OTTAWA – Canadian Federation of Agriculture President Ron Bonnett issued the following statement following yesterday’s announcement that the Transportation Modernization Act has received final approval in both the House of Commons and the Senate.“The Canadian Federation of Agriculture commends parliamentarians for working together to pass Bill C-49, a critical piece of legislation that will alleviate many of western farmers’ concerns on rail transportation.
In Ontario, the primary production of food and fibre is tied to farmland. Ontario’s level of food production is tied to the capacity of farm property and the restrictions imposed on farming activities. A number of provincial statutes, policies and programs effect how farmers carry out their day-to-day day activities.
In a March 2015 survey, OFA members identified farmland rental conditions imposed by landlords on farmland they rent. Approximately 75% of OFA members surveyed said that if they owned their currently rented farmland, they would make additional productivity improvement investments to the farmland. The need for an investment in tile drainage was frequently noted.
WASHINGTON – The leaders of the U.S. National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) in a joint statement today urged Canadian and U.S. officials to preserve the strong, longstanding trade relationship between the two countries.
GUELPH, ON – OFA congratulates Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative party on forming the next government in Ontario. “We look forward to getting to know new MPPs across the province, and connecting with returning politicians to continue the conversations we started during the election period about the needs of the agricultural sector and our rural communities,” says Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA).
Throughout the election, OFA reinforced that agriculture and rural Ontario hold the key for provincial prosperity and long-term economic growth – already contributing $13.7 billion to the province’s annual GDP and $1.4 billion in provincial tax revenues. OFA gathered support for its Producing Prosperity in Ontario campaign from all parties during the campaign – a platform to support spreading economic development across the province.
On April 23, 2018, the Ontario government released New Horizons: Ontario’s Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy after an extensive consultation process. This Strategy sets out a detailed framework for sustainability that will guide the long-term health of agricultural soils through to 2030.
Healthy soils are a priority for farmers and critical to the sustainability of Ontario agriculture. Recognizing its importance and potential to impact the agriculture community, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), along with other industry partners and Ontario farmers were actively involved in the consultations and discussions on this complex topic. In addition to our involvement on the Strategy Working Group, we found the level of collaboration across the industry to be unprecedented.
For more information, visit OMAFRA’s website on the Nutrient Management Act and Regulations.
OFA believes that agriculture has to be a responsible partner in the rural communities of Ontario, taking all necessary measures to protect the environment, ensuring that drinking water sources remain pure and clean, and the air is safe to breathe.
MISSISSAUGA, ON – Building on their shared values and a relationship forged over many years, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize their commitment to work together to address key safety issues affecting Ontario farmers, agriculture employees and farm families.
“Safety is a priority and should be everyone’s responsibility on a farm,” says Keith Currie, OFA President. “This MOU strengthens the long-standing relationship OFA shares with WSPS – formerly Farm Safety Association. Together we’ll continue to develop safety materials to raise awareness and help keep our farm communities safe.”
Livestock Rabies Vaccination Requirements
As of July 1, 2018, all livestock “for which a rabies vaccine licenced for use in Canada is available” shall be immunized against rabies with the exception being made for only livestock “that is accessible only to the person or persons who are responsible for the care and control of such animal”. To clarify the livestock rabies vaccination requirements for livestock producers, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided responses to questions submitted by OFA in the attached expanded Q&A document. Reasonable measures restricting the general public’s access to livestock at events such as farm tours, fall fairs, auctions, etc. can be implemented such that the exemption from the livestock vaccination requirement would apply. OFA has requested the government postpone the July 1st effective date to allow for time to amend the wording of Ontario Regulation 567.
Ontario farm businesses are required to navigate through a number of unique tax situations. From selling crops or livestock to passing the farm down to the next generation, almost every decision made by farmers has some type of tax implication. Farmers pay taxes to all three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal) and the tax policies that governments enact has implications for farmers. OFA continues to work with all three levels of government, to ensure the government tax policies recognizes the unique structures and needs of farm businesses. The following information will guide you through the major tax policies impacting Ontario farmers, and the changes that OFA continues to advocate for.
OTTAWA – The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) welcomes news that Transport Minister Marc Garneau has supported several key Senate amendments to Bill C-49 and that the House of Commons will soon be ready to vote on the revised legislation.
With spring seeding already underway, farmers are now making plans for marketing and delivering their 2018-2019 crop. The new legislation must be in place by August 1; otherwise farmers risk another uncertain shipping season. The amended Bill C-49 will strengthen the capacity of the rail system and help to prevent the disastrous and costly grain backlogs seen this past year and in 2013-2014.
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act regulates everything from vehicle licensing and classifications to load restrictions and transportation issues. There are many regulations within the Highway Traffic Act that can affect the business of farming as they relate to traveling roadways with tractors, equipment and trucks. It’s the farm owner and equipment operator’s responsibility to know the rules of the road that apply to farm equipment, self-propelled vehicles, load restrictions, licensing and towing requirements.
OTTAWA – The Canadian Federation of Agriculture and its members representing prairie farmers today sent an open letter to Members of Parliament asking them to pass Bill C-49 (Transportation Modernization Act) as amended by the Senate last month.
CFA is working in close partnership with the Alberta Federation of Agriculture, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan and Keystone Agricultural Producers of Manitoba to gain support for important changes that will help avert railway shipping backlogs, like the one grain farmers have been struggling through over the last five months.
Many policies impacting the agri-food sector are established by provincial and federal governments. But there are still plenty of decisions being made at municipal levels that can support agriculture. Land use policies, taxation and development charges, financial support and community engagement are all opportunities for municipalities to support agricultural economic development in their communities.
Municipal support is essential to agricultural economic development, and with their support, Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food businesses will continue to grow and prosper to meet the Premier’s Challenge.
OFA continues to work with municipal councils and organizations to ensure agriculture has a strong voice on issues, legislation and regulations covered by municipal governments.
More information related to Municipal Government on the OFA website.
The Ontario government has formally announced the process for the build of a High-Speed Rail (HSR) system for Southwestern Ontario. The recent Ontario budget provided for an $11 billion investment for Phase One, which would connect London and Toronto by 2025.
The full High-Speed Rail line would eventually be completed to Windsor for a construction cost of $21 billion. The 250 km/h train would be part of an expanded public transit system including a GO Regional Express Rail (RER) project to expand two-way service across the GO rail network. A number of GO’s current lines only operate into Toronto in the morning and return in the afternoon.
Fast, efficient and cost-effective public transportation is vital to both rural and urban Ontario. Improved rail transportation is one piece of a comprehensive, integrated transportation system for all of Ontario.
GUELPH, ON – A new provincial soil strategy will preserve soil health and guide conservation activities for more than a decade. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) welcomes the recently released New Horizons: Ontario’s Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy, a comprehensive resource for farmers across the province in soil management, mapping and monitoring.
“The unprecedented level of consultation and collaboration to develop this soil strategy is as much of a success as the strategy itself,” says Keith Currie, OFA President. The provincial soil health and conservation strategy was developed through collaboration with farm groups, agribusiness, government, conservation groups and researchers. “OFA was actively involved in the consultation process and Ontario farmers had the opportunity to share input on the draft strategy through open house meetings and online participation.”
Ontario farmers constantly face livestock and crop damage from wildlife. The Ontario government’s compensation programs are important to farmers who deal with the loss of livestock and crops because of wildlife.
New guidelines were introduced in 2017 for the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program. Since Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program changes came into effect on January 1, 2017, an increased number of livestock farmers have had their claims denied. Denied claims mean that farmers are left uncompensated for the losses they have suffered.
GUELPH, ON – The Ontario government’s announcement of 11 new projects to expand natural gas in Ontario to rural, northern and First Nations communities is welcome news to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). OFA has been advocating for more affordable solutions to soaring energy costs for rural Ontario. The new projects are part of the Natural Gas Grant Program, a $100 million investment the government first announced in January 2017.
“This is a great start to connecting more of Ontario with natural gas,” says OFA President Keith Currie. “The energy savings, boost to farms and local businesses, and overall investment in the 11 communities listed in the announcement, are a step in the right direction.”
OTTAWA — International trade, transportation, climate change, mental health and government programs emerged as priorities during the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) 2018 Annual General Meeting, held in Ottawa last week. CFA members heard keynote speeches and participated in discussions centred on the theme “Partnering for Success.”
“Farmers in all parts of Canada recognize that by building on each other’s strengths, we can not only meet the challenges we face today, but lay the foundation for an even more resilient sector going forward,” said Ron Bonnett, CFA President.
GUELPH, ON – Four provincial organizations shared their voices at Queen’s Park today to strengthen the message to all political candidates that investments in rural communities offer benefits to all Ontarians. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), together with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus made a joint announcement on the value of spreading future economic development dollars across the province.
OFA’s election campaign – Producing Prosperity in Ontario – is encouraging greater investment in Ontario’s agri-food sector and rural communities to deliver economic growth and prosperity for all Ontarians.
OFA along with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) identified food literacy as an important component of the National Food Strategy.
OFA is addressing the challenge of teaching healthy, lifelong food choices to today’s youth with the development of the Six by Sixteen food literacy initiative. We launched the Six by Sixteen food literacy program as part of our efforts to strengthen food literacy among Ontario’s young adults and the next generation of consumers.
Six by Sixteen is a collaborative program with more than 20 industry partners that aims to teach young people how to plan and prepare six nutritious (and locally sourced) meals by the time they are 16 years old. SixbySixteen.me is an online gateway to an extensive library of Canadian resources including how-to cooking videos, recipes and where to source local Ontario grown products. The online was created for parents, health professionals and young teens to promote local food and healthy food choices.
Property taxes are an appropriate means to raise public funds needed to finance the delivery of public services related to property. However, property taxes should not be levied to finance public services for citizens, as is currently the practice.
Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF)
The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) is the main provincial transfer to municipalities. However, as the provincial government uploads some social program responsibilities, the funding through the OMPF is being scaled back. As per the agreement with municipalities, the fund will be reduced to $505 million by 2017.
Unfortunately, the municipalities that are facing provincial transfer cuts have not benefited to the same extent from the budgetary relief offered by the provincial uploading of some social programs.
GUELPH, ON – Farm Life Financial Planning Group (Farm Life) is the newest Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) benefit partner and offers a new farm management service to members – succession and continuity planning.
Farm Life specializes in empowering farm families to have courageous conversations about the future of their family farm. Farm Life works with families across the province to build continuity of the farm through succession, transition and tax efficient estate plans. The company’s mission is to keep farmers farming and to work with families through the succession process in a way that protects family harmony.