• News
  • January 24, 2018

Supporting Growth of Ontario Food and Beverage Businesses

Ontario and Canada Partner to Grow Ontario’s Food and Beverage Industry

The federal and provincial governments are partnering to help grow Ontario's food and beverage processing sector by supporting local businesses to increase productivity, meet consumer demand and create good jobs.

Jeff Leal, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs made the announcement at the Wilton Cheese Factory in Odessa today, and was joined by Mike Bossio, MP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington, on behalf of Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay. With support provided through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, the company rebuilt and upgraded its main cooler, helping to improve energy efficiency and achieve cost savings.

Wilton Cheese Factory is one of over 300 Ontario food processors enhancing their competitiveness, innovating through the introduction of new products and creating new jobs thanks to support through Growing Forward 2.

Helping grow the agri-food sector is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • The provincial and federal governments are investing almost $18 million towards more than 300 projects across the province as part of this announcement.
  • Growing Forward 2 was launched in 2013 and is a five-year commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments to support Canada's agri-food and agri-based products sector.
  • The provincial and federal governments have committed over $50 million in cost-shared funding assistance to eligible food and beverage processors towards more than 950 Growing Forward 2 projects.
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership will follow Growing Forward 2, launching on April 1, 2018.
  • Wilton Cheese Factory received an investment of $17,838 to rebuild and insulate its main cooler to help achieve energy savings.
  • Since 1867, the Wilton Cheese Factory operated as a farmers’ cooperative until it was purchased by the Jensen family in the 1970s.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Canadian food processors are the single largest employer of all manufacturing industries and contribute almost half of all agriculture and food exports. Investments in these Ontario companies help grow the economy, provide well-paying jobs and ensure Canada is a world leader in innovation, while promoting the sustainability of rural communities.”

Mike Bossio

Member of Parliament for Hastings – Lennox and Addington

“By investing in businesses like Wilton Cheese Factory we are helping boost the competitiveness of Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector. For the last five years, Growing Forward 2 has been integral in strengthening Ontario’s agri-food sector and I look forward to building on its success through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.”

Jeff Leal

Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“The availability of funding through the Growing Forward 2 program was conducive in the implementation of modernizing our 150-year-old business and keeping the Wilton Cheese Factory a viable, productive, award-winning Canadian cheddar manufacturer.”

Scott Jensen

Owner-Manager, Wilton Cheese Factory

Media Contacts

  • Cara Wallach

    OMAFRA, Office of the Honourable Jeff Leal


  • Bianca Jamieson

    OMAFRA, Communications Branch


  • Guy Gallant

    AAFC, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay


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