Governments Invest $2.5 Million to Grow Agri-Food e-Business During COVID-19

Published on April 25, 2020

Families in Mississauga-Lakeshore will have more food choices when buying food and plants online

MISSISSAUGA — The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online, providing more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).

Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore, today applauded the recently announced initiative by Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.

This targeted application intake features two funding streams:

  • Bring Your Business Online. Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions.
  • Develop Online Business Opportunities. Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding for up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects.

“Like every other sector in our economy, we recognize that businesses throughout our agri-food system will need to adapt, try new things, and explore new ways of delivering their products, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cuzzetto. “This investment will help them do this, so that we can ensure Ontarians continue to have access to high-quality, nutritious food.”

“We’re helping agri-food businesses adapt to the retail challenges of this unprecedented time,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, and our investment today in e-business will go a long way to connecting the people who grow our food with the people who buy it, while allowing them to practice physical distancing.”

“During this extraordinary period where it is essential to stay home and stop the spread, the adoption of digital technology is critical for Ontario’s small businesses to connect with consumers,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Our government is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our vitally important agri-food businesses as they innovate, grow, and produce for Ontario.”

“Workers from across our food supply chain are providing essential services to our country and we appreciate their hard work and dedication to keep our agriculture and agri-food system strong during this challenging time,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This investment will provide support as businesses quickly adapt to new and different ways of providing affordable and nutritious food to Canadians.”

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will immediately accept applications and will expedite the approval process to help businesses and organizations to develop new, expand or enhance their online presence.

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed support to approximately 2,500 projects, through the Partnership, to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.


Quick Facts

  • Funding will be cost-shared by the governments of Canada and Ontario.
  • The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments to support Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
  • The targeted application intake is now accepting applications. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
  • More information about this targeted intake and the program guidelines can be found online at: or by calling: 1-877-424-1300.
  • OMAFRA delivers cost-share funding for the Agri-Food Open for E-Business Targeted Intake.
  • The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 837,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.5 billion each year to the province’s economy.


Additional Resources



Office of Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP
(905) 274-8228