Canada’s Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food has announced a new fund of up to $89 million to support 49 projects in the dairy, poultry and egg processing sectors. The fund, which is part of the government’s commitment to compensate the supply-managed sectors for the impacts of recent trade agreements, will help the processors mo dernize their operations and increase their productivity and efficiency.
The Rationale and the Scope of the Fund: Why and How the Government Is Supporting the Processors
The fund, called the Supply Management Processing Investment Fund (SMPIF), is a key component of the government’s plan to assist the dairy, poultry and egg processors in adapting to the changes brought by the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). These trade agreements have opened up the Canadian market to more imports from other countries, creating more competition and pressure for the domestic processors.
The fund, which is an extension of a similar program launched in 2020, will provide up to 50% of the eligible project costs for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and up to 25% for large enterprises with 500 or more employees. The fund will support investments in new equipment and technology that will enhance the processors’ production capacity, quality, safety, environmental performance and innovation. The fund will also create and maintain jobs in the processing sector, which employs over 60,000 Canadians.
The Examples and the Benefits of the Fund: What and Who the Fund Is Supporting and How
The fund will support a variety of projects across the country, from cheese plants in Ontario and Quebec, to egg grading facilities in Alberta and British Columbia, to poultry processing plants in Manitoba and Nova Scotia. Some of the examples of the projects and the benefits of the fund are:
- Lactalis Canada, a cheese producer in Ingleside, Ontario, will receive up to $3.34 million to install new automated cheese processing and packaging equipment. This will help the company reduce waste, improve productivity and quality, and expand its product range and market share.
- Burnbrae Farms, an egg producer in Calgary, Alberta, will receive up to $2.1 million to purchase and install new machines for grading, setting and breaking eggs. This will help the company increase its output, efficiency and safety, and meet the growing demand for liquid and frozen egg products.
- Maple Lodge Farms, a poultry processor in Brampton, Ontario, will receive up to $1.8 million to upgrade its refrigeration system and install new air compressors and chillers. This will help the company reduce its energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs, and improve its environmental performance and sustainability.
The Reaction and the Outlook of the Fund: What the Stakeholders and the Experts Are Saying and Expecting
The fund has received positive feedback and appreciation from the stakeholders and the experts in the dairy, poultry and egg processing sectors. They have praised the government for its flexibility and responsiveness to the needs and challenges of the processors, and for its recognition and support of the supply management system, which ensures fair returns for the producers, stability for the processors, and quality and affordability for the consumers. Some of the quotes from the stakeholders and the experts are:
- Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food: “I will always stand up for Canada’s supply management system and the communities it supports. With this funding, dairy, poultry and egg processors will be able to modernize their operations so they can continue providing Canadian families with high-quality products while supporting small, rural communities across the country.”
- Mathieu Frigon, President and CEO, Dairy Processors Association of Canada: “The Supply Management Processing Investment Fund has shown its value in leveraging increased investments from dairy processors in process innovation and upgrading plants. We commend government officials for their flexibility and responsiveness to the evolving needs of the dairy processing community in the administration of this program.”
- Robin Horel, President and CEO, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council: “The Supply Management Processing Investment Fund has enabled numerous poultry and egg processors to make important new investments in their facilities. New investments in equipment and technology will facilitate companies’ efforts to increase productivity and efficiency and enable Canadian poultry and egg processors to undertake valuable and leading-edge modernization projects.”
The fund is expected to have a positive impact on the dairy, poultry and egg processing sectors, as well as on the Canadian economy and society. The fund will help the processors become more competitive and resilient in the face of the changing market conditions and consumer preferences, and will also contribute to the growth and diversification of the Canadian agri-food industry, which accounts for 7% of the GDP and 12% of the employment. The fund will also support the government’s goals of creating a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Canada.