Minister's Order: Grassroots Growth Program [0007/2019]

Whereas the Government of Ontario recognizes the important economic and social contribution agriculture and rural communities play within Ontario;

And whereas future challenges relating to agriculture, food and rural affairs will require public engagement and support for agriculture, local food and rural development, as well as youth involvement in agri-food and strong public trust in Ontario's agri-food systems.

And whereas there is a need for project-based funding to deliver on Ministry priorities that are not addressed under existing programs.

And whereas section 4 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act provides the Minister with the authority in relation to the administration of laws relating to agriculture, food and rural affairs and all of their branches;

And whereas section 6.2(1) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act provides the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs with the authority to establish programs for the encouragement of agriculture, food and rural affairs within Ontario;

And whereas I believe that such a program should be established for the encouragement of agriculture, food and rural affairs in Ontario.

Now therefore and pursuant to my authority under sections 6.2(1) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, the program known as the

Grassroots Growth Program

is hereby established for the encouragement of agriculture, food and rural affairs in Ontario, as of the date this Order is signed.

Part I – Interpretation

Interpretation

1.1 For the purposes of interpreting this Order:

  1. Words in the singular include the plural and vice versa;
  2. Words in one gender include all genders;
  3. The headings do not form part of this Order; they are for reference purposes only and will not affect the interpretation of this Order;
  4. Any reference to dollars or currency in this Order will be to Canadian dollars and currency;
  5. Any reference to a statute means a statute of the Province of Ontario, unless otherwise indicated;
  6. Any reference to a statute is to that statute and to the regulations made pursuant to that statute as they may be amended from time to time and to any statute or regulations that may be passed that have the effect of supplanting or superseding that statute or regulation unless a provision of this Order provides otherwise; and
  7. The words "include", "includes" and "including" denote that the subsequent list is not exhaustive.

Definitions

1.2 For the purposes of this Order, the terms below will have the following meanings:

"Applicant" means a Person who applies under the Program;

"CRAN" means the number that the Canada Revenue Agency has issued to a Person;

"Crown" means Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario;

"Fiscal Year" means the period between April 1 of a year and March 31 of the following year;

"Guidelines" means the written document that sets out the rules, terms and conditions for the operation of the Program;

"Minister" means the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs or any such other Minister who may be designated from time to time as the responsible Minister in relation to this Program in accordance with the Executive Council Act; R.S.O. 1990, c. E. 25, as amended;

"Ministry" means the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and includes a successor entity;

"Order" means this Minister's Order, as it may be amended from time to time;

"Payment" means the provision of funds under this Program;

"Person" for the purposes of this Order means an individual operating as a sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, and unincorporated association, including an Indigenous community or band council;

"Program" means the Grassroots Growth Program;

"Program Administrator" means the Assistant Deputy Minister, Economic Development Division, and includes an acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Economic Development Division, or successor position;

"Program Operator" means a Director in the Ministry appointed by the Program Administrator, and includes an acting Director, or successor position;

"Project" means an undertaking approved under the Program;

"Recipient" means a Person who receives a Payment;

"Requirements Of Law" means all applicable statutes, regulations, by-laws, ordinances, codes, official plans, rules, approvals, permits, licences, authorizations, orders, decrees, injunctions, directions and agreements with all authorities that now or at any time hereafter may relate to the Applicant, the Project or both; and

"SIN" means social insurance number.

Part II – Purpose of the Grassroots Growth Program

2.1 The purpose of the Program is to provide funding for Projects that promote one or more of the following objectives in Ontario:

  1. Increase public engagement and support for agriculture, local food and rural development;
  2. Build youth leadership capacity and increase youth involvement in the agri-food sector;
  3. Enhance safety and risk management practices in the agri-food sector;
  4. Strengthen public trust and public knowledge about Ontario's agri-food systems; and
  5. Encourage agri-food and rural development outcomes.

Part III – Term of the Grassroots Growth Program

Commencement of Grassroots Growth Program

3.1 The Program will commence on the date this Order is signed.

Termination of Grassroots Growth Program

3.2 Despite anything else contained in this Order, the Program will automatically terminate in the event the Program Administrator is of the opinion that there is an insufficient appropriation from the Legislature of Ontario for any payment that is to be made under the Program. Any payments under this Program for which the Program Administrator is of the opinion that there is an insufficient appropriation will not be paid.

3.3 This Program may be terminated through the issuance of a Minister's Order terminating the Program. Where a Minister's Order is issued terminating this Program, the following rules will apply:

  1. The Program Operator will post a notice on the Ministry's website where a copy of this Order is posted, along with a copy of the Minister's Order terminating this Program, indicating that the Program has been terminated and the date that this Program was terminated; and
  2. Any payments owing under this Program will be paid, unless the Minister's Order terminating this Program provides otherwise.

Part IV – Funding for the Grassroots Growth Program

4.1 Funding for this Program will be from the monies allocated to the Ministry by the Legislature for the purposes of the Program. The Program Operator may provide to any Person any funding that is contemplated or permitted under the Program. The Program Operator may pay for any administrative costs that the Program Operator determines are reasonable or prudent for the administration of this Program.

4.2 Funding allocated to this Program will only be used for the Program and the costs of administering the Program.

Part V – Administration of the Grassroots Growth Program

Program Administrator's Authority

5.1 The Program Administrator will be responsible for the overall administration of the Program. This includes:

  1. Appointing the Program Operator; and
  2. Monitoring the performance of all aspects of the Program.

Program Operator's Authority

5.2 The Program Operator will be responsible for the implementation and delivery of the Program. This includes:

  1. Establishing standards and procedures for the delivery of all aspects of the Program;
  2. Monitoring the performance of all aspects of the Program;
  3. Creating Guidelines that are consistent with this Order and which establish:
    1. Administrative deadlines, if any,
    2. Evaluation criteria,
    3. Eligible Expenses,
    4. Rules, terms and conditions for making any Payments under the Program,
    5. Record-keeping requirements,
    6. Reporting requirements;
  1. Approving anything that needs to be approved for this Program that has not been assigned to the Program Administrator;
  2. Delegating the administration of any Project to a Director in the Ministry; and
  3. Carrying out all other administrative functions required for the successful operation of this Program.

5.3 For the purposes of determining whether the Guidelines conflict with this Order, a conflict will be found if the Guidelines provide for something that is prohibited under this Order or if the Guidelines provide that something is not needed which is required under this Order.

5.4 The Program Operator will post the Guidelines on the Ministry's website where this Order is posted.

5.5 The Program Operator may amend the Guidelines. Where the Program Operator amends the Guidelines, the following will apply:

  1. The updated Guidelines will be posted on the Ministry's website; and
  2. Any changes to the Guidelines will be effective as of the date set out in the Guidelines. In no case will any changes to the Guidelines have a retroactive effect.

5.6 The Program Operator may allow a Person to continue participating in the Program even if that Person does not meet all of the eligibility requirements set out under this Order, provided:

  1. The Person acted in good faith when applying to the Program;
  2. The Person was originally found to be eligible to participate in the Program;
  3. The Person acted in good faith while participating in the Program; and
  4. The Program Operator is of the opinion that not allowing the Person to continue participating in the Program would create an unfair result for that Person.

5.7 The Program Operator may waive any requirement for the Program set out in this Order or the Guidelines, provided the Program Operator is of the opinion that not providing such a waiver would create an unfair result for the Person requesting the waiver. The Program Operator may impose conditions on any waiver.

5.8 The Program Operator will use reasonable efforts to collect any debt arising from a Person receiving any payment which the Person was not entitled to receive, or to which the Person has ceased to be entitled to receive.

5.9 The Program Operator has all necessary authority to administer the Program.

Part VI – The Grassroots Growth Program

Eligibility Requirements under the Grassroots Growth Program

6.1 To be eligible under this Program, an Applicant will meet the following requirements:

  1. Be a Person;
  2. Submit a written request to the Program that satisfies the criteria set out in the Guidelines, including any administrative deadlines indicated in the Guidelines;
  3. Provide prior to receiving the Program Payment:
    1. Its CRAN, or
    2. Its SIN;
  4. Disclose all other public sources of funding being provided for the project;
  5. Agree to be bound by the requirements, terms and conditions of the Program, as set out in this Order and the Guidelines; and
  6. Be in compliance with all Requirements Of Law at the time that the Applicant's request for funding is submitted and remain in compliance with all Requirements Of Law while participating in the Program.

6.2 To be eligible under this Program, the proposed project must meet one or more of the objectives set out in section 2.1.

Evaluation of Applications Under the Grassroots Growth Program

6.3 Requests to the Program for funding will be evaluated by employees within the Ministry.

6.4 The criteria on which requests to the program for funding will be evaluated will be set out in the Guidelines and may include criteria such as whether the proposed project:

  1. aligns with government/ministry priorities;
  2. is being funded or would be more appropriately funded by a different source or program;
  3. has a scope that is well-defined with clear objectives;
  4. will provide valuable contributions to the intended outcomes relative to the funding sought;
  5. is being applied for on behalf of the most appropriate person;
  6. requires all the funds requested; and
  7. risks associated with operation and performance are appropriately mitigated.

6.5 The Minister shall decide which requests to the Program will receive funding under the Program.

Loss of Eligibility

6.6 A Person that provides false or misleading information or negligently allows false or misleading information to be submitted on the Person's behalf under this Program:

  1. Will not be eligible to continue to participate in the Program for the remainder of that Fiscal Year and the next full Fiscal Year; and
  2. Will repay to the Crown any Payments that the Person received under the Program.

6.7 An Applicant or Recipient that is abusive toward any staff responsible for delivering the Program will receive one written warning. If the Applicant or Recipient continues with their abusive behavior, the Applicant or Recipient:

  1. May have their eligibility to continue to participate in the Program revoked and will not be entitled to receive any further Payments; and
  2. May lose their eligibility to participate in the Program in the future.

6.8  An Applicant may be found to be ineligible to participate in the Program where that Applicant:

  1. Owes a debt to the Crown and is not in a repayment plan with the Crown or an agent of the Crown; or
  2. Is not in compliance with any repayment plan the Applicant has with the Crown or an agent of the Crown.

Eligible and Ineligible Costs

6.9 The following costs are "Eligible Costs" and are eligible for funding under the Program:

  1. Costs that are direct and necessary for the completion of a Project;
  2. Incremental costs that are directly attributable to the development, implementation and completion of a Project; and
  3. Costs that are consistent with the Guidelines.

6.10 Despite section 6.5, the following costs are not eligible for funding under the Program:

  1. Costs associated with applying to the Program;
  2. Costs to lobby any level of government, whether the lobbying is done by the Recipient or any person employed by the Recipient;
  3. Costs that are unreasonably incurred;
  4. Costs of a good or service obtained from a Person who is not arm's length to the Recipient, as defined in the Income Tax Act (Canada);
  5. The value of any goods or services received through donations or in-kind;
  6. Costs for which the Recipient is eligible to receive a credit, rebate or refund; and
  7. Such further and other costs as may be established in the Guidelines for the Program by the Program Operator.

Part VII – Collection, use and disclosure of information under the program

7.1  The collection of personal information, as defined under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, is necessary for the proper administration of this Program. The Program Administrator and the Program Operator will only collect the minimum personal information necessary to meet the Program's objectives. Applicants will consent to the collection of any personal information, as defined under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, that is necessary for the administration of the Program.

7.2 Applicants will consent to the use and disclosure of any personal information that is collected pursuant to this Order, for the purposes of:

  1. Verifying any information the Applicant has provided;
  2. Confirming the Recipient paid taxes on any Payments received by the Recipient;
  3. Conducting audits;
  4. Enforcing the terms and conditions of the Program;
  5. Collecting any debts the Recipient may owe in relation to the Program; and
  6. Any other use and disclosure set out in the Guidelines.

7.3 Applications to Program will contain a notice of collection of personal information and require the Applicant to indicate its consent to the collection of that information as well as for the use and disclosure of that information for the purposes set out under section 7.2 of this Order.

7.4 A Participant participating as a sole proprietor, a partner within a partnership or a member of an unincorporated association authorizes the collection and use of that Participant's SIN where that Participant does not have a CRA BN.

7.5 Where it is necessary to collect a Participant's SIN under the Program that Participant's SIN will only be used, or disclosed to any government department/ministry, agency or third party, for the purposes set out under sections 7.2 (b), (c), (d) and (e) of this Order.

Part VIII – Audits

8.1 A Person that applied to the Program consents to any audits that may be conducted in relation to this Program so that any claims for Payment can be verified or for the enforcement of the terms and conditions of the Program. The Person further consents to provide all necessary information required to verify and administer the Program.

8.2 A Person that applied to the Program will provide reasonable assistance to any auditor conducting an audit under this Program. This includes allowing access to any person, place or thing required for auditing purposes.

8.3 A Person that applied to the Program authorizes the Program Administrator, including their delegate, to obtain information from any government department/ministry, agency or third party for the purposes of verifying the eligibility of any Payment that may be provided under this Program or any other information that that Person has provided under the Program.

8.4 A Person that applied to the Program consents to the Program Operator, including their delegate, to release information that they may have collected to any government department/ministry, agency or third party for the purposes of verifying the eligibility of any Payment that may be provided under this Program or any other information the Person has provided under this Program.

Part IX – General

9.1 Applying to this Program does not create a legal or other right to any Payment under the Program.

9.2 Payments under this Program may be pro-rated.

9.3 Payments under this Program will be considered as income for tax purposes.

9.4 Payments under this Program shall not be assigned, charged, attached or given as security without first obtaining the prior written authorization of the Program Operator.

9.5 Any Payment a Person may be eligible to receive under this Program may be set off against any existing debt that that Person owes to the Crown.

9.6 The termination of this Program will not, in any way, affect the obligation of a Recipient of the Program to repay any outstanding amounts owing under this Program.

9.7 Funding for this Program is being provided in connection with a social and economic policy and this Program is considered to be a social or economic program.

Original signed by

The Honourable Ernie Hardeman
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Executed on this 17th day of April, 2019.


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