FedNor invests to establish Northern Ontario Agri-Tech Hub and boost agriculture production in the Algoma region

News release

Government of Canada announces nearly $2 million to help businesses start up, scale up and create jobs across Northern Ontario

October 15, 2020 – Bruce Mines, ON – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario – FedNor

Canadian farmers and agri-food producers are working hard to overcome the impacts of COVID-19 and the Government of Canada continues to have their backs during these challenging times. Through strategic investments in businesses and organizations, we are providing them with the tools and resources they need to be part of our economic recovery and emerge from it stronger and more competitive than before.

Terry Sheehan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor, today announced nearly $2 million in FedNor investments to help Northern Ontario’s agri-food sector innovate, grow and create jobs.

As part of this investment, Penokean Hills Farms will benefit from a repayable contribution of more than $1.4 million to build and equip a state-of-the-art abattoir, meat processing plant and retail butcher shop in Bruce Mines. This new 13,000-square-foot facility will include a commercial smoker, curing section and high-volume hanging and freezing facilities. Once complete, this priority project will allow the organization to increase sales and profitability by up to 65 percent, while helping to create and maintain 15 local jobs.  

The remaining $588,744 will allow Bioenterprise Corporation to create a Northern Ontario tech-hub to support the growth of agri-food businesses. Specifically, this targeted investment will ensure Northern Ontario entrepreneurs have access to sector expertise, best practices and business accelerator services that focus on technology, innovation, exports and access to capital. Once fully implemented, this strategic initiative is expected to help create or maintain more than 50 full-time jobs and provide more than 40 businesses with access to the tools and resources to start up, scale up and commercialize new products.

Today’s announcement is further proof of the Government of Canada’s commitment to Canadian farmers and agri-food businesses – helping them to not just survive, but thrive. Initiatives like these will help get Canadians back to work and ensure that our agricultural sector can play a major role in Canada’s economic recovery.


“The wellbeing of all Canadians – physically, socially and economically – begins with a safe food supply. Northern Ontario’s farmers and agri-food businesses are essential to this, and we continue to have their backs. These important measures will help them develop, grow and support good jobs by improving productivity, increasing yields and ensuring the security of a safe and efficient food supply chain.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor 

“Today’s announcement will help position Northern Ontario’s agricultural sector for long term sustainable growth. It will provide our producers with access to state-of-the-art processing facilities and create opportunities for entrepreneurs to pursue a future in agriculture. I am pleased that our government is stepping up support for this important sector by helping agri-food businesses start up, scale up, innovate, access new markets and create high-quality jobs across the region.”
- Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor

“We are thrilled to help bridge the gap in the agricultural innovation ecosystem by connecting agriculture and food-tech businesses with services and investors to accelerate business growth in Northern Ontario. We are confident that this FedNor investment will also allow us to bring expert-level support and connections to existing business advisors and innovation centres throughout Northern Ontario, which will help create jobs and opportunities throughout the region.”
- Dave Smardon, President & CEO, Bioenterprise Corporation

“We are proud to partner with FedNor and the Government of Canada on this major expansion project. Our new state-of-the-art facility will allow us to increase sales, services and capacity to meet the immediate and long-term needs of our agriculture community.”
- Chris Gordon, Owner and Manager, Penokean Hills Farms

Quick facts

  • The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Regional Growth Through Innovation Fund, which supports the growth of Northern Ontario businesses, their expansion into new markets and their adoption of new technologies and processes. 

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Barclay Babcock
Communications Officer

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