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NFU-O accreditation hopes dashed for a second time

NFU-O accreditation hopes dashed for a second time

Tribunal finds organizational deficiencies with farm group

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The accreditation status saga of the NFU-O dates back to July 18th, 2012. The NFU-O has yet to respond to the most recent statement which outlines the reasons why the Tribunal denied the farm group’s re-accreditation application announced December 19, 2012.

A provincial Tribunal has found that the Saskatchewan-based National Farmers Union (NFU) has been representing farmers in Ontario rather than its provincial branch the National Farmers Union – Ontario (NFU-O). The finding came after the Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal released its ruling on the appeal accreditation request made by the farm group.

The Tribunal released its decision not to grant NFU- O accreditation status on April 15th, 2013 outlining why the farm group doesn’t meet accreditation requirements set out by the province.

“The Tribunal finds that the NFU-O does not have standing to apply for accreditation under section 4(1) of the Act because it does not represent farmers in the province as required by that section. Although the term "representing" is not defined in the legislation, in the Tribunal's view it implies an active rather than a passive role.A person who represents another person takes an active role in advancing that other person's interests: the representative "acts" for the person who is represented. In the context of a farm organization, the Tribunal finds that an organization representing farmers in the province is an organization that takes an active role in advancing the interests of Ontario farmers; it is not a passive organization that leaves the representation of farmers to another farm organization."

The written statement explains that the national organization (NFU) held the majority of the power over the provincial branch (NFU-O) noting that the way the farm group branded its provincial branch letters requiring Ontario farmers to join the NFU if they wanted to be members of its provincial organization was just one of the red flags.

The official statement comes four months after the Tribunal’s decision to deny NFU-O accreditation. The full explanation of reasons can be found on the Ministry of Agriculture and Food website. John Sutherland, president of NFU-O and Region 3 coordinator couldn’t be reached for comment.

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