The Ontario government is investing more than $343 million over five years to support agri-food research and innovation.
The investments are being made through a new agreement with the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the province, the University of Guelph and the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario. The funding will be used for research focusing on food safety and animal welfare and support the development of a highly skilled workforce that will lead to more economic growth opportunities for the agri-food sector.
“The future of the province’s agri-food sector is bright and through this investment we continue to enable Ontario to be a world leader in agri-food research and innovation,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). “By continuing our long-standing partnership with the University of Guelph, our government is demonstrating its commitment to Ontario’s agri-food research infrastructure, providing knowledge transfer and research-driven results to farmers to boost their competitiveness now and in the future.”
The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance supports fundamental programming to help farmers and the broader agri-food sector build resiliency by:
- Managing threats to food production and food security such as African swine fever and avian influenza.
- Advancing science, research, innovation and commercialization of new products, processes and practices that support the long-term success of the agri-food system.
- Building a future skilled workforce and develop talent that will advance Ontario’s agri-food sector including veterinary medicine in the agri-food sector and rural communities.
- Maintaining and maximizing use of the network of state-of-the art research centres owned by the Government of Ontario through its agency, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) and managed by the University of Guelph through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.
This work is supported by a network of research centres located across the province. These centres are owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and managed by the University of Guelph through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. This network provides a world-class infrastructure platform to bring farm-tested innovations to farmers across the province.
The renewal of the Alliance for an additional five years builds on the success of the government’s previous agreement, which increased Ontario’s GDP by $1.4 billion and supported more than 1,300 jobs. Research investments that led to new businesses in Ontario include:
- Clēan Works, a $7 million agri-food innovation company with 12 employees that has commercialized a novel waterless process called Clēan Verification for decontaminating fresh and frozen produce, proteins, dried goods and shipping containers.
- Escarpment Labs which provides unique, local and accessible yeast cultures to both local and global beer producers.
- Psigryph Inc. which delivers a naturally derived nano-delivery technology that can increase bioavailability to improve the health of humans, animals and environment. This innovative company was recently named one of Canada’s “most investable” clean tech companies by Foresight Canada.
“The University of Guelph applauds the Government of Ontario for its continued support and strengthening of Ontario’s agri-food sector, bringing industry, government and university together to form a unique, world-class partnership,” said University President, Dr. Charlotte Yates.
“Using our expertise, the University leverages this government investment to protect plant and animal health, guard against new disease and environmental challenges, safeguard Ontario’s food supply and support leading agri-food innovation.”
“The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario is very pleased to continue our strategic collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph,” said Lorne Hepworth, Chair of the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario. “This collaboration has been a key driver of important research that has led to significant and important agri-food innovations in Ontario, including projects that come out of ARIO’s network of research centres across Ontario. ARIO’s research infrastructure enables the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance to be a world leader in agri-tech research and innovation.”
Since 2018, Ontario has invested over $335 million in the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance to support research and innovation, further the development of new food products and agricultural advancements and drive economic growth in the sector.
The Alliance supports the goals of the Grow Ontario Strategy and helps generate new knowledge that provides real and practical solutions for the agri-food sector, develop highly qualified talent, and maintain science capacity to address emerging issues facing the sector. It provides specialized expertise and access to a unique agri-food research, laboratory analysis and knowledge transfer system through the provision of agri-food and rural research, laboratory services, veterinary education, research centre management and the new addition of training, education and certification for agricultural producers to meet requirements under legislation.
The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 860,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.3 billion each year to the province’s economy.
To learn more about agri-food research funded through OMAFRA, visit OMAFRA’s research portal.