Advanced Manufacturing and Technology for Primary Agri-food Businesses


Stream: Other Business



Projects that implement technologies and equipment to enhance labour productivity or input efficiencies.

Who should apply?

Primary Agri-Food Businesses with projects in any agri-food sector may apply, but Primary Agri-Food Businesses with projects in the following sectors are currently given preference:

  • Grain and oil seed post-harvest handling
  • Vegetable and/or fruit post-harvest handling
For the purposes of your application:
advanced manufacturing technology means technology that enhances an agri-food product manufacturing process through automation, robotics, or digitalization.
automation or automated technology is at least one operation of an agri-food product manufacturing process becoming fully automated as a result of the project.

To apply you must

  • Be a Primary Agri-Food Business that handles agri-food products in facilities with fewer than 200 employees. Primary Agri-Food Businesses are defined as Ontario agri-businesses that:
    • are directly involved in primary handling of agri-food, agri-products and commodities (e.g., washing, sorting, and packaging of produce)
    • do not meet the following definition of a processor:
      • Any established company that is a manufacturer and is currently directly involved in the transformation of agricultural commodities, food, beverage or agri-based bio-products in Ontario. Transformation means physically or chemically changing an agricultural commodity, food, beverage or bio-product.
    • do not meet the following definition of a producer:
      • Any established farm business that is a legal entity and produces agricultural commodities in Ontario under a valid Farm Business Registration Number, or an allowable exemption
    • Have completed an audit, assessment or labour productivity plan that demonstrates the need and impact of the project in addressing current deficiencies, opportunities and risks
    • Have baseline Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for productivity, energy usage and waste management

Eligible activities and expenditures

  • Capital expenses directly related to new advanced manufacturing equipment, technology, robotics and software systems to increase automation for the purposes of:
    • labour productivity improvements; and/or
    • input efficiencies and waste reduction
  • Costs of input (ingredient or resources) and waste measurement, metering and monitoring equipment (permanent systems intended to be left in place), software and reporting systems
  • Costs associated with installation and configuration of eligible equipment
  • Development of new or translation of manufacturing policies, feedback systems, preventative maintenance procedures and standard operational procedures, such as processing standards (time, temperature, speed etc.); proactive, preventative maintenance routines; and employee scheduling systems
  • One-time costs associated with training key personnel on project-related new equipment, technology and software systems (e.g., train the trainer)
  • One-time labour costs specifically required for the project for third party advisory fees (not including costs for an applicant’s staff)
  • One-time costs for rental of facilities, processing equipment or machinery required specifically for the project

Ineligible activities and expenditures

  • Building structure modifications
  • Costs and activities associated with expanding facility capacity or output, without increasing the degree of automation or level of productivity or input efficiency and waste reduction
  • Costs and activities associated with equipment, technology or software that is not advanced manufacturing, automation and directly related to labour productivity improvements or input efficiencies and waste reduction
  • This includes costs and equipment that are required for the operation of eligible equipment
  • Travel and meal costs
  • In-kind contributions
  • Ineligible activities and costs as detailed here

Available cost-share

25 per cent, up to a maximum of $200,000

Required documentation

  • Audit, assessment or plan that demonstrates the need and impact of the project in addressing current deficiencies, opportunities or risks
  • Quote or proposal from third-party organization or consultant, detailing services to be provided, costs and outcomes
  • Quote detailing costs of new advanced manufacturing equipment, technology, robotics and software systems

Merit assessment criteria

Applications will be assessed against the extent to which:

  • Plan, audit or assessments demonstrate need for the project
  • Project will lead to significantly enhanced labour productivity and/or input efficiencies and waste reduction
  • Project will make a measurable impact on KPIs
  • Relevant business impacts are anticipated and have been quantified, such as:
    • Reduced identified risks
    • Job creation or retention
    • Increased sales and revenue
    • Increased profitability
  • All components of the project are directly linked to labour productivity improvements and/or input efficiencies and waste reduction
  • Equipment or technology components of the project are:
    • leading-edge
    • not widely adopted by the Ontario agri-food industry
      • Incremental changes to equipment models will not be considered leading edge or not widely adopted
  • The applicant will share information about the project to benefit the sector or industry (may include news release, an article in a trade magazine, presentations, social media/website, hosting an open house)
  • The project will result in secondary benefits for assurance systems
  • Sector specific targeting with current focus on the following: Grain and Oil Seed post-harvest handling and Vegetable and Fruit post-harvest handling
  • Funding reduces business risk
  • Project is aligned with program outcomes
  • Resources, experience and skills necessary to oversee and carry out the project are identified
  • Project work plans are clearly defined and aligned to project goals

What's Next?

Is this project for you? Find out if you meet the program requirements
Program Requirements


For more information on upcoming application intakes, visit omafra.gov.on.ca

Edit date: November 27, 2019

Need Help?

For assistance with the Online Program Guide, please contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre – Mon. to Fri., 8 am – 5 pm, 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca