Parliamentary Secretary Ellis announces nearly $4 million to support Ontario horticultural research projects

News release

July 7, 2021 – Welland, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Today, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Parliamentary Secretary Neil Ellis announced federal funding of nearly $4 million to support four horticultural research projects at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (VRIC).

PS Ellis made the announcement before touring the facility, alongside Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Through the federal AgriScience Program, up to $1.8 million will be invested to support VRIC’s on-the-vine breeding program for greenhouse tomatoes, which is the first of its kind in Canada. The program focuses on developing high-yield varieties with improved flavour and production traits that are adapted to Canada’s climate.

VRIC will also receive up to $877,000 to help make Canadian roses more disease resistant and adaptive, so that they may reach more domestic and international markets. A further $931,000 will support the Centre’s work to discover and evaluate new biocontrol solutions to advance the research on pest management for the Canadian greenhouse sector. These projects are also supported through the AgriScience Program.

The fourth project announced by PS Ellis today will help VRIC lay the foundation to ramp up the conversion of horticultural waste into value-added ingredients in Canada. Up to $200,000 will be provided for the project through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program.

Today’s investments build on a March 18, 2021, announcement from the governments of Canada and Ontario of more than $330,000 to support VRIC research projects that will benefit Ontario’s greenhouse sector, which will increase capacity and productivity in the horticultural sector.


“Canada’s horticulture sector relies on the high-quality, original research being conducted by the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Federal investments such as these are crucial to ensuring the VRIC can continue to advance its work and position our horticultural sector for a brighter tomorrow.”
- Neil Ellis, Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The research being conducted at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, prosperous and competitive horticulture sector for Ontario and all of Canada. These investments will drive innovation, and find solutions to boost yields and reach new markets.”
- Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Government of Canada’s confidence in Vineland through investment in horticulture innovation means new varieties preferred by consumers and adapted for the Canadian climate and new crop protection solutions making better use of resources and helping the sector be more sustainable. We appreciate the continued support of our work to enhance the sector’s competitiveness and drive short- and long-term economic growth.”
- Ian Potter, President and CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Quick facts

  • The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 860,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.3 billion each year to the province’s economy.

  • VRIC focuses on horticultural science and innovation for Ontario and Canada. Located in the Niagara region, Vineland facilitates, coordinates and delivers applied research, innovation and commercialization activities that benefit the horticulture sector.

  • The Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program supports projects that address national or sector-wide priorities that help industry address emerging issues and capitalize on opportunities.

  • The AgriScience Program is a five-year, $338 million initiative, to support leading edge discovery and applied science, and innovation driven by industry research priorities.

  • The Agri-Science program is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.

Associated links


Oliver Anderson
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

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