farm operation’s current year margin (eligible income minus eligible expenses) is compared to the farm operation’s reference margin. A government payment is made to the farmer when the farm’s margin in the current year (program year margin) is lower by an amount that exceeds 30% of the farm’s reference margin.

Who is eligible: Farmers reporting farming income for tax purposes are eligible as long as they have completed a production cycle and have completed at least six consecutive months of farming activity in the program year.

Website for more details: https://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/AgriStability/Pages/Overview.aspx

How to apply: Contact Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999. Ontario farmers had until July 3, 2020 to enrol. Participants who apply for a 2020 AgriStability interim payment will now receive 75 per cent of their estimated final payment (https://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/News/2020/Pages/AgriStability-HowToApplyForAnInterimPayment.aspx).

Canada/Ontario’s Production Insurance Program

Overview: Production Insurance coverage provides financial compensation for production losses caused by eligible perils. Some of these eligible perils include drought, flood, wind, frost, excessive rain, heat, snow, uncontrolled disease, insect infestations and wildlife. (Update: July 9, 2020) Ontario farmers already enrolled in an eligible production insurance plan, who suffer crop losses due to labour disruptions during the 2020 growing season, should notify Agricorp to access enhanced insurance coverages for: (1) an inability to attract sufficient on-farm labour due to COVID-19; and (2) Illness or quarantine of on-farm labour and the producer due to COVID-19.

Who is eligible: Farmers producing an insurable agricultural commodity.

Website for more details: https://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/ProductionInsurance/Pages/Default.aspx

How to apply: For plans with typical enrolment deadlines of April 1, May 1, and May 10, Ontario farmers had until June 1, 2020, to apply to Agricorp (1-888-247-4999) for coverage under Production Insurance or make changes to existing coverage.

Canada’s Advance Payment Program

Overview: The federal government announced up to $173 million in loan repayment deferrals under the Advance Payments Program (APP) to help farmers with an APP loan due by April 30.

Who is eligible: Farmers with APP loans.

Website for more details: https://www.agcreditcorp.ca/what_advance_payments_program_app

How to apply: APP borrowers in Ontario should contact the Agricultural Credit Corporation

Ontario’s Food Donation Tax Credit for Farmers

Overview: Provides farmers with a tax credit worth 25% of the fair market value of the agricultural products donated to eligible community food programs

Who is eligible: Ontario farmers (or their spouse or common-law partner) who have donated agricultural products to an eligible Ontario community food program. This tax credit is also available to Ontario Farm Corporations.

Website for more details: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/info-taxcredit.htm

How to apply: This credit can be claimed on personal/corporate income tax returns.

Wellington Federation of Agriculture

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