Government of Canada Invests in Dairy Co-Operative to Modernize Equipment and Help Grow Markets

TEESWATER, ON – Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, visited Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. (Gay Lea Foods) to announce an investment of up to $16.9 million through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Dairy Processing Investment Fund (DPIF). With this funding, Gay Lea Foods is expanding its Teeswater, Ontario facility with modern equipment to improve productivity and competitiveness.

FedDev Ontario’s investment of $10 million will support the acquisition and installation of advanced processing equipment and systems. This will allow Gay Lea Foods to advance its scientific and technical capability to produce new, high value milk products, particularly for the health food and nutraceutical markets. This investment will accelerate growth by supporting product and market diversification, and increase production to capitalize on market expansion opportunities.

Funding of $6.9 million through the DPIF will allow Gay Lea Foods to adopt innovative processes and equipment to minimize by-product waste and reduce the plant’s environmental footprint. The project will also provide additional capacity, and as such the co-operative will use more high-quality milk from Ontario’s dairy farmers in the making of their value-added products.

The combined investment will create approximately 13 new skilled jobs and help to maintain 50 at the Teeswaterfacility.

This project aligns with the Government of Canada’s recently announced Rural Economic Development Strategy, plan for stronger collaboration and long-term strategic investments to respond to the unique needs of rural communities.


“Our Government is proud to support Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. to help the company to further develop new product lines, reduce their environmental footprint, while also creating good middle class jobs for Ontarians.”
–           The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Today’s investment in Gay Lea Foods will help strengthen the important agri-food sector here in rural southern Ontario, while creating and maintaining good jobs for Canadians.”
–  The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario

“Gay Lea Foods has been steadily growing a sustainable co-operative while being a preferred partner in Canadian dairy, food and beverage processing. The investment in our Teeswater facility is one of many investments we have committed over the last five years for not only our co-operative, but Canadian dairy farmers and a prosperous future for Canadian dairy.”  
–  Rob Goodwill, Chair of the Board, Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.

“The modernization of our Teeswater facility is proof that with the right tools and partners, innovation and advanced manufacturing is possible in rural communities. It is also a great example of progress and adaptation in Canadian dairy, as the site of Canada’s oldest creamery is now home to the creation of value-added products to serve new market opportunities.” 
–  Michael Barrett, President and Chief Executive Officer, Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.

Quick Facts

  • Gay Lea Foods Cooperative Ltd. has been in operation as a Canadian owned co-operative for 60 years with over 4,300 producer and investor shareholders on 1,400 dairy farms in Ontario and Manitoba. Gay Lea Foods is the first to include licensed dairy cow and dairy goat members, processing both kinds of milk into a range of products
  • The Dairy Processing Investment Fund (DPIF) was established to provide non-repayable funding to dairy processors for investments that will improve productivity and competitiveness, and help them prepare to market changes resulting from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To date, 32 dairy processors have been approved for funding valued at over $34.7 million for a wide array of cheese, yogurt, cream and butter projects.
  • FedDev Ontario supports innovation and growth in southern Ontario. The Business Scale-Up and Productivity initiative helps to accelerate the growth of firms and with the adoption of new, innovative technologies that support scale-up, productivity, and entry into new markets to help companies become globally competitive
  • Canada’s dairy sector is also supported by the associated Dairy Farm Investment Program. To date, 1,900 dairy projects have been approved for funding support valued at $129 million, in a wide array of projects from small investments in cow comfort equipment to large ones for automated milking systems.
  • The dairy sector plays an important role in Canada’s economy, contributing $20.9 billion through sales by farmers and food processors. In Ontario, more than 150 dairy processors generate $6 billion in sales and employs more than 8,600 people.
  • This year marks 10 years of FedDev Ontario delivering funding and business services to support innovation and growth in southern Ontario.

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