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Ontario supports wineries, cideries and agri-tourism

Christian Fernsby |
As part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, the government committed to provide a one‑time $10 million grant in 2021 to help wineries and cideries with on-site stores whose business were impacted by COVID-19 safety measures to stop the spread of the virus.

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The new Winery Agri-Tourism COVID-19 Relief Initiative will fulfill this commitment by providing one-time grants to eligible wineries and cideries with on-site retail stores in September 2021.

Eligible businesses that receive an application from Agricorp are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible, businesses that were in operation prior to March 17, 2020 will need to attest to either a revenue decline in at least one line item of business, such as decreased tourism, tours, events and tastings or increased expenses to comply with public health safety measures for COVID-19.

They must also be licenced to sell wine products at an on-site retail store, be a licenced winery or corporation with a controlling interest in one or more Affiliated Licenced Wineries and comply with tax collection and remittance obligations to the Ministry of Finance. Additional details will be included in Agricorp’s guidelines.

Through the grant, eligible wineries and cideries would receive a one-time payment based on their sale of wine in 2020-21 in their on-site store.

Agricorp will send applications directly to eligible wineries/cideries on July 20, with a deadline to apply by August 6, 2021.

Grant payments will be issued in this fall.

Other supports for the beverage alcohol industry announced in the 2021 Budget include:

- The extension of Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs existing beverage alcohol support programs until 2022-23 and providing $15.7 million in funding to wineries, small cideries and small distilleries. Additionally, for 2021-22 only, the Small Distillery Program’s budget will be increased by $1.2 million to provide relief from the impacts of COVID-19.

- The availability of beer sales at farmers’ markets starting in spring 2021.