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Growing Ontario Solutions 2022/23

Working together to Grow Ontario

Profile photo of Lisa Thompson

I am pleased to present the 2022-23 edition of Growing Ontario Solutions, which highlights the ongoing impact that the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance has on Ontario’s agri-food industry.

The unique collaboration between the Ontario government, the University of Guelph and the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario has built a world-class, cutting-edge platform for agri-food research that builds a better Ontario.

Ontario’s agri-food industry is the largest in Canada and an important driver of our provincial economy. That is why the Government of Ontario released its Grow Ontario strategy: to strengthen the sector; fuel economic growth; ensure an efficient, reliable and responsive food supply; and ensure a stable agri-food industry value chain through new innovations, all the while attracting the very best people to our industry.

Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance is a key contributor to the Grow Ontario strategy and to the strength of the province’s agri-food industry. The Alliance increases Ontario’s GDP by $1.4 billion a year.

By continuing this collaboration through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, the Ontario government is demonstrating its commitment to advancing agri-food research that will help farmers and processors boost their competitiveness now and in the future.

The future of the province’s agri-food industry is bright in large part because the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance continues to enable Ontario to be a world leader in agri-food research and innovation.

Profile photo of Charlotte Yates

As Canada’s Food University, the University of Guelph is proud to partner with the Government of Ontario to deliver world-class research, innovation, training and laboratory services. Our efforts support Ontario’s agri-food sector as well as our rural and Indigenous communities.

Commitments in the Grow Ontario strategy align with what we do best at U of G — work with agri-food sector and community partners to develop practical and innovative solutions to today’s challenges.

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance is one of U of G’s most longstanding and significant research collaborations. It is a leading example of what government and academia can accomplish by working together. The Alliance leverages U of G’s global leadership in agricultural, food and veterinary sciences to benefit farmers, processors, businesses and communities locally and globally.

Dr. Charlotte Yates, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Guelph

We are training the next generation of agri-food innovators, conducting world-class research and innovating with partners from across the sector. It is all part of our commitment to Improve Life. We are proud of our work to ensure that Ontario has the thought leaders it needs to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. With a focus on sustainability, equity and growing our agri-food sector, our faculty, staff and students will contribute to the delivery of high-quality food for decades to come.

Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance: Annual Report 2022/23

The Alliance creates Ontario solutions with global impact by directing the efforts of our people, places and programs toward six key outcomes that drive competitive and sustainable agri-food and rural sectors — at home and around the world.

Outcomes of the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance creates Ontario solutions with global impact by directing the efforts of our people, places and programs toward six key outcomes that drive competitive and sustainable agri-food and rural sectors — at home and around the world.

The six key Alliance outcomes support the Government of Ontario’s vision to build pride and trust in Ontario food and agricultural products while fostering a competitive and innovative agri-food industry.

A laboratory technician in a lab coat, face mask and eye protection

A world-class research and innovation system

decorative  Making an impact: New agri-food technologies

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance makes targeted investments in research, technical personnel and a cross-province network of research centres to deliver innovations that strengthen Ontario’s agri-food sector.

76.6 FTEs

  • Faculty full-time equivalents (FTEs) represent faculty time directly invested in Alliance-funded research projects


  • Partner investment in Alliance-funded research projects

65 new projects

  • New projects are awarded to drive innovation in the agri-food sector

decorative  Making an impact: Farm- and field-tested innovations

Ontario’s agri-food research centres are hubs for discovery, learning and outreach. U of G manages this cross-province network of research centres, training the next generation of agri-food innovators while delivering tested, future-focused research.

*Ontario’s agri-food research centres are owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and managed by the University of Guelph through the Alliance.


  • Revenue generated from the sale of agricultural products including milk, eggs and crops.

186.5 hectares

  • Land supporting crop research in Ontario by identifying practices to reduce disease, manage pests, support soil health and enhance plant breeding.


  • Number of research days that support animal welfare and enhance livestock production and sustainability.
A hand wearing a gardening glove holds a small vertical measuring tool in the soil of a green field

The next generation of agri-food innovators

decorative  Making an impact: Growing Ontario's agri-food talent pool

The Alliance is helping train the next generation of agri-food innovators by investing in research and programming designed to engage students and post-doctoral researchers. These highly qualified personnel (HQP) gain valuable experience in the agri-food sector and make academic, government and industry connections to further their career opportunities upon graduation.

298 HQP

  • HQP support research that advances OMAFRA priorities.

35 HQP Scholars

  • Scholars become the next generation of agri-food researchers, policy makers and innovators.

15 Doctoral students trained

  • Veterinary Capacity Program supports veterinary capacity in areas related to OMAFRA priorities.
Inside a dairy barn, a row of cows eat from the floor while a robot travels down the row, pushing food closer to the animals. A tour group is visible in the background.

A unique platform for collaboration and innovation

decorative  Making an impact: Connecting sector partners

The Alliance strengthens the agri-food sector through collaboration among academia, government and industry. Together, we create solutions that enhance the sustainability and competitiveness of the Ontario agri-food and rural sectors and ensure research gets into the hands of those who need it. The results are fundamental to the ongoing success of farmers and agri-businesses, and help producers adopt innovative technologies to bolster their competitiveness and resilience for future sustainability and growth.

292 research collaborators

  • U of G convenes experts from across industry and academia to deliver world-class research.

1,454 activities

  • KTT activities engage partners and support adoption of innovation.

$1.6M in commercialization revenue

  • Revenue generated from licences associated with Alliance-funded research.
Close-up of a lab technician’s nitrile-gloved hands holding a petri dish behind a rectangular mounted magnifying glass

A transparent agri-food sector you can trust

decorative  Making an impact: Delivering academic and technical expertise

Ontarians count on a consistent supply of safe and nutritious food. The Alliance helps protect Ontario’s food system by building and maintaining world-class laboratory capacity in food safety and export testing, supporting the province’s $19.6 billion annual export market and helping to instill trust in Ontario’s supply chain and food system. The University of Guelph Laboratory Services Division comprises of the Animal Health Laboratory (AHL) and the Agriculture and Food Laboratory (AFL).

103 accredited tests

  • The Laboratory Services Division holds accreditation by the Standards Council of Canada.

79,675 cases completed

  • AHL performed 781,658 procedures as part of these submitted cases.

51,593 tests

  • AFL delivers high-quality, accurate food safety and regulatory testing for OMAFRA, while also offering accredited testing to clients.
Close-up of a lab technician’s nitrile-gloved hands holding a small scanner to a plastic-wrapped coil of meat

A safe and secure agri-food system

decorative  Making an impact: Supporting a reliable and responsive food supply chain

Ontario’s agri-food sector must be safe and secure to meet the needs of a growing population. The Alliance helps protect Ontario’s food system by supplying the necessary tools to foster a One Health approach — monitoring the health of animals, people and the environment. The AHL and AFL use in-house scientific expertise to develop new tests and leverage cutting-edge technologies to monitor and respond to threats in the agri-food system to help secure the supply chain.

$9.4M AHL revenue

  • AHL is a national leader in animal health testing, providing clients with world-class laboratory services.

6 new tests

  • Laboratory tests developed or improved by AHL scientists.

$9.0M AFL revenue

  • AFL is the lab of choice for growers, researchers, food processors and more.
Outdoors, a farm tractor towing a trailer enters a ramp leading to a scale. An overlay on the photo shows a graph, reflecting the integration of data into farm practices.

An enhanced system for data access and storage

decorative  Making an impact: Data infrastructure drives research and innovation

The Alliance is making it easier to share and reuse high-quality, reliable data that can unlock insights and innovations across the food supply chain. From research project data to data generated at Ontario’s agri-food research centres, the Alliance works with U of G partners to capture this information while designing and delivering data training, programming, services and infrastructure to support innovative research and evidence-based decision making.

33 data sources

  • The Ontario Dairy Research Centre (ODRC) Data Portal provides streamlined access to data generated at the research centre


  • Number of data points downloaded from the ODRC Data Portal between March and September 2023

6 data workshops

  • Data workshops are tailored to the needs of agri-food researchers to foster a culture of data sharing and reuse
Close up of wheat growing in a field

Growing Ontario Solutions 2022/23

This publication is a summary of the Consolidated Annual Report of the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration among the Government of Ontario, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and the University of Guelph.

Growing Ontario Solutions and the Consolidated Annual Report are produced by the University of Guelph’s Office of Research.

More information on the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, including the complete Consolidated Annual Report, is available on the Alliance website.

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