November 11, 2020 By Fruit and Vegetable
Agricultural and horticultural societies that demonstrate financial hardship will be able to access an additional one-time $5 million in funding from the government of Ontario. The funding, part of Ontario’s 2020 budget, is to help offset revenue losses from to fall fair and exhibit cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our agricultural and horticultural organizations play a vital role in communities across rural Ontario,” said Ernie Hardeman, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. “We want to preserve the rich tradition of fall fairs, exhibitions and activities that are key to rural economies and a mainstay of rural life in this province.
“This additional funding will help support these organizations during this difficult period so they can continue operating and contribute to our economic recovery.”
“On behalf of the Ontario Horticultural Association, I would like to thank Minister Hardeman and the Government of Ontario for their consideration of our organization and its 27,000 members, in all parts of the province, during this unprecedented time,” said Katharine Smyth, president, Ontario Horticultural Association. “Many of our members in their societies have found this year to be very difficult and had concerns of how they could continue going forward. This announcement will help greatly in setting their minds at ease.”
The province also provides up to $1 million in annual funding to individual agricultural societies through grant payments enabled through the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act, 1988. Regulations under this Act require that agricultural societies must hold an agricultural exhibition – such as a fall fair – in order to qualify for funding. Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, many of these events were canceled in 2020 and some societies were at risk of closing without this support.
In August, the government responded with a one-time change in eligibility requirements so that agricultural and horticultural societies could still receive their annual grant, an amount similar to what was received in the previous year.
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