Government of Canada supports innovative solutions for agricultural challenges

Canada is a global leader in agricultural innovation and technological development. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of agricultural innovation, as it helps support sustainability and keeps the sector competitive and well-positioned for the future. Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced over $1 million in funding for seven businesses under the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program.

A total of seven small businesses are each receiving up to $150,000 to advance automation and robotic technologies for solving challenges such as work productivity and labour shortages and operational efficiency in the agricultural sector.

This program provides innovators with bold ideas the opportunity to develop their novel solutions, products, technologies to address challenges in the agriculture sector, leading to a more prosperous and competitive sector.

The Canadian meat processing industry relies heavily on manual labour and must continue to evolve to ensure safe and efficient work environments, as well as to increase operational efficiencies and maintain food safety standards. Projects receiving funding through the Canadian Meat Processing Technology Development Challenge will aim to make advances in automation through robotics, artificial intelligence and other forms of innovation to reduce reliance on manual labour in the Canadian meat processing sector. By reducing reliance on resources, Canadian meat processors will have more opportunities to focus on other areas.

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is an indoor technology-based production system where crops are grown under a modified and highly conditioned environment. CEA production is labour intensive, including tasks such as planting, management of plants, cleaning, harvesting, pest management, pruning, sorting and packaging. Projects receiving funding through the Enhancing Automation in CEA Farming Challenge will work to develop automation and robotic technologies to reduce time spent on labour intensive tasks and reduce costs for CEA facilities.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the innovations of small businesses and entrepreneurs to help develop efficient, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to ensure Canada’s agricultural sector remains competitive.

Quotes

“Canadian small businesses and entrepreneurs are at the forefront of finding creative solutions to tackle industry challenges head-on. By supporting innovation, Canada’s agriculture sector will become more efficient, profitable and sustainable, and it will continue to deliver the highest-quality food to Canadians and consumers around the world.”

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

“Our government strongly believes that Canadians deserve access to the highest-quality food and agriculture products, and we are determined to help find solutions to challenges faced by the agri-food sector. With our support for these projects, we are giving Canadian businesses an opportunity to grow and innovate, while addressing challenges faced by Canadian farmers and processors.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • ISC, administered by Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), is a $100-million program to help Canada’s entrepreneurs and small businesses develop innovative and sustainable solutions to complex challenges. AAFC and other participating departments will partner with the Secretariat to develop challenges and evaluate incoming applications.
  • If successful at the proof of concept stage, projects are each eligible for up to $1 million under Phase 2 of the ISC Challenge for prototype development.

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