Minister’s Order: Winery Agri-Tourism Economic Relief Grant Program
Signed Minister’s Order number 0009/2023.
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Whereas the Government of Ontario recognizes the important economic and social contribution agriculture plays within Ontario;
And whereas section 4 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act provides the Minister with authority in relation to the administration of laws relating to agriculture, food and rural affairs and all their branches;
And whereas subsection 6.2 (1) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act provides the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs with the authority to establish programs for the encouragement of agriculture, food and rural affairs within Ontario;
And whereas I am of the opinion that a new grant program is required to provide stability and transitional support to offset the prolonged fiscal impacts and slower than expected economic recovery in Ontario’s wine tourism areas of the province;
Now therefore and pursuant to my authority under section 4 and subsection 6.2 (1) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, a program (the “Program”) known as the
Winery Agri-Tourism Economic Relief Grant Program
is hereby established for the encouragement of agriculture, food and rural affairs within Ontario.
Part I — Interpretation
- For the purposes of interpreting this Order:
- Words in the singular include the plural and vice versa;
- Words in one gender include all genders;
- The headings do not form part of this Order; they are for reference purposes only and will not affect the interpretation of this Order;
- Any reference to dollars or currency in this Order will be to Canadian dollars and currency;
- Any reference to a statute means a statute of the Province of Ontario, unless otherwise indicated;
- Any reference to a statute is to that statute and to the regulations made pursuant to that statute as they may be amended from time to time and to any statute or regulations that may be passed that have the effect of supplanting or superseding that statute or regulation unless a provision of this Order provides otherwise; and
- The words “include”, “includes” and “including” denote that the subsequent list is not exhaustive.
- For the purposes of this Order, the terms below will have the following meanings:
“Administrator” means Agricorp, the Person responsible for delivering all or part of an Program;
“Agreement” means a written arrangement setting out the obligations a Person must meet to receive a Program Payment.
“Applicant” means a Person who applies for funding under the Program;
“Business Day” means any working day, Monday to Friday inclusive, excluding statutory and other holidays on which the Ministry is not open for business;
“CRA BN” means the business number Canada Revenue Agency has issued to the Person pursuant to the Income Tax Act (Canada);
“Crown” means His Majesty the King in right of Ontario;
“FIPPA” means the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
“Guidelines” means any posted document setting out the criteria for the Program established pursuant to this Order;
“Minister” means the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;
“Ministry” means the ministry of the Minister;
“Overpayment” means any payment to which a Person is not or ceases to be entitled to receive under the Program;
“Person” for the purposes of this Order means a legal entity and may include:
- An individual, including the administrator of a deceased’s individual’s estate;
- A corporation
- A partnership
- A band council within the meaning of the Indian Act (Canada), or
- An unincorporated association
“Program Payment” means the direct or indirect payment or grant to any Person under the Program;
“Recipient” means a Person that receives a Program Payment;
“Requirements Of Law” means all applicable statutes, regulations, by-laws, ordinances, codes, official plans, rules, approvals, permits, licences, authorizations, orders, decrees, injunctions, directions, Guidelines and agreements with all authorities that now or at any time hereafter may relate to the Applicant’s business, the Project and/or the Agreement;
“SIN” means Social Insurance Number.
Part II — The Program
Purpose of the Program
- The purpose of the Program is to provide stability and transitional support to offset the prolonged fiscal impacts and slower than expected economic recovery in Ontario’s wine tourism areas of the province during the period of April 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023, including;
- economic hardship that negatively impacted its on-site winery retail store sales and activities;
- increased labour costs or labour supply shortages; or
- supply chain challenges (e.g., delays, increased input costs, shortages).
Commencement of the Program
- The Program will commence on the date on which this Order is signed.
Termination of the Program
- Despite anything else in this Order, the Program will automatically terminate in the event that the Administrator is of the opinion there is an insufficient appropriation from the Ontario Legislature or insufficient funding in the budget for the Program for any payment that is to be made under the Program. Where the Program is terminated pursuant to this section of this Order, the following rules will apply:
- The Administrator will post, or cause to be posted, a notice on the Ministry’s website where a copy of this Order is posted setting out the Program has been terminated and the date the Program was terminated;
- Any payments under the Program for which there is no appropriation will not be paid.
- Despite anything else in this Order, the Program may be terminated through the issuance of a further Minister’s Order. Where a further Minister’s Order is issued terminating the Program, the following rules will apply:
- The Administrator will post, or cause to be posted, a notice on the Ministry’s website where a copy of this Order is posted, along with a copy of the Minister’s Order terminating the Program, setting out the Program has been terminated and the date the Program was terminated;
- Any payments owing under the Program will be paid, unless the Minister’s Order terminating the Program provides otherwise.
Part III — Funding for the Program
- Funding for the Program will be from the monies allocated to the Ministry by the Legislature for the purposes of the Program. The Administrator may provide to any Person any funding that is contemplated or permitted under the Program. The Administrator may pay for any administrative costs that the Administrator determines are reasonable or prudent for the administration of the Program.
- Funding allocated to the Program will only be used for the Program, including the costs of administering the Program.
Part IV — Administration of the Program
- The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Policy Division of the Ministry, including their delegates, if any, will have responsibility for the Program and provide direction to the Administrator.
- (1) The Administrator will be responsible for the overall administration of the Program. This includes:
- Making decisions pursuant to subsection 10 (2) of this Order;
- Establishing any standards or procedures they believe are necessary for the general delivery of the Program; and
- Carrying out all other administrative functions required for the successful operation of the Program as a whole.
(2) The Administrator may waive any term or condition set out in an Agreement provided:
- The waiver will not contravene any Directives issued by the Crown; and
- The Administrator is of the opinion that such a waiver is appropriate in the circumstances and is consistent with the purposes of the Program.
Exercise of administrative powers
- The Administrator shall have all the implied and incidental powers necessary to operate the Program.
- (1) At the direction of the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Policy Division of the Ministry, the Administrator will create Guidelines for the Program. The Guidelines will not conflict with anything contained in this Order. For the purposes of determining whether the Guidelines conflict with this Order, a conflict will exist if the Guidelines provide for something that is prohibited under this Order or if the Guidelines provide that something is not needed which this Order requires.
(2) The Administrator’s authority to create Guidelines includes the authority to set out the requirements, terms and conditions in relation to:
- Eligible and ineligible costs;
- Establishing the requirements, terms and conditions for any Program Payments, including:
- The methodology in which a Program Payment may be calculated,
- Any cost-sharing or payment ratios,
- Caps on any Program Payments,
- Minimum Program Payments,
- The timing of Program Payments, and
- Whether Program Payments may be assigned;
- Reporting and audit requirements in addition to what is set out below in this Minister’s Order;
- Establishing any other requirements, terms or conditions that are reasonably necessary for the successful administration and delivery of the Program.
(3) The Administrator will post the Guidelines on its website after this Order comes into force.
(4) The Administrator may amend the Guidelines. Where the Guidelines are amended, the Administrator will post amended Guidelines on its website in a timely manner. Any changes to the Guidelines will not have a retroactive effect.
Part VI — Eligibility requirements under the Program
- (1) No Applicant will be considered eligible to participate in the Program, unless they meet all the eligibility requirements set out in this Minister’s Order.
(2) At a minimum, an Applicant will meet the following general eligibility requirements in order to be eligible to participate in the Program:
- Be a Person;
- Apply using an Administrator-approved application form;
- Submit a completed application form by the applicable deadline;
- Its CRA BN, or
- Its SIN if the Applicant is not eligible to receive a CRA BN and that Applicant is eligible to receive a Program Payment;
- Agree that the Crown may, should the Applicant receive funding under the Program, publish information, including:
- Their name,
- The amount of funding provided.
- Agree to be bound by the requirements, terms and conditions of the Program, as set out in this Order and its Guidelines;
- Is and remains in compliance with all Requirements Of Law.
Loss of eligibility
- An Applicant or Recipient that willfully provides false or misleading information:
- May have their eligibility revoked; and
- Will repay any Program Payment that was received.
- An Applicant or Recipient that provides false or misleading information or is found to have acted in a negligent manner in regards of allowing false or misleading information to be submitted on their behalf:
- May have their eligibility to continue to participate in the Program revoked; and
- Will repay any Payment they received under the Program.
- (1) An Applicant or Recipient that is abusive toward any staff involved in the delivery of the Program will receive one written warning. If they continue with their abusive behavior, they may have their eligibility to continue to participate in the Program revoked.
- An Applicant or Recipient who does not comply with a request for information or refuses to participate in any audits conducted under the Program:
- Will not have a Program Payment issued until such information is provided; and
- May have their eligibility to participate, or continue participating, in the Program revoked.
- (1) An Applicant may be found to be ineligible to participate in the Program where that Applicant:
- Owes a debt to the Crown and is not in a repayment plan with the Crown, including an agent of the Crown; or
- Is not in compliance with any repayment plan the Applicant has with the Crown, including an agent of the Crown.
(2) Where an Applicant is ineligible to participate in the Program pursuant to subsection 18 (1) of this Minister’s Order, that Applicant will not be allowed to participate until they have:
- Repaid the debt owing to the Crown; or
- Entered into a repayment plan with the Crown, including an agent of the Crown.
Part VII — Payments under the Program
- An application to the Program does not create a legal, equitable or other right to receive a Program Payment.
- Any Program Payments an Applicant may be eligible to receive may be pro-rated in the event there are insufficient funds to make full payments under the Program.
- Any Program Payment a Recipient receives is considered income for the purposes of the Income Tax Act and will be recorded as such.
- An Applicant/Participant/Recipient/Ultimate Recipient will not assign any Payment that may be issued to another Person unless the Guidelines authorize such assignment.
- Any Person who receives a Program Payment will retain records relating to that Program Payment for a period of seven (7) years from the expiration or termination of the Agreement in which the Program Payment was received unless the Guidelines provides otherwise.
- Any Program Payment made under this Order is provided in connection with a social or economic program.
Part VIII — Collection, use and disclosure of information under the Program
- The collection of personal information, as defined under the FIPPA, is necessary for the proper administration of this Program. The Administrator will only collect the minimum personal information necessary to meet the Program’s objectives. Applicants and Recipients will consent to the collection of any personal information, as defined under the FIPPA, that is necessary for the administration of the Program.
- Applicants and Recipients will consent to the use and disclosure of any personal information that is collected pursuant to this Order, for the purposes of:
- Verifying any information provided;
- Confirming the Person who received a Program Payment paid taxes on that Program Payment;
- Conducting audits;
- Enforcing the terms and conditions of the Program;
- Collecting any debt a Person may owe to the Crown arising:
- Prior to the Program, or
- From the Program; and
- Any other use and disclosure set out in the Program’s Guidelines.
- Applications will contain a notice of collection of personal information within the meaning of the FIPPA and require the Applicant to indicate the Applicant consents to the collection of that information as well as for the use and disclosure of that information for the purposes set out under section 26 of this Order.
- (1) A Participant participating as a sole proprietor, a partner within a partnership or a member of an unincorporated association authorizes the collection and use of that Participant’s SIN, as collected pursuant to section 26 of this Order, where that Participant does not have a CRA BN and that Participant is eligible to receive a Program Payment.
(2) Where it is necessary to collect a participant’s SIN, that SIN will only be used for the purposes set out in this Order.
(3) Where it is necessary to collect a participant’s SIN, that participant consents to the use and disclosure of their SIN to any government department/ministry, agency or third party for the purposes in this Order.
- Any Person who has an Agreement under the Program will provide any information that is requested within ten (10) Business Days of the request unless the request for information contains a different deadline, in which case the information will be provided in accordance with that request for information.
- (1) Any Person who receives a Program Payment will authorize the collection of information, including personal information, as defined under the FIPPA, from any government department/ministry, agency or third party for the purposes of verifying any information the Person provided as well as for the enforcement, if applicable, of the terms and conditions of the Program.
(2) Any Person who receives a Program Payment will consent to the use of and disclosure of any information, including personal information, as defined under the FIPPA, to any government department/ministry, agency or third party for the purposes of verifying any information the Person provided as well as for the enforcement, if applicable, of the terms and conditions of the Program.
(3) When collecting, using and disclosing information under this Part of the Order, personal information, as defined under the FIPPA, will not be collected, used or disclosed if the purpose for collecting, using or disclosing such information can be obtained by using non-personal information.
Part IX — Audits
- Any Person who has an Agreement under the Program will consent to any audits that may be conducted in relation to that Agreement. Any such audit may be conducted upon giving the Person who received the payment under the Program a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours’ notice during normal business hours. This auditing authority includes the ability to enter upon the premises of the Person who received the payment under the Program to review the progress of the project or how any payment has been spent.
- Any Person who receives, directly or indirectly, a Program Payment will provide reasonable assistance during any audit. This includes:
- Allowing access to any person, place or thing required for auditing purposes within ten (10) Business Days of the request being made for access to that person, place or thing unless the request or access to that person, place or thing contains a different deadline, in which case access to the person, place or thing will be provided in accordance with that request for access to the person, place or thing.
- Allowing for the inspection of any records that relate to the Agreement entered;
- The taking of pictures or other recordings; and
- Allowing for the copying of any records that relate to the Agreement entered into as well as the removal of any copied documents from the premises of the person that has the Agreement.
Part X — Collection of debts
Collection of existing debts to the Crown
- Any Program Payment a Person may receive may be set-off against any existing debt that Person may owe to the Crown. The right of set-off is in addition to any other remedies the Crown may have at law, in equity or otherwise to recover any debt a Person may owe to the Crown.
Collection of debts from recipients arising under the Program
- Any Person who receives an Overpayment owes a debt to the Crown.
- The Administrator will use, or caused to be used, reasonable efforts to collect a debt arising from a Person receiving an Overpayment.
- The termination or expiry of the Program will not, in any way, affect any Person’s obligation for repaying any Overpayment to the Crown.
- Any Person who receives an Overpayment agrees the Crown may set-off that debt against any other payments the Crown may owe to that Person. The right of set-off is in addition to any other remedies the Crown may have at law, in equity or otherwise to recover any debt a Person may owe to the Crown.
- The termination of the Program will not, in any way, affect the obligation of the:
- A Person from repaying any debts owing to the Administrator as a result of receiving an Overpayment;
- An Administrator’s obligation to:
- Collect any debts owed arising from an Overpayment under the Program; or
- Repay any debt the Administrator may owe to the Crown.
This Order is effective as of the date of the signature set out below.
The Honourable Lisa M. Thompson
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Executed on this 18th day of August, 2023.