Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative - Strategic Solutions

Table of Contents


The Strategic Solutions project category focuses on bold, innovative projects to drive Ontario Partnership outcomes.

An emphasis will be placed on collaborative partners working together across the value-chain to accelerate the creation and adoption of innovative solutions that address emerging sector challenges and/or advance sector opportunities that will drive competitiveness and sustainability.

Projects must primarily benefit the broader Ontario agri-food and/agri-products sector(s).

Potential Project Ideas

Projects may involve but are not limited to:

  • Investigating and developing of new sector solutions to address emerging issues or seize opportunities.
  • Tests, pilots, demonstrations, or prototypes of new technologies and/or solutions that benefit the sector/sub-sector.
  • Implementing or scaling up validated solutions to support early and wide-scale sector adoption of innovative products, technologies, processes or services in the sector/sub-sector.

Click here to see project examples

Program Materials

How to Apply

Pre-Proposal forms are available here for those interested in applying for Strategic Solutions. Eligible applicants will be able apply for program funding from January 6 to January 27, 2020 at 5pm EST.

Completed pre-proposals, including required documentation can be submitted by email to If you submit a pre-proposal by email, but do not receive an acknowledgement within two business days, contact OMAFRA at: 1-877-424-1300.

Note: the form must be filled out using Adobe software, such as Adobe Reader or Adobe Pro. Other PDF reader software, including your internet browser, is not compatible with this form. If you do not already have Adobe software on your computer, you can download a free version here:

Qs & As:

Q1. What documentation are applicants required to submit with the Strategic Solutions Pre-Proposal?

Applicants must submit the following documentation with their Pre-Proposal:

  1. Audited financial statements for the lead entity for the previous three years (a letter from the bank approving a line of credit would also be acceptable)
  2. Creditable, non-biased evidence to demonstrate the project's level of innovation and potential sector benefits. Potential sources of evidence could include, but not limited to the following:
    • Letters from credible industry or academic sources that confirm the innovative nature of the project. OMAFRA staff will not provide letters of support for any applications. Support letters cannot be from sources with a direct financial stake in, or other close connection to, the project.
    • Independent support of innovation is not required but will be considered favourably.
    • Unbiased studies or market analysis.

Optional: Applicants may submit any other documentation they believe will support their Pre-Proposal.

Q2. Are activities related to fisheries, fish and sea food processing and/or the aquaculture sector eligible for cost-share funding?

Activities related to aquaponic food production, and to aquaculture, seaweed, fish and seafood production and processing are ineligible for Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) funding with the following exceptions, which are eligible:

  • International marketing for fish and seafood products is eligible for funding under the Partnership
  • Traceability for fish and seafood products is eligible for funding under the Partnership

Q3. Are costs paid by one partner to another considered eligible?

No, partner to partner billing is ineligible. Program guidelines require each lead entity and their relevant project partners to have an Arm's Length relationship from one another. Therefore, although project vendors/suppliers may be critical to a project, they cannot be considered formal project partners.

Q4. What are the eligibility requirements for 'applicants'?

Applicant eligibility requirements include:

  • Two or more legally recognized entities that have an Arm's Length relationship from each other and are working together as partners on a project, may apply provided that each entity:
    • Is directly engaged and has a vested interest in the project (i.e. contributing cash, providing resources, or providing oversight and/or expertise in the project);
    • One of the entities represents the targeted sector where the benefit will accrue, and
    • Is in compliance with all requirements of law and will remain in compliance for the duration of the project.
  • Applicants must be represented by a Lead Applicant (lead entity), capable of entering into a funding agreement with the Province of Ontario.

*See program guidelines and application for full eligibility requirements.

Q5. Can a not-for-profit entity apply as a sole applicant?

An eligible not-for-profit entity may apply as a sole applicant if they meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • A registered charity, as defined in the Income Tax Act (Canada), and remains in good standing with the Canada Revenue Agency; or
  • A corporation incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation or similar entity under an Act of Canada or a province or territory of Canada and is in good standing under that Act; and
  • Has operations in Ontario (i.e., located in Ontario and, where applicable, have a membership composed primarily of Ontario residents/businesses/organizations) and is capable of entering into a Contribution Agreement.
  • Is not an academic/research institution.

*See program guidelines and application for full eligibility requirements.

Q6. What are the lead entity responsibilities from a program perspective?

The lead entity must:

  • Be a legal entity located in Ontario. Entities located outside of Ontario may be a project partner, if the supply value-chain is primarily located in Ontario. Project must benefit the broader Ontario agri-food and/or agri-products sector.

Application Process:

  • Complete the Pre-Proposal and Full Application (if invited), on behalf of the project partners and provide a Canada Revenue Agency Business Number as part of the application process
  • Sign the application and be bound by the Terms and Conditions under the Place to Grow Cost-share program
  • Be the primary point of contact for the pre-proposal and full application

Project Implementation:

  • Capable of entering into a Contribution Agreement with the Province on behalf of the other project partners, if the project is ultimately approved
  • Register through the Province of Ontario's Transfer Payment Ontario system (an online registration tool)
  • Manage the project
  • Have financial capacity to cash flow all project costs, receive all project funding paid by OMAFRA and receive T4A for all funding paid by OMAFRA (note: this includes collecting cash contributions from project partners and incurring all costs)
  • Provide the required documentation to ministry for reimbursement of funding
  • Prepare and submit progress and final reports
  • Communicate and share project information with all project partners.

Q7. What are the responsibilities of project partners from a program perspective?

Project partners must:

  • Have an Arm's Length relationship from the lead entity and other project partners.
    • Partner to partner billing is ineligible (project vendors/suppliers are not considered formal project partners).
  • Direct all project contributions to the lead entity who incurs all project costs.
  • Be a legal entity in Ontario. Entities located outside of Ontario may be a project partner, if the supply value-chain is primarily located in Ontario. Project must benefit the broader Ontario agri-food and/or agri-products sector.
  • Be directly engaged in the project and have a vested interest in the project (i.e. contributing cash, is providing resources, project oversight, and/or expertise in the project).
  • Sign and submit a Partner Declaration form as part of the full application process and be bound by the Terms and Conditions under the Place to Grow cost-share program.

Q8. Why do lead entities need to demonstrate financial capacity for the total project cost?

Projects are contracted with the lead entity and therefore must provide evidence that they can cash flow project costs up front. This is especially true because project partners and cost-share amounts are subject to change during the project assessment process.

When considering financial capacity, it is important to note the following:

  • Lead entities of approved projects will receive funding as required milestones are met and reports are approved by OMAFRA.
  • Stacking is eligible up to 85 per cent of eligible project funding. However, other funding sources are not considered when assessing the lead entity's financial capacity to cash flow project costs.

Partnership for Agriculture, Government of Ontario & Canada

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300