Government of Canada invests in innovation and technology to tackle challenges in agriculture

News release

March 15, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canada is a global leader in agricultural innovation and technological development. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of agricultural innovation, as it helps support sustainability and keeps the sector competitive and well-positioned for the future. Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of over $860,000 in six businesses under the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program.

A total of six small businesses are each receiving up to $150,000 to advance automation and robotic technologies for solving challenges such as work productivity and labour shortages and operational efficiency in the agricultural sector. This announcement follows an earlier $1 million announcement to seven projects through ISC.

This program provides innovators with bold ideas the opportunity to develop their novel solutions, products, technologies to address challenges in the agriculture sector, leading to a more prosperous and competitive sector.

Meat processing plants rely on manual labour and are challenging environments to manage effectively. Other areas of meat processing can fall behind when attention is focused on one area. The government recognizes this dilemma. Projects receiving funding through the Canadian Meat Processing Technology Development Challenge will aim to make advances in automation through robotics, artificial intelligence and other forms of innovation to reduce reliance on manual labour in the Canadian meat processing sector.

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is an indoor technology-based production system where crops are grown under a modified and highly conditioned environment. CEA production is labour intensive, including tasks such as planting, management of plants, cleaning, harvesting, pest management, pruning, sorting and packaging. Projects receiving funding through the Enhancing Automation in CEA Farming Challenge will work to develop automation and robotic technologies to reduce time spent on labour intensive tasks and reduce costs for CEA facilities.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the innovations of small businesses and entrepreneurs to help develop efficient, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to ensure Canada's agricultural sector remains competitive.

Quotes

“These projects are supporting Canadian agricultural technology companies as they develop innovative solutions to help farmers reduce waste, conserve resources and improve efficiency. By investing in innovation and technology, Canadian agriculture will continue to pave the way for new ideas and methods to keep Canadian agriculture strong and well-positioned for the future.”

- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food 

“Technological innovation is absolutely necessary to address key challenges faced by the Canadian agri-food sector. By supporting the projects announced today, our government is giving these businesses the opportunity to grow and innovate while ensuring Canadians continue to have access to the highest-quality food and agriculture products.”

- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • ISC, administered by Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), is a $100-million program to help Canada’s entrepreneurs and small businesses develop innovative and sustainable solutions to complex challenges. Under ISC, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and other participating departments partner with ISED to develop challenges and evaluate incoming applications.

  • If successful at the proof of concept stage, projects are each eligible for up to $1 million under Phase 2 of the ISC Challenge for prototype development. 

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Contacts

Marianne Dandurand
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
marianne.dandurand@agr.gc.ca
343-541-9229

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
1-866-345-7972
aafc.mediarelations-relationsmedias.aac@agr.gc.ca
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