Ontario invests in health and safety tech for ag sector
By Bree Rody
Ontario is launching a new cost-share intake as part of a $25.5 million program to increase the adoption of technology to enhance health and safety in the agri-food sector.
The Agri-tech Innovation Program, valued at $22 million, is a cost-sharing program to help farm and processing operations adopt new technologies in the interest of worker health and safety. Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said in a statement that the investment is “a significant step forward” to help the sector address pandemic challenges while also poising the sector for future growth.
The program is aimed at technologies that enhance protection of workers against COVID-19, lead to increased business efficiency and productivity and help build the sector’s resilience. Examples of advanced technologies include optical grading and sorting systems in vegetable processing or automated, robotic vineyard pruning robots.
Hardeman describes the investment as “an investment… for today and in our sector for tomorrow.”
Peggy Brekveld, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, added, “Technology and modern equipment make today’s farms more efficient and safer – both for people and the environment… [The funding] will enable investments in new processes and state-of-the-art equipment.”