The governments of Ontario and Canada invested over $3.2 million since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to help Ontario agri-food businesses establish or expand their online presence. This investment provided businesses with more opportunities to grow their operations and offer more food choices for families who are shopping at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the onset of the pandemic, businesses were struggling to connect with Ontario consumers who were looking for more opportunities to purchase locally grown and made products online. The Ontario government quickly responded by launching the Agri-Food Open for E-business Program, and continues to ensure that the agri-food sector is resilient with the launch of an interactive map that helps consumers find local food options and support small businesses across the province. This map highlights more than 650 local food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations that have taken advantage of this program.
Since the investment, more than 650 businesses now have a new or expanded online presence, including seven businesses in Simcoe North. Leadbetter Foods in Orillia, and Farm2Door in Tiny Township are two examples of an Ontario agri-food business that is now able to reach more customers with the support of the Agri-Food Open for E-business Program. This investment continues to make it easier for Ontario families to buy locally grown and made food by farmers and food processors in their communities, which strengthens the provincial economy and helps our agri-food supply chain stay strong. The investment in Simcoe North also includes Borrow Family Farm, Fairhope Farm, Georgian Chocolate, Carter Farms and Rama Community Farm.
“The province is committed to keeping Ontario’s supply chain strong, especially during these extraordinary times,” said Jill Dunlop MPP for Simcoe North. “Connecting the families of Simcoe North with options for purchasing food online is crucial to supporting local agri-food businesses as the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine continues. I am thrilled that 7 agri-food businesses in Simcoe North have been able to benefit from the Agri-Food Open for E-Business Program so we can continue to support our local businesses which have given so much to our communities.”
“We are committed to keeping Ontario’s agri-food supply chain strong during these unprecedented times,” said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Connecting agri-food businesses with families who need options for purchasing food online is another way that Ontario is keeping people safe and businesses open during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Ontario agri-food businesses interested in developing their own e-commerce opportunities can receive funding through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade’s Digital Main Street Program.
JILL DUNLOP, MPP FOR SIMCOE NORTH