This column is to keep you informed about the key issues that OFVGA is tackling on behalf of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers.
At the time of writing, Canadians are just days away from heading to the polls, so the outcome of the federal election is not yet known. If the polls are any indication, which party forms the next government will be uncertain until the ballot counts are tallied.
Regardless of whether we have a new government, or the country maintains its current party representation, there will certainly be a change in representation within many ridings, and which Members of Parliament (MP) will be tapped to lead key files, such as agriculture and food.
Alongside the Canadian Horticultural Council, the OFVGA will be working hard to educate new and returning MPs about the importance of the fruit and vegetable sector, and what the sector needs to be competitive. It will be important to establish a strong foundation for a productive working relationship over the next four years.
Ontario government returns to Queen’s Park
Ontario’s Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP) are set to return to the Legislature on October 28, after an extended break that coincided with the federal election. Although MPPs were busy visiting stakeholders and participating in photo ops during the break, we anticipate a fast-moving fall session to allow the Ontario government to move forward with its aggressive agenda, including red tape reduction.
The OFVGA will be working to keep up with relevant proposed legislative changes and ensure our asks are heard. November 26 will see our second day at Queen’s Park this year, which will allow for us to educate MPPs on the sector, promote some key red tape reduction ideas and position OFVGA as a trusted partner of government. These conversations will be especially important as the government begins its planning for the next provincial budget.
Environment & conservation
During October, OFVGA representatives had a productive meeting with Minister Yurek’s staff to discuss specific red tape issues such as the Blue Box Program, Conservation Authorities, pesticide classification, water taking permits and environmental compliance assessments. Minister Yurek took on the environment file in June when Minister Phillips was promoted to the Ministry of Finance.
OFVGA representatives were encouraged by the discussion and the willingness of staff to investigate solutions to concerns raised. As a next step, a meeting is being scheduled with Minister Yurek to follow up on progress.
Growers are encouraged to contact the OFVGA should you have specific experiences that you would like to share with respect to obtaining water permits, meeting requirements for Environmental Compliance Approvals, or working with your local Conservation Authorities. These specific examples can help narrow the specific regulatory changes to reduce red tape, but also maintain the sector’s environmental performance.
Want to see an issue highlighted here, or learn more about an industry issue? Contact Gordon Stock, senior policy and government relations advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-763-6160, ext. 125. More detailed updates can also be found at www.ofvga.org/news.