Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative

Purpose of the Initiative

The Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative (Initiative) is aimed at growing the labour market for food processing businesses by either enticing people to become employed by food processors or remain employed by food processors. The Initiative has been designed to support innovative pilot projects that are tailor-made to address specific needs of employees at a community-based level so food processing businesses can attract and retain workers.

Successful applicants will be required to share their project outcomes and lessons learned in a final report that can be used broadly as a best practices tool for the industry to help build a strong labour force to carry the agri-food sector’s growth for the short-term and long-term.

Target Audience

Eligible applicants are Ontario-based food processors that have over 50 employees at the time of application. Food processors include operational businesses that are manufacturers and currently directly involved in the transformation of agricultural commodities, foods, beverages or agri-based bio-products in Ontario that:

  • are heavily impacted by labour shortages; and
  • have the capacity to pilot innovative solutions to attract and retain employees.

Businesses can apply on their own or as a business collaboration.

  • is engaged in the project and will be contributing cash towards the project;
  • has over 50 employees at the time of application;
  • is an Ontario-based business (located and actively operating and engaged in Transformation of products in Ontario);
  • is involved in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sector; and
  • is in compliance with all Requirements Of Law and agrees to remain in compliance with all Requirements Of Law for the duration of the project.

A business collaboration must include two or more legally recognized entities that operate at Arm’s Length from one another and are working collaboratively on a project.

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects include those that help address the ongoing staffing shortages for Ontario-based food processors including:

  • addressing labour challenges based on employee needs for those specific business(es) at a community level;
  • providing critical data that may be specific to the food processing industry; and
  • encouraging innovative solutions to the labour shortage


  • Projects that address community-level challenges in the Ontario agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sector.
  • Projects that have a plan for capturing relevant data and lessons learned that will help build a stronger labour force and support the agri-food sector’s growth for the short run and long-term.
  • Projects with business collaborations that include the involvement of not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and/or academic/research institutions, who can assist with data capture, data validation and/or knowledge transfer activities.
  • Projects that address challenges for food processors in rural locations.

Intake Deadline

The second deadline to apply for the Initiative is September 8, 2022 through the AAC.

The Initiative Program Guide, application and work plan/budget templates can be found on the sidebar.


The Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative program was funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative. This program is being delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.