STONEY CREEK: The Ontario government is launching a new Winery Agri-Tourism COVID-19 Relief Initiative to support agritourism businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario wineries and cideries with onsite stores whose business were impacted by COVID-19 safety measures to stop the spread of the virus will be eligible for this onetime grant.
Businesses that saw a revenue decline in at least one area of their operations, such as decreased tourism, tours, events and tastings, or have faced increased expenses to comply with public health safety measures will be eligible to receive support.
“Ontario’s wineries and cideries have told us their businesses are being hit hard,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“Our government is taking the necessary steps to provide these businesses with the support they need to continue operating, recover and to maintain these good jobs in the agri-food sector.”
“Our government recognizes the significant impact of the AgriTourism sector on Ontario’s social and economy recovery,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.
“The launch of a new Winery Agri-Tourism Relief Initiative will support and maintain the vital jobs of those who continue to fight to ensure this sector is able to come back stronger than before.”
The 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, committed to providing a one-time $10 million grant to help wineries and cideries impacted by COVID-19 and to ensure that agricultural production and local jobs are maintained in Ontario’s rural communities.
As the delivery agent of the new Winery AgriTourism COVID-19 Relief Initiative, Agricorp will send applications for the program directly to eligible wineries and cideries on July 20, 2021.
This new relief initiative builds on government programs that aim to protect jobs and support local producers, including extending the VQA Wine Support Program and the Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to 2022-23.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact for our rural communities and on Ontario’s agri-tourism community,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance.
“This one-time investment will provide grants to eligible wineries and cideries with on-site stores in 2021, to help them thrive following a tough year.”
• As part of the 2021 Budget, the government committed to providing a one-time $10 million grant in 2021 to help wineries and cideries impacted by lockdown measures while helping ensure that agricultural production and local jobs are maintained in Ontario’s rural communities.
• For 2021-22 only, the Small Distillery Program’s budget was increased by $1.2 million to provide relief from COVID-19. Craft craft beer sales at farmers’ markets ar also allowed in Ontario.