Ontario announces over $15 million in one-year transition funding for wineries, cideries, and distilleries



Prince Edward County –Wineries, cideries and distilleries in the Quinte region will benefit from Ontario’s investment in a one-year transition fund of over $15 million to support its beverage alcohol sector.

Today, Todd Smith, the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and MPP for Bay of Quinte, welcomed Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman to Sophiasburgh’s Three Dog Winery to announce the funding.  It will allow wineries, cideries, and distilleries to continue to grow and meet consumer demand while the government reviews programs supporting the sector.

“Prince Edward County’s burgeoning wine industry and craft beverage producers across the Quinte region have become tremendous drivers of economic development and tourism for this part of Ontario,” said Smith. “I’m pleased that Minister Hardeman has come through with this vital transitional funding while our government reviews additional measures to help this sector grow and thrive.”

Hardeman indicated the transition funding would also extend support to the following initiatives:

  • The Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Wine Support Program to help Ontario wineries increase competitiveness and innovation. The program supports wineries investing in growing their VQA wine business, including tourism development activities.
  • The Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to help eligible businesses grow and scale up their operations.
  • Marketing, tourism and export development; performance measurement and research and development initiatives.

In addition to the funding, Hardeman noted the government is proposing further changes to cut red tape for the sector, making it easier for businesses to market their products by:

  • Giving wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries with a “By the Glass” licence the flexibility to extend their service hours from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. seven days a week.
  • Allowing authorized wineries to sell their wine at farmers’ markets and return unsold products to their on-site retail store within a 72-hour period. The previous 24-hour period forced wineries to bring products back and forth over the course of the weekend, which made retailing at farmers’ markets not economically viable.

“Our government’s priority is to make Ontario more competitive, and this includes strengthening the craft producers’ sector,” said Hardeman.

“By delivering these transition programs, we are recognizing the urgent needs of the industry and helping small- and medium-sized wineries, cideries, and distilleries scale up, drive tourism, and increase demand for quality Ontario grapes, apples and grains.”

These changes reflect the government’s commitment to improving choice and convenience for consumers, creating more opportunities for businesses, and reducing regulatory burden on alcohol producers in the province.

Additionally, these improvements are part of Ontario’s Open for Business approach that focus on support to help grow the industry, including the wine and grape sector and the fast-growing craft beer, cider and distillery sectors.


  • The wine and grape sector contributes $515 million to Ontario’s GDP and supports more than 9,000 direct jobs.
  • Grape production from almost 500 Ontario growers is used to make award-winning Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines, which had $374 million in sales in 2018-19.
  • Recently, Ken Hughes, Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance for the Beverage Alcohol Review, released a report detailing the inconvenience and unfairness of the current beverage alcohol system for everyday Ontario consumers. A key recommendation was to promote competition, establish fairness for everyone and provide new economic opportunities for businesses across the province.

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Ontario to hold public consultation Oct. 4 on proposed revisions to Building Code services


TUESDAY, SEPT. 24, 2019

Bay of Quinte – Ontario is modernizing services related to the Building Code to help speed up the construction of new housing and building projects, while maintaining the same high standards for public safety. New and enhanced services could include:


  • Developing digital tools to support municipal e-permitting and make the Building Code easier to use and understand
  • Providing supports to help municipal governments increase the number of building inspectors in Ontario
  • Providing supports to small, rural and northern municipalities to help them deliver local building services
  • Introducing continuing professional development to make sure registered building code professionals remain up-to-date on Building Code requirements

If you have ever used building code services, or applied for a building permit, we want to hear from you.  Bay of Quinte residents are invited to share their Building Code experiences and provide ideas on how to improve services at an information session being held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the Belleville Lions Club, 119 Station St.

“In 2018, there were over 131,000 building permits issued in Ontario with a total estimated construction value of $38 billion, said Todd Smith,  Bay of Quinte MPP. “Some of those permits are issued to people building an addition on their home, adding a backyard deck, or creating a basement apartment. We want to hear their experience, so we can work to modernize and improve service.”

Residents can also provide feedback online at Ontario.ca/buildingtransformation until Nov.  25, 2019. For more information, see ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0422.



Ontario to nominate two Belleville projects for ICIP public transit stream, contribute $2.2 million in funding



Belleville – Ontario is working to support the City of Belleville and get people moving by investing in transit infrastructure within the municipality.

Todd Smith, the Bay of Quinte MPP and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced today the Province of Ontario has nominated Belleville’s Northeast Industrial Park active transportation project under the multi-level Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) public transit stream.

Smith explained the Province has committed to funding its maximum allowable percentage – one-third of total eligible project costs for new bus purchases and for new and upgraded bus shelters along a multi-use trail network in the area of Adam Street, University Avenue, Jamieson Bone Road and College Street East.  Ontario’s contribution toward the bus purchases will be $1,110,088.98 and its contribution to the shelter project will be $1,099,890.

“Belleville has been aggressively improving infrastructure in its Northeast Industrial Park and that investment is sustaining 15,000 good jobs in the Quinte region,” said Smith.  “This project will provide a convenient, green connection for residents to access those jobs, St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School, and the Quinte Health and Wellness Centre. It also presents an express route to further growth. We’re pleased to work with the City in building this needed infrastructure.”

Smith stated the provincial funding is contingent on the federal government making its own contribution to the project and called for an expedient decision on the projects’ eligibility under the ICIP program.

“These initiatives promise to make a real difference in people’s lives and we’re excited to get shovels in the ground,” said Smith. “Now it’s up to the federal government to approve them.”

Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk was pleased to hear the projects were nominated.

“Today’s announcement by MPP Todd Smith is deeply appreciated,” added Panciuk.  “Improving transportation access for the thousands working in the City’s Northeast Industrial Park has been a priority for the City and we have made great strides with this.  These funds would enable us to continue creating a safe, green transportation network within this area.”

The two projects are among 144 transit projects outside the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA) nominated by Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott under the public transit stream. If approved, the projects – coupled with five major projects in the GTHA – will leverage up to $8.3 billion in investment.

“The transit projects announced today promise to make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Scott. "Better public transit creates stronger communities. It helps people spend less time commuting to work and home, and more time doing the things they love with those they care about most.”


  • The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is federal-provincial cost-sharing program, which includes up to $30 billion in federal, provincial and other partner funding over 10 years. Ontario’s share per project will be up to 33.33 per cent or about $10.2 billion spread across four streams: 1. Rural and Northern, 2. Public Transit, 3. Green, 4. Community, Culture and Recreation. Application intakes for the latter two streams will take place by the end of 2019.
  • The Province previously nominated 144 road, bridge, air, and marine infrastructure projects under the Rural and Northern stream for municipalities with populations under 100,000.
  • Funding is allocated to transit systems based on a municipality’s or municipalities’ share of total transit ridership in Ontario as per the 2015 Canadian Urban Transit Association Fact Book. The federal government set this allocations-based funding model.
  • Quinte West also had two projects nominated by the Province under the transit stream. The provincial contribution would be $342,153.38 toward service expansion and technological upgrades projects worth $1,651,400.


Budget 2019:  budget.on.ca