Canadian government invests US$2.5M in Ontario dairy processors to improve productivity

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CANADA – The Canadian government, through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, has announced more than US$2.5 million in its latest funding to support Ontario dairy processors modernize their operations, improving productivity and competitiveness

The Government will support Empire Cheese Co-operative, a cheese manufacturing plant and Ontario’s second largest manufacturer of goat cheese, Mariposa Dairy.

“These investments will help to modernise Ontario’s dairy processing operations, which will increase productivity and enhance competitiveness,” said Neil Ellis, member of parliament for Bay of Quinte and parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture and agri-food.

“By providing for the urgent health and safety needs of workers in these facilities, we are helping these essential operations maintain food production and meet new public health protocol requirements.”

“This support is especially important to our farming partners, our employees and communities during these uncertain times.”

Brian Kerr – CEO and general manager, Kawartha Dairy

Kawartha Dairy and Mariposa Dairy will also receive a total of more than US$85,000 under the Emergency Processing Fund to enhance worker safety in their facilities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Kawartha Dairy is proud to partner with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to bring more of our products to Ontarians, strengthen Canada’s food supply and create more jobs in the rural communities of Bobcaygeon and surrounding area,” Brian Kerr, CEO and general manager of Kawartha Dairy, said.

“This support is especially important to our farming partners, our employees and communities during these uncertain times.”

There are currently over 500 dairy processors in Canada with 164 based in Ontario, accounting for almost 40% of total Canadian dairy sales and more than 8,000 jobs.

Through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, the Canadian government has approved over US$28 million in funding for 29 projects across Ontario that will benefit cheese, yogurt, cream and butter processors.

The fund is designed to help dairy processors modernise their operations and improve productivity and competitiveness.

The Dairy Processing Investment Fund, valued at US$100 million, is designed to help dairy processors. The Emergency Processing Fund will provide up to US$77.5 million to help food processors safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the pandemic.

Empire Cheese Co-op is the only cheese manufacturing plant operating in Northumberland County (Campbellford) and the first one east of Toronto and operates ten retail stores and specialises in ice cream and fluid milk manufacturing.

Founded in 1937, Kawartha Dairy is a family-owned company which operates ten retail stores and specializes in ice cream and fluid milk manufacturing, as well as cream, butter and other dairy products.

Mariposa Dairy is Ontario’s second largest manufacturer of goat cheese, and has been crafting award-winning, high-quality goat cheese products since 1989.

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This announcement under the Emergency Processing Fund builds on the measures the Government has introduced to keep Canada’s agri-workforce strong.

The measures include a US$35 million under the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to improve health and safety on farms and in employee living quarters, and to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19 and a travel exemptions for all migrant workers, including seasonal agricultural workers and fish/seafood workers.

US$50 million in funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Program for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) has also been provided to help protect the health and safety of migrant workers in farming, fish harvesting, and food production by helping processing sectors cover the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on migrant workers upon entering Canada.

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