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Emergency Processing Fund: Applicant guide

Applicant guide

The application intake period for the Emergency Processing Fund is now closed.

Purpose of this guide

This guide will:

  1. help you determine if you may be eligible for funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) under the Emergency Processing Fund (EPF)
  2. provide instructions and explanations to assist you in completing an application for the program

1.0 About the Emergency Processing Fund

The agriculture and agri-food sector is a critical industry that produces safe, high-quality food for Canadians. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused rapid and urgent adaptation in Canada’s food system to be able to maintain food production in Canada, while protecting the health and safety of workers, their families and communities. As a result, Canadian food producers, processors, and manufacturers have taken on unexpected and exceptional activities associated with risk mitigation measures to manage health and safety during the pandemic and to be able to maintain Canada’s food production.

The Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) is a one-time, federal investment of up to $77.5 million to help companies implement changes to safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund also aims to aid companies to invest to improve, automate and modernize facilities to increase Canada’s food supply during COVID-19. The fund is one part of the greater Government of Canada response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EPF will provide up to $5 million per recipient in non-repayable funding for emergency COVID response activities and/or repayable funding for strategic investments.

All eligible activities must be completed by September 30, 2020. The program will fund activities retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Program objectives and priorities

The program has two main objectives which affect costing and are prioritized as follows:

1.1 Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants under the EPF are:

To be eligible, an applicant must:

Note: Seafood processing or manufacturing is not eligible under the program.

1.2 Eligible activities

Activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by September 30, 2020.

Objective 1 - Emergency COVID Response

Eligible activities funded with non-repayable contributions

Objective 2 - Strategic Investments

Eligible activities funded with repayable contributions

Objective 2 eligible activities are considered to have a strategic benefit to the company or are permanent increases in production beyond the COVID-19 situation and will remain in place after COVID-19, and therefore, would be funded with repayable contributions.

1.3 Eligible costs

All eligible costs are retroactive to and including the date of March 15, 2020. All activities must be completed by September 30, 2020.

Eligible costs are the costs directly related to the project that fall within the AAFC standard cost categories and respect all conditions and limitations set out in this guide and the Contribution Agreement if the project is approved. For details, please refer to Annex A: Cost categories and Annex B: Single use personal protective equipment and other limitations.

Applicants will need to declare in the application that all applicable measures of the Quarantine Act are being adhered to, including but not limited to the mandatory 14-day quaratine period for temporary foreign workers.

While the program allows for retroactive activities and costs to be submitted, the applicant assumes the risk of not being reimbursed should:

1.4 Ineligible costs

Ineligible costs include:

Note: Some ineligible costs for Objective 1 - Emergency COVID Response projects may be considered eligible costs for Objective 2 - Strategic Investments projects funded with repayable contributions. For details, please refer to Annex A: Cost categories and Annex B: Single use personal protective equipment and other limitations

1.5 Funding and cost-sharing

Non-repayable and repayable funding contributions

Funding will be provided in the form of non-repayable contributions and repayable contributions.

Maximum funding amount

Eligible costs will be retroactive up to and including March 15, 2020. All activities must be completed by September 30, 2020. Successful applicants will be required to enter into a Contribution Agreement with AAFC.

Cost sharing

Eligible costs related to a project will be shared between the EPF and the successful applicant.

Applicant Cost-Sharing Ratio Program : Recipient Funding
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
  • Fewer than 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (pre-COVID). Excluding wholly or majority owned subsidiaries of large companies
Large companies
  • 500 or more FTE employees (pre-COVID)

Only cash contributions will be counted in recipient funding for the cost-sharing ratio. No in-kind contributions are to be included.

Applicants must clearly indicate all sources of funding for the project. Sources of funding can be comprised of cash contributions from other sources including those from:

The maximum level of government funding (federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal) that an applicant can receive towards the total eligible costs of a project will not generally exceed 75% of eligible project funding. However, if deemed necessary, the maximum level of government funding could be up to 100% of eligible project funding.

Note: Should a project be approved, you must provide evidence that all sources of funding are confirmed prior to a Contribution Agreement being signed.

2.0 How to apply

Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis until 11:59 p.m. EDT Friday, July 31, 2020 or earlier if funding is fully allocated before that date.

Applicants requesting less than $100,000 must apply to the organization in the province/territory of the project location as follows:

Applicants requesting $100,000 or more must apply directly to AAFC through the following application process:

1. Complete the Screening checklist

PDF forms

If you have problems opening a PDF form in your Internet browser, you need to:

  • Use your computer. The forms may not open on mobile devices (iPads, tablets, mobile phones).
  • Make sure you have Adobe Reader 11 (or higher) already installed on your computer. If not, download Adobe Reader 11 or higher for free. Adobe has help for solving common issues.
  • You must save the file on your computer in a place you can remember.
  • Open the file on your computer using Adobe Reader 11 or higher.
  • If you can’t open the form with Adobe Reader 11 or higher, contact the program.
How to download and open a PDF form
  • Microsoft Windows Operating System computers using “Internet Explorer” or “Microsoft Edge” as your browser
    1. Right-click on the link you want to save
    2. Select “Save target as” or “Save link as”
    3. Choose the location on your computer where you would like to save the file
    4. Select “Save”
    5. Open Adobe Reader 11 or higher
    6. Select “File”
    7. Select “Open”
    8. Go to the location where you saved the file
    9. Select the PDF file
    10. Select “Open”
  • Microsoft Windows Operating System or Apple computers using “Chrome” or Firefox” as your browser
    1. Right-click on the link you want to save
    2. When the option menu appears, choose "Download link file" or "Download link file as"
    3. Choose the location on your computer where you would like to save the file. Your computer will start the download once you have selected a location.
    4. Open Adobe Reader 11 or higher
    5. Go to the location where you saved the file
    6. Select the PDF file
    7. Select “Open”

2. Complete the AAFC application form(s) and required documents

Note: You may submit an application form (PDF) for one or both objectives of the program. The same form is used for both objectives. Objective 1 will be the initial priority for funding under the program.

All supporting documents as described in Annex C in the Applicant guide must accompany a complete application.


It is the applicant's responsibility to identify any information contained in an application that is considered commercially confidential. This information will not be disclosed unless required by law, including the Access to Information Act, or upon express authorization of the applicant.

3. Submit your complete AAFC application

Use your AAFC application form(s) (PDF) to submit your complete application.

Important note

Review the list of supporting documents outlined in Annex C of the Applicant guide to ensure that you include all required documents in your complete application. Your application must be complete in order to be fully assessed.

If your submitted application is assessed as incomplete, you will be notified by program officials to provide the missing information in a timely manner. An invitation to submit a full application does not constitute an offer of funding.

3.0 After you apply to AAFC

Once an application has been submitted for AAFC consideration, an acknowledgement notice will be sent to the applicant. Note: An application is not considered submitted to the program until an acknowledgement notice is received.

Once you submit an application, AAFC’s goal is to:

Please note that even if a project meets all eligibility criteria, the submission of an application creates no obligation on the part of the Minister or AAFC officials to provide funding for the proposed project. The Minister retains discretion to determine, based on other public policy and public interest considerations, whether an application that meets the criteria identified in this Applicant guide will ultimately receive funding.

4.0 AAFC assessment criteria

An application must be complete in order to be assessed by AAFC. Applications will be assessed against the following criteria and the program priorities described in section 1.0.

5.0 Expected results

The expected result of the EPF is a strong and resilient food production system in Canada that:

6.0 Reporting

Recipients will be required to report on expenditures, performance and results.

Performance and results report

Recipients will be required to provide a final report which should include a short summary on the impact that the investment has had on the operations.

Budgetary reports

Recipients must retain copies of quotes, invoices, and proof of payment for eligible project costs incurred. An expenditure report is required with requests for reimbursement and may require proof of purchase up to 50% of total costs.

Other reports may be required at AAFC's discretion.

7.0 Considerations

7.1 M-30 Act (Quebec organizations only)

The M-30 legislation applies for Quebec based applicants only. It is the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (R.S.Q., c. M-30).

Organizations located in Quebec and receiving more than half of their financing from the Government of Quebec may be subject to the Act.

More information on the Act is available online or by contacting the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ) at

All Quebec based organizations will have to address this matter and demonstrate their compliance with the Act during the project assessment process, and prior to entering into a Contribution Agreement.

7.2 Intellectual property

The Contribution Agreement will contain an intellectual property clause which will confirm that all title to the intellectual property in any materials created or developed by or for the recipient of contribution funding will vest in the recipient or in a third party, as may be negotiated by the recipient. However, AAFC may, at its sole discretion, include a provision in the Contribution Agreement requiring the recipient to grant, or ensure that third parties grant a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free license to the Crown to such material, in whole or in part, in any form or medium, for internal government fund administration purposes.

7.3 Official languages

AAFC is committed to enhancing the vitality of official language minority communities (OLMCs), supporting and assisting their development, and promoting the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

If approved, would your project activities reach an audience of both English-speaking and French-speaking individuals or groups?

OLMCs consist of Francophones outside Quebec and Anglophones in Quebec. These communities are often represented by provincial and regional organizations.

If approved, would your project activities specifically target an official language minority community (French-speaking people outside Quebec or English-speaking people in Quebec)?

When it is determined that projects under this program involve activities related to the development and transfer of knowledge and may have an impact on OLMCs or promote the use of English and French, AAFC will include appropriate linguistic commitments in agreements with your organization and ensure that additional expenses incurred as a result of these commitments are considered eligible for contribution funding.

Activities can include, but are not limited to:

If funded, the recipient may be required to publicly acknowledge AAFC's support for the project. In these cases, the department will request that such acknowledgments include text in both official languages.

8.0 Contact information

For more information on the EPF, please contact the program by:

Telephone: 1-877-246-4682
TDD/TTY: 613-773-2600

Annex A: Cost categories

Capital assets

Capital assets are tangible assets that are purchased, constructed, developed or otherwise acquired and:

  • are required for the execution of the project
  • have a useful life extending beyond one fiscal year and are intended to be used on a continuing basis
  • are not intended for resale during the life of the project

Costs such as:

  • building purchase, renovation, site improvement and construction costs
  • new machinery, new equipment, and software purchase and installation costs

Contracted services

Professional or specialized services for which a contract is entered into, such as:

  • consultant/expert services
  • installation/construction
  • environmental assessment
  • project management.


Salaries and benefits directly related to completing the activities of the project:

  • labour including wages/salaries and benefits, and specific per diem fees

AdministrationFootnote 5 only for Strategic Investments projects funded with repayable contributions

Administration costs necessary to complete the project, such as:

  • office supplies and materials
  • office space
  • telecommunications / audiovisual
  • postage and freight


Travel costsFootnote 6 directly related to the project, such as:

  • meals
  • incidentals
  • accommodations
  • transportation

Note: For short-term project funded with non-repayable contributions, only travel for essential service such as technicians providing installation services is eligible.

Other direct project costs

Other costs for project-related deliverables, such as:

  • rental, lease of facilities, equipment or machinery
  • goods, services and all related shipping and transportation costs
  • production of materials required to fulfill obligations under the agreement, including translation and production of materials in the second official language
  • material/consumables needed to undertake the project

Annex B: Single use personal protective equipment and other limitations

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Eligible PPE

Non-disposable or reusable equipment, including:

Ineligible PPE

Equipment that is required for normal operations, and all disposable or non-reusable equipment, including:


Project cost limitations include, but are not limited to, the following:

Recipients are obliged to keep all invoices and proofs of payment, as per the terms of their Contribution Agreement.

Only expenses directly related to the project activities stipulated in the Contribution Agreement are eligible. Expenses that do not follow AAFC guidelines are not eligible. If you are unsure about a particular expense, or if an expense is unusual, please check with your Program Officer before making a financial commitment.

Travel limitations

Project travel cost limitations include, but are not limited to, the following:

Note that prepaid expenses, such as airfares and accommodations paid in advance can only be claimed once travel has occurred.

Annex C: Checklist of required attachments/supporting documents

In addition to the online application form(s) (PDF), the following documents are required for a complete application:

Screening checklist
To determine eligibility for the program
Signature of applicant authorized representative form
Applicants must have their authorized representative(s) sign and attach this form as part of the online project application package.
Consent for Use, Disclosure and Copyright form
Written consent required by all third-parties that submit personal and/or business information such as biographies as part of a complete application package
Audited or Review Engagement Financial statements for the past two years
Financial statements to include an income statement, a balance sheet, cash flow statement and the most recent interim financial statements
Applicant’s Certificate or Articles of Incorporation
Certificates and Articles of Incorporation are issued and filed, respectively, by or with provincial, territorial or federal government that document the applicant’s status as a legal entity
Letter of support from the applicant’s union or health and safety committee (if applicable)
It is recommended that a letter of support from the applicant’s union or health and safety committee, if applicable, be included in the application.

If you are applying for Objective 2 – Strategic Investments, you will also need to provide:

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