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How baked goods manufacturers in Ontario can access the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Grant Program

December 6, 2021  By Bonny Koabel CPA, CGA

Photo: © Memorystockphoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic both federal and provincial governments have introduced funding programs to ensure the safe production and supply of food products to the Canadian population as well to help offset the added costs of personal protective equipment and social distancing measures in the workplace.

The $46-million Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program is one of these funding programs currently opened to baked goods manufacturers.

The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program provides funding on a first come, first served basis through two streams. The “Workplace COVID-19 Prevention” Stream is a $10-million fund that is applicable to baked goods manufacturers and covers measures for the support and adoption of prevention and mitigation measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. To be eligible for funding employers must have three or more employees. Funding covers up to 60 per cent of PPE costs incurred on or after Jan. 1, 2021, and received on or after March 13, 2021. Applications are received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available or until Feb. 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

Available cost-share funding

Funding is as follows:
• 60 per cent of eligible expenses
• Funding is limited to $50,000 per industry organization
• Funding is limited to $50,000 per business
• Funding is limited to $50,000 per property


Eligible activities

In general funding is available for the following activities:
• Minor modifications throughout a manufacturing facility, worker or employee housing, or worker or employee transportation systems to promote appropriate safety with regards to physical distancing needs i.e installing physical barriers
• Providing workers or employees with rapid COVID-19 antigen testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other approved safety supplies for use. Also, worker or employee housing or transportation systems to prevent disease spread
• Providing arrangements to support worker/employee accommodations and work-site mobility that are necessary to address immediate health and safety issues due to COVID-19

Eligible expenses

The Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Stream provides reimbursement for the following invoices expenditures:

1) Personal protective equipment (PPE)
• PPE and other safety supplies for workers and employees (for example, masks, gloves and other protective gear)
• There is a limit of $7,500.00 of funding available for PPE expenses.

2) Wi-Fi equipment
• Installation or upgrade of WIFI equipment on the applicant’s property directly related to expanding worker and employee access to WIFI within employer-provided housing and accommodations or worker and employee common areas, to enable physical distancing. This excludes computers, tablets, smartphones or monthly WIFI/wireless communication expenses.
• There is a limit of $10,000.00 of funding available for new and upgraded WIFI equipment.
• A strong COVID-related rationale for this expense must be provided.

3) Physical distancing measures
• Retrofits or adjustments to employee housing or workplace modifications to allow for proper health and safety measures and physical distancing.
• Measures that enable workers and employees to practice physical distancing: minor capital (physical and infrastructure) updates and renovations, temporary or permanent modifications, for example, reconfigurations, shielding, barriers, roofs, additional refrigerators, stoves, beds, mattresses, bedding, winterization, and rental of temporary structures.
• Agriculture and agri-food equipment and machinery that would enable physical distancing.

4) Preventing disease spread
• Third-party services to help to prevent disease spread (for example, third-party services to administer COVID-19 testing outside of the quarantine period, perform COVID-19 related medical checks, third-party cleaning services to increase frequency and extent of cleaning, security)
• Medical equipment, for example, body temperature remote sensors, thermometers and cameras; COVID-related testing equipment
• Cleaning and disinfection equipment and supplies to increase frequency and extent of cleaning that would help prevent the spread of COVID-19
• Vaccination costs not covered by the Government of Canada or the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
• Wearable technology specifically designed to promote social and physical distancing, as well as contact tracing for COVID-19 cases, which alerts users and wearers within a workplace who have been in close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. This does not include funding for multi-purpose technology such as smartwatches, smart phones or other devices which include an entertainment or communication function.

5) Accommodations
• Short-term accommodations (for example, hotel room rentals, dorm rentals, house rental and lease, trailer purchases) to enable physical distancing best practices and allow workers and employees to attend workplaces
• Hotel room rentals and dorm rentals are limited to a maximum of $80/day per worker or employee
• Rental or lease of housing to support worker safety related to COVID-19 for the duration of the renovations to employee housing.

6) Transportation
• COVID-related worksite mobility and transportation expenses to enable workers and employees to access the worksite or vaccine clinics and transportation to and from airport to meet quarantine requirements, for example, car rental and bus rental and taxi services
• Enhanced sanitization and disinfection
• Includes only innovative sanitization and disinfection techniques and technologies, for example, UV sterilization technologies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
• Translation services for training, testing and vaccinations
• Arm’s length translation services required for COVID-related training, testing and COVID-19 vaccinations
• Air circulation and filtration in enclosed work environments
• New and upgraded COVID-19 related air circulation and air filtration systems, HVAC modifications or upgrades required for enclosed work environments

Ineligible expenses

The following invoices expenditures are ineligible for funding:
• Expenses to address usual business practices, expansion or any other non-COVID-19 related objectives (includes toilet paper, paper towel, garbage bags)
• Expenses related to retail or other on-site sales activities
• Expenses for activities and practices that are not in accordance with any standard or guideline of an appropriate authority, for example, Ontario Ministry of Labour
• Monthly Wi-Fi and wireless communication expenses
• Purchase of computers, tablets, smartphones
• Purchase of wearable technology such as smart jewelry, fitness trackers, body mounted sensors for healthcare not related to contact tracing technology
• Purchase of major capital items, with the exception of agriculture and agri-food equipment or machinery that would enable physical distancing
• Purchase and construction of buildings that are not portable or relocatable and land purchases
• Expenses to relocate to new processing facilities
• Rental costs for new processing facilities
• Purchase and expenses of on and off-road vehicles, for example, repairs and maintenance, fuel, etc.
• In-kind contributions
• Meal expenses
• Deposits (prepayments) for which goods or services are not yet fully received
• Employee wages, salaries and overtime payments
• Accommodation expenses for the isolation due to a COVID-positive test result, or a Public Health Unit or Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development order related to COVID-19 (‘Self-isolation Period’)
• Expenses of permits and approvals
• Financing charges, loan and lease interest payments, bank fees and charges as well as debt restructuring or fundraising
• Taxes, including Harmonized Sales Tax
• The refund or rebate portion of any expense for which the business receives or is eligible to receive a refund or rebate
• Costs for the development and update of a business’ COVID-19 workplace safety plan
• Legal fees
• Professional services not necessary for the eligible activity
• Housing expenditures for individuals connected by blood relationship, marriage or common-law partnership or adoption
• Personal housing
• Any other expenditure deemed by the minister to be ineligible
• Any expenses for which the business has been reimbursed
• Contractor expenses, for example, contractor insurance

Bonny Koabel CPA, CGA, is president of AKR Consulting Canada – a Mississauga, Ont., firm specializing in government grants, subsidies, tax credits, refunds and rebates since 2003.

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