January 10, 2020
January 10, 2020 3:56 PM EST
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The Dairy Processing Investment Fund, a federal program to compensate the dairy industry for free trade impacts, awarded a $7-million grant to a multibillion-dollar corporation — Montreal’s Saputo Foods Ltd.
Citing Access To Information records, Blacklock’s Reporter found the fund’s largest grant went to the company, which had $13.5 billion in revenues and paid $254.6 million in dividends to shareholders last year.
Saputo has 21 plants in Canada along with dairy and cheese operations around the world.
The program had previously been described as aid to small businesses by Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.
“The fund is helping many processors across Canada innovate and grow their businesses,” said Bibeau.
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The program, launched in 2017 after Parliament passed the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic And Trade Agreement, allows cheese and ice cream factories to apply for up to $10 million yearly for new equipment or plant upgrades.
After Saputo Foods, the largest grants include $6.9 million to Mississauga’s Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.; $5 million to Winnipeg’s MDI Holdings Corp.; $4.4 million to Amalgamated Dairies Ltd. of Summerside, P.E.I.; $4 million to Fromagerie Bergeron Inc., of Saint-Antonie-de-Tilly, Que.; and $3.1 million to La Trappe ŕ Fromage of Gatineau, Que.