Results-based Plan Briefing Book 2010-11

Table of Contents

  1. Ministry Overview
  2. Ministry Priorities and Strategies
  3. Ministry Activites and Results
  4. Legislation
  5. Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)
  6. Ministry Financial Information
  7. Appendix

Ministry Overview

Ministry Vision and Mission Statement

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is committed to achieving a vision of "thriving rural Ontario, agriculture and food sectors".

The ministry's vision supports the Ontario government's agenda of strengthening our economy, fostering rural development, ensuring a reliable energy supply, protecting our shared environment, fostering better health and serving the public interest.

The ministry's mission is to be "a catalyst for transforming our agriculture and food sectors and rural communities for a healthy Ontario".

2010-11 Ministry Priorities and Strategies

The ministry's three strategic priorities are:

  1. Thriving Agriculture and Food Sectors
  2. Strong Rural Communities
  3. Safe Food, Healthy Animals, Healthy Environment

The ministry also has several key enablers that act as tools to provide the foundation and the support to help us deliver our strategic priorities.

The ministry envisions a profitable and innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products industry that seizes opportunities in responding to market demands and contributes to the health and well-being of Ontarians. The ministry aspires to stimulate an innovative, sustainable and globally-competitive food industry.

In 2010-2011 the ministry will focus on building on existing strength in the agriculture, food and beverage processing sectors, coordinating and aligning investments to support the bioeconomy, supporting value chains, and focusing on an integrated approach to regional economic development.

Ministry Contribution to Priority Areas and Results

Text equivalent to graphic

Ministry Activities and Results

Thriving Agriculture and Food Sectors

Ontario's agriculture industry is the richest and most diverse in the country. This province has more than half of Canada's best agricultural land and our farmers produce more than 200 commodities.

It is a world-class, technologically-advanced and innovative industry supported by a robust service sector. This industry is a major contributor to our provincial economy, generating $10.2 billion in farm cash receipts in 2008.

To further develop the agriculture and food sectors, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will help position these sectors to continue to capitalize on emerging opportunities, moving beyond a domestic focus to an international focus and high value-added products.

In 2010-2011, the ministry will build on current Growing Forward programs to enhance program integration, including incorporating premise identification requirements into the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship program and Business Development for Farm Businesses program.

The ministry will also continue to work with our federal/provincial/territorial colleagues as well as with our industry stakeholders to review the objectives of current business risk management programming, and determine what future objectives will best serve Ontario's agri-food industry.

In 2010-2011, the ministry plans to build on the success of its Foodland Ontario domestic market focus by increasing the reputation of Ontario food products in national and international markets. The ministry will also work towards promoting Ontario food products to the broader public sector.

Ontario's food processing sector is the second largest manufacturing sector in Ontario, with $33 billion in shipments, and is the largest food processing sector of any province in Canada.

It employs more than 95,000 people in roughly 3,200 processing facilities across the province. This sector also supports economic activity throughout the value chain, from producers and processors to retailers and distributors. Studies show that food processors buy the majority of Ontario-grown food products.

During the next year, the ministry will continue to support the food processing sector to ensure that it remains a vital sector and a key contributor to the province's economy.

Strong Rural Communities

Rural Ontario has a long tradition of innovation, environmental stewardship, and economic strength. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs wants this to continue. The ministry knows that when our rural families, businesses and communities prosper, Ontario's economy grows stronger and all Ontarians benefit.

The ministry will continue to strengthen rural Ontario by approving and investing in rural projects through the Rural Economic Development program. These projects will contribute to job creation/retention and community development and support the Open Ontario agenda of enhancing export opportunities.

On behalf of the Ontario government, the ministry has been delivering the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF) and the Building Canada Fund - Communities Component (BCF-CC) programs. The ministry will continue to effectively manage and deliver these programs in 2010-2011.

The ministry will work with other ministries across the Ontario government to ensure that rural issues and perspectives are considered in provincial policy and program development.

Safe Food, Healthy Animals, Healthy Environment

Several branches of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs are involved in delivering the priority of safe food. The ministry also shares this responsibility with farmers, consumers, food processors and other levels of government.

With regards to animal health, in 2010-2011 the ministry will work through the Animal Health Committee to develop appropriate regulations under the new animal health legislation.

The ministry will continue to engage stakeholders to increase the profile of traceability and will continue to work with our federal, provincial and territorial partners towards a national traceability system. The ministry will continue to pursue federal AgriFlexibility funding for traceability initiatives.

With regards to ensuring a healthy environment, the ministry will also work with the Ministry of the Environment to develop a response to the recommendations from the expert panel on Climate Change Adaptation, and will continue to meet our commitments under the Climate Change Action Plan.

In 2010-2011, the Ministry will also continue to work with the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources on the stewardship of Ontario's water resources by:

  • working with the federal government as they renegotiate the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with the United States,
  • continuing to implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, and
  • helping to develop and implement Ontario's Water Strategy.

As of January 1, 2011, the ministry will assume the lead role in training participants and issuing approvals in the application of non-agricultural source materials (NASM) to agricultural land. NASM is an important part of Ontario's waste diversion plan. OMAFRA's role is to ensure that it is applied where there are beneficial nutrients that enhance agriculture and maintain environmental protection.

Strategic Enablers

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has put into place several initiatives that provide the foundation for delivering our priorities and developing as a high-performance ministry.

In 2010-2011, the Ministry will continue to use our diversity strategy, Rooted in Diversity: A Place for Everyone, to identify opportunities to integrate diversity and inclusion into human resources and business practices of the ministry. We anticipate that this will position the ministry as a leader in the OPS and that we will be providing advice and guidance to other ministries.

As we work towards becoming an increasingly environmentally-friendly organization, the ministry will develop a green plan in support of the government's and OPS Green Office commitments.

In the most recent throne speech, the Ontario government launched the five-year Open Ontario Plan, of which the Open For Business initiative is an integral part. In 2010-2011, the ministry will continue to work towards the 25 per cent burden reduction target and we will continue to work on existing Open For Business priority projects.

We will also focus ministry innovation and research priorities that include partnerships with a wide variety of research institutions and industry stakeholders across the value chain.

In 2010-2011, the ministry will launch an enhanced performance measurement system allowing the ministry to better monitor, assess and report progress against key ministry and government priorities.

The ministry will develop a strategic communications plan to ensure continued alignment with business priorities, identify linkages with other ministries, and achieve strategic outcomes.

Highlights of 2009-2010 Achievements

Please refer to the 2009-2010 Annual Report for a more detailed discussion of ministry achievements and activities.

Local Food

More Ontarians intended to buy Ontario foods. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has invested almost $65 million in programming to support Ontario Foods since 2003 and we have also committed to investing an additional $40 million during the next two years.

Level of consumer intentions to buy Ontario produce

This performance measure indicates the percentage of Ontario principal grocery shoppers who intend to purchase fresh Ontario food in the near future. It is indicative of the success of OMAFRA's domestic marketing efforts, specifically with respect to the Foodland Ontario brand program. Data for this measure is collected annually through a reliable, professional third party research survey with more than 1,500 principal grocery shoppers residing in Ontario communities of at least 100,000.

Text equivalent to graphic

Food Processing

In 2009-2010, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs worked closely with other ministries to identify and support the food processing sector as an investment priority for this government. The Ministry influenced $297 million in investments in the food processing industry and created/retained 6,189 jobs in food processing in this province.

Number of new jobs created and/or retained, through new investments in the food processing industry, influenced by ministry efforts

Text equivalent to graphic

Growing Forward

In April 2009, the Ontario government joined with the federal government in announcing the new Growing Forward initiative for the agri-food industry. The five-year, $300-million investment by the governments of Ontario and Canada support the sector and encourages best practices.

Growing Forward programs were launched throughout 2009-2010 focusing on two areas: Best Practices and Innovation and Science. Best practices help improve performance in four key areas: environment and climate change, food safety and traceability, business development, and biosecurity, Innovation and Science programs will encourage and support ongoing research and the commercialization of research.

Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

For the third year, agricultural innovators from across Ontario were celebrated at the annual Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. This five-year, $2.5-million program was established to recognize innovators who contribute to the success of Ontario's agri-food sector.

Animal Health Act, 2009

In 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs proposed new Animal Health Legislation that would help prevent, detect and respond to animal diseases and other related health events to better protect the people, animals and economy of Ontario. The legislation was passed on December 8, 2009.

The passage of the bill came after consultation with industry partners and the public on an animal health strategy for the province, which began in 2006. In 2010, the ministry plans to establish an ad hoc committee with representative industry partners, to guide development of initial regulations that will come under the Act.

Broadband

In 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs continued its commitment to bring high-speed Internet access to rural residents and businesses across the province.

Through the ministry's Rural Connections Broadband Program, more than $27 million has been invested in 47 municipal broadband projects since the summer of 2007.

Newest Marketing Board: Grain Farmers of Ontario

As of January 1, 2010, Ontario's 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat producers officially have one marketing board. The Grain Farmers of Ontario replaces the Ontario Corn Producers' Association, the Ontario Soybean Growers, and the Ontario Wheat Producers' Marketing Board.

The announcement caps months of work between industry stakeholders and ministry staff following a vote among producers that showed the strategy had the necessary support to move forward.

Orchard and Vineyard Transition Program

In February 2010, the Ontario government announced an additional $2 million to help grape, apple and tender fruit producers adapt to industry pressures and changing markets. This funding helps growers renew their operations by supporting the removal of older, less productive trees and vines.

Rural Economic Development Program Investments

In 2009-2010, 54 projects that stimulate economic and community development in Ontario's communities were committed to under the Rural Economic Development (RED) program.

Wine and Grape Strategy

In 2009, the ministry worked with the Ministries of Consumer Services, Finance and Economic Development and Trade to develop a comprehensive wine and grape strategy. The strategy was announced by the Ontario government in October 2009.

Legislation

The 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. 16
  • Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.13
  • Agricultural Tile Drainage Installation Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.14
  • Animal Health Act, 2009, S.O. 2009, c. 31
  • Animals for Research Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.22
  • Beef Cattle Marketing Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. B.5
  • Bees Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. B.6
  • Commodity Board Members Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.18
  • Commodity Boards and Marketing Agencies Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.19
  • Crop Insurance Act (Ontario), 1996, S.O. 1996, c. 17, Sched. C
  • Drainage 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, c. F.10
  • Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act, 1993, S.O. 1993, c. 21
  • Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c. 20
  • Grains 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
  • Livestock 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. M.12
  • 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.
  • Nutrient 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
  • Veterinarians Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. V.3
  • Weed Control Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. W.5

Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)

To 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 20 marketing boards and four representative commodity associations.

The following 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 (Operational Enterprise)

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 two key programs currently delivered by Agricorp are: AgriStability, to protect producers against declines in margin; and Production Insurance, to protect crop producers from losses caused by adverse weather and other natural perils. There are some other minor time-limited BRM programs that Agricorp delivers on behalf of federal and provincial governments including the Plum Pox Asset Loss Financial Assistance Program and the Self-Directed Risk Management (SDRM) program. There are also some minor non-BRM programs delivered by Agricorp under contract with various clients including the Farm Business Registration (FBR) program, the Grain Financial Protection Program (GFPP) and the Dairy Credit Program.

  Plan 2010-11
($Millions)
Interim Actuals 2009-10
($Millions)
Revenue
287.1
312.8
Expenses
306.9
278.4
Surplus (Deficit) Impact
(19.9)
34.4

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal (Adjudicative Agency)

The role 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. Most 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 to ARIO.

  Plan 2010-11 Interim
($Millions)
Interim Actuals 2009-10
($Millions)
Revenue
1.5
2.07
Expenses
(3.8)
3.23
Surplus (Deficit) Impact
5.33
(1.16)

Board of Negotiation (Adjudicative Agency)

The role of the Board of Negotiation 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).

Boards 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. Both boards under this Act are "trust agencies."

  • 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 buyer.

Livestock Medicines Advisory Committee (Advisory Agency)

This 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.

Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (Adjudicative Agency)

The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board hears appeals which arise under the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998. The Act protects 'normal farm practices' from nuisance complaints and municipal bylaws.

Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission (Regulatory Agency)

The Commission supervises Ontario's 20 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 in consultation with the Minister; provides education programs to Ontario's marketing boards and industry stakeholders to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulated marketing system; and provides 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.

Ontario Food Terminal Board (Operational Enterprise)

The Ontario Food Terminal is the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution center in Canada. It was established in 1954 to provide a convenient, efficient and low cost receiving and shipping facility for wholesalers of fruit and produce, and now serves all of Eastern Canada and some of the Northern States.

All operational aspects of the Ontario Food Terminal are overseen by the Ontario Food Terminal Board. The Board, consisting of seven members, acts like a landlord for the Terminal. Its mandate is to acquire, construct, equip and operate a wholesale fruit and produce market. The Ontario Food Terminal consists of warehouse tenants and farmer market tenants. Warehouse tenants market imported and domestic grown fruits and vegetables, whereas farmer market tenants provide only Ontario and Canadian grown.

Rural Economic Development Program Project Review Panel (Advisory Agency)

The RED Panel is a volunteer panel appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs who have expertise in rural economic development. The RED Panel is chaired by the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and meets on an "as needed" basis but at least quarterly. Panel members review project applications for various rural economic development programs and make recommendations for funding to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Ministry Organization Chart

Ministry Organization Chart

Text equivalent of OMAFRA Organization Chart

Ministry Financial Information

Operating and Capital Summary by Vote

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' (OMAFRA) vision is for 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 for a healthy Ontario. OMAFRA invests in the following key areas: research and innovation; agriculture and food sector economic development; rural economic development and infrastructure; farm income stabilization; and food safety, animal health and environmental stewardship.

Operating and Capital Summary by Vote
Votes/
Programs
Estimates
2010-11 $
Change from Estimates
2009-10
$
%
Estimates
2009-10 * $
Interim Actuals
2009-10 *
$
Actuals
2008-09 *

$

Vote 1: Ministry Administration 26,491,800 212,100 0.8 26,279,700 27,714,000 25,854,221
Vote 7: Better Public Health and Environment 90,328,000 13,856,300 18.1 76,471,700 75,215,000 62,460,529
Vote 8: Strong Agriculture, Food and Bioproduct Sectors and Strong Rural Communities 2,760,307,200 1,925,299,600 230.6 835,007,600 1,612,930,400 593,563,993
Vote 9: Policy Development 14,618,500 364,900 2.6 14,253,600 14,210,000 14,005,956
Less: Special Warrants - - - - - -
Total Operating and Capital Expense to be Voted 2,891,745,500 1,939,732,900 203.8 952,012,600 1,730,069,400 695,884,699
Special Warrants - - - - - -
Statutory Appropriations 238,214 76,200 47.0 162,014 270,600 91,090
Ministry Total Operating & Capital Expense 2,891,983,714 1,939,809,100 203.7 952,174,614 1,730,340,000 695,975,789
Consolidation & Other Adjustments - AgriCorp 306,944,000 (18,332,000) (5.6) 325,276,000 278,429,800 189,245,344
Consolidation & Other Adjustments - ARIO (3,841,200) (6,508,700) (244.0) 2,667,500 3,230,000 5,238,390
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments 3,195,086,514 1,914,968,400 149.6 1,280,118,114 2,011,999,800

890,459,523


Operating and Capital Assets
Votes/
Programs
Estimates
2010-11

$

Change from Estimates
2009-10
$
%
Estimates
2009-10 *

$

Interim Actuals
2009-10 *
$
Actuals
2008-09 *

$

Vote 1: Ministry Administration 1,427,300 197,300 16.0 1,230,000 N/A -
Vote 7: Better Public Health and Environment 500,000 - - 500,000 N/A 106,900
Vote 8: Strong Agriculture, Food and Bioproduct Sectors and Strong Rural Communities 5,300,000 - - 5,300,000 N/A 529,600
Less: Special Warrants - - - - - -
Total Operating and Capital Expense to be Voted 7,227,300 197,300 2.8 7,030,000 N/A 636,500
Special Warrants - - - - - -
Statutory Appropriations 11,800,000 - - 11,800,000 N/A 5,511,700
Total Assets 19,027,300 197,300 1.0 18,830,000 N/A 6,148,200

* Estimates for the previous fiscal year are re-stated to reflect any changes in ministry organization and/or program structure. Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2010 Ontario Budget.

Note: Commencing in 2009-10, the Province's minor Tangible Capital Assets (mTCA) are capitalized on a prospective basis. Direct comparison between 2010-11, 2009-10, and 2008-09 may not be meaningful.

Appendix I: Annual Report 2009-10

Ministry Activities and Results 2009-2010

In 2009-2010, the ministry's key activities fell under the three priorities of:

  • Thriving Agriculture and Food Sectors
  • Strong Rural Communities
  • Safe Food, Healthy Animals, Healthy Environment

Thriving Agriculture and Food Sectors

Local Food

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has invested almost $65 million in programming to support Ontario Foods since 2003 and we have also committed to investing an additional $40 million during the next two years.

Our Pick Ontario Freshness Strategy includes the Ontario Market Investment Fund (OMIF). Through OMIF, the ministry is offering to partner with agri-food industry groups and local food networks to help either jump-start or maintain momentum for local food initiatives.

The ministry continued its ongoing commitment of $12 million to OMIF projects that focused on local market research, building local networks, connecting farmers with food service businesses and other promotions. In 2009-2010, $3.3 million was invested in 68 OMIF projects.

Food Processing

In 2009-2010, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs worked closely with other ministries to identify and support the food processing sector as an investment priority for this government. The Ministry influenced $297 million in investments in the food processing industry and created/retained 6,189 jobs in food processing in this province.

In 2009-2010, the ministry established the food processing sector as a priority under its Rural Economic Development (RED) program.

Examples:

  • Naturally Norfolk Inc. is receiving up to $1,000,000 through the Rural Economic Development Program to establish a 65,000-square-foot state-of-the-art food processing facility that will create 48 job opportunities now and up to 85 more jobs within the next five years.
  • Organic Meadow Inc. and Steen's Dairy Ltd. is receiving up to $495,000 through the Rural Economic Development Program to process sheep, goat and water buffalo milk as well as conventional and certified organic dairy products processed at a retrofitted facility in Guelph.
  • Derewlany Mini Carrots and FDM Produce is receiving up to $412,600 through the Rural Economic Development Program to double and improve the production of fresh-peeled carrots and provide opportunities to retain employees and create local jobs.
Growing Forward

In 2009-2010, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs launched the following programs under the Growing Forward national agri-food framework.

  • Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program
  • Food Safety and Traceability Initiative
  • Food Safety and Traceability Education Program
  • Business Development for Farm Businesses
  • Agriculture Biosecurity Program
  • Farm Biosecurity Program

In 2009-2010, the ministry announced funding for the following initiatives:

  • Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
  • The Farm Innovation Program
  • The Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre
Research

In 2009-2010, the ministry continued to collaborate with our many research partners to focus on research themes that relate directly to the ministry's priorities and will contribute greatly to strengthening our agri-food industry and rural communities.

Several Growing Forward programs that were announced in 2009 apply directly to the ministry's research priority:

  • The Farm Innovation Program (FIP) will provide funding for applied research and on-farm demonstration projects which lead to adoption of innovative on-farm technologies.
  • The Agri-Tech Commercialization Centre provides services and expertise that assist entrepreneurs, businesses and researchers with moving innovative ideas from the research bench into products, processes and technologies that benefit Ontario.
  • The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is an industry-led centre of applied science and technology research focused on the horticulture sector.

Strong Rural Communities

In 2009-2010, the ministry delivered significant infrastructure initiatives on behalf of the Ontario government: the Building Canada Fund and the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.

  • Building Canada Fund (Communities Component - Original Funding) 291 projects were approved under this program, with a provincial commitment of more than $354 million to improve vital infrastructure in rural Ontario. The 2009-2010 provincial investment in these projects was more than $125 million.
  • Building Canada Fund (Communities Component - Top Up) 187 projects were approved under this program with a provincial commitment of more than $196 million. The 2009-2010 provincial investment in these projects was more than $63 million.
  • Building Canada Plan (Major Infrastructure Component) - through this component, the ministry is delivering more than $100 million in total provincial funding to improve water systems in Ontario. The 2009-2010 provincial investment was more than $50 million.
  • Infrastructure Stimulus Fund - In 2009-2010 there were 1,283 projects approved under this program representing a total provincial commitment of more than $1 billion. The provincial 2009-2010 investment for these projects was more than $237 million.

In 2009-2010, the ministry continued its commitment to delivering high-speed Internet service to rural areas through its Rural Connections Broadband Program and Building Broadband in Rural and Northern Ontario program. The total number of broadband projects undertaken in the Rural Connections program in 2009-2010 is 29, representing a total investment of more than $18.9 million.

The Rural Economic Development (RED) Program helps rural communities remove barriers to economic development and growth through efforts in revitalizing communities, improving access to health care services and increasing opportunities for skills development.

In 2009-2010, 54 projects that stimulate economic and community development in Ontario's communities were committed to under the RED program. This represents a total investment of $122 million.

The goal of the Rural Summer Jobs program is to help local employers create summer jobs that enhance the skills and work experience of students in rural Ontario. In 2009-2010, the ministry committed over $1 million in each of the next 2 years to further expand this program.

Safe food, healthy animals, healthy environment

Safe Food

Ontario boasts one of the most comprehensive provincial meat inspection systems in Canada.

In 2009-2010, the ministry worked closely with industry groups, such as the Ontario Independent Meat Processors, to advance food safety in all provincial plants.

In 2009-2010, the ministry's Meat Inspection Program designed a new risk-based system to determine frequency of inspection in freestanding meat plants which allows for better alignment of resources with operators and facilities that need greater assistance.

The program created "Vital Signs", a monthly report that contains the Meat Inspection Program's key performance measures, helps managers better focus their attention and resources and has led to a performance increase under certain indicators.

In 2009-2010, improvements in the meat inspector training program have enhanced the quality of training while reducing the time it takes to get an inspector certified.

To date in the 2009-2010 audit cycle, 96 per cent of meat plants met the minimum regulatory requirements under the Food Safety and Quality Act.

Healthy Animals

Ontario's livestock and poultry sectors generated $4.8 billion in farm cash receipts in 2008, and Ontario has the largest poultry industry, second largest swine and dairy industries, and the third largest beef industry in Canada.

The presence of animal disease in any of these sectors can have serious consequences on the economic health of the agri-food industry, the economic strength of the province, and the well-being of our producers and farmers.

That is why the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has put into place initiatives that will protect public health, enhance our food safety system, increase consumer confidence, and improve the competitiveness of Ontario's agri-food industry.

Healthy Environment

The bioeconomy is a key priority for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

      • The ministry is creating new opportunities for the transformation of biomass derived from agriculture, food processing and rural industries into value-added bio-products.
      • The ministry is working with Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the Ministry of Natural Resources, and farm and commodity organizations to look at biomass alternatives as alternative fuels in the lead-up to the phase-out of coal use at OPG power plants by 2014.

In 2009-2010, the ministry worked to better integrate our bioeconomy investments into the larger bioeconomy network with other ministries.

2009-2010 saw the successful completion of the Ontario Biogas Systems Financial Assistance Program. The program helped farmers and agri-food businesses develop and build generating systems that produce clean energy, reduce electricity costs and contribute to local economies. Forty-six feasibility studies (phase 1) and 27 biogas construction projects (phase 2) have been supported to the end of March 2010.



Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 April 2011
Last Reviewed: 01 April 2011