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Emergency Processing Fund opens: Funding available for food processing and production sectors

June 17, 2020  By Fruit and Vegetable

Agriculture and Agri-Food officially launched the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) as part of the Government of Canada’s action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.

The Emergency Processing Fund was part of the $252 million suite of initiatives that the Prime Minister announced on May 5, 2020, to respond to vulnerabilities in food supply chains in light of COVID-19.

Food processors can receive up to $5 million, per recipient, to help enhance worker health and safety and for domestic food processing.


Eligible applicants include for-profit organizations, cooperatives and indigenous groups. Applicants have to be in operation for at least two years and involved in agricultural food processing or manufacturing in Canada.

Activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by September 30, 2020. Applications are being accepted (AAFC Emergency Processing Fund) on a continuous basis until 12:00 p.m. (midnight) EDT Friday, July 31, 2020 or earlier if funding is fully allocated before that date. Information on the application process is available through the Emergency Processing Fund.

The program will prioritize projects based on two objectives:

  • Emergency COVID Response to assist companies to implement changes required by COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of workers. This funding will assist with:
    • plant retrofits or adjustments to existing operations to accommodate changes to processes and production; and
    • increasing capacity for herd management.
  • Strategic Investments to assist companies to improve, automate, and modernize facilities needed to increase Canada’s food supply capacity.

Eligible costs related to a project will be shared between the Program and the successful applicant. Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) can receive up to 50 per cent of total eligible costs. Larger companies can receive up to 25 per cent of total eligible costs. Applications requesting $100,000 or more in funding will be delivered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

What activities are eligible?

All eligible activities must be completed by September 30, 2020. The program will fund activities retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Under Emergency COVID Response:

  • Activities associated with adjustments made, as a result of COVID-19, to existing plants to implement added public health protocols and requirements and adapt production processes for the health and safety of workers and their families, such as:
    • non-disposable or reusable personal protective equipment (PPE), including:
      • body temperature screening/fever detection systems
      • washing stations
      • workstation dividers/protective barriers
      • full and half face-piece respirators
      • impact goggles and face shields
    • installation of sanitation stations, protective barriers
    • adjustments to current processes and manufacturing lines to accommodate social distancing
    • rental or purchase of portable buildings and installations/site modifications and/or transportation for social distancing and wellness checks
    • HVAC modifications or upgrades
    • training for workers on additional health security measures
    • disinfection and cleaning in the event of a plant closure
    • labour costs only as are needed for the installation of the protective measures
    • other activities that a company can demonstrate are resulting from COVID-19 public health adjustment requirements

Under Strategic Investments:

  • Activities associated with improvements or modernization of food processing or manufacturing facilities to manage surplus stock; increase production; or that are operating at less than full capacity or closed such as:
      • rental or purchase, shipping and installation of automation equipment new to the plant
      • rental or purchase and installation of additional production or packaging equipment
      • rental or purchase and installation of increased warehousing and/or cold storage capacity
      • equipment technicians fees, travel and accommodation to make installation
      • plant or line retrofits to accommodate the new equipment
      • training of employees on the new equipment
      • other activities, other than labour, that can be demonstrated as needed as a result of the installation of the automation

Less than $100,000 in funding will be administered provincially

Applicants requesting less than $100,000, depending on the project location will apply as follows:

Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick

Perennia Food and Agriculture Inc.

T: 902-678-7722




Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec    

T: 1-888-984-2251



Ontario, Manitoba and Nunavut

Agricultural Adaptation Council    

T: 519-822-7554



Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories

Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC *

T: 250-940-6150



* The organization will work with Western Economic Diversification Canada to promote and coordinate the program in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

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