All posts by ON Regional Economic Development

Trade mission to Japan & South Korea presents new opportunities for Ontario agri-food businesses

Ontario’s agri-food sector is a power house in North America, and a key contributor to the province’s economy, supporting more than 837,000 jobs and contributing $47.7 billion towards the province’s GDP. To maintain Ontario’s leadership in the agri-food sector, the province has launched the Market Access Initiative – targeted cost-share funding available to help businesses and organizations across the Ontario supply value-chain that have been directly impacted by trade restrictions.

This initiative is only a small part of what the province is doing to help navigate trade challenges. Over the next two weeks, Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade are leading an Ontario trade mission to South Korea and Japan.

Continue reading Trade mission to Japan & South Korea presents new opportunities for Ontario agri-food businesses

Getting Ready for Ag Week – Know your regional stats!

October 7-13 is Ontario Agriculture Week; a time dedicated to celebrating the abundance of food our farmers produce, the people our industry employs, the rural communities we support and the economic engine we fuel. Many communities recognize that agriculture benefits regional economies, however, clearly communicating the contributions of the sector can be challenging. Presenting data in a compelling way and bolstering community-agriculture relations is helping communities draw attention to the crucial role agriculture plays in local economies.

Regions of Peel and Chatham-Kent offer examples, illustrating how communities can leverage data and improve the regional understanding of agriculture.


Continue reading Getting Ready for Ag Week – Know your regional stats!

Three must read reports for EcDev professionals regarding the changing Canadian workforce

In the face of an aging population, climate change and an increasingly digitized world, the Canadian workforce is being pressured to adapt in preparation for the future. While common assumptions may assert that immigration, environmental challenges and technological advances will be the greatest factors influencing the future of work in Canada, the breadth and depth of these changes may not be well understood.

The following are three must-read reports for economic development professionals looking to gain greater insight into the changing landscape of the Canadian workforce. Continue reading Three must read reports for EcDev professionals regarding the changing Canadian workforce

Place to Grow Guide for Applicants

Ontario’s government is helping to grow the province’s agri-food and agri-products sectors by launching the Place to Grow: Agri-food Innovation Initiative – a program which will help drive innovation, reduce red tape, and address industry priorities. This new initiative, which is comprised of ‘Funding for Sectors‘ and ‘Strategic Solutions‘, will support agriculture and food value-chain partners address emerging sector challenges and opportunities to create sector wide benefits.

Funding for Sectors

Programming Overview

Funding will support agriculture and food value chain partners by offering cost-share funding opportunities to address identified industry priorities and outcomes for Ontario in the following areas:

Protection & Assurance Environmental Stewardship Economic Development

How to Apply

Eligible applicants can apply for Funding for Sector programming beginning August 15th at which time all program details and forms will be available through the CAP website at: ontario.ca/agpartnership. This cost-share intake will remain open until Sept. 27, 2019.

Strategic Solutions

Continue reading Place to Grow Guide for Applicants

Location, Location, Location!

Choosing a location is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs make when planning or relocating their business venture.

Here’s a request we received from a retail client: “I might have an opportunity to move on to the main street, but I need more information for my business partner. He doesn’t seem to think it will make that much of a difference.”

Here is our advice:

Know your customer

Continue reading Location, Location, Location!

The Rural Economic Development (RED) is Accepting Applications

What is the RED Program?

Rural Economic Development (RED) is a cost-share funding program that supports projects that remove barriers to economic development in rural communities.

What are RED Outcomes?

RED applications are assessed on their ability to result in one or more of the following:

  • Jobs retained or created
  • Investments attracted or retained
  • Businesses attracted, retained and/or expanded
  • Enhanced strategic economic infrastructure
  • Regional partnerships that drive growth

Who is Eligible for RED?

Continue reading The Rural Economic Development (RED) is Accepting Applications

Learn the fundamentals of BR+E on September 19, 2019 in Blyth, Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Business Retention and Expansion program (BR+E) is a structured, four-stage approach focused on ensuring that local businesses in rural communities survive and thrive.

When communities take on a BR+E project, they take meaningful steps towards retaining and expanding businesses by getting a clear understanding of issues facing local businesses and then capitalizing on opportunities.

As part of the program, OMAFRA offers comprehensive BR+E training to:

  • individuals who are interested in managing or coordinating a community level Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) project.
  • economic development professionals who will be involved in the implementation of a BR+E project.

Continue reading Learn the fundamentals of BR+E on September 19, 2019 in Blyth, Ontario

Do You Have a Water Contingency Plan?

In 2016, many areas of the province saw very warm and dry conditions. In 2017, the opposite occurred. Many areas of the province experienced excessive amounts rain, leading to saturated soils and flooding. There are many resources, including publications from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), that can help farmers manage water during low or excessive situations:

Continue reading Do You Have a Water Contingency Plan?

Become a Local Food Broader Public Sector Champion

Ontario’s local food industry impacts our economy, our environment and our culture. The local food value chain includes farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, restaurants, other food service organizations like the broader public sector, who are working to provide quality products to Ontarians.

In March of 2019, the Government of Ontario established the final goal of the Local Food Act, 2013: to remove red tape barriers and open the door for using more local food across the broader public sector (BPS). To support the goal’s success, the government developed many tools and resources including the Broader Public Sector Champions Program. Organizations are encouraged to share their local food procurement baseline with the province. Then create and track targets for increasing local food purchases, and voluntarily report back to the province how they are meeting their local food goals.

 

Certificates of Recognition from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will be awarded to participating institutions each June during Local Food Week.

What Does This Mean for you?

Broader Public Sector organizations receive funding from the Government of Ontario but are considered outside the governing body. BPS organizations that can participate in the local food Broader Public Sector Champions Program are hospitals, municipal long-term care facilities, school boards, universities or colleges, school boards, and child care centers.

As a BPS organization, you can get started today! Click here to fill out the baseline survey, or visit the Broader Public Sector Champions Program page on the OMAFRA website for more information.

Knowing where our food comes from makes it easier to support those who grow, harvest and make it, we strengthen our communities, support a sustainable environment, create jobs and boost the economy.

Let us know what local food options are available at your local healthcare centre, university, school, or childcare centre in the comments below or on Twitter @RegionalEcDevON.

 

 

Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario –Excellence in Agriculture Award Recipient

The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) was recently presented with an Excellence in Agriculture Award. Chosen from more than 100 innovative project submissions, EFAO won for their Farmer-led Research program,

The Excellence in Agriculture Awards recognize agri-food businesses, individuals and organizations that have raised the bar for agri-food excellence, demonstrated leadership in their field, undertaken strategic product development benefiting their sector, or advanced technological innovation.

The EFAO is a membership organization that was established in 1979 and is located in ag_awards2Guelph.  Their main mission is to help and support local ecological farmers by creating a strong knowledge sharing community. EFAOs Farmer-led Research program allows farmers to conduct studies on their own land and then share their finding with other Ontario farmers. This helps to spread knowledge about the benefits of ecological farming practices and provides an opportunity to learn about ecological challenges facing farmers. There are four farms currently working through the Farmer-led Research program to conduct over 60 on-farm trials.

ag_awards5Ali English, Executive Director of EFAO said that she feels this award recognizes the hard work the 500+ farmers across Ontario who have been working to help make farms more profitable and foster environmental sustainability. Currently at the Ignatius Jesuit Center, a partnership with the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, is undertaking a pepper breeding project. The goal of the project is to produce high quality peppers using ecological farming methods, then share the outcomes with farmers across the province.

The Excellence in Agriculture Awards recognize agri-food businesses, individuals and organizations that have raised the bar for agri-food excellence, demonstrated leadership in their field, undertaken strategic product development benefiting their sector or advanced technological innovation.

ag_awards43Ontario is home to  25.3% of all farms in Canada; more than any other province. The Excellence in Agriculture awards helps to recognize hard working producers, processors and agri-organizations across the province.

What’s up Next?

If you are interested in keeping up with the Excellence in Agriculture Awards, make sure keep you eyes on Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Twitter @OMAFRA. There is more good news to come.