Results-Based Plan Briefing Book 2007/2008
Table of Contents
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' (OMAFRA) vision is, "A strong agri-food sector that is integral to Ontario's economy and contributes innovative solutions to protect the environment, to provide safe and nutritious food, to promote the bio-economy and to support the health and well-being of Ontarians."
The vision supports the government priorities of "Better Health" and "Strong People, Strong Economy".
Ministry at a Glance - Supporting Government Priorities 2007 - 2008
The ministry's priorities are to strengthen Ontario's agri-food sector, enforce and improve food safety, protect our environment and strengthen Ontario's rural communities.
OMAFRA carries out its mandate under three main strategies: better
public health and environment; strong agri-food sector; and rural
Activities are focused on:
In 2006, the ministry undertook a Strategic Priorities Project to examine and redefine its role in fostering strong agri-food and rural sectors. The result is a new organizational structure that more clearly aligns with the ministry's strategic goals, captures opportunities to reinvest in key government priorities and provides for efficient service delivery to clients. The new organizational structure will be implemented as of April 1, 2007.
Better Public Health and Environment
Public Health and Food Safety
The ministry is dedicated to protecting public health and reducing illness through a comprehensive food safety strategy. The ministry works with Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ministry of Health Promotion, public health units and the industry to carry out its mandate in food safety.
The Ontario Food Safety Strategy (OFSS) enhances the government's ability to protect public health, addresses gaps in the food safety system and increases the marketability of Ontario food products. It addresses recommendations made by Justice Haines in his Report of the Meat Regulatory and Inspection Review. The OFSS is intended to encompass all the main commodities produced in Ontario including meat, poultry, dairy, fish and fruit and vegetables. It is a "field-to-fork" initiative jointly delivered by OMAFRA, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Several improvements have been made in recent years to the province's food safety system, including a stronger meat regulation and funding to help processors meet its requirements, a practical food safety system for small- and medium-sized processors called HACCP Advantage, the establishment of the Office of the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario, a federal-provincial foreign animal disease emergency response plan and an On-Farm Food Safety Strategy (OFFSS).
Number of Ontario food processors certified under Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point (HACCP) Advantage
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is an internationally recognized food safety management system that helps prevent problems in food production, processing and handling. The Advantage Series of Food Safety Programs is a made-in-Ontario "approach to food safety", based on the principles of HACCP that provides a common platform for implementing food safety systems across the entire food continuum.
Advantage HACCP is specifically designed for small and medium-sized operations and offers a voluntary, staged approach to food safety management which will help meet the needs of specific markets and suppliers.
Looking ahead, the ministry will continue carrying out the elements of the OFSS. In 2007-08, investments will go toward such areas as: reaching a target of 25 provincial food processors certified under the HACCP Advantage program; maintaining regulatory, inspection, investigation and enforcement services; and helping meat processing plants make changes required under the new meat regulation.
Work will also continue on the Canada-Ontario Meat Inspection Review, which is aimed at harmonizing provincial and national standards for meat safety and integrating the two meat inspection systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, the ministry will continue to administer the three-year, $20-million federal-provincial-territorial Food Safety Initiative (FSI), a key part of the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF) which will further the implementation of food safety systems in the food processing sector.
Environment and Nutrient Management
In order to better protect the environment and public health, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 requires Ontario's large livestock operations to adopt best management practices to enhance their stewardship of our soil and water resources.
Under the legislation, OMAFRA approves on-farm nutrient management plans and strategies while the Ministry of the Environment leads inspection and enforcement activities.
The government is providing a total of $23.7 million to help more than 600 large livestock producers make environmental improvements on their operations and meet the requirements of the Act. When combined with financial assistance available from the federal government under the Agricultural Policy Framework, up to 90 per cent of a farmer's costs could be covered.
Total number of farms and associated hectares of land where manure is applied in accordance with Nutrient Management Plans and Strategies
This program, combined with other projects and practices Ontario farmers have implemented over the years, has reduced risk to our water by ensuring the proper management of more than 4.2 billion litres of liquid animal waste and more than 740,000 tonnes of solid animal waste each year.
OMAFRA is also working closely with the Ministries of the Environment and Natural Resources on renewing the Canada-Ontario Agreement on the Great Lakes Basin, and on the implementation of the Clean Water Act.
OMAFRA continues to support farm and agribusiness operators in their ongoing efforts to care for the health of the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Greencover Canada Program supports projects that enhance biodiversity, prevent wind and water erosion of precious farmland and improve the quality of surface water and groundwater. The Canada-Ontario Water Supply Expansion Program (COWSEP) helps Ontario producers develop, conserve and enhance sustainable water supplies.
Strong Agri-Food Sector
Business Risk Management Transfers
OMAFRA is committed to strengthening the agri-food sector in both the short- and long-term. The ministry consults extensively with stakeholders and works collaboratively with many partners in industry, other ministries and other levels of government to deliver programs and services that contribute to strengthening the province.
Over the course of 2006, the ministry provided $235 million over and above ongoing income stabilization programs to help farmers deal with circumstances beyond their control, bringing total assistance to more than $900 million over the past three years.
While the funding is going toward providing stability in the immediate term, the province is calling on the federal government to join with it to carry out a multi-year strategy that will stabilize and strengthen the province's agriculture industry for the future.
OMAFRA continues to work with the federal government to implement the current, five-part Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), which will see more than $1.7 billion invested in Ontario's agri-food sector by the end of 2008.
In advance of negotiating new programs under the APF initiative, the ministry has developed a plan for the agri-food sector which focuses on investing in research and development to promote sector growth, including the bioeconomy; developing markets through a branding strategy for Ontario agri-food products; and strengthening the foundation of farm incomes by building on current programs and developing new ones to address short-term income declines.
Under the current federal-provincial-territorial APF, business risk management programs include: production insurance, which protects about 19,000 participating farmers against crop losses due to adverse weather, disease, pests and other perils; and the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program, which protects about 27,000 participating farmers against income declines. Agricorp delivers these two programs in Ontario.
The federal government has embarked on discussions with stakeholders and the provinces to develop a nation-wide agricultural policy framework to replace the current Agricultural Policy Framework, which expires in 2008. The ministry will work with the federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as Ontario stakeholders to develop the best plan possible for the province's agri-food sector.
The province also funds the Self-Directed Risk Management (SDRM) program, which provides horticultural crop producers with an alternative to production insurance for crops that are not covered. To further stabilize this sector, the province has committed to provide its share of the SDRM program for the 2006 and 2007 program years.
Agri-Food Sector Development
At the third Premier's Summit on Agri-Food in March 2007, Premier McGuinty and summit attendees recognized that "farm-level innovation can assist the agri-food industry to meet the challenges facing the sector by enhancing profitability in the marketplace, meeting evolving consumer demands and better managing the effects of farming on the environment."
The Minister's Strategic Advisory Committee (MSAC) presented its report, with 24 recommendations designed to ensure that Ontario's agri-food sector remains at the forefront of innovation, at the Summit.
The 2006 Ontario Budget provided $2.5 million over five years to encourage new ways of thinking in the sector. In 2006-07, more than 230 applications for the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence were received. The first-ever $100,000 Premier's Award was presented at the 2007 Summit to David VanderDussen for the development of an environmentally-friendly product to protect honeybees from mite infestations. The $50,000 Minister's Award was presented to Fritz and Paul Klaesi for their pioneering use of technology that generates electricity from manure. A total of fifty-five innovators from across the province earned regional awards through this initiative.
The ministry continues to provide services to Ontario farmers and agri-businesses through the collection, interpretation and delivery of research results as well as the transfer of technology and information. Farmers and others in the agri-food sector can take advantage of a number of ways to get information that will help them address important production and business decisions.
There are about 3.5 million visits to the ministry website annually, more than 27,000 client inquiries through the ministry's call centre (the Agricultural Information Contact Centre) and more than 38,000 direct inquiries through regional offices. As well, the ministry offers numerous seminars, workshops, publications, fact sheets, information e-bulletins, applied research, demonstrations, trials, commodity association meetings and agri-business meetings. Stakeholder satisfaction with the channels used to transfer information is more than 80 per cent.
OMAFRA also encourages competitiveness and investment in the food industry. Staff continue to assist companies to make more informed and sound business decisions by providing advice and support in the following areas: investment site selection options; information on government programs and policies; sector insight; and industry knowledge.
As of February 2007, the ministry was involved in more than 29 food manufacturing investment opportunities, resulting in more than $360 million in investment and the creation and retention of more than 1,653 jobs in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the ministry has a target of influencing at least $300 million of this kind of investment and 1,640 jobs.
The ministry also supports the marketing of Ontario agri-food products. Domestically, the Foodland Ontario program is very successful, particularly with the launch of the "Pick Ontario Freshness" campaign. Market research studies have consistently shown that more than 90 per cent of targeted consumers recognize the Foodland Ontario symbol, and over 85 per cent are likely to buy Ontario fresh produce and approve of the program. Foodland Ontario is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2007.
The ministry is using the Foodland Ontario program as a lesson in success to help develop a broader branding and marketing strategy for Ontario foods. Work on the strategy is underway.
The ministry's export development programs are aimed at helping the Ontario food and beverage sector increase sales by identifying and maximizing their export opportunities. By focusing on priority markets and understanding the issues that impact on the exports of food products, ministry staff help Ontario food exporters develop effective sales strategies. Staff are planning several incoming and outgoing trade missions, as well as trade seminars throughout the year. As of January 2007, over 30 events have been executed with over 270 qualified U.S. and international buyers being introduced to Ontario agri-food clients.
The province has transferred responsibility for 14 research stations and three colleges to the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario. The transfer will reinvigorate research and development and leverage new investment from the government's $40 million annual contribution to strengthen the sector.
The ministry also partners with the University of Guelph to deliver research, laboratory services and education programs. While OMAFRA continues to set goals and objectives in consultation with industry, the university is responsible for the implementation and management of the programs. The university receives more than $50 million annually from the ministry to deliver programs and services.
An additional $25 million grant to the University of Guelph was approved by the province on March 23, 2006. The University has announced that the funding will be used to support their plan for a new animal health laboratory as part of its upgrade of the Ontario Veterinary College facilities. OMAFRA is excited about this important initiative in animal health and its positive impact on the well-being of the people of Ontario.
The current partnership agreement with the university will expire in 2008, and work has already begun on developing a focused and effective agreement that will meet the changing needs of the agri-food industry and the Ontario public now and in the future.
In August, 2006, the Vineland Renaissance Advisory Panel was appointed by Minister Dombrowsky to explore how the Vineland Research Station can be transformed into a modern, revitalized centre of excellence that will continue to serve the agri-food industry in the Niagara region and throughout Ontario. The panel, headed by Donald Ziraldo, co-founder and president of Inniskillin Wineries, submitted its business case to the Minister in December 2006.
In April 2007, the federal and Ontario governments announced the first steps to create a vital hub for horticultural science and innovation in Vineland by making it a model for research facilities elsewhere in the province and the country. Ontario is providing $12.5 million to the Vineland Research and Innovations Centre Incorporated. The federal government is making a financial and in-kind commitment valued at $15.5 million over the next five years towards research projects that support the mission of this new Centre at Vineland.
The ministry also created new economic opportunities in the sector by investing in the commercialization of biomass products, including the creation of new energy sources. The $520-million, 12-year Ontario Ethanol Growth Fund is aimed at supporting the production of ethanol fuel, which will help farmers, create jobs in rural Ontario and move the government forward with its plan to reduce greenhouse gases and the harmful emissions that cause smog.
Percentage of Ontario's 2007-08 ethanol target (5% in total provincial gasoline sales) met with Ontario production
By the end of 2006-07, ethanol plants in Ontario that are currently up and running or under construction will represent a production capacity of 41.2 per cent of the ethanol required to meet Ontario Renewable Fuels Standard. This should rise to 80 per cent by the end of 2007-08.
In 2006, $32 million of the fund was invested in building two new ethanol plants in Aylmer and Hensall, and $60 million went towards operating grants for existing facilities in Chatham and Collingwood as well as the new plants.
The fund will also help the government meet its Renewable Fuels Standard, which requires an average of five per cent ethanol in gasoline for 2007. Meeting the target is equivalent to taking 200,000 vehicles off the road or reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 800,000 tonnes. It has the potential to create 400 new jobs and spark as much as $500 million in new investment in rural Ontario.
The federal and provincial governments are also providing $15 million to help the industry adjust to new federal regulations banning the use of Specified Risk Materials (tissues that are believed to contain prions, which can cause BSE in cattle) in animal feed, pet food and fertilizers. The regulation is scheduled to go into effect July 12, 2007.
An overall animal health strategy for Ontario is being developed to enhance the competitiveness of the agri-food industry and further safeguard the province against the potentially negative health and economic impacts of animal health issues.
Consultations were held in the fall of 2006, focusing on the tools needed to implement a more comprehensive approach to animal health, including current infrastructure, resources and legislation, and examining the roles and responsibilities of government and partners in safeguarding animal health in Ontario.
The Ministry continues to strive for the reduction of pesticide use by developing Integrated Pest Management Programs which incorporate biological controls of plant pests and reduced risk products. These programs enhance the competitiveness of producers while supporting environmental sustainability and food safety.
Rural Community Development
The activities of the Rural Community Development Division are guided by Ontario's Rural Plan, Strong Rural Communities: Working Together for Success, which sets out priorities for building strong rural communities and strategies for achieving results. Moving forward with the Rural Plan allows all of Ontario to benefit and prosper as the government acts on priorities.
OMAFRA's rural plan addresses the unique health, educational, social economic development and infrastructure needs of rural areas. The ministry plays a key role in delivering programs through which hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in our rural communities, to help improve their bridges, roads, solid waste management facilities, water and wastewater treatment facilities, as well as to revitalize their economies, enhance local skills and increase access to health care services.
Through the five-year Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF), federal, provincial and municipal government financing provides small urban and rural communities with safer bridges and roads, dependable water systems and better waste management processes.
The third intake, announced in January, 2007, successfully built on the first and second intakes of the program, providing the remaining $93 million of federal-provincial funding available through COMRIF. Under all three intakes, the federal and provincial governments have committed $578 million to improve essential infrastructure in 280 projects to make Ontario's communities healthier, safer and more prosperous.
Under the Ontario Small Town and Rural Development (OSTAR) initiative, the province has committed more than $400 million to 280 approved projects for public health and safety priorities. The federal government has committed $269 million to 255 approved OSTAR projects under the Canada Ontario Infrastructure Program.
The Rural Economic Development (RED) program invests in projects that support sustainable rural economies and community partnerships. The priorities for the RED program are access to health care services, community revitalization, and skills enhancement, which supports Ontario's Rural Plan, Strong Rural Communities: Working Together for Success. Since October 2003, 94 projects have been approved. These projects will stimulate $174.2 million in new economic activity, generated from a $28.2 million investment by the province.
More than 1,000 community volunteers, in 80 to 90 communities, have directly participated in community economic development initiatives to improve their local economies which include:
Downtown Revitalization: Seventeen communities - from Casselman to Goderich - and over 200 volunteers participated in a market analysis of their downtown trade areas to identify business opportunities. Six of these communities used this analysis with the development of a community-based action planning process to revitalize their downtowns.
First Impressions Community Exchange: Volunteer visiting teams from over 50 communities have completed First Impressions exchanges since the program's inception in 2005. The feedback provided from these visits has resulted in community revitalization projects that have benefited more than 125,000 residents to date.
Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E): More than 60 communities
have signed up to access a new web-based application that communities
can use to analyze the needs and issues identified through a survey
of their local businesses. More than 500 volunteers and staff have
conducted 2,200 business surveys.
The following is a complete list for which the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible:
To better serve the agri-food industry, OMAFRA relies on 11 agencies, boards and commissions. Some, such as the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal, have an adjudicative role. Others are operational services and enterprises. AgriCorp, for example, administers production insurance programs to provide farmers with protection against natural hazards and delivers income stabilization payments. The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission is a regulatory agency which supervises the province's 21 marketing boards and three representative commodity associations.
The following is a complete list of agencies, boards and commissions for which the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible. Only those entities with assets, liabilities, revenues or expenses greater than $50 million, or an annual surplus or deficit or outside revenue source of greater than $10 million are consolidated in the ministry's Results-based Plan.
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal
Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO)
Board of Negotiations (Adjudicative Agency)
Boards Under the Farm Products Payments Act
Livestock Medicines Advisory Committee (Advisory
Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (Adjudicative
Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission (Regulatory
Rural Economic Development (RED) Panel Board of Directors
Ministry Total Operating and Capital includes consolidation
and other adjustments
OMAFRA helps to build and maintain a strong, competitive agri-food sector that is integral to Ontario's economy. OMAFRA invests in the following key areas: innovation, research, rural economic development, food safety, environmental stewardship, farm income support, and emergency preparedness. The ministry also helps rural Ontario to build strong, vital communities with diversified economies and healthy social and environmental climates.
* Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2007 Ontario
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