Government of Canada supports Ontario dairy processors to enhance productivity and protect worker health


Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Neil Ellis, Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced today funding totaling more than $2.5 million under the Dairy Processing Investment Fund to support Empire Cheese Co-operative, Kawartha Dairy and Mariposa Dairy.

Parliamentary Secretary Ellis also announced that Kawartha Dairy and Mariposa Dairy will receive a total of more than $85,000 under the Emergency Processing Fund to enhance worker safety in their facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, the Government of Canada has approved over $28 million in funding for 29 projects across Ontario that will benefit cheese, yogurt, cream and butter processors.

The Dairy Processing Investment Fund, valued at $100 million, is designed to help dairy processors modernize their operations, improving productivity and competitiveness. The Emergency Processing Fund will provide up to $77.5 million to help food processors safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the pandemic.

Canada’s dairy processors sustain good jobs across the country, and the safe, high-quality products they supply help to ensure the viability of our family farms and the vitality of our rural areas.


“Ontario Ag Week is the perfect time to celebrate and support our dairy processors who are essential to ensuring quality, safe foods remain in stable supply as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. The improvements made to these facilities will better position our processors for new market realities and ensure essential workers are protected against COVID-19.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“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.”

– Neil Ellis, Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Kawartha Dairy is proud to partner with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to bring more of our products to Ontarians, strengthen Canada’s food supply and create more jobs in the rural communities of Bobcaygeon and surrounding area. This support is especially important to our farming partners, our employees and communities during these uncertain times.”

– Brian Kerr, CEO and General Manager, Kawartha Dairy Ltd.

“We would like to express our appreciation to the Government of Canada for helping us create a safe work environment during these challenging times.”

– Bruce Vandenberg, CEO, Mariposa Dairy Ltd

Quick facts

  • There are over 500 dairy processors in Canada, including 164 in Ontario. Ontario dairy processors are key drivers of our economy, accounting for almost 40% of total Canadian dairy sales, reaching nearly $6 billion 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 over $76 million.
  • Empire Cheese Co-op is the only cheese manufacturing plant operating in Northumberland County (Campbellford) and the first one east of Toronto.
  • Founded in 1937, Kawartha Dairy is a family-owned company which operates ten retail stores and specializes in ice cream and fluid milk manufacturing, as well as cream, butter and other dairy products.
  • Mariposa Dairy is Ontario’s second largest manufacturer of goat cheese, and has been crafting award-winning, high-quality goat cheese products since 1989.
  • This announcement under the Emergency Processing Fund builds on the measures the Government has introduced to keep Canada’s agri-workforce strong, including:
    • $35 million under the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to improve health and safety on farms and in employee living quarters, and to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19.
    • Travel exemptions for all migrant workers, including seasonal agricultural workers and fish/seafood workers.
    • $50 million in funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Program for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) to help protect the health and safety of migrant workers in farming, fish harvesting, and food production by helping processing sectors cover the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on migrant workers upon entering Canada.