Results-based Plan Briefing Book 2009-10
Part I: Ministry Overview
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' vision reflects
the opportunities sought by all Ontarians.
By working together, the vision
of "thriving rural Ontario, agriculture, and food sectors" is an achievable
The ministry's mission is to be "a catalyst for transforming
our agriculture and food sectors and rural communities for a healthy Ontario."
vision and mission support the government priorities of:
- Better Health;
- Protecting our Shared Environment;
- Supporting our Communities.
Ministry Strategies and Priorities
Ontario is competing in a global economy.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is strategically focused
on making Ontario's agri-food industry and rural communities prosperous and competitive
in the provincial, national and global economies.
Our strategic priorities
are focused on creating:
1. thriving agriculture and food sectors;
strong rural economies; and
3. safe food, healthy animals and a healthy environment.
primary agricultural production sector is the most rich and diversified in Canada.
With farm cash receipts of $9.3 billion in 2007, Ontario accounted for 22.9 percent
of Canada's farm receipts. Ontario's food processing sector is the second largest
manufacturing sector in Ontario. It contributes $35.4 billion to the economy every
year and employs more than 700,000 people.
The ministry supports Ontario's
agriculture and food sectors throughout the value chain with investments in market
development, skills training, quality assurance, investment attraction, farm income
stabilization, research and development and technology transfer.
of rural Ontario is diverse. Manufacturing and service sectors are now the top
two employers, while agriculture remains an important element of rural economies.
Infrastructure is a foundation for rural living and it is a stimulus for local
employment and business development. The ministry in partnership with other ministries
and municipal and federal governments are providing the stimulus funding to build
water treatment facilities, roads and bridges and other infrastructure. We are
developing broadband infrastructure in rural Ontario and helping municipalities
with specific local economic development such as revitalizing downtowns and strategic
efforts to retain and attract businesses to rural communities.
remains a top priority of the Ontario government and of this ministry. Putting
appropriate safety procedures in place is a primary way to decrease and manage
risk. We believe there are also significant benefits from investing in research,
education and innovation.
Traceability and animal health and welfare are
key priorities of the ministry, supporting the agricultural and food sectors as
well as food safety priorities through education, inspection surveillance, research
and emergency preparedness.
Environmental stewardship is a tradition for
Ontario's producers and a strength of this ministry. We have been engaged as educators,
researchers, policy makers and partners for more than 130 years.
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Ministry Activities and Results
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs focuses its activities on the
achievement of three key strategic priorities:
1. Thriving Agriculture and
2. Strong Rural Economies
3. Safe Food, Healthy Animals and
a Healthy Environment
Programs and Services Which Support
the Achievement of Strategic Priorities
Priority #1: Thriving Agriculture
and Food Sectors
Ontario's agricultural sector has opportunities to
build by exploiting new markets and replacing imports and the ministry is available
to provide support. On the domestic side, one expanding market is increased local
As we look to new markets, we continue to promote the outstanding
quality of fresh Ontario produced foods. That is why we have expanded the Pick
Ontario Freshness campaign to include fresh Ontario meat, deli, dairy and baked
goods with the well-respected Foodland Ontario logo and have expanded our the
Buy Ontario campaign. We also have an Ontario Farmers' Market Strategy to help
farmers sell directly to consumers and provide points of access to purchase from
Ontario farms. Boosting the Savour Ontario dining program which promotes local
foods in fine and vacation dining establishments is another facet of our approach.
Beginning this year, we will promote Ontario food products to the broader public
sector with a Budget commitment of $8 million per year for three years.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has created the Ontario Market
Investment Fund to partner with agri-food industry groups and local food networks
to help either jump-start or maintain momentum for local food initiatives. We
are providing $9 million over the next three years to projects that focus on local
market research, building local networks, connecting farmers with food service
businesses and other promotions.
Ontario's food processing sector
has continued to grow. Skills and competitiveness go hand-in-hand for Ontario's
food processors. In 2009, OMAFRA will support the development of a Food Sector
Innovation Network, which has the potential to include more than 200 food-sector
manufacturing and processing companies representing 15,000 employees. The network
will increase the sector's workforce competitiveness through advanced skills training,
internship opportunities, peer networks and online resources.
launch new programs under the Growing Forward bilateral agreement with the federal
government in 2009. Ontario's agri-food sector will be more innovative, responsive
and profitable under the Growing Forward agreement.
has three desired outcomes:
1. a competitive and innovative sector;
2. a sector that contributes to society's priorities; and
3. a sector that
is proactive in managing risk.
We are pleased with the reaction of our
stakeholders to our commitment to an Innovation and Science Suite of programs
geared to organizations and the research community, and a Best Practices Suite
for producers and processors.
World Trade Organization talks may reach a
critical stage as the Doha Round moves toward finalization by the end of 2009.
The final agreement must include the flexibilities necessary to accommodate supply
management in Ontario. This ministry will continue to champion supply management
at the World Trade Organization.
Ontario's farmers have helped to build
our world-class agri-food sector. Through the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation
Excellence, we continue to recognize their hard work and investment in innovative
OMAFRA is in the second year of a $300-million, five-year research
partnership with the University of Guelph. Ontarians will benefit from the success
of this partnership as university researchers are continually exploring new horizons
in the heart of agricultural and environmental innovation.
three farm organizations into one is the plan in 2009 for the Ontario Soybean
Growers, Ontario Wheat Producers Marketing Board and Ontario Corn Producers Association
under the regulatory guidance of the Ontario government. The new organization,
to be called Grain Farmers of Ontario, aims to enhance services to grains and
oilseeds producers in the province.
The drive to do better for our stakeholders
in 2009-10 is at the centre of the Minister's request for a renewal strategy from
Agricorp following a report by the Auditor General of Ontario. Agricorp has been
directed to upgrade its customer service and focus on getting the most value for
farmers' and taxpayers' money through an accountable and transparent process.
Ontario farmers can expect to see improvements in the service they receive from
Agricorp including quicker turnaround times on AgriStability Program applications
and faster response times at the call centre.
The auditor's report and stakeholder
input confirmed that Agricorp should remain Ontario's deliverer of choice for
agricultural business risk management programs.
and the application of best practices is fundamental to OMAFRA's role in a thriving
agriculture and food sector. That is why the ministry will offer a wide-range
of technology transfer initiatives in 2009-2010. These range from farm tax seminars
for agricultural business advisors to helping niche growers develop market opportunities.
#2: Strong Rural Economies
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs recognizes the importance of increasing economic activity in communities
that lie beyond our large urban centers. This ministry and Ontario's rural communities
are partners in progress.
Infrastructure building is a foundation for rural
prosperity. It creates the environment necessary for attracting and retaining
businesses, jobs and people. Infrastructure building is also a stimulus for economic
In 2009, the Ontario government will initiate the single
largest, two-year investment in infrastructure in the history of the province.
The investment is expected to create 146,000 jobs in 2009 and 168,000 in 2010.
This ministry will manage the deployment of funds allocated to help rural municipalities
construct water treatment facilities, sewage treatment facilities, roads and bridges
and other infrastructure.
This ministry recognizes that expanding broadband
coverage will give individuals and communities more opportunities to fully participate
in the knowledge economy. Building on investments made in 2007-08, this ministry
is providing almost $30 million over four years to the broadband initiative as
part of a provincial Digital Strategy.
Our Rural Economic Development (RED)
program has a history of successful investments that have helped rural communities
across the province overcome barriers to economic development. In 2009-2010, this
ministry will invest $18.4 million in RED. This investment is consistent with
the government's priority relating to jobs and prosperity. Since October 2003,
the RED program has invested $73 million in 220 rural economic development projects.
This has resulted in $637 million in new economic activity in rural Ontario.
rural communities are reliant on jobs and the RED program has proven its worth
through involvement in employment training programs in partnership with rurally-based
businesses such as Kellogg's and Ferrero. RED funding also helps communities that
need complete economic development studies in order to determine where best to
put their efforts to strengthen the local economic fabric.
has also helped thousands of young people gain skills and valuable work experience
through our investment in the Rural Summer Jobs Program. This program helps local
employers create summer jobs that provide work experience for students in rural
Ontario. The 2009 Ontario Budget increased funding by $1 million to further enhance
this program, with a $3.9 million budget in 2009-10.
Safe Food, Healthy Animals, Healthy Environment
The Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs is taking action to keep our food, our environment and
all Ontarians safe and healthy.
Ontario produces and processes world-class
food and we want to keep it that way. That is why we introduced a new plant audit
system and new rating system as part of our regulatory program to ensure a consistent
standard for all meat and dairy processors in Ontario. We will also be operating
a new microbial testing program for all ready-to-eat meat products.
assist Ontario's farmers and processors through financial programs specifically
designed to encourage improvements in food safety and traceability. We complement
our food safety regulations through our Advantage Series of Food Safety Programs
for farmers and processors. These voluntary food safety and traceability best
practices are part of our comprehensive approach and shared responsibility with
industry. We also assist Ontario's farmers and processors through financial programs
specifically designed to encourage improvements in food safety and traceability.
This ministry's research partnership with the University of Guelph has
identified Food for Health as one of seven research themes. We are investing more
than $3 million annually to find new ways of helping Ontarians become healthier
and provide strategic advice to Ontario's food producers and food companies. One
such study will determine the impact soy isoflavone can have on reducing cardiovascular
disease if it is introduced into enriched bread.
Healthy food and management
of public health hazards starts with healthy livestock on farms. We advance the
health and welfare of farm animals through strategic partnerships with livestock
industry associations, private veterinary practitioners, the Animal Health Laboratory
at the University of Guelph, public health officials and federal government animal
Researchers are also focusing on getting new products
and new methods of production into the hands of unconventional agricultural clients:
car manufacturers. The key these days is to efficiently transfer research from
the lab or the test plot to the marketplace. We are pushing forward with our manufacturing
and research partners to turn renewable crops into car components such as interior
The Ontario Biogas Systems Financial Assistance Program is helping
farmers and food processors generate on-site electricity or methane for steam
heat using anaerobic digesters and biomass waste. The $11.2 million program helps
farmers and rural businesses carry out feasibility studies for the installation
of biogas systems as well as cover a proportion of construction and implementation
Ontario's farmers and rural landowners are good stewards of the
land. We support environmental protection with programs such as Environmental
Farm Plans, our Lake Simcoe transfer payment and science-based regulations under
the Nutrient Management Act.
Highlights of 2008-09
The Ontario government believes that every Ontarian deserves
an opportunity to succeed. That is why so many of our programs and services help
our stakeholders make the best of their potential.
Working together makes
us stronger. In 2008-2009 we brought forward legislation to enable Ontario's greenhouse
floriculture growers to organize an inclusive association to which all producers
belong. A similar strategy was behind the vote we conducted among Ontario's grains
and oilseeds producers regarding a proposed merger of three farm organizations
In 2008-2009 we made it easier to identify home-grown products
by expanding the use of the Foodland Ontario logo to include fresh meats, baked
goods and dairy and deli foods. We also made it easier to buy direct by helping
Ontario's network of farmers' markets expand.
More Ontarians intended to buy Ontario
foods. This performance measure indicates the success of OMAFRA's Foodland Ontario
consumer marketing. Data for this measure is collected through an annual study
conducted by a research firm with grocery shoppers in Ontario communities with
populations of more than 100,000.
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Promoting Ontario's food processors
is good business. Ontario food and beverage processors purchase a significant
amount of what our farmers produce, they create jobs, and they stock our grocery
shelves with innovative meal solutions. In 2008-2009, this Ministry partnered
with our food processing sector to expand Hazard Analysis & Critical Control
Point (HACCP) programs and develop new manufacturing practices. We developed new
made-in-Ontario products and helped retain good jobs by retraining our workforce
for the related business.
Research is a cornerstone for future prosperity
and possibilities. This ministry has renewed its partnership with the University
of Guelph to advance agricultural research in seven avenues. The Premier's Research
Chair in Bio-materials and Transportation at the University of Guelph was filled
Encouraging innovation took many forms in 2008-2009 such as
the Erie Agri-Food Innovation initiative which looked at alternative crops for
the sandy soils along Lake Erie's north shore and the Premier's Agri-Food Innovation
The Growing Forward framework agreement will revitalize
the business risk management programs in 2008-2009. With federal and provincial
colleagues, and with input from the sector, this ministry developed a series of
best practices initiatives under the framework which will cover food safety and
traceability, environment and energy, biosecurity and business management. These
initiatives will be launched in 2009-2010.
Partnering with rural municipalities
is a source of pride for OMAFRA. We provide staff resources and foundation funding
to help good, local ideas come to fruition. In 2008-2009, 33 communities participated
in the First Impressions Community Exchange and more than 2,500 rural economic
developers used ministry-developed data and analysis tools.
is important to health and prosperity. In 2008-2009 this ministry partnered financially
with municipalities to build new water treatment facilities, roads and bridges.
We also initiated 15 new rural broadband infrastructure projects. In February
2009, the federal and provincial governments announced the investment of more
than $343 million each in 290 infrastructure projects in Ontario through the Building
Canada Fund - Communities Component.
New investments in the Animal Health
Laboratory and Ontario Veterinary College helped further veterinary public health
education in 2008-2009. We developed new testing for emerging diseases and enhanced
surveillance of livestock which will benefit our emergency preparedness.
2008-2009, Ontario's abattoirs and deadstock collection services accessed funds
to help them transition through challenging economic times. This ministry invested
$9 million to help abattoirs adapt to new federal regulations.
are concerned about food safety. In 2008-2009 this ministry allocated $46 million
to strengthen our food safety system. Since the Ontario government enacted the
Food Safety and Quality Act 2001 in 2005, we have employed more inspection, research
and education to keep the province at the leading edge of what is possible.
2008-2009, this ministry expanded our Advantage Series of Food SafetyTM Programs
to include Advantage Good Agricultural Practices for farmers and Advantage Grain
for operators of grain elevators. We delivered 30 food safety and traceability
workshops, reaching out to more than 1200 farmers and processors to educate them
on best practices.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
invested $1.2 million to improve voluntary food safety practices in Ontario's
food industry. We worked with 31 facilities to adopt traceability systems and
provided $2.04 million to assist 138 meat plants with improvements needed to achieve
compliance with Ontario's food safety standard.
following is a complete list for which the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Affairs is responsible:
- AgriCorp Act, 1996, S.O. 1996,
c. 17, Sched. A
- Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act, R.S.O.
1990, c. A.9
- Agricultural Employees Protection Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c.
- Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.13
Tile Drainage Installation Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.14
- Animals for Research
Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.22
- Beef Cattle Marketing Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. B.5
Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. B.6
- Commodity Board Members Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.
- Commodity Boards and Marketing Agencies Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.
- Crop Insurance Act (Ontario), 1996, S.O. 1996, c. 17, Sched.
- Dead Animal Disposal Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. D.3
Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. D.17
- Farm Implements Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.4
- Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c.1
- Farm Products Containers Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.7
- Farm Products
Grades and Sales Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.8
- Farm Products Marketing
Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.9
- Farm Products Payments Act, R.S.O. 1990,
- Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act, 1993,
S.O. 1993, c. 21
- Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c.
- Grain Corn Marketing Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. G.9
Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. G.10
- Livestock and Livestock Products Act, R.S.O.
1990, c. L.20
- Livestock Community Sales Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.22
- Livestock Identification Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.21
Medicines Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.23
- Livestock, Poultry and Honey
Bee Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.24
- Milk Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, R.S.O.
1990, c. M.16
- Ministry of Energy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.23, sections
8 and 9 insofar as the powers and duties set out in those sections are required
to develop and administer the Ontario Ethanol Growth Fund program.
Management Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 4. Under this legislation, OMAFRA approves
on-farm nutrient management plans and strategies while the Ministry of the Environment
leads inspection and enforcement activities.
- Ontario Agricultural
Museum Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.8
- Ontario Agriculture Week Act, 1998,
S.O. 1998, c. 10
- Ontario Food Terminal Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.15
- Plant Diseases Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.14
- Pounds Act, R.S.O.
1990, c. P.17
- Tile Drainage Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. T.8
Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. V.3
- Weed Control Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. W.5
Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)
better serve the agri-food industry, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs 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 service or enterprise agencies. 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 four representative commodity associations.
is a complete list of agencies, boards and commissions for which the 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.
Agricorp is an Ontario government
agency created in 1997 with the mandate of delivering crop insurance and other
agricultural business risk management (BRM) programs. The three key programs currently
delivered by Agricorp are: AgriStability, to protect producers against declines
in margin; Production Insurance, to protect crop producers from losses caused
by adverse weather and other natural perils; and the Risk Management Program (RMP),
a price support program for grain and oilseed producers to help offset losses
caused by low commodity prices.
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Surplus (Deficit) Impact
Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal (Adjudicative Agency)
of the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal is to provide citizens
one place to file their appeals on agricultural issues and have them heard by
an impartial and knowledgeable tribunal. The Tribunal hears applications and appeals
made under 20 statutes including the Drainage Act, the Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs Act (for appeals of decisions made under the Milk Act,
and the Farm Products Marketing Act), the Crop Insurance Act, the Assessment Act,
the Farm Implements Act, and the Food Safety and Quality Act. All members of the
Tribunal are cross-appointed to the Board of Negotiation which may mediate disputes
under the Environmental Protection Act.
Agricultural Research Institute
of Ontario (ARIO) (Operational Service)
The role of ARIO
is to provide strategic advice to the minister regarding research priorities and
resource allocation in order to deliver high quality agriculture, food and rural
research. This advice is integral to the ministry's decision-making process to
determine where to allocate research funding. Research infrastructure is critical
to the future success of Ontario's agri-food and rural sectors. ARIO's current
role with the research infrastructure portfolio began in 2007 when 14 provincial
research stations and three agricultural colleges were transferred from the government
Interim Actuals 2008-09
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Surplus (Deficit) Impact
Board of Negotiation (Adjudicative Agency)
The role of
the Board of Negotiations is to facilitate the settling of claims for crop damage
due to the release of a contaminant into the environment. (Consolidated into the
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal as of December 1999).
Under the Farm Products Payments Act
Under the Farm Products Payments
Act, funds and boards are established to: protect producers from non-payment by
dealers; investigate claims; grant or refuse payment of claims; and, determine
the amounts and manner of payment. Boards administering funds under the Farm Products
Payment Act are the Grain Financial Protection Board and Livestock Financial Protection
Board. All boards under this Act are "trust agencies" with most program
administration costs being absorbed by the ministry and all board expenses being
absorbed by the respective Funds.
Grain Financial Protection
Board (Trust Agency). This board collects fees and administers The Fund for
Grain Corn Producers, The Fund for Soybean Producers, and The Fund for Canola
Producers and the Fund for Wheat Producers. It approves claims made under the
Grain Financial Protection Program, to protect producers of grain corn, canola,
soybeans and wheat in the event of default on payment by a licensed buyer.
Livestock Financial Protection Board (Trust Agency). This board collects
fees, administers The Fund for Livestock Producers and reviews claims made against
it under the Ontario Beef Cattle Financial Protection Program, to protect producers
and other sellers of beef cattle in the event of default on payment by a licensed
Livestock Medicines Advisory Committee (Advisory Agency)
committee reviews all legislation and regulations pertaining to livestock medicines;
inquires into and reports to the Minister on any matter referred to the committee
by the Minister; advises the Minister on matters relating to the control and regulation
of livestock medicines; evaluates and recommends procedures relating to the sale
of livestock medicines and proper standards for maintenance, handling and storage
of livestock medicines; and makes recommendations with respect to the description
of drugs, or classes of drugs, as livestock medicines and the designation of livestock
medicines for sale under a licence or any class of licence.
Practices Protection Board (Adjudicative Agency)
The Normal Farm Practices
Protection Board hears appeals which arise under the Farming and Food Production
Protection Act, 1998.
Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission
The Commission supervises Ontario's 21 marketing
boards and four representative commodity associations created under the Farm Products
Marketing Act and the Milk Act; develops, recommends and implements policy with
respect to regulated marketing in Ontario; provides education programs to Ontario's
marketing boards and industry stakeholders to increase the effectiveness and efficiency
of the regulated marketing system; and provides strategic leadership to marketing
boards and representative associations. The Commission is also responsible for
the enactment of milk and milk product quality regulations under the Milk Act
which are then enforced by the director named under the Milk Act.
Food Terminal Board (Operational Enterprise)
The Ontario Food Terminal
provides low-cost receiving and shipping facilities for wholesalers in fruit and
produce operating in the Greater Toronto Area and southern Ontario.
Economic Development Program Project Review Panel (Advisory Agency)
Panel reviews project applications and makes recommendations for funding to the
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
equivalent of OMAFRA Organization Chart
II: Ministry Financial Information
and Capital Summary by Vote
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Affairs' vision is for a thriving rural Ontario, agricultural and food
sectors. To achieve this vision our mission is to act as a catalyst for transforming
the agriculture and food sectors and rural communities. The ministry invests in
the following key areas: innovation, research, rural economic development, food
safety, environmental stewardship, farm income stabilization, and emergency preparedness.
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* Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented
in the 2009 Ontario Budget.
** Actuals for 2007/08 are re-stated to reflect
any changes in ministry organization and/or program structure.
I: Annual Report 2008-09
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs is committed to rural Ontario and the importance of the agriculture
and food industry in this province. The two focuses are interconnected in many
ways and the ministry built numerous synergies in 2008-2009. When we helped farmers'
markets we were also building rural communities. When we built broadband infrastructure,
we were helping businesses, health care providers, educators and rural communities
to turn miles into milliseconds and communications into business.
Agriculture, Food and Bioproduct Sectors and Strong Rural Communities
became a partner in the Growing Forward framework agreement in 2007. In 2008-2009,
the ministry began delivering a new suite of Business Risk Management programs.
We continued consulting with producers, processors and the research community
on details of non-business risk management (BRM) programs for the Growing Forward
bilateral agreement. The Canada-Ontario Bilateral Agreement under Growing Forward
was signed in March 2009 followed by an April 2009 launch of the new Best Practices
Suite for producers and processors and the Innovation and Science Suite for organizations
and the research community.
As we look to new markets - we continue to promote
the outstanding quality of fresh Ontario produced foods. In 2008-2009 we made
that easier with the new Ontario Market Investment Fund. The fund provides seed
money to local initiatives which promote the sale of Ontario-grown food. The ideas
come from the grassroots and we have set the program up for four years to give
lots of new ideas an opportunity to rise to the top.
The ministry is helping
support Ontario's growing bioeconomy through various activities including the
funding of ethanol production with the Ontario Ethanol Growth Fund, and biogas
production with the Ontario Biogas Systems Financial Assistance Program. The Ontario
Biogas Financial Assistance Program helps farmers and food processors complete
a site-specific feasibility study and contribute to a portion of the construction
of an anaerobic digester to turn organic waste into methane fuel and rich compost.
We helped producers completed 46 feasibility studies and supported the construction
of 19 biogas projects in 2008-2009.
The ministry and the federal government,
through the Growing Forward agreement, contributed to an Ontario Agri-Technology
Commercialization Centre to develop a single window point of access to accelerate
movement of innovative technologies, products and services to market. As part
of the University of Guelph contract with OMAFRA, a Bioeconomy Industrial Uses
research theme has been established that will focus research efforts on priority
areas of the bioeconomy.
The ministry has funded 17 new projects under
the Alternative Renewable Fuels Fund and the Life Sciences Agri-Food Innovation
Fund. In addition, we are working with Ontario Power Generation on a study examining
the prospects of agricultural biomass as a fuel supply for Ontario's Nanticoke
and Lambton coal fired plants, which will help meet Ontario's electricity needs.
Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program is providing $20 million in operating
funding to rural municipalities and Local Services Boards with public drinking
water systems serving small populations. The ministry also put our combined muscle
to the task of building roads, bridges and water treatment facilities through
the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund.
The Building Canada
Fund was announced in 2008. The Province of Ontario committed an initial $362
million to the Communities Component to help rural Ontario communities construct
High-speed communications got a boost in rural Ontario
thanks to the Rural Connections Broadband Program. The first 18 projects were
completed and the ministry announced 15 new broadband building projects in the
fall. The four-year program has set its sights on filling in many of the high-speed
internet gaps in rural southern Ontario.
This ministry knows that investing
in people is what builds communities. Our citizens have a wealth of ideas, opportunities
and energy. The Rural Economic Development Program (RED) is a program that helps
good community economic development ideas take root. With support from the RED
program, communities completed economic plans, helped Ontario businesses, promoted
tourism opportunities, created cultural facilities in historic buildings, and
The Rural Summer Jobs Service was created to help local employers
create summer jobs that provide work experience for students in rural Ontario.
The program's hourly wage reimbursement helped 1,200 rural employers create 3,700
Healthy People and Healthy Environment
health of our people, our animals and the safety of our food has been a priority
for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The ministry is committed
to strengthening a science-informed food safety system that will protect public
health as well as enhance the competitiveness of the Ontario agri-food industry.
2008 we announced that an additional $56 million would be directed to the University
of Guelph to support new research in the areas of environmental protection, developing
foods for health, protecting animals from emerging hazards and improving veterinary
Ministry staff have worked with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association
and Ontario Cattlemen's Association to develop a mentoring program to help cattle
farmers operate their grazing systems in ways which minimize soil erosion and
improve water quality. The peer help program puts the latest research into the
hands of our farmers.
Ministry funding has helped Ontario's abattoirs make
operation upgrades to address new federal regulations that further protect against
bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Final interim funding was provided to deadstock
collection services to assist with affordable collection before the introduction
of a modernized regulatory framework. The new deadstock disposal regulations came
into effect on March 27, 2009.
Ontario currently licences approximately
155 abattoirs and 390 freestanding meat processing plants providing inspection
services and HACCP programming.
The ministry's partnership with the federal
government in the Food Safety Initiative has helped 138 facilities implement traceability
With the ministry's help, the food and beverage processing sector
developed innovative technologies to cut energy use and increase competitiveness.
The ministry's Sustainability Grant to the Guelph Food Technology Centre has helped
one Guelph-area company reduce its electricity use by 20 per cent in less than
two years. Other companies are using the program to reduce the environmental footprint
of their facilities.
Rural Ontario's role in green energy generation became
firmly rooted in 2008-2009. The ministry's Biogas Financial Assistance Program
helped farm families become green energy suppliers. The innovative technology
converts manure from livestock operations into methane gas to power electrical
generators, heat farm buildings and leave pathogen-free compost at the end of
Environmental Farm Plans continued to be a cornerstone of on-farm
environmental action. Each year more farmers develop these stewardship plans and
invest in new ideas and upgrades to minimize their environmental footprint.