Ontario offers cash for abattoir upgrades

Applications now being accepted through April

Ontario’s 123 provincially-licensed abattoirs can now start applying for a piece of $2 million in federal/provincial funding to step up food safety, biosecurity and animal welfare measures.

The Ontario and federal governments on Wednesday announced applications for cost-share funding can be submitted between now and April 30, “as long as funding for the initiative is available.”

Eligible projects must be wrapped up within the year, by Dec. 31 at the latest. Examples given Wednesday of eligible projects include:

The public funds for this program will come from the federal/provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership policy funding framework.

“This funding comes at a time of critical challenges in the beef industry due to shortages in beef processing capacity,” Joe Hill, president of Beef Farmers of Ontario, said in the governments’ release Wednesday.

The squeeze on packing capacity in Ontario was brought into sharper focus in December when federal officials cancelled the license for Ryding-Regency Meat Packers.

The Toronto company — whose license had already been suspended since September in the wake of several E. coli-related food recalls — was estimated to have handled about 10 per cent of Ontario’s federally inspected beef slaughter, or around 1,500 cattle per week.

The cost-share support, BFO’s Hill said, “will help enable investment in equipment and infrastructure that assists businesses in remaining competitive and adapting to market-driven demands.”

The two governments’ announcement Wednesday also included a commitment of up to $292,600 to help BFO with “marketing efforts to access emerging markets,” naming Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and the European Union.

That money will flow through Ontario’s Canadian Agricultural Partnership-backed Place to Grow initiative, which, among its other programming, offers funding to support sector organizations’ market development work. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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