More than 3,200 produce companies participating in the CanadaGAP program are alerted to program changes that come into effect April 1, 2021. 

In February 2021, Country Fresh, its U.S. subsidiaries and its Canadian entities Sun Rich Fresh Foods filed for bankruptcy. Sun Rich Fresh Foods, based in Brampton, Ontario, cuts and prepares made-to-order fresh fruit.

The changing business landscape – with bankruptcies looming in the restaurant and institutional sectors – may finally persuade the federal government to consider financial protection legislation.  Similar to the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act in the U.S., legislation would protect produce sellers if they’ve sold to a business that goes bankrupt.

British Columbia’s 350 tree fruit growers are facing unprecedented challenges, not the least of which are an increase of minimum wage rates to $15.25 per hour as of June 1 and hurdles in accessing labour for the 2021 season.  A Tree Fruit Stabilization Initiative is underway with the provincial government, with hopes for a draft plan by end of July. 

Canada’s ag minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has announced $1.6 million over two years to fund Agriculture in the Classroom Canada. The initiative launches Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, now in its 10th year. 

McCain Foods Limited tops up investment to $65 million in national network of indoor vertical farms. GoodLeaf Farms, the first commercial venture in Guelph Ontario, will also set up a vertical farm to serve the grocery and food service networks in eastern Canada and another one in western Canada.

The Ontario government has renewed a three-year agreement for continued research and grants that protect and enhance acres of farmland, forests, wetlands and watersheds. The Greater Golden Horseshoe is expected to be home to 15 million Canadians by 2051. 

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Food processing facilities to receive PPE funding

The federal government has announced more than $6 million to support worker health and safety in the Ontario food processing sector. Some of those recipients are greenhouse packing facilities.  

Pilot vaccination site opens April 10 at Toronto airport

Temporary foreign workers arriving by charter at Toronto Pearson International Airport will now be offered a vaccine at a secure vaccination site. The vaccine is voluntary. 

Luci Faas is one of 10 Women in Produce nominees

After two years of research and pilots, Luci Faas was successful in identifying a home-compostable cucumber wrap for Nature Fresh Farms, Leamington, Ontario. The Canadian Produce Marketing Association is honouring her as one of 10 Women in Produce nominees. 

Ontario offers $10M to protect agri-food workers

Ontario growers should note that April 22 is the intake opening date to apply for a maximum of $15,000 to help offset costs of personal protective equipment and redesigned work stations. It’s first-come, first-served for the $10 million provincial program.

More automation coming to greenhouse cucumber growers

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is collaborating with INO, a leader in optics and photonics to bring robotic harvesting to Canadian greenhouse cucumber growers. 

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