The governments of Canada and Ontario are expanding Ontario’s meat processing sector by investing $127,000 to support a research initiative by Meat and Poultry Ontario (MPO).
Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont Dundas South Glengarry, welcomed the announcement from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at the Annual General Meeting of the Beef Farmers of Ontario that the meat processing sector is getting a boost from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) in support of Meat and Poultry Ontario’s project to increase the capacity for meat processing across the province.
“This new research project will enhance Ontario’s meat processing sector, which has been working hard to overcome the challenges created by the pandemic,” MPP McDonell.
“Ontario’s meat processing sector is an important contributor to Ontario’s economy,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, during an address to the annual general meeting of the Beef Farmers of Ontario. “Today’s announcement is part of our government’s plan to support projects that increase processing capacity and help our local meat sector continue to grow.”
The demand for processing facilities in Ontario, especially in the North, continues to grow. In response, MPO has begun researching a strategy that pairs skills development with innovative technologies to increase efficiency and capacity across the sector. This work builds on three additional federal provincial funding programs introduced over the last year to deal with more urgent challenges:
- $2 million for food safety initiatives
- $2.25 million for provincial meat plants to make workplace modifications to increase worker health and safety during COVID
- $4 million for rapid measures to increase capacity
“The pandemic has highlighted some of the vulnerabilities in the meat & poultry sector, one of them being the need to increase processing capacity,” says Carol Goriup, President of Meat & Poultry Ontario. “This study is the first step in identifying opportunities and possible solutions for the future growth of our sector. We would like to thank the federal and provincial governments for their timely funding of this project.”
Provincial abattoirs and provincially licensed processors have been consulted to understand the current state of their operations, the potential for growth and the technology requirements to support that growth. MPO will also work with farmers to understand both current and future needs for processing and packaging and how their needs differ based on where they are in the province. The data will be collected and analyzed for the creation of a potential centralized reservation system of processing that could be developed in the future.
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost share support for more than 4,400 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.