Ontario to invest $5 Million to offset revenue losses due to COVID-19  

PORT DOVER — Ontario Agricultural and Horticultural Societies impacted by the pandemic will receive funding to help them through the COVID-19 recovery in 2021.  

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, made the announcement this week at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association annual general meeting.  

“We know what a vital role our agricultural and horticultural societies play in our rural communities,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. Barrett, who is also the Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministry of Agriculture, went on to explain how severely impacted these groups have been throughout the past ten months. “They have had to cancel events, meetings and fundraisers – all of which help them to pay the bills so they can continue supporting rural Ontario.”  

“These societies have a rich history throughout rural Ontario,” said Minister Hardeman. “They play a vital role in agricultural education and provide opportunities for young people across this province to learn and grow an appreciation for agriculture and horticulture. This funding will help support these societies during a difficult period so they can continue to operate and contribute to our economic recovery.”  

Societies have been unable to hold revenue generating events over the past 10 months due to health and safety concerns around COVID-19.  

This one-time initiative features two funding streams:  

  • $1.8M Base Support Funding will provide eligible agricultural societies with $7,000 and eligible horticultural societies with $1,140 in funding to support their continued delivery of agricultural and horticultural education across Ontario.  
  • $3.2M Hardship Funding for eligible agricultural societies will provide additional support which will be based on their reported gate receipts from 2019. This will help off-set operating losses, liabilities, and fixed overhead costs.    

Funding is expected to flow before March 31, 2021.  

Agricultural and horticultural societies have played a critical role in educating Ontarians on the importance of agriculture for more than a century. Supporting this important sector, at this time, will ensure the long traditions and economic contributions of the societies will not be lost as the province recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.  

QUICK FACTS  

  • The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies is a provincial association representing over 200 agricultural societies from across the province.  
  • The Ontario Horticultural Association is a volunteer charitable organization that encourages interest in gardening and related environmental issues representing over 280 horticultural societies from across the province.  
  • Ontario Supporting Agricultural and Horticultural Societies During COVID-19    

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446, 905-765-8413 or 1-800-903-8629