Introducing the Canadian Agricultural Partnership
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) is a five-year federal-provincial territorial initiative to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector, and increase its competitiveness, prosperity and sustainability.
In Ontario, strategic initiatives under the Partnership will focus on achieving key outcomes related to Economic Development, Environmental Stewardship, and Protection and Assurance.
Canadian Agricultural Partnership and Lake Erie
The Great Lakes are vitally important to the health, quality of life and prosperity of Ontario’s farmers, families and communities. The complex ecosystem that is the Great Lakes is being challenged by many factors, including climate change, population growth, invasive species and land management practices.
Recognizing the shared responsibility for this collective resource, Ontario – with partners from across the United States and Canada – has committed to continuing to improve the health of the Great Lakes through various water quality agreements and partnerships, including the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan.
Declining water quality has been a significant concern in Lake Erie, the shallowest of the Great Lakes. To support water quality improvements in Lake Erie, Ontario has committed to actions supporting phosphorus loss reductions across the basin, including adopting a target of 40 per cent phosphorus load reduction by 2025, using an adaptive management approach, for the Ontario portion of the western and central basins of Lake Erie.
In February of 2018, the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan was released. This plan was developed in collaboration with a diversity of stakeholders and will guide the implementation of action to work towards the reduction targets. Many sectors, including agriculture and agri- food, are already working together to take action towards achieving the necessary reductions.
Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability Program
The Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) program will support the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) on farms within the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds. In particular, LEADS will support BMPs that improve soil health and address nutrient reduction targets. These projects will help to improve soil health, the health of our waterways, and support Ontario’s commitments to phosphorus loss reductions in these priority areas.
Producer Participation in LEADS
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) administers LEADS cost-share funding to producers in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds. An interactive map showing these watersheds is available on the OSCIA website.
Application Intakes are held between April 3, 2018 and March 31, 2023. Not all Project Categories will be open in every Application Intake. Applications will be accepted during an intake until the available funding is fully allocated for that program year. Upcoming Application Intake dates are available from OSCIA:
Program information, including Enrolment and Application Forms, can be accessed at ontarioprogramguides.net
Applying for LEADS Cost-share Funding
Am I eligible?
Any established farm business that is a legal entity and produces agricultural commodities in Ontario, in the Lake Erie and/or the Lake St. Clair watersheds under a valid Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN)1 or allowable exemption (e.g., religious or cultural) is eligible to apply for cost-share funding under LEADS — provided that the business meets all of the requirements set out herein. You must also have a:
- Farmland Health Check-Up;
- Verified, 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan; and,
- Valid and up-to-date Premises Identification (PID) Number2 for the farm property where the project is to take place.
In addition, you are required to be in compliance with all Requirements of the Law and remain in compliance for the duration of the project.
To participate in the LEADS program, project locations must be within the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds. To determine if the location where the proposed project will be undertaken is located within the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds, please use the interactive map on the OSCIA website.
1 To register for an FBRN, visit Agricorp at www.farmbusreg.com.
2 To register for a Premises Identification (PID) Number, visit the Provincial Premises Registry (PPR) at ontariopid.com.
Farmland Health Check-Up
LEADS is a merit-based cost-share program. The funding level for each project is determined by the level of risk identified through the Farmland Health Check-Up. Cost-share funding is for the implementation of a BMP or suite of BMPs that address that risk.
The Farmland Health Check-Up offers producers a unique opportunity to work with a participating Ontario Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) or Ontario Professional Agrologist (P.Ags.) to assess their soil type, nutrient levels, soil erosion risk, and land management practices of up to three fields, and develop BMPs tailored to their specific in-field challenges.
For more information and a list of eligible CCAs and P.Ags., visit the Farmland Health Check-Up webpage or email LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org.
Opportunities for New Producers
New producers are new entrants to the agricultural production industry who:
- File personal income taxes in Ontario
- Have proof of ownership or control of productive agricultural assets to generate farm income
- Have a valid and up-to-date Premises Identification Number for the farm property where the proposed project is to take place
- Have not had more than $7,000 in gross farm income two and three years prior to enrolling in the Partnership
- Have business projects that demonstrate potential annual gross business income of $7,000 of more within three years of applying
New producers are eligible for Crop Nutrient Planning.
If you are a new producer, contact OSCIA at 1-800-265-9751 or CAP@ontariosoilcrop.org to request a copy of the New Producer Application Form.
What types of projects are ineligible?
Projects that are not eligible for cost-share funding under LEADS, include those that:
- Are not located in the eligible geographical area of the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds
- Promote Ontario products explicitly over those of another province or territory
- Involve directly influencing or lobbying any level of government
- Have the sole purpose of coming into or maintaining compliance with Requirements of the Law that pertain to current business operations
- Support basic research (experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge without a commercial or other specific application in view)
How often can I apply?
A farm business may submit up to three (3) applications to LEADS for consideration at one time, in any given program year. A farm business may have up to three approved LEADS cost-share projects underway during any given program year. Applications will continue to be accepted until the funds for that year are fully allocated. Eligible projects must be new to the farm business, unless otherwise indicated in the project category description. A separate application must be submitted for each project.
Projects submitted to LEADS cannot receive funding from any other Partnership program.
How will my application be assessed?
The LEADS program supports a merit-based allocation of funding. Eligible projects will be awarded a level of funding that reflects the information provided in the Farmland Health Check-Up:
- Project location (i.e. the field as identified on your Farmland Health Check-Up)
- Farmland Health Challenge addressed by the project
- Rating specific to the project field and identified challenge
Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received until the available funding is fully allocated. Applications are evaluated based only on the information submitted and may not be considered if they are incomplete or do not meet eligibility criteria.
Here are some suggestions that may help improve the chances of your application being approved:
- Read and understand all of the information in the Project Category Description
- Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria
- Know the results you want to achieve and demonstrate how they line up with the objectives of the Project Category you are applying for
- Provide all required documentation as listed in the Project Category Description
- Review your Farmland Health Check-Up to ensure the field is addressed and the challenge is identified.
Environmental Farm Plan (EFP)
Applicants must have a verified, 4th Edition EFP to apply to LEADS.
For more information about the EFP, please visit the OSCIA website or contact your local Workshop Leader.
What funding levels are available?
Cost-share levels are determined by the risk rating identified within your completed Farmland Health Check-Up.
Projects being implemented on multiple fields are evaluated on a field-by-field basis. Each field may receive a different level of cost-share based on the field-specific challenge and risk rating identified in your Farmland Health Check-Up.
The maximum cost-share funding available is $20,000 per application, including systems approach funding.
Please note that equipment purchases are limited to the moderate funding level (55%) or base funding level (45%), regardless of the risk rating. This includes all projects under:
- Equipment Modifications to Improve Manure Application
- Tillage and Nutrient Application Equipment Modifications
- Equipment Modifications to Reduce Soil Compaction
HIGH FUNDING LEVEL (65%)
Farmland Health Challenge Rating: Poor
MODERATE FUNDING LEVEL (55%)
Farmland Health Challenge Rating: Fair
BASE FUNDING LEVEL (45%)
Farmland Health Challenge Rating: Good or Best, or a project on an unassessed field
Can I apply for additional cost-share funding if I follow a Systems Approach?
LEADS recognizes that multiple BMPs used in a “system” are often more effective than a single BMP to address nutrient loss risks. This additional support acknowledges the ongoing efforts of producers with advanced operations, where multiple BMPs have been implemented to support soil health and water quality.
An additional 5 per cent in cost-share funding may be available to producers who demonstrate that they have adopted a Systems Approach. To be considered for this funding, you must provide information on the Systems Approach section of the Application Form to demonstrate how the project will be complemented or enhanced by the continued maintenance of two previously implemented BMPs. For more information, click here.
How do I submit my application?
Applications are submitted electronically3. You can apply and submit all required documentation at ontarioprograms.net.
You can also download the Application Form for the Project Category you are applying to and email it with all required documentation to LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org. Application Forms are available at ontarioprogramguides.net.
3 If you cannot apply online, you may send hard copy applications and all required documentation by post or courier to: OSCIA 1 Stone Road West, Guelph, ON, N1G 4Y2.
How will I be notified of cost-share funding decisions?
You will be notified by email and/or mail once your application has been reviewed and a decision has been made — approximately 20 business days from the date that your completed application is received by OSCIA. There are three possible Decision Letter outcomes:
- Application is approved – you will receive confirmation of the amount of funding allocated to your project, claim procedures and submission deadlines, a questionnaire that must be completed at the end of your project, as well as information about any specific requirements of the funding.
- Application is conditionally approved – you will be notified about what additional information is required to finalize approval of your project.
- Application is declined – you will receive a brief explanation for the decision.
When do projects start and finish?
The start date for your project is the date on the Approval or Conditional Approval Letter issued by OSCIA for each successful project. Projects cannot be started before this date. Eligible costs can only be incurred, invoiced and paid for by the applicant on or after the date noted on your Approval or Conditional Approval Letter.
The completion date for your project will be specified in the Approval Letter issued by OSCIA for the successful project. The project must be complete and eligible costs incurred, invoiced and paid for by the applicant on or before this completion date.
Projects must be completed and operational by the claim deadline for the program year noted in your Approval Letter (January). However, if you are undertaking a project that may require certain conditions to complete (e.g., weather, production cycles, longer timelines, etc.), there is potential to incur project costs across two program years (costs incurred before and after the claim deadline for the current program year). This would be considered a multi-year application. If you have questions about project timelines, claim submission dates or submitting a multi-year application, contact OSCIA at LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org.
Claiming Cost-share Funding for Approved Projects
How will I receive my cost-share funding?
Eligible costs for approved projects are reimbursed at the percentage stated in your Approval Letter.
Cost-share funding is paid once an approved project is complete and operational, and your submitted claim package has met all the requirements and been approved by OSCIA. Payment will be made by cheque or electronic funds transfer (EFT) in the name of the individual or legal farm business.
How do I submit a claim?
Claim Forms and information about submitting claims is provided to successful applicants with their Approval Letters. Once an approved project is complete and operational, you can submit your complete claim package to OSCIA no later than the claim deadline identified in your Approval Letter. Claims can be submitted at any time between the completion of your project and the claim deadline.
Only one claim can be submitted per project per program year, and only one payment will be made per claim.
OSCIA may request any additional information about the project from the applicant that OSCIA deems necessary (e.g., copies of Crop Nutrient Plans or permits). OSCIA reserves the right to perform a project inspection at a mutually agreeable time, prior to the claim being processed.
Claims can be submitted to OSCIA by:
- Email to LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org; or,
- Post or courier to OSCIA, 1 Stone Road W, Guelph, ON, N1G 4Y2
Your claim package must contain:
- Completed Claim Form
- Proof of payment
- Copies of all paid invoices
- Completed Final Report Questionnaire
- In-Kind Claim Declaration Form (if claiming funding for in-kind contributions
What are acceptable proofs of payment?
Proof of payment must verify:
- Who paid
- Who received payment
- The amount of payment
- The date of payment
Proof of payment must be any one of the following:
- Copy of the front and back of a cancelled cheque
- Electronic image of processed cheque
- Statement from banking institution indicating to whom the processed cheque was written, or electronic payment made, and for what amount
- Credit card or debit card receipt clearly identifying the amount and to whom the payment was made. Credit card or debit card numbers and other information, including costs that are unrelated to the project, should be blacked out
- Proof of payment must be in the name of the applicant (e.g., farm business or individual)
Is cost-share funding taxable?
All cost-share funding that you receive is considered income to the farm business for tax purposes. OSCIA will issue a tax form (AGR-1) and report the amount paid to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This is one of the reasons why your CRA number is collected, and it is the reason why an applicant’s Social Insurance Number (SIN) is collected if the applicant does not have a CRA Business Number.
What if I miss a deadline?
If a project is not complete and operational or a complete claim is not submitted to OSCIA by the claim deadline, all cost-share allocated to the project may be rescinded. If meeting the claim deadline becomes problematic, contact OSCIA as soon as possible (before the claim deadline).
What costs are eligible for cost-share funding?
Eligible costs are specific to each Project Category and are listed in the Project Category Description. This includes in-kind contributions, where eligible. When incurring eligible costs, you must follow a process that is transparent, fair and promotes the best value for the money.
All businesses from which goods or services are purchased must be at Arm’s Length from the applicant, meaning not related to the applicant, not affiliated with the applicant, or controlled in any way by the applicant. If you have any questions about whether a supplier meets this requirement, please contact OSCIA at 1-800-265-9751.
What in-kind contributions are eligible for cost-share funding?
In-kind contributions may be eligible for cost-share funding for some Project Categories as indicated in the Project Category Description. Eligible in-kind contributions will be considered equivalent to cash payments for purchased goods and services and are eligible for cost-share at the funding level determined for your project. The approved cost-share level and maximum funding level apply to eligible in-kind contributions.
Claims for in-kind contributions must be supported by an In-Kind Claim Declaration Form, which details specific hours worked, who performed the work, dates the work was performed, and the hourly rate(s) charged.
Eligible in-kind contributions are invested in the project in the form of unpaid labour and/or use of farm business equipment, and may be claimed as follows:
- The maximum eligible labour rate is $20 per hour. OSCIA will make a final determination on what a reasonable number of hours claimed is, based on the project and the nature of the work performed.
- The maximum eligible in-kind equipment rate for a tractor and implement is $50 per hour of operation. This rate cannot be increased for heavy excavation equipment. Applicable in-kind operator charges may be claimed along with the in-kind equipment rate, at up to the accepted maximum hourly labour rate.
- The maximum payment you can receive for in-kind contributions is $2,000.
The following costs are not eligible as in-kind contributions:
- Time invested for education, project planning, supervision or administration
- Use of equipment purchased as part of an approved cost-share funding allocation.
- Staff or employee time
- Equipment costs for use of hand or power tools
What costs are NOT eligible for cost-share funding across all Project Categories?
There are ineligible costs specific to each Project Category. These are listed in the Project Category Description. Ineligible costs across all Project Categories, unless otherwise specified in the Project Category description, include but are not limited to:
- Any cost not set out as an eligible cost and expenditure in the Project Category Description
- Any cost not specifically required for the execution of a project
- Normal operating costs associated with carrying out or expanding a business’s current operations
- Legal fees
- Costs related to activities that promote Ontario products explicitly over those of another province or territory
- Costs related to activities that directly influence or lobby any level of government
- Costs of basic research
- Costs of ongoing activities
- Normal commercial expansion costs
- Costs for rental of facilities, equipment or machinery for projects under Crop Nutrient Planning
- Costs of training and skills development that fulfill any academic requirements towards completion of a professional certificate, diploma or degree program
- Sponsorship of conferences and learning events or initiatives
- Costs of travel, meals and accommodations
- Consultant and other contractor expenses for any hospitality (e.g., provision of food or beverage at events), incidental or food
- Permits and approvals
- Purchase or sale of land, buildings or facilities or associated taxes or fees (e.g., land transfer tax)
- Lease of land, buildings and facilities for the purpose of starting up a new business or as part of normal operation
- Fertilizer or crop protection costs
- New building construction
- Typical farm equipment (e.g., tractors, skid steers, combines, livestock trailers) and related accessories or attachments
- Tile drainage systems
- Production quota
- Crop storage facilities (e.g., grain bins)
- Mentoring or coaching services
- Financing charges, loan interest payments, bank fees and charges
- Any cost, including a tax, that is eligible for a rebate, credit or refund (e.g., a refundable portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax)
- Gifts and incentives
- Hand or power tools or their attachments
- Maintenance costs or extended warranties
- Multi-use items (e.g., that can reach beyond the scope of the project such as computers, printers, etc.)
- Costs related to Ontario government promotional campaigns or branding
- GPS and directly related components including receivers, autosteer and guidance systems, displays
- Costs already funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my business receives funding for the project from additional off-farm sources?
An individual project can only receive a single allocation of cost-share funding from LEADS. Stacking of LEADS cost-share funding from one or more applicants towards the same project is not permitted, nor is stacking funding from other sources of the Partnership funding.
However, applicants may access more than one source of government funding to cover a single project, up to 100 per cent of eligible costs, as long as the other program(s) also allow stacking.
All funding for a project, including from additional off-farm sources, excluding financing, must be listed on the Claim Form for the project.
Will someone visit my farm business to inspect the project?
Projects that have received LEADS cost-share funding are routinely inspected. The decision to inspect may be based on project type, project value or any other criteria selected by OSCIA. Projects may also be inspected randomly.
Inspections are carried out after a claim is received and before the claim is paid. Biosecurity protocols are followed by all representatives of OSCIA.
Application Intake: The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year program, which runs from April 3, 2018 to March 31, 2023. Application Intakes for farm businesses for the LEADS program will be scheduled by OSCIA for each program year. Application Intake dates for any given program year are available from OSCIA.
Approval Letter: An Approval (which includes a Partial Approval or Conditional Approval) Letter is sent from the OSCIA to successful applicants. The Approval Letter stipulates any requirements of cost-share funding that businesses must follow.
Arm’s Length: An entity is considered Arm’s Length if they are not related, not affiliated persons or otherwise controlled by another member or members. Refer to Section 251 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) for the detailed statutory provision for determining Arm’s Length relationships. If you have any questions about whether a supplier meets this requirement, please contact: 1-800-265-9751.
BMP: Best Management Practice
CCA: Certified Crop Advisor
CRA Business Number: The CRA Business Number is a unique number the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) assigns your business as a tax ID. It is a nine-digit identifier that is used when dealing with federal, provincial or local governments.
Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN): All farm businesses in Ontario that gross $7,000 or more annually are required by law to register their farm business with Agricorp. More information on the FBRN and allowable exemptions is available from Agricorp.
Incurred (Cost): A cost for which a business has become liable to pay.
P.Ag.: Professional Agrologist
Premises Identification (PID) Number: A PID Number is a unique identifying number assigned to a parcel of land that is associated with agri-food activities. In Ontario, premises are identified and registered in the Provincial Premises Registry. For more information on applying for a PID Number, go to ontariopid.com.
Project Category: Cost-share funding is made available under specific Project Categories, which each have their own parameters, criteria and terms and conditions.
Project Category Description: Each Project Category Description provides the parameters, criteria, and terms and conditions specific to a Project Category under which cost- share funding is made available.
Requirements of Law: All applicable Requirements of Law, as may be set out in statutes, regulations, by-laws, codes, rules, ordinances, official plans, approvals, permits, licenses, authorizations, decrees, injunctions, orders and declarations, or any other similar Requirement of Law.
To apply, you must agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions of Canadian Agricultural Partnership (“the Partnership”) Cost-share Funding for Producers.
The applicant must be a legal entity that is eligible under the Partnership Cost-share Funding for Producers. The individual who signs the application form must be a person who is authorized by the applicant to sign the form on behalf of the applicant and to bind the applicant to the contents therein.
This person is referred to as “you” below.
You must certify on the Application that:
- You have read, understand, and agree to abide by all requirements of the Partnership Cost-share Funding for Producers. This Guide sets out the Terms and Conditions for the Partnership Cost-share Funding for Producers, and the Project Category Descriptions.
- All information submitted on the application is true and complete, to the best of your knowledge, belief and understanding.
- All sources of funding for the proposed project, other than your own, have been disclosed in this application, including sources and amounts from federal, provincial and municipal governments, and such funds do not, and will not exceed 100 per cent of total project costs.
- You do not currently owe any money to Ontario, or you have attached a description of the applicant’s debt to Ontario to this application.
- You are not, nor is any officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) a current or former federal public office holder or federal public servant, or, if you, or any officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) are a current or former federal public officer holder or federal public servant, you or that officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) are in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-employment, as applicable.
- You are not, nor is any officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any), a member of the House of Commons or of the Senate, or if you, or any officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) are, you or the officer, director or employee of the applicant (if any) are permitted under the Parliament of Canada Act to receive funding from Canada under the Partnership.
You must further certify on the Application, that the applicant:
- Shall retain all records relating to any payments made to the applicant under the Partnership, including all invoices and proof of payment for at least seven (7) years from the date on which payment was received by the applicant.
- Shall consent to Ontario, Ontario’s program administrator (if any) or Canada publishing information about the project/activities funded including the amount of funding the applicant has been approved to receive and/or has received under the Partnership, the nature of any project/activities funded, along with the applicant’s name.
You must further acknowledge and accept that:
- The Partnership is a discretionary, non-entitlement program and that you are not entitled to funding merely as a consequence of having submitted an application. Payment is subject to Ontario receiving all the necessary appropriations from the Ontario Legislature, Ontario receiving all the necessary monies from Canada, eligible activities criteria, eligible expenses criteria, ineligible activities criteria, ineligible expenses criteria, and priorities and target audiences, as well as the applicant’s compliance with all terms and conditions of the Partnership.
- If it is determined that the applicant has received a payment the applicant was not eligible to receive, through administrative error or otherwise, the applicant will repay any and all payments that the applicant was not eligible to receive as well as any surplus funding.
- Any payments made to the applicant may be subject to recovery or offset against the applicant’s pre-existing debts to the Crown in Right of Ontario or Canada.
- Ontario, Ontario’s program administrator (if any) or Canada, including, their respective Ministers, directors, officers, agents, employees or representatives (as applicable) shall not be liable for any damage or loss whatsoever, or howsoever arising, including damage or loss arising from any advice, opinions, representations, warranties or the provision of information under the Partnership.
- The information provided for the Partnership may be disclosed by Ontario or Ontario’s program administrator (if any) on behalf of Ontario to verify compliance with other provincial and federal funding initiatives administered by Ontario or another program administrator on behalf of Ontario or by Ontario in order to confirm the information provided, to verify eligibility and to ensure there is no duplication of funding.
- The information provided for the Partnership may be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario), the Access to Information Act (Canada) or Privacy Act (Canada).
You must consent to the following on behalf of the applicant:
- To provide accurate, timely and full information, including supporting documentation, to Ontario or Ontario’s program administrator (if any) and will notify Ontario or Ontario’s program administrator (if any) immediately in the event that there are any changes to information provided.
- To provide Canada, Ontario and Ontario’s program administrator (if any), as well as their authorized representatives, with any information or access to a person, place or thing within ten (10) business days of any request, field verification or audit.
- To comply with onsite field inspections and/or audits by Ontario or Ontario program administrator (if any) upon notice, and during normal business hours, to verify eligibility, and to evaluate compliance with the requirements of the Partnership.
- To comply with reviews by Ontario of information related to other programs and initiatives delivered by, or for, Ontario in which the applicant is enrolled or has applied.
- The use of the applicant’s name and contact information by Ontario, Ontario’s program administrator (if any) and/or Canada to contact the applicant for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the Partnership programming, or for any other similar purpose.
This is the Guide and Guidelines for the Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) cost-share program, an initiative under the Partnership.
In the event of a conflict between anything set out in Guides, Guidelines and the Minister’s Order, the Minister’s Order will prevail.
Errors and Omissions Excepted.