Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

1.  What is the AgriMarketing Program?

The AgriMarketing Program is a five-year (2013-2018), $341 million program. It consists of both government initiatives and contribution funding for industry-led projects. Its objective is to improve the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector's competitiveness in domestic and international markets by supporting industry in gaining and maintaining access to markets and capitalizing on market opportunities. The two streams through which industry applications will be accepted are:

  • Market Development
  • Assurance Systems

2.  If my application is approved, what will I need to do?

If your application is approved, you will need to enter into a contribution agreement with AAFC.

A Recipient Guide will be provided with the contribution agreement which will explain important provisions and requirements in the agreement. It should be reviewed immediately upon receipt and before signing the agreement as it outlines the terms of the contribution funding and the responsibilities of the recipient.

3.  I am receiving funding from another program for the same project. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply for funding; however, government funding, from all sources (municipal, provincial, federal), is limited to 85% of total eligible costs for a project. The remaining portion of eligible costs must be cost-shared with the Applicant through cash or in-kind contributions.

4.  Can I start work on my project before I am approved for AAFC funding?

There is no obligation for AAFC to pay for costs incurred prior to signing a contribution agreement. If costs are incurred prior to the signing of a contribution agreement, the Applicant assumes the risk of not being reimbursed if the specific costs are deemed ineligible under the resulting agreement or in the event an agreement is never executed. In no instance will any costs incurred prior to April 1, 2013 be eligible for reimbursement.

5.  Once my application is approved, when do I start receiving funds for my project?

Funds cannot be paid out until a signed contribution agreement is in place. The contribution agreement will state whether funds will be provided based on advances or claims for reimbursement. If advances have been agreed to, they will be based on the immediate cash requirements.

6.  Can I get funding upfront?

In certain cases, once the project is approved and a contribution agreement is signed, funding can be provided through an advance based on the immediate cash requirements of the Applicant.

7.  How quickly will I know whether my project has been approved?

AAFC has set Service Standards which include the targeted timeframe to provide approval or rejection of a project proposal. Our goal is to assess your application and send you an approval or a rejection notification letter within 100 business days of receiving a fully completed application package. Please review the Service Standards for more information.

Market Development

1.  What is the Market Development Stream?

The Market Development stream is aimed at building and promoting Canada's ability in expanding domestic and export markets, undertaking promotional activities to help position and differentiate Canadian products and producers, and ensuring industry's ability to meet market requirements.

2.  What activities are eligible under the Market Development stream?

The Market Development stream will focus on promotional and market development activities in traditional and new markets. They include:

  • Development and implementation of market development and branding strategies;
  • Incoming, outgoing and exploratory missions;
  • Participation or attendance in trade fairs/shows and multilateral meetings and conferences;
  • Technical training for foreign buyers about Canadian products and product handling;
  • Industry-wide branding, promotion and advertising, including in-store and food service promotions and product demonstrations for buyers both domestically and internationally;

The Market Development Stream provides detailed information on the nature and type of activities that can be supported under the Market Development stream.

3.  Who is eligible to apply?
  • Not-for-profit organizations operating on a national basis or sector-wide basis in the agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors
  • Not-for-profit industry organizations operating on a regional basis in the agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors that represent the majority of production within that sector and can demonstrate their ability to deliver a project from a national perspective
  • Alliances and technical marketing organizations

The Market Development Stream provides detailed information on applicant eligibility.

4.  Is there a deadline to apply?

Applications may be submitted at any time or until funding is all committed. However, priority consideration will be given to applications received before March 01, 2014. Guidelines will be re-issued each year with an updated priority consideration date.

All project activities must be completed by March 31, 2018. AAFC will not reimburse costs incurred or paid after March 31, 2018.

5.  Do you accept multi-year proposals?

Multi-year proposals will be considered on a case by case basis.

6.  What is a Long Term International Strategy (LTIS)? Is it required?

A LTIS is a concise three-to-five (3-5) year plan (10-15 pages) providing long-term objectives (including baseline information and targets) for participation in the Market Development stream of AgriMarketing. The LTIS provides a strategic framework for understanding an association's market development proposals, discerning potential benefits to the sector, assessing associated risks, measuring performance and reporting results to Canadians.

Associations will be provided with a guide to develop a LTIS. This guide can be obtained at any time from program staff.

7.  How much funding is available for market development activities?

The maximum AAFC contribution to a not-for-profit recipient will normally not exceed $2.5 million per year.

8.  What level of contribution will I be expected to make towards the project costs?

Projects are cost-shared with industry applicants. It is expected that applicants will normally contribute 50% of the funding required for eligible activities/expenses. However, AAFC funding levels may be adjusted upwards where activities are aimed at expanding into new markets and downward where activities are aimed at established market maintenance.

9.  Who can help me complete my application?

The Agri-Food Trade Service is an excellent source of market information covering issues from market opportunities and trade regulations to exporter assistance opportunities. It provides a centralized access point for information and technical support.

Program Officers can provide guidance or answer general questions regarding the application process.

Assurance Systems

1.  What is the Assurance Systems stream?

The Assurance Systems stream will support the development of Canadian national assurance systems or standards, such as food safety systems, animal and plant health surveillance systems, market attribute/quality standards and traceability systems, and their related tools.

This stream builds on programs that supported assurance activities under previous agricultural frameworks such as Growing Forward and the Agricultural Flexibility Fund. For example, development of food safety and traceability systems was supported under Growing Forward's Canadian Integrated Food Safety Initiative. Development of these systems will continue to be supported under this stream but the stream will also expand to include support for other types of assurance as well as traceability systems beyond livestock, and will put more focus on market relevance in assessing applications for funding.

Funding under this stream will focus on projects that show a progression from previous development work/projects toward the completion of an assurance system. Integration and benchmarking could also be considered progression of an assurance system's development.


2.  What is an Assurance System?

The term "assurance system" is used to describe all processes and procedures that provide consumers and buyers with confidence that associated risks along the food supply chain are adequately addressed and that relevant claims can be proven – that food is safe, it was sourced from a healthy resource base, and it incorporates the attributes they seek and for which they will pay. The term also broadly includes standards and related tools for assurance. They are not information technology (IT) systems.

3.  What assurance systems and standards fall within Assurance Systems?
  • Food Safety Systems – Projects should focus on industry-led development and completion of producer/enterprise manuals, training of auditors/trainers and the management system.
  • Surveillance Systems – Projects should focus on industry-led activities and tools to support the development of a national disease surveillance system for farmed animals and/or cultivated plants. Projects cannot duplicate the surveillance activities of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or provincial/territorial governments.
  • Market Attribute/Quality Standards – Projects should focus on industry-led development of market relevant attribute or product standards and tools to assist in the demonstration of adherence to such a standard.
  • Traceability Systems – Projects should focus on industry-led development and implementation of a system that can track and trace a plant, animal or product to support product claims of market attributes or for purposes of emergency management in the plant or animal sector.

4.  What activities are eligible under Assurance Systems?

All eligible activities are listed in the Assurance Systems Stream.

5.  Will AAFC prioritize certain projects over others?

Priorities will be determined on an on-going basis. Currently, market relevance, livestock traceability and projects related to food for human consumption have been identified as priorities. Preference may be given to project proposals with higher levels of contributions from industry.

6.  How do I apply?

First, determine if your organization and project are eligible for funding by reading through the Assurance Systems Stream.

If all eligibility criteria are met, complete an application form and submit it with the additional documentation (below) required for a complete application package. Applicants are encouraged to contact a program officer by e-mail ( to discuss their project proposal.

  • Consent to Disclose Personal and/or Business Information form – this document is used to obtain written consent for the disclosure of personal information and/or business information, of a third party, to AAFC. Any information submitted about an individual and/or organization other than the Applicant is considered to be third party information, and the information will be used for the purposes of assessing projects under AAFC program streams.
  • One page Executive Summary
  • Project work plan
  • Project budget
  • A copy of the organization's Certificates or Articles of Incorporation, or if not a corporation, other official documentation attesting to the legal status of the Applicant
  • A copy of the last two years financial statements and the most recent interim financial statements
  • Endorsement letters for the project (if available)
  • Copyright Permission Form
  • Market relevance – the Applicant should provide supporting documentation that demonstrates market relevance/demand for the project and its activities. This could include public reports, economic analysis, and/or letters or other forms of formal requests from buyers or markets.
  • Information supporting strategic importance of proposal – this document should outline longer term goals and why they are necessary to achieve, how the Applicant will achieve them and when the Applicant will achieve them, as well as how the Applicant will maintain the assurance system in the long-term.
  • Project team – this document should outline the various working groups, committees and project teams, their responsibilities and tasks, as well as how they are accountable to your organization.

To receive the necessary forms, please call 1-877-246-4682. The application package can be submitted via email and an original signed copy must also be mailed to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

Upon receipt, AAFC will acknowledge its receipt, will review the application package and advise whether it is considered complete. Incomplete documentation will result in applications being placed on hold until all necessary information is received.

7.  Is there a deadline to apply?

Applications may be submitted at any time until September 30, 2017 or until all funding is committed.

8.  How much funding can I get?

The approved funding amount for each eligible project will be determined as part of the application review process; however, the maximum AAFC contribution normally will not exceed $1,000,000 per project.

9.  How much is this going to cost me?

A minimum 25% contribution to eligible project costs is expected from Applicants. The Applicant's contribution can be made up of funding from the Applicant and its collaborators or other levels of government, but for all eligible projects a minimum cash contribution of 15% is required.

10.  As a producer, can I receive funding to implement an assurance system?

Producers are not eligible to receive funding under the Assurance Systems stream. Funding to support the implementation of assurance systems may be requested from provincial/territorial agriculture departments. Individuals are encouraged to contact their provincial/territorial government directly for information on available funding and program requirements.

11.  Definitions

Tools: "tools" can be any item or process that supports an assurance system or assurance claim. For example, it could be the process or test created to assess adherence to a standard, or an instrument that can be used in an assurance system.

Benchmarking: "Benchmarking" means that a system or scheme has a common foundation of requirements which should provide consistent results for assurance. Benchmarking a Canadian food safety system to another system required by a buyer allows the Canadian sector to show that its system can be considered as equivalent to a number of international systems and thus demonstrate the value and credibility of the Canadian system.

Integration of systems: Integration refers to the act of combining different assurance systems within a sector or across commodities and the value chain.

Growing Forward 2
, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative

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