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15+ Funding Opportunities in Canada That Support Farmer Training

Training

The most important tool on a farm is you. Investing in the right training can be a game-changer for your success and help you to avoid many mistakes along the way that can compromise your time, energy, and resources. While technical agricultural training can be immensely valuable, covering the registration costs can be challenging, especially when juggling the many other start-up expenses on your farm. This is where funding opportunities for your training can be helpful.

To increase access to important education and to help multiply the number of successful small organic farms worldwide, we did some homework for you! See below for a list of funding opportunities in Canada that may support farmers or small farm dreamers to subsidize their registration costs for education like the Market Gardener Masterclass.

Please note this list of funding opportunities is not exhaustive and only includes funding programs that have been brought to our attention as confirmed or potential options. While there are no funding guarantees, we believe this list may help you find appropriate support in your region. Thank you for sharing your initiatives and different solutions with us so that we can add more opportunities as they become available!

Tips to get your funding application going

Funding opportunities can help you get the farming training you need. /Credit: Alex Chabot
Funding opportunities can help you get the farming training you need. /Credit: Alex Chabot

Provincial Funding Opportunities for Agriculture Training

Alberta

Agriculture Training Support 

Details: provides support to agricultural and horticultural businesses and services impacted by COVID-19. The program provides a grant to eligible employers to offset the costs of training and ensure safety protocols are in place for new employees hired from the available domestic labour pool. Includes coverage in training costs for New Hire Employees in work-related duties and activities. 

Eligibility: individuals, corporations, registered partnerships and other organizations, [see program website for full list]; and b) must produce at least $10,000 worth of agricultural or horticultural farm commodity, or processed food and beverage product, annually.

Timeframe: There is limited funding in the Program. Completed applications will be considered for approval on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact: Drew Hiltz, drew.hiltz[at]gov.ab.ca

Alberta Job Grant 

Details: employers can apply on behalf of their present or future employee(s) for eligible training costs. Employers decide who gets training and what type of training may be needed for their employees.

Eligibility: private sector + not-for-profit employers; First Nations and Metis Settlements; the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (if in a community with a population of 100,000 or less)

Deadline: Ongoing

British Columbia

B.C. Employer Training Grant

Details: supports any training that aligns with an employer’s business needs, including the development of management, business and skills. If you are an employer looking to train new or current employees, the ETG program may be the right program for you.

Eligibility: see here. 

Timeframe: see list of intake periods

Workforce Training Stream

Details: supports soft skills development or other training that aligns with an employer’s business needs and the needs of the participant’s job.

Eligibility: at the time of application participants must be unemployed, or employed by the applicant. For more details, see here. 

Deadline: see list of intake periods

Manitoba

Self Employment Training and Business Support

Details: Assists eligible individuals to start their own business – they are expected to contribute to some of the costs. Must demonstrate the viability of the business idea.

Eligibility: have a current or previous Employment Insurance (EI) claim; employed individuals who are low skilled; in receipt of Provincial Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) benefits; an individual who is unemployed or about to lose their job.

Deadline: Ongoing

New Brunswick

Agri-Industry Development and Advancement

A) Business Development

Details: Applicants are eligible for funding assistance for approved activities related to business development, advancing crop and livestock sectors, market and product development, and agriland enhancement. 

Eligibility: Agriculture producers (individuals or groups); Indigenous Peoples or Organizations; Agriculture producer associations; Academic or research institutions; Agri-businesses • Other individuals or groups capable of achieving program objectives

Deadline: February 28 of the current fiscal year (April 1 to March 31). Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until funding is exhausted.

For the NB Road Map for New Entrants to Agriculture, see here

Labour Force Training 

Details: The program provides funding to eligible businesses and organizations to train individuals who are being considered for an available job in their company and/or to improve the skills and opportunities of their new or existing employees.

Eligibility: NB-based Private sector; Non-profit organization; or First Nations group

Deadline: Ongoing

Newfoundland

Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Job Grant    

Details: provides funding to eligible businesses and organizations to help offset the cost of training for their existing and future employees. 

Eligibility: be a private sector employer, not-for-profit organization, industry association, employer consortia, unions, or an Indigenous government or organization; Be incorporated or a sole proprietor. Full list here. 

Deadline: Ongoing 

Department of Agriculture – Future Farms Program Application 

Details: is to enable the Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture industry to attract new entrepreneurs and investment, realize economic growth opportunities in the sector and meet food self-sufficiency targets.

Eligibility: existing producers. See “New Entrant” requirements on page 9 of the program overview.

Deadline: Ongoing

Nova Scotia

Employment Nova Scotia – Self Employment Program 

Details: provides entrepreneurial support and financial assistance to Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) eligible, unemployed participants starting their own business. Entrepreneurial support may include orientation, information sessions and/or workshops, coaching, mentoring, and access to specific business implementation training to enable participants to develop and implement their business plans.

Eligibility: see here.

Deadline: Ongoing

Ontario 

Provincial funding for agricultural businesses is administered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). To learn more about the next launch of 2021 programs, see here

Canada Ontario Jobs Grant – Employment Ontario 

Details: provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees. 

Eligibility: see full details here. Most organizations acting as an intermediary are eligible for administrative funding equal to 15% of the government contribution. 

Deadline: Ongoing

Carrot Cache Grant (non-governmental)

Details: Individuals or groups who are facing systemic barriers and/or lacking funds from other resources to complete projects that improve the local food system in Ontario.

Eligibility: see full details here. Farmers must use sustainable production methods but are not required to be certified organic. 

Deadline: see full details here

The Big Carrot Nature’s Finest Fund (non-governmental)

Details: Established producers looking to make capital improvements that will increase their ability to supply The Big Carrot grocery stores in Toronto.

Eligibility: see full details here. Farmers must use sustainable production methods but are not required to be certified organic. 

Deadline: see full details here

Prince Edward Island

Department of Agriculture – Future Farmer Program

Details: Include support for skills development and training assistance by a third-party which must be pre-approved by the Program Manager.

Eligibility: New agricultural producers with a business or succession plan. Mi’kmaq First Nations and other Indigenous Organizations who are new agricultural producers with a business or succession plan. More eligibility requirements can be found here

Deadline: Ongoing

Self Employ – PEI 

Details: provides financial support and business counseling to new entrepreneurs during their first year of operation. Applicants must not have started the operation of the proposed business before submitting an application for the program.

Eligibility: see list of criteria here

Deadline: Ongoing 

Workplace Skills Training 

Details: The program is developed for employers to train new or existing employees to develop their skills and align with needs of the business. The employer determines the type of training and who will participate.

Eligibility: Registered private sector businesses; Organization acting on behalf of a group of employers (e.g. employer consortia, industry associations and sector council businesses); Band/tribal councils.

Deadline: Ongoing

Québec

Emploi Québec 

If you are a registered business and have a QC enterprise number, you can access support to help cover relevant training costs or to support job creation and wage subsidies. To learn more, contact the Emploi-Québec Business Service Center at 514-873-7032 (option 2) and set up a meeting with a service representative.

Entreprises Québec

As a service for business owners or people interested in starting a business, Enterprise Quebec may have helpful resources for you as well. Learn more about available supports here

Saskatchewan

The Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant 

Details: Helps businesses and non-profit organizations train new or existing employees for available jobs; and provides more opportunities for unemployed and underemployed workers to receive training. Receive reimbursement for two-thirds of eligible training costs.

Eligibility: Private and not-for-profit sector employers are eligible. No individual applications. 

Deadline: Ongoing