Up to $750K in Grant Funding is Available for Innovation in the Agriculture Sector
In April 2021, the Ontario Government launched the Agri-Tech Innovation Program, a two-phase initiative aimed at supporting the modernization of workplaces by funding projects that implement advanced or innovative technologies that enhance the protection of worker health and safety against COVID-19, lead to business efficiencies and productivity, and help build the sector's resilience.
Phase two of this program, The Innovator Stream, is now accepting applications. This phase focuses on ground-breaking projects where innovation is new to Ontario, North America, or the agri-sector. Funding is offered to support the development of large-scale collaboration projects aimed at enhancing the health and safety of workers, and increasing productivity within the Agriculture Industry. Projects must have a focus on technological innovations that are not yet commercially available, but have clear market potential and are ready to be piloted and demonstrated in operational environments.
Eligible projects must involve the piloting and/or demonstration of technological innovation that advances automation through areas such as:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Digital and/or other forms of innovative technologies that reduce labour-intensive work practices and processes often associated with high-risk COVID transmission
Projects must be undertaken as collaborations between agri-food businesses, commodity organizations and/or agri-food technology providers. Co-applicants will need to work together to pilot or demonstrate technological innovations, which will help to showcase the usefulness and benefits of the technology and help support scale-up and future adoption.
Two or more legal entities that have an "arm's length" relationship from each other and are collaborating on a project may apply, so long as they adhere to the following guidelines:
- Entities that are retail food services, agri-food packaging material manufacturers or are agri-food warehousing and distribution providers may collaborate on projects but are not eligible to be a lead applicant.
- Entities located outside of Ontario may participate in the program if the Agri-food supply chain is primarily located in Ontario. The project must primarily benefit the Ontario agri-food and agri-products sectors.
- Applicants can apply for up to 60% of eligible costs, to a maximum of $750,000
- The deadline to apply to the Innovator Stream is September 27, 2021