The Government of Canada has announced it is funding Ontario packaging manufacturers A Friendlier Company Inc. (Friendlier), Unified Flex Packaging Technologies (UFPT) and Omnia Packaging to continue the work they are doing to remove plastic waste and create a cleaner and healthier environment.

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield and Filomena Tassi, minister in charge of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) made the announcement on Tuesday (28 February) and pointed out the investment will also allow the companies to scale-up and create over 120 jobs.

GlobalData analyst Rory Gopsill tells Packaging Gateway exclusively the announcement is in line with recent packaging trends.

He said: “Pressure from regulators and consumers is forcing the packaging industry to reduce the environmental impact of their disposable packaging products. In fact, ESG-Environmental has become one of the defining themes of the packaging industry.”

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He also pointed out that GlobalData’s recent report ‘Global M&A Deals in 2022: top themes in the packaging sector’ shows the themes driving the most merger and acquisition activity in the packaging sector last year were emerging economies and ESG-Environmental.

He stated: “The CAD$8.2m invested by the Canadian government in its domestic sustainable packaging industry is a continuation of this trend.”

How will Canada’s investment reduce plastic waste?

The CAD$500,000 investment for women-led sustainable food packaging solution provider, Friendlier, will be used to standardise its reusable takeout packaging system through a network of businesses across Canada. The company says it will accelerate its growth and support a circular economy by reusing its packaging up to 100 times whilst creating 10 new roles.

Kayli Dale, chief executive officer and co-founder of A Friendlier Company said: “Our mission at Friendlier is to simplify the world’s transition away from single-use packaging, and this funding will allow us to reach significant milestones towards that goal. The funding will allow us to accelerate our growth across the country; creating jobs and reducing waste through a circular supply chain in Canada. We believe Canada should be at the forefront of the transition away from single-use packaging, and this funding will help us continue to lead the movement towards a circular economy in packaging.”

UFPT, which designs and manufactures custom packaging machines for the food and beverage sector is receiving CAD$4m to enhance production capacity and increase the manufacturing of its recyclable films used for packaging and pouches. The company will create over 60 jobs, improve product efficiencies, save 87,000lbs of plastic waste and decrease nearly 470 tons of GHG emissions per year.

Al Aman, Vice president of business development, at Unified Flex Packaging Technologies shared: “Unified Flex Packaging Technologies is excited about our partnership with FedDev Ontario. This funding will help train and develop highly skilled teams specializing in automation and manufacturing. By investing in lean manufacturing processes, we will reduce costs and improve our global competitiveness to deliver world-class packaging solutions.”

Finally, Omnia Packaging, which describes itself as a one-stop provider of sustainable and innovative food packaging is receiving CAD$3.7m to buy new equipment that can produce 100% compostable and recyclable paper trays and 100% recyclable plastic trays for the food packaging industry. Its aim is to reduce plastic waste and create 50 new jobs.

Paulo Sunino, chief executive officer of Omnia Packaging said: “With this CAD$3.7m investment, FedDev Ontario is boosting the project, allowing Omnia to purchase and operate the equipment earlier, creating jobs earlier than scheduled. This will also allow Omnia Packaging to introduce 100% sustainable packaging in the market for the harvest season of 2023 instead of 2024.”

The Canadian Government made investments to packaging firms Tempo Flexible Packaging and Sheen Legend Packaging in November, which operates as Beneco Packaging and SoOPAK.

As part of the Canadian government’s plastic pollution prevention plan, consultations were published last month (February) on labelling laws.