Eighteen agri-food industry leaders have come together to form the Minister's Advisory Group, led by Parliamentary Assistant Randy Pettapiece. According to a ministry news release, the group will provide the minister with insights and recommendations on how to strengthen the sector. The discussions will focus on four main areas:
• Attracting young people to agriculture to ensure future growth in the sector
• Expanding agriculture in Northern Ontario by examining new opportunities to promote growth
• Looking at the Ontario Food Terminal Network to ensure its success for the next five, 10 and 50 years
• Reducing red tape and regulatory burden in agriculture to help farmers prosper, grow the sector and make Ontario open for business.
The news release did not include names of the advisory group and efforts to ascertain these names on March 8 were not forthcoming from government channels.
"I look forward to participating in discussions with these industry leaders and hearing their advice on ways to strengthen both rural Ontario and the agri-food sector as a whole," said Minister Hardeman, in the news release. "I thank each member of the Group and look forward to sharing their perspectives with my colleagues in Cabinet."
In addition to Chair Pettapiece, the Minister's Advisory Group includes three vice-chairs and 15 members. The three vice-chairs are:
• Keith Currie, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture
• Norm Beal, CEO of Food and Beverage Ontario
• Dave Buttenham, CEO of the Ontario Agri Business Association
Source: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Agri-Food and Rural Affairs March 7, 2019 news release