The provincial and federal governments are providing $148,324.20 to Canada Meat Group Inc. in North Bay for the purchase of new equipment.
The funds are part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which is providing funding to 77 projects to purchase or upgrade equipment that will improve production and safety measures in free-standing meat plants and abattoirs in Ontario, a statement Tuesday from Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli’s constituency office said.
The program is focused on quickly increasing processing capacity, partly related to COVID-19 “slowdowns,” the statement reads.
“The COVID pandemic has made it more difficult for our farmers to find the processing capacity that they needed, and these investments are part of our rapid response to help both our farmers and our local processing industry to overcome these challenging times,” Fedeli said.
“This announcement is the latest step our government is taking to support the sector to upgrade productivity and food safety to help keep Ontario’s food supply system strong.”
The provincial and federal governments are providing more than $7 million. An additional $3.2 million was added to the initial $4 million set aside for the program due to high demand, Fedeli’s office states.
The funding for Canada Meat Group will be used to purchase a vacuum sealer and shrink tank.
“We appreciate so much the support from the government of Ontario during this challenging time,” Canada Meat Group owner and president Oleksandr Zahrebelnyi said.
“The new equipment allows us to keep our current business and even start a new division.”
The provincial and federal governments have provided funds for approximately 4,400 projects since June 2018.
The partnership itself is for five years, through to 2023, and will see $3 billion committed from Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments.
Ontario has 480 provincially licensed and 230 federally licensed facilities, including free-standing meat plants and abattoirs, the statement from Fedeli’s office says, with more than 860,000 jobs in Ontario’s agri-food sector, which provides more than $47.3 billion to the province’s economy each year.