Protein Industries Canada launches new call for Capacity Building projects


Protein Industries Canada is looking for ambitious, consortium-driven projects to elevate Canada’s plant-based food ecosystem. Protein Industries Canada is currently seeking proposals in four specific areas under its Capacity Building Program. The $4 million specific call is for projects in the following areas:

• Skills, Talent and Access to Labour;

• Infrastructure;

• Access to Capital; and

• Global Brand.

Cumulatively these projects will help create a competitive business environment to support growth of Canadian companies and position Canada as a global leader in plant-based foods, while also supporting Canada’s economic recovery. Protein Industries Canada is looking to work with consortiums of organizations that are committed to building a competitive business environment for the benefit of the Canadian plant protein ecosystem. Within each area, projects that will assist in reaching the following outcomes are being sought:

1) Labour, Skills and Access to Talent: Protein Industries Canada is looking for project(s) to help increase the interest and ability for unemployed or underemployed, and individuals from declining sectors to join Canada’s agrifood sector. By focusing on re-skilling and talent placement, with a focus on digital agriculture, engineering and processing, this project will help ensure the agrifood sector has access to a talent pool with the appropriate skills now and into the future. Projects should include support from companies who are actively seeking and providing employment in the agrifood sector and colleges, universities, and other organizations involved in training and skill development. The program should be at minimum Western Canadian in scope, and include opportunities for Indigenous, New Canadians and other under-represented populations to join the agrifood sector.

2) Infrastructure: Protein Industries Canada is looking for project(s) that will help better understand the current research and development capacity (both public and private) in Canada. The project will include compiling and correlating any existing information that exists regarding Canada’s R&D capacity, identify gaps, and then complete a scan to create a complete picture of R&D that is currently available in Canada. The project should consider currently existing capacity in areas such as, but not limited to toll processing, extrusion food development co-packing, etc. Once the information is compiled a user-friendly, web-based tool to share this information and help foster connections between suppliers and companies will be created. The project will also include: analysis as well as a series of recommendations, related to: the current capacity, potential capacity (i.e. is all existing infrastructure being used to it’s full potential), gaps, areas of need and areas of opportunity in order to help guide future development and investment in this area.

3) Access to Capital: Having businesses that are competitive and able to scale - to help meet the demand both domestically and globally – is key to the success of Canada’s plant protein ecosystem. To achieve this, we need to attract significant capital into Canada’s plant-based food ecosystem. In fact, we expect that it could be in the tens of billions of dollars. To that end, Protein Industries Canada is looking for projects(s) focused on increasing the knowledge and interest of the domestic and global investment community to Canada’s agrifood sector, specifically ingredient processing and food manufacturing of plant-based products. We must work to improve the understanding of Canada’s ingredient processing and food manufacturing sectors to the global capital community and build a pipeline of investors to Canadian companies. The other half of the equation are Canadian companies ready to receive investment. To that end, the project should also include an education/mentorship component to assist Canadian SMEs with training and education to ensure they are well positioned to receive investment. The project will consider both sides of the equation and will work to build productive relationships between the investment community and Canada’s ingredient processors and food manufacturers.

4) Global Brand: Canada currently enjoys a strong brand as commodity supplier. The maple leaf and Canada brand are recognizable in countries around the world. Now is our opportunity to grow on the strength of that brand and position Canada as the preferred supplier of plant-based food and ingredients. This project will help understand the dynamics of five priority markets (USA, Europe, Japan, the UK and Canada), provide an overview of key customer segments, and the attributes that are important to customers. The project will then define Canada’s unique value proposition in each market and provide recommendations on the attributes most important to Canada’s brand in each market. This project will form the foundation of Canada’s plant-based food brand, while also providing Canadian ingredient processors and food manufacturers with information to help them create their own international brands, as well as products aligned with key markets and customer trends. This project may also consider how to get Canadian companies ready to be stood up in international markets. This project should be collaborative in nature, bringing together a wide group of stakeholders who would benefit and potentially enter markets with the support of the brand. It should build on the existing work and research previously done by Protein Industries Canada and other organizations.

Projects should:

• Be timely and action oriented, with deliverables to drive the sector forward. Projects must be completed by March 2023;

• Be ambitious in meeting the challenge. Consortiums should consider transformational ideas, of a scope large enough to make a difference;

• Deliver clear benefits to SMEs and include Indigenous and other underrepresented populations;

• Be collaborative in nature, including stakeholders from different parts of the agrifood sector: private companies of all sizes, academia and not-for-profits;

• Demonstrate the involvement and support of the sector; and

• Meet the requirements and eligibility of the Capacity Building Program guide.

How to apply:

If you have an idea for a project, are interested in being a part of a consortium or already have already started putting together a consortium, please reach out to us to discuss your idea.

If you are interested in submitting a project, we will ask you to fill out a short Expression of Interest, which can be downloaded below. Protein Industries Canada may bring different parties together to build out a project.

The call will be open until April 30, and applications will be assessed as they are received.

For more information or to discuss your idea, please reach out to:

Camila Jerger or Carson Sinclair

Shortened Expression of Interest
Capacity Building Targeted Call Shortened EOI