Ellis also announced Kawartha Dairy and Mariposa Dairy will receive cash under the Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) to enhance worker safety in their facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EPF is a one-time, federal investment of up to C$77.5m (US$58.5m) to help companies implement changes to safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, the Government of Canada has approved more than C$28m (US$21.1m) in funding for 29 projects across Ontario that will benefit cheese, yogurt, cream and butter processors.
The Dairy Processing Investment Fund, valued at C$100m (US$75.5m), is designed to help dairy processors modernize their operations, improving productivity and competitiveness. The Emergency Processing Fund will provide up to C$77.5m (US$58.5m) to help food processors safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the pandemic.
"These investments will help to modernize Ontario's dairy processing operations, which will increase productivity and enhance competitiveness. By providing for the urgent health and safety needs of workers in these facilities, we are helping these essential operations maintain food production and meet new public health protocol requirements," Ellis said.
There are more than 500 dairy processors in Canada, including 164 in Ontario. Ontario dairy processors account for almost 40% of total Canadian dairy sales, reaching nearly C$6bn (US$4.5bn) annually, and more than 8,000 jobs. To date, 90 dairy processors across Canada have been approved for funding under the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, valued at more than C$76m (US$57.4m).
Empire Cheese Co-operative, in Campbellford, is the only cheese manufacturing plant operating in Northumberland County (Campbellford) and the first one east of Toronto.
It received C$171,245 (US$129,300) of dairy processing investment funding for the acquisition of new production equipment, which will help the company meet increasing demand and achieve processing efficiencies. The main activities of the project include the acquisition and installation of a new milk silo, cheese vats and overhead carriages.
Founded in 1937, Kawartha Dairy, in Bobcaygeon, is a family-owned company that operates 10 retail stores and specializes in ice cream and fluid milk manufacturing, as well as cream, butter and other dairy products.
It received C$301,406 (US$227,591) from the dairy processing fund, for the acquisition of new ice cream processing equipment and the installation of refrigeration systems.
The company received C$14,231 (US$10,746) from the EPF for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), including face shields and thermometers, and the purchase and installation of social distancing structures, including plexiglass barriers.
Mariposa Dairy is Ontario's second largest manufacturer of goat cheese.
It received C$71,500 (US$53,990) in EPF funding to adapt its manufacturing facility and production process to accommodate new social and physical distancing protocols and practices. This includes installing protective barriers, a new air filtration system, a new hand-wash and sanitation station, and temperature screening kiosks with thermometers.
Under the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, the Lindsay-based company received C$2,070,863 (US$1.56m) for the purchase and installation of new production equipment, such as a soft goat cheese production line and a specialty hard cheese production line, which will increase the company's productivity.