The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) supports key agri-food research and innovation projects for Ontario through funding. OAFRI, launched in 2019, has funded over 30 projects amounting to a total funding of over $4M in the last two calls for research. OAFRI funding is provided under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) organization.

“OAFRI is a $3B investment by Canada’s federal that amounts to a total of five years in provincial, and territorial governments which help bring agri-food research to commercial realization.”

The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative has three directives:

  1. Fund demand-driven research activities which support agri-food policy, programs and the marketplace;
  2. Improve knowledge or technology which stimulate Ontario’s agri-food industry businesses to solve challenges; and
  3. Support agri-food businesses in their expansion with market opportunities domestically and internationally.

The deadline for OAFRI proposal submissions is October 29, 2021 for each stream. Future intakes will be brought forward later.

Program Eligibility:

To ensure the best applicants are chosen for OAFRI support, eligible applicants must meet these criteria:

  • At least one location in Ontario;
  • A relative capacity to perform quality research projects; and
  • Be associated with one of the following:
    • A university or college;
    • A research organization, institute, or foundation;
    • An industry organization or business;
    • A non-government organization; or
    • A municipal or indigenous government or government agency

Program Streams for OAFRI and Eligible Initiatives:

As such a broad range of Agritech initiatives develop, the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative program has incepted three unique funding streams. Each stream has their own original set of eligible project criteria that may be approved for funding. The three streams are:

Stream one: Knowledge Mobilization – This stream encourages better adoption of best management practices (BMPs) for farm production by splitting costs for outreach/ engagement projects. Activities accept outreach and engagement initiatives which help the dissemination, integration and/or application of current research to Ontario’s agri-food industry.

Eligible topics include:

  • Food security;
  • Animal health and wellbeing;
  • Plant protection and wellbeing;
  • Soil richness and vitality;
  • Water source quality and abundance;
  • Manageable production processes;
  • Abundant and productive land output;
  • Up-to-date productions processes;
  • Innovative product improvement initiatives; and
  • Commercial market & sector growth.

Stream two: Research Synthesis – The Research Synthesis stream addresses one out of seven agri-food industry research questions, as well as identifies research blind spots while offering direction and suggestions which may be applied for evidence-based policy, systems, and best management practices (BMP) where and if applicable.

Key eligibility areas may be:

  • Plant health & security;
  • Water abundance & quality;
  • Ensuring production is maintained through sustainable systems; and
  • Top-of-the-line production systems.

Stream three Commercialization – The Commercialization stream is administered by Bioenterprise Corporation. The Bioenterprise Corporation is a large Canadian non-profit accelerator for businesses which supports commercialization through expertise, as well as supporting organizations in the agricultural tech industry. Acceptable projects should include transforming concepts into commercial-ready products and services. Projects should be related to converting research and prototypes into end-result products.

Do you think your business may be eligible? Apply for the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) with the Mentor Works team. Mentor Works is a Canadian government grant and loan application writing organization which averages an 86% approval success rating across all government funding programs. Speak with a government funding planner or call us at 1-888-599-3111 to find government programs your business may be eligible for.

Mentor Works is a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at

Author: Matt Mongeon

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