Feds sprinkle millions of dollars throughout Eastern Ontario to support manufacturing

Jon Lomow headshot
Jon Lomow is the CEO and co-founder of Fieldless Farms. File photo

Three companies in Eastern Ontario have received almost $12 million to expand their production capabilities as part of a $16.5-million package announced Monday by the federal government.

Leclerc Foods received $5 million, the largest amount among a varied list of recipients, to install manufacturing equipment that will allow the company to meet a growing demand for peanut-free products.

In January 2022, Leclerc acquired the former Procter & Gamble factory in Brockville from Broccolini in a deal expected to create more than 100 jobs and pump millions of dollars into the local economy. Company officials said at the time that the purchase was part of a plan to invest more than $100 million in the facility over the next five years. Leclerc specializes in snack foods, including Célébration chocolate cookies, and exports its products to more than 30 countries. 

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Also on Monday’s list, Les Ateliers Beau-Roc received $4.1 million to boost production of its multi-purpose heavy duty and stainless steel dump truck bodies, allowing the company to cut delivery lead times in half.

“This funding will support … development of our new, additional manufacturing facility, designed to meet the demand of our products across Canada and the United States. This expansion project will create 30 jobs and provide economic and social benefits to the local community,” said Nathalie St-Pierre, general manager of Beau-Roc, a manufacturer of custom-built dump truck bodies and accessories.

Fieldless Farms received $2.5 million to deploy a produce-growing system and develop an automated in-house processing and packaging line for environmentally sustainable, leafy-green food products at its Cornwall facility. Fieldless sells hydroponically grown produce through grocery stores across the country, including more than 40 Farm Boy stores in Ontario and Massine’s Your Independent Grocer and McKeen Metro Glebe in Ottawa.

In July 2022, Fieldless finalized a $17.5-million series-A funding round led by Forage Capital Partners, a Calgary-based VC, along with Farm Credit Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada. Founder and CEO Jon Lomow told OBJ at the time that the capital would allow the company to boost production capacity tenfold while adding new products to its lineup.

“We import $60 billion of food a year, and that’s a bit of a risk. We’re starting to wake up to the fragility of supply chains and how those kinds of disruptions to supply chains can create inflation pressures on food,” Lomow said.

In total, 30 projects received funding through Monday’s announcement, including two at the City of Cornwall and 25 others at various townships and municipalities in the region. The projects will create more than 150 jobs, according to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, or FedDev Ontario. 

“When we invest in business owners’ potential, we invest in a strong future for our country … We are making smart investments that put people first and set local communities on a path to success,” said Filomena Tassi, minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

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