Government Grants ONLY for Invited companies

QUEEN’S PARK – Today, Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP and PC Critic for Agriculture and Food, questioned Premier and Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne about the millions of dollars she has given out in year-end grants that only selected companies could apply for, including a $1 million grant that did not create a single job.

“There is no publicly available application for these grants,” said Hardeman. “The only way to apply for the money is to be invited by the government and approved by Minister Wynne.”

Since February 21, 2014 Premier Wynne and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has given out $11.5 million in grants that were not available for other Ontario companies. This includes a $1 million grant to a distillery despite the fact that their project did not create a single new job. Ministry staff say there is another grant that has not yet been announced.

According to Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) staff, companies were identified through their “relationships” with OMAF staff and invited to apply. The applications were reviewed by an industry panel, the membership of which is not public, and then approved by Minister Wynne.

“I spoke to one company who had never even heard of the applications, meanwhile their competitor received $5 million,” said Hardeman. “There is nothing about these grants that is transparent, open or fair to all the other hard-working Ontario food processors.”

According to a Ministry briefing deck “These strategic investments were funded through internal ministry savings due to flexibility arising at year-end.”

“It appears that they have taken year end money and hand-picked companies to receive it,” said Hardeman. “Once again this government is ignoring the rules of financial accountability because they are trying to rush money out the door before year end.”

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
(416) 325-1239