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Statement from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

This week, Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs welcomed government representatives from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington to Ontario. Minister Leal released the following statement:

"Ontario continues to foster strong relationships with our partners south of the border. This mutually beneficial partnership allows agri-food businesses to thrive and creates thousands of good jobs on both sides of the border. Our cooperation allows our jurisdictions to work together to address joint issues of environmental concern.

This week, I welcomed Michigan's Director of Agriculture & Rural Development, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture and Canada's Deputy Ambassador to the United States, to Toronto to continue these important discussions.

I hosted a meeting to address environmental stewardship of the Great Lakes, where alongside industry leaders, Ontario demonstrated the progress we are making towards finalizing the Lake Erie Domestic Action Plan. We also had the opportunity to learn the steps Pennsylvania and Michigan are taking to help reduce phosphorus run-off, and discussed how government and industry can work together to keep our communities healthy. The Great Lakes play an important role in our highly integrated economies, and both Ontario and the U.S. are deeply committed to protecting their health.

Representatives also had the opportunity to join a panel on U.S. trade at the Premier's Summit on Agri-Food and Innovation, where they discussed the importance of two-way agri-food trade and the opportunities and challenges we face as we progress through NAFTA renegotiations.

As I continue to meet with political, business and industry leaders in the U.S., I will continue to promote the interests of Ontario's agri-food sector while advocating for a "do no harm" approach to NAFTA renegotiations.

As NAFTA renegotiations resume early next year, Ontario will continue to reiterate that a final NAFTA must work in the best interests of all three nations, facilitating access to markets and maintaining the integrity of the supply management system.

I'd like to thank my colleagues from the U.S. for the opportunity to continue this important dialogue. Maintaining a strong and productive trade relationship, while keeping our communities healthy, continues to be a priority for our government."

Source: OMAFRA