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Ag in the Ontario government’s plans

Ag in the Ontario government’s plans

Ontario is creating the right conditions for the agri-food sector, OMAFRA says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Where does agriculture fit into the Ontario government’s plans for the next four years?

Members of the ag community may be asking themselves this after the Aug. 9 throne speech.

Lt.-Gov Elizabeth Dowdeswell presented the speech, marking the start of a new legislative session at Queen’s Park.

The speech, which touched on measures the provincial government has taken to address health system concerns while acknowledging more can be done, didn’t include the words “food,” “farmer,” or “agriculture.”

But those omissions don’t mean the provincial government is ignoring agriculture.

The ag sector will benefit from other commitments, an OMAFRA rep said.

“As outlined in the throne speech, the provincial government is focused on its plan to build Ontario which includes growing the agriculture and agri-food sector through the construction of new highways, support for the skilled trades, and expanding the province’s manufacturing sector,” Emily McLaughlin, press secretary for Minister Lisa Thompson, told in an emailed statement.

On the same day of the throne speech, the Ford government reintroduced its 2022-23 budget, which served as the Progressive Conservative election platform in June.

The budget document includes ag-specific items.

The government, for example, will invest $10 million to establish a Food Security and Supply Chain Fund “to strengthen the province’s food supply, grow the workforce and to help sustain and expand the agri-food sector,” the budget states.

The government is also developing an Ontario Food Security and Supply Chain Stability Strategy.

These items are examples of how the Ford government is supporting the ag sector and the greater economy, McLaughlin said.

“This is part of Ontario’s roadmap to grow the agri-food workforce, expand processing capacity, capitalize on new technologies and innovation, build the right infrastructure in the right place, strengthen the supply chain, support local food and reduce red tape while maintaining the highest level of food safety,” she said.

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