MPP Rickford Announces Energy Cost Savings Investment for Local Food Processor

DRYDEN – Investments by the governments of Canada and Ontario through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) are resulting in more than $16 million worth of energy cost savings projects to help food processing businesses increase energy efficiency and lower their costs. 

Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora–Rainy River was on-site at AgriTech North in Dryden to recognize the Agri-Food Energy Cost Savings Initiative providing up to $24,000 for AgriTech North to purchase and install solar panels to reduce their energy consumption and overall operating costs.

“Our government understand the value proposition of programs like the Agri-Food Energy Cost Savings Initiative for food processing businesses like AgriTech North in Dryden,” said Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora–Rainy River. “By supporting our robust food processing sector partners in the Northwest, we are strengthening the local food supply chain here at home.”

30 food processors across the province will be supported by the Agri-Food Energy Cost Savings Initiative to help lower their costs to be more competitive and sustainable. The Initiative focused on supporting projects that prioritized reducing greenhouse gas emissions by investing in new technology, equipment, or facility modifications. This funding will contribute to an anticipated $3 million in annual operational cost savings for recipient businesses.  

“As the food processing hub of Canada, Ontario is uniquely poised to see further growth in this sector which is why our government is continuing to bring forward initiatives that work,” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Through the Agri-Food Energy Cost Savings Initiative and a host of other actions, we’re making significant progress in achieving the ambitious targets for growth we’ve set out in our Grow Ontario Strategy.”

The Agri-Food Energy Cost Savings Initiative was developed following discussions with Ontario’s food processing sector. It is part of a series of initiatives the government has implemented to support food processing in Ontario including committing up to $25 million through the Agri-Tech Innovation Initiative, which applications opened on February 15, 2024.

“AgriTech North is excited to greet Minister Rickford for his third visit to our year-round farm and food security pilot project in Dryden, where we are the only Living Lab in Canada focused on bringing new innovations and technologies to market that show promise for achieving net-zero, energy-independent, year-round fresh produce within off-grid Northern Indigenous communities,” said Benjamin Feagin Jr., CEO of AgriTech North. “Without the support of Minister Rickford, Minister Thompson, their respective teams, and the myriad of farm and technology financial support programs, AgriTech North would not have the ability to solve these important issues or bring these ground-breaking technologies to market. We cannot overstate the positive impact these Ministers and their Ministries have had on resolving food insecurity throughout Northern Ontario, and by extension of these innovations being brought to market, Canada as a whole.”

Under the Agri-Food Energy Cost Savings Initiative, applicants could receive up to 20 per cent cost-share funding for eligible costs, to a maximum of $300,000, per business. Projects supported through the initiative are to be completed by March 31, 2025.