Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

November 07, 2005 12:36 ET

Governments Invest $5 Million in Science and Innovation for Agricultural Sector

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 7, 2005) - The governments of Canada and Ontario have invested more than $5 million in innovation projects that will strengthen links between producers and consumers, identify commercialization prospects resulting from advancements in life sciences and bioproducts, and capture opportunities related to new trends in healthy living.

"By partnering with agri-businesses, academic and research institutions and the health sciences sector, the Government of Canada is supporting and encouraging a climate of innovation that will lead to a stronger, more competitive, and more prosperous agri-food economy," said Paul Steckle, MP Huron-Bruce, who made the announcement of behalf of Andy Mitchell, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

"The Ontario government supports investments in research and development that will win new markets and create new ways of doing business in the agri-food sector," said Leona Dombrowsky, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Strong partnerships with the private sector and other governments will foster innovation and ensure a bright future for our producers and our rural communities."

The governments announced support for three initiatives that have been approved and are underway (see attached backgrounders): The Soy 20/20 Project, MaRS LANDING, and Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Awareness (OAFIA). The projects are being delivered now and will end on March 31, 2008.

The initiatives are cost-shared under the $15.2 million Science and Innovation envelope of the Canada-Ontario Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), a federal-provincial-territorial agreement to make Canada's agricultural sector a world leader in science and innovation.

- The Soy 20/20 Project - The Soy 20/20 Project will provide market
research, analysis and recommendations to increase the value of
the soy sector. The initiative brings government, academic and
industry partners together to stimulate and seize new global
bioscience opportunities for Canadian soybeans. The Project grew
from a June 2002 Memorandum of Understanding between the federal
and provincial agricultural departments, the University of Guelph,
and the Ontario Soybean Growers.
Federal APF contribution: $525,000
Provincial APF contribution: $625,000
Total: $1.15 million

- MaRS LANDING (Medical and Related Sciences Linkages to Agriculture
Network Development and Innovation with Guelph) - The objective
of the program is to foster technology development by connecting
scientific research and development in rural Ontario and across
the Ontario bio-business sector with the MaRS Discovery District
in Toronto. The program will create stronger relationships between
the agri-food industry and the health sector and advance academic
research by building stronger links to business and venture
Federal APF contribution: $2.34 million
Provincial APF contribution: $800,000
Total: $3.14 million

- Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Awareness (OAFIA) - Ontario Agri-Food
Technologies Inc. (OAFT) is delivering a communications and
awareness program that includes developing communication material
outlining the benefits and safeguards of bioproducts; creating a
series of information forums; and establishing an award for
excellence in agricultural innovation.
Federal APF contribution: $450,000
Provincial APF contribution: $400,000
Total: $850,000


Soy 20/20 Project (

Soy 20/20 brings government, academic and industry partners together to stimulate and seize new global bioscience opportunities for Canadian soybeans. Soy 20/20 assists researchers, industry, producers and policy makers in focussing on key opportunities and working together to achieve them.

Soy 20/20 works to build linkages among researchers and guide their studies towards markets where opportunities await. Improving teamwork among soybean researchers across the country increases their effectiveness and adds to the creation of new knowledge and technology.

The goal of the Canada-Ontario Soy 20/20 Contribution Agreement, under the Canada-Ontario Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), is to move the soybean sector towards a comprehensive supply chain and allow the sector to take advantage of opportunities in the life sciences. A total of $1.65 million in funding, which includes contributions from Ontario Soybean Growers and the University of Guelph, and $25,000 direct federal support for Project Soy, is allocated under the APF to Soy 20/20 to:

- support life-sciences based innovation, industry development and
market development initiatives for the Canadian/Ontario soybean
- serve as a model of strategic action for other commodity groups
across Canada facing similar international competition (e.g.
- form the basis for a new government/university/industry
partnership to coordinate public and private resources and
maximize market opportunities for the Canadian soybean industry,
- increase value by coordinating research, production and marketing
of Canadian soybeans,
- help the sector use new technology to capture markets for
specialty-trait soy products and commodity-based industrial
products, and
- deliver annual science fair awards for novel uses of soybeans
(Project Soy).


Lucas Thacker, Project Director
Soy 20/20
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 4Y2
Tel: (519) 837-6324

Medical and Related Sciences Linkages to Agriculture Network Development and Innovation with Guelph (MaRS LANDING) (

MaRS LANDING is a not-for-profit organization founded by partners from Canada's academic, business and scientific communities. MaRS LANDING is dedicated to linking scientific research and development in rural Ontario with the best-in-class scientific and medical and related sciences communities, including universities and hospitals, in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. These groups are brought together with business and venture capital to facilitate the commercialization of academic research in Canada.

MaRS LANDING is interested in novel technologies that will add value to Ontario's bioeconomy by capitalizing on medical and related science advances and agricultural, veterinary, and environmental expertise. Both MaRS Landing and MaRS Discovery District are provincial initiatives, and as such are interested in forging links and accelerating commercialization of innovation across the province. MaRS Landing has a mandate to assist in the development of real economic return through the linkage with the MaRS Discovery District and the programs it has to offer, and to facilitate linkages and commercialization efforts with likeminded groups across the province.

Under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), the Canada-University of Guelph Contribution Agreement for the development of MaRS LANDING provides $3.14 million in funding to support activities that foster the long-term networking of bio-clusters between Guelph (agri-food), rural Ontario and Toronto (medical and related sciences) and, in addition, provide commercialization expertise.

Activities under the APF agreement will:

- facilitate communication and new research collaborations,
- connect experts and facilities in various disciplines to optimize
resource use and strengthen individual organizations,
- provide marketing and public relations management of technologies,
- give access to legal, financial and regulatory assistance and
advice to help rural innovations succeed.


Dr. John Kelly, Executive Director
Granbry Innovations Building
4-130 Research Lane
Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 5G3
Tel: (519) 824-4120 x56604

Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Awareness (OAFIA) Program (

The objective of the OAFIA program is to use focused communications activities to foster collaboration, raise Ontario's profile as a leader in the bioeconomy, attract investment and encourage the commercialization of agri-food life sciences innovation and bioproducts. The program is delivered by Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT), a not-for-profit organization with members from producer associations, academia, industry and governments. OAFT's mission is to provide leadership and coordination in utilizing biotechnology to generate wealth and sustainability for the agricultural and food industries of Ontario.

Under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF) the Canada-Ontario
Agri-Food Technologies Contribution Agreement provides $850,000 in
federal and provincial funding to support communications and
activities that:

- build awareness and public acceptance of the benefits and
safeguards of bioproducts and bioprocesses,
- build awareness of innovation and business practices in the agri-
food supply chain, through a series of seminars and forums, and
- recognize excellence in agricultural innovation among youth,
researchers and entrepreneurs who develop value-added products.

In June 2005 OAFT, in conjunction with Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada and the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs, organized the first Agri-Food Innovation Forum
( with the theme "Food: A Healthy Value
Proposition". Planning is underway for the 2006 Agri-Food Innovation
Forum, which will be held in conjunction with the third annual World
Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing scheduled for
July 12-14, 2006 in Toronto.

As part of the 2005 Forum, three awards were presented to celebrate
outstanding contributions to agriculture, food and human health made
by Canadians.

- The Communications Award recognized an individual, team,
organization or business that, through credible, effective and
innovative communications programs or products, has transferred
science-based agri-food and health knowledge to Ontario consumers,
businesses or other stakeholders in the agri-food value chain.
Recipient: SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research
Knowledge), University of Guelph.

- The Young Canadian Innovator Award recognized the achievements of
a young Canadian innovator (35 years of age or younger as of June
30, 2005), whose work to date, related to the generation of new
ideas, knowledge or technology, reflects the entrepreneurial and
collaborative spirit needed to drive innovation in Ontario
agriculture, food and health in the 21st century.
Recipient: Dr. Alison M. Duncan, Assistant Professor, Department
of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph

- The Innovation Award recognized an individual, team, organization
or business whose leadership, new technology, value-added product
or service has improved, or holds the potential to improve, the
health of the citizens of Ontario, while at the same time
generating profits for the agri-food sector.
Recipient: Fresh Cut Apple Slices Team (Dr. H.P. Vasantha
Rupasinghe, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Dr. Jennifer R.
DeEll, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Dr. Peter
M.A. Toivonen, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in BC, Pride Pak
Canada Ltd, and the Ontario Apple Sales Group).


Dr. Gord Surgeoner, President
Ontario Agri-Food Technologies
1 Stone Road West, 1st Floor
Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2
Tel: (519) 826-4195

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972
    Minister Mitchell's Office
    Matt Tolley
    (613) 759-1059
    Ontario Ministry Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
    Minister Dombrowsky's Office
    Christopher Flavelle
    (416) 326-3072