Government of Canada announces new living lab in Ontario

News release

July 20, 2023 – Elora, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Today, while attending the Ag Innovation Spotlight event hosted by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) at the Grand River Agricultural Society, Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the creation of a new living lab in Ontario. Led by OSCIA, this living lab project represents an investment of up to $9.2 million over five years from the federal government under the Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) – Living Labs program.

This living lab aims to accelerate the sector’s response to climate change by bringing together producers and scientists, among others, to co-develop, test and evaluate on-farm beneficial management practices (BMPs). These BMPs, which support livestock and cropping systems, nitrogen use, manure storage, landscape management, and grazing management, will help store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on Ontario farms. In collaboration with partner organizations within the living lab, the OSCIA will also encourage knowledge transfer and exchange between local producers, producer associations, federal and provincial researchers, Indigenous groups, and other sector stakeholders.

Building on the success of the Living Laboratories Initiative that ran in PEI, Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario from 2019 until March 2023, the Agricultural Climate Solutions – Living Labs program seeks to break down barriers between research and application by co-developing and testing new ideas in real-world conditions. This Canadian model has received international acclaim and inspired similar initiatives in other countries around the world.

New living labs in two more provinces will be announced in the coming weeks. They will add to the two projects already announced in 2023 and the nine living labs announced in 2022. This will mean a total of 14 living labs under the ACS – Living Labs program, ensuring that there will be at least one living lab in every Canadian province. 

Working together with the sector, Canada continues to lead on this collaborative approach to agricultural innovation aiming to feed the world through sustainable farming practices.


“Ontario farmers have a proud tradition of agricultural innovation. Today’s announcement of a new living lab will bring together producers, scientists, and other stakeholders to co-develop and test beneficial management practices on Ontario farms. This collaboration will meet producers’ needs while contributing to Canada’s net zero GHG emission goals. These innovations will continue to drive our economy while protecting our farms for future generations.”

– Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga 

“The living lab will create bridges between academia, industry, and government with a focus on improving innovation. Working collaboratively will increase learning and information exchange with the stakeholders from various agricultural organizations, producers, and experts. Working together they can come up with practical solutions to mitigate climate change. This integrated approach to agricultural systems that includes cropland, livestock, and broader farm landscapes is crucial if we are to make progress in addressing the climate change challenge.”

– Steve Sickle, President, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Quick facts

  • The lead partner for the new Ontario living lab is Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA)

  • Projects and final funding are subject to negotiation of contribution agreements.

  • For additional information on each of the new living labs and what they will be working on, please see backgrounder.

  • The ACS – Living Labs program builds on the foundation of knowledge established through the original four living labs in PEI, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. With this announcement, the program is on track to have at least one living lab in every province.

  • The lead partners for the first nine ACS – Living Labs announced in 2022 are:

    • Alberta:
      • Alberta Beef Producers
      • Alberta Conservation Association
    • British Columbia:
      • B.C. Investment Agriculture Foundation
      • Peace Region Forage Seed Association (this living lab straddles northern Alberta and British Columbia)
    • Saskatchewan:
      • Mistawasis Nêhiyawak
      • South of the Divide Conservation Action Program
    • Atlantic:
      • Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture
      • Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
      • Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick
  • The lead partners for the two new Quebec living labs announced last week are:

    • L’Union des producteurs agricoles
    • Les Producteurs de lait du Québec 
  • Canada introduced the agroecosystem living labs concept to G20 Agriculture Ministers in 2018, who welcomed it as a novel way to accelerate the development of sustainable agricultural practices and technologies around the world. 

  • First announced in March 2021, the Agricultural Climate Solutions program is one of many initiatives undertaken to promote environmental sustainability and resiliency in the agricultural sector. It is part of Canada’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45% from 2005 levels by 2030, and towards net-zero emissions by 2050. These goals were announced ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and France's Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement (INRAE) will be co-hosting the first International Forum on Agroecosystem Living Labs in Montreal, Quebec from October 4 to 6, 2023. The event will discuss best practices, case studies and challenges facing the international agroecosystem living lab community worldwide.

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For media:

Simon Lafortune
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

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