Annual Report of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Complaints about Farm Practices
  3. Board Activites - Hearings
  4. Board Activities - Assisting Clients
  5. Board Activities - Governance
  6. Board Activities - Board Meetings
  7. Operational Performance
  8. Financial Performance
  9. Board Appointees
  10. Acknowledgement
  11. Appendix A
  12. Appendix B
  13. Appendix C
  14. Appendix D

Executive Summary

This report presents the activities and performance of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board for the fiscal year April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012.

The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (the Board) is established under The Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998 (the Act) to hear and rule on issues pertaining to farm practices.

The Act provides that farmers are not liable in nuisance for any disturbance arising from an agricultural operation that is carried on as a normal farm practice. Nuisances covered are those arising from odour, dust, flies, light, smoke, noise and vibration. The Act also exempts farmers from municipal by-laws which restrict their normal farm practices.

In accordance with the Preamble of the Act, the Board seeks to balance the needs of the agricultural community with provincial health, safety and environmental concerns. Board hearings are less formal than the courts, but follow the same rules of natural justice. Hearings are managed in such a way that any complainant or respondent may present their case with or without legal counsel. This ensures that all citizens have access to the services of the Board.

During the period of the report, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) received 206 nuisance complaints about farm practices. Ministry agricultural engineers and environmental specialists resolved the majority of these complaints; unresolved ones were referred to the Board. The Board successfully managed the cases that came to it in a manner that promoted agreements between the parties and minimized the incidence of hearings. The Board also heard applications for award of hearing costs arising from two previous cases; after review of these cases, both applications were denied.

Board members were informed of the requirements of the Adjudicative Tribunal Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009, and all accountability documents mandated by that Act were put in place. Reimbursement of Board member expenses were all within the guidelines of the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive. The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs affirmed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Chair outlining the relationship between them.

The Board successfully achieved performance standards for service and delivery, regarding the length of time to inform clients whether the Board will hear their applications. It also addressed two formal complaints made by a party, one about a Board member, the other about the Board procedures. Details on these are presented in the report.

The annual report also details Board activities regarding assistance to clients, governance and meetings.

Total operating expenditures for the 2011-2012 fiscal year was $32,426.75. This amounted to only 45 percent of the budgeted amount of $71,500, for reasons explained in the section on Financial Performance.

Introduction

The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board ("the Board") is established under Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998 (the Act) to rule on issues pertaining to farm practices.

The Act protects farmers from nuisance complaints, provided the farmer is following normal farm practices. Nuisances covered are those arising from odour, dust, flies, light, smoke, noise and vibration. The Act also protects farmers from municipal by-laws which restrict their normal farm practices.

The Act defines "normal farm practice" as a farm practice that:

  1. is conducted in a manner consistent with proper and acceptable customs and standards, as established and followed by similar agricultural operations under similar circumstances, or
  2. makes use of innovative technology in a manner consistent with proper advanced farm management practices.

All complaints about farm practices go through two stages of mediation before they are heard by the Board. First, OMAFRA agricultural engineers and environmental specialists conduct conflict resolution; this successfully resolves over 95 percent of all complaints. For unresolved cases, the Board holds a pre-hearing/settlement conference with the parties. This identifies issues, determines hearing logistics, and attempts further mediation (settlement conference) to attempt to avoid the hearing. If the settlement conference is unsuccessful, the Board conducts a hearing to determine whether the farm practice involved is a "normal farm practice." The Board may rule that the practice:

  1. is a normal farm practice
  2. is not a normal farm practice, or
  3. must be modified in a specific manner to make it a normal farm practice.

If the Board rules that the farm practice is "normal," the farmer can continue it in spite of the nuisance complaint or the restrictive by-law. If the practice is ruled not normal, the farmer would have to stop it or follow the by-law. The Board may also rule that the practice would be normal if specific modifications are made.

Complaints about Farm Practices

OMAFRA received 206 complaints regarding farm practices in 2011-2012. The numbers of complaints received annually for the last five years are shown in Table 1. The table also shows the distribution of these complaints by nuisance type for each year. Total numbers of complaints decreased steadily up to 2010, but have risen sharply since then. The most significant increase has been in complaints about flies, from four complaints in 2009-2010 to 34 in 2011-2012. Fly complaints came from South-Western Ontario and Hastings County, but the majority were from the Niagara region. This could be attributed to circumstances involving particular poultry barns and de-listing of particular insecticides. Increased fly complaints also resulted from more widespread use of manure as fertilizer. Odour complaints also rose sharply from 43 in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 to 77 in 2011-2012. They were distributed across the province, with concentrations in Essex and Niagara. Odour and noise have consistently been the highest sources of complaints. Odour complaints tend to arise from the spreading of manure or cleaning of livestock barns. Noise complaints are most often associated with the use of noise-making equipment to protect vines from birds in Niagara vinelands. The numbers of complaints from light and smoke have increased, but there have been fewer complaints about municipal bylaws. The distribution of complaints by county are presented in Figures 3 to 7 in Appendix A.

Table 1. Farm Practice Complaints Received by OMAFRA
  Odour Noise Dust Flies Smoke Light Vibration By-Law Total
2011-
2012 
77 73 10 34 4 6 0 2 206
37% 35% 5% 17% 2% 3% 0% 1% 100%
2010-
2011 
46 70 11 12 0 3 1 7 150
31% 47% 7% 8% 0% 2% 1% 5% 100%
2009-
2010  
43 72 6 4 2 0 0 9 136
32% 53% 4% 3% 1% 0% 0% 7% 100%
2008-
2009  
43 111 7 7 2 0 1 5 176
24% 63% 4% 4% 1% 0% 1% 3% 100%
2007-
2008  
103 71 17 5 3 0 0 4 203
51% 35% 8% 2% 1% 0% 0% 2% 100%

Farm Practices Complaints Received by OMAFRA.

Figure 1. Farm Practices Complaints Received by OMAFRA.

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Chart showing Percentages of NFPPB Complaints - April 2009 to March 2010 (Primary complaints only).

Figure 2. Percentages of NFPPB Complaints - April 2009 to March 2010 (Primary complaints only).

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The distribution of complaints shown in Table 1 is illustrated in a bar graph in Figure 1. This graph illustrates that odour was the main cause of complaints in 2011-2012, displacing noise. The number of noise complaints increased, but to a lesser extent than odour and other disturbances. The pie chart in Figure 2 compares the incidence of the types of complaints in 2011-2012.

"Primary" complaints refer to cases where the nuisance mentioned is the only or major cause of the complaint. Many cases include complaints about multiple nuisances. For example, a complaint about noise from tractors working at night may also name light and vibration; a complaint about odour from a manure pile may include flies. When the case involves multiple nuisances, the main nuisance is identified as a Primary Complaint; the others are Secondary Complaints.

Board Activites - Hearings

In 2011-2012, the Board held hearings, pre-hearing/settlement conferences, and motion and scheduling teleconferences for four cases and two costs applications. These are presented below:


Case 2010-01: Dubois v. Burkhardt (No. 2) - Motion for Costs

Issue: Motion for costs

Description:

Following the Decision in the case of Dubois v. Burkhardt (No.2), the applicants made a Motion for Costs to be awarded to the applicants against the respondents. The respondents responded with a Motion for Adjournment, Dismissal, and Costs against the applicants. The Board handled this Motion through written submissions from the parties.

Status: The motion was denied.

Start Date: February 24, 2011

End Date: August 31, 2011


2010-02 Platt v. Fidale Farms - Motion for Costs

Issue: Motion for Costs
Address: Killbride, Halton Region

Description:

Following the Decision in the case of Platt v. Fidale Farms, the respondents made a Motion for Costs to be awarded to the respondents against the applicants. The Board handled this Motion through written submissions from the parties.

Status: The motion was denied.

Start Date: April 18, 2011
End Date: September 23, 2011


Case 2011-01 Scholz v. Hunderup

Address:Aurora, RM of York
Issue: Odour, dust, flies
Date of Pre-Hearing/Settlement Conference: November 9, 2011

Description:

A resident (applicant) complained that the neighbouring farmer established a manure pile along the boundary between the two properties, causing problems of odour, dust and flies at the applicant's residence. Conflict resolution efforts were unsuccessful in resolving the issues between the parties. At the pre-hearing/settlement conference, the Board was able to help the parties reach an agreement.

Status: The parties reached an agreement and the applicant withdrew the case.

Start Date: July 12, 2010
Withdrawal Date: Nov 11, 2011


Case 2011-02 Sims and Smith v. Riverglen Farms

Address: Fergus, Wellington County
Issue: Flies
Date of Pre-Hearing/Settlement Conference: July 8, 2011

Description:

Residents complained about excessive flies from the operations of a neighbouring duck farm. The farmer said he had applied all reasonably applicable technology, without success. He also questioned whether the flies causing the problems were coming from his operation, given that there were other operations in the area producing flies. Through the pre-hearing/settlement conference, the parties agreed to work together to minimize the incidence of flies and to monitor the incidence of flies at the applicants' residences.

Start Date: June 24, 2011
End Date: July 21, 2011


Case 2011-03 Taouil v. Mastronardi

Address: Kingsville, Essex County
Issue: Noise
Date of Pre-Hearing/Settlement Conference: November 30, 2011

Description:

The applicant said that the neighbouring farmer was using a bird banger to chase birds away from five cherry trees in his front lawn, causing constant excessive noise to the applicant. Through the pre-hearing/settlement conference, the parties agreed to work with OMAFRA's bird banger expert to try to resolve the issues.

Start Date: June 23, 2011
End Date: June 23, 2011


Case 2011-04 Bannon v. Mastronardi

Address: Kingsville, Essex County
Issue: Noise
Date of Pre-Hearing/Settlement Conference: April 20, 2012

Description:

The applicant said that she is an older person suffering with high blood pressure. She said that the noise from bird bangers on a neighbouring farm was affecting her to the point that she could suffer a stroke or heart attack. The pre-hearing/settlement conference was set for April 20, 2012.

Start Date: March 9, 2012
End Date: pending


Appeals of Board Decisions

To the best of the Board's knowledge, there were no appeals of its decisions before the courts during the fiscal year 2011-2012.

Board Activities - Assisting Clients

Preparation for Hearings

The Board tries to make it easier for farmers and residents to attend hearings:

  • It holds the hearing in the municipality where the complaint originates.
  • There is no charge for applying for, or participating in, a hearing.
  • Legal counsel is not required, but parties may, if they wish, retain legal counsel at their own expense.

To help parties who do not have legal counsel, the Board developed a Citizen's Guide to the FFPPA and the NFPPB in 2005. The guide explains:

  • the purpose of the Act
  • the role of the Board
  • the concept of "normal farm practice"
  • Board procedures
  • the hearing process.

OMAFRA has also published three brochures to give residents and farmers a brief overview of the Act and the Board.

In addition to the Citizen's Guide, the Board has also published its Rules of Practice and Procedure. Parties refer to this document to help them prepare for Board hearings. The Citizen's Guide, Rules of Practice and other information on the Act and the Board are available online. People can also obtain copies from the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.

All the documents described above were updated during the fiscal year 2009-2010.

Summaries of all NFPPB decisions can be found on the NFPPB website. Full decisions are available electronically or in hard copy by contacting the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.

Board Activities - Governance

During the fiscal year 2011-2012, government agencies were required to meet the requirements of the new Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009. In compliance with this Act, the Board developed five Accountability Documents: Mandate and Mission Statement, Consultation Policy, Service Standard Policy, Ethics Plan and Member Accountability Framework. (These documents are described below and included in the Appendix.) The Member Accountability Framework included position descriptions for the Chair, Vice-Chair and members, and a Code of Conduct.

All the accountability documents referenced above were approved by the Board and by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs before March 31, 2012 (the deadline established by Management Board). In addition, the Ethics Plan was approved by the provincial Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

Mandate and Mission Statement

(a) The mandate of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (Board) is established by the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998, S.O.1998, c.1. Section 3 establishes the Board and provides for the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to appoint the Chair, Vice-Chair and members. Subsection 4(2) states that the Board has the power to:

  1. inquire into and to resolve disputes respecting agricultural operations and to determine what constitutes a normal farm practice;
  2. make necessary inquiries and orders to ensure compliance with its decisions.
(b) The Board's mission statement is to provide a fair hearing and decision process to all parties involved in disputes regarding normal farm practices.

(c) The operation of the Board is subject to the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.22, the Judicial Review Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. J.1, the MBC Agency Establishment and Accountability Directive and Government Appointees Directive, and other applicable Directives of Management Board of Cabinet and Treasury Board of Cabinet.

Consultation Policy

When considering substantive changes to its rules or policies, the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (Board) will consult with persons or entities or groups of persons or entities (parties) whose interests would be affected by those changes, where, in the opinion of the Board Chair, it would be appropriate to do so.

When consulting with persons or entities or groups of persons or entities on such matters, the Board will do so in a manner that allows the Board to receive feedback from those engaged before changes are finalized. Consultation periods will vary according to the complexity of the matters under discussion and the range of parties involved. The minimum consultation period will be 30 days, beginning the date the matter is communicated to the parties.

Service Standard Policy

The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (Board) is a quasi-judicial adjudicative board committed to providing a fair hearing and decision process to all parties involved in disputes regarding normal farm practices. The Board operates within the context of a professional and accountable public service, and is committed to providing a high standard of service to the public.

From time to time, the Board may receive complaints about the quality of service related to its practices, or the conduct of Board members or staff. This policy outlines the Board's service standards for communication between the Board and the public, and informs the public about the Board's process for responding to complaints.

The full policy is attached in Appendix B.

Ethics Plan

A. Part 1V (Ethical Conduct) and Part V (Political Activity) of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA)

The Board will ensure that members are familiar with the requirements of the PSOA by:

  1. Upon appointment, providing each member with a membership binder which includes,
    1. a copy of the relevant provisions of the PSOA and its regulations, O.Reg. 381/07
    2. the website link for the Conflict of Interest Commissioner (coicommissioner@ontario.ca).
  2. Having the Chair of the Board review with each new appointee their obligations under the PSOA with respect to ethical conduct, conflict of interest rules and political activity rights, and review the role of the Chair as the Ethics Executive for appointees to the Board, as soon as is practical.
  3. Providing each member with notice of any amendments to the relevant legislative provisions respecting their responsibilities under the PSOA as soon as is practical.
  4. Providing an annual notice to members containing information about the requirements of Parts IV and V of the PSOA.

B. Code of Conduct

  1. The Board will ensure that members are familiar with the Board's Code of Conduct by: Upon appointment, providing each member with a membership binder which contains the Board's Code of Conduct.
  2. Reviewing the Code of Conduct with new appointees during their orientation session, as soon as is practical.
  3. Notifying each member of any amendments to the Code of Conduct as soon as practical.
  4. Providing a copy of the Code of Conduct to members by March 31 of each year.

Member Accountability Framework

The Board's Member Accountability Framework consists of:

  • Position Description of the Chair, including qualifications
  • Position Description of the Vice-Chair, including qualifications
  • Position Description of the Members, including qualifications
  • The Code of Conduct for the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board.

The Code of Conduct is attached in Appendix C.

The Board also complied with other governance requirements of the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009, and applicable directives of Management Board of Cabinet. These included the following:

Risk Identification, Assessment and Mitigation Strategies

The NFPPB reviewed its Risk Assessment Report and Risk Management Plan prepared previously in 2010, and decided not to make any changes at this time.

Memorandum of Understanding

Last fiscal year the Board developed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to address its relationship with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The new MOU meets requirements of the AEAD for detailed responsibilities and clear levels of accountability for the Chair and Secretary of the Board, and senior officials of the ministry. The MOU also addresses indemnity for Board members. The completed MOU was signed by the Minister on May 19, 2011. Following the appointment of a new Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in October 2011, the MOU was re-affirmed on December 5, 2011.

The Board also complied with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001, the Communications in French Directive, and the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive.

Board Activities - Board Meetings

Teleconference February 2012

On February 7, 2012, the Board held a teleconference to discuss and approve the new Accountability Documents mandated by the Adjudicative Tribunal Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009. The Board discussed the Mandate and Mission Statement, Consultation Policy, Service Standard Policy, Ethics Plan and Member Accountability Framework, the Code of Conduct, and the position descriptions for the Chair, Vice-Chair and members. All the documents were approved.

Annual Meeting

The NFPPB held its Annual Meeting on March 14, 2012 at the Government of Ontario building, 1 Stone Road West in Guelph. The meeting reviewed activities of the past year, including a discussion of the cases handled by the Board. The Chair issued and explained new Member's Handbooks, reflecting the new responsibilities of members under the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009. The Chair of the Board had indicated his intention to resign; the Board discussed the new processes being developed for appointment of a new Chair, as required by the new legislation. Members passed a motion that the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board should be lawyers.

The meeting discussed the complaint about the Rules of Practice and Procedure regarding settlement conferences. The Board decided that no changes should be made to the Rules.

Operational Performance

Performance Measurement

The NFPPB measures its performance in two specific areas:

Number of days between receipt of an application for a hearing and response to applicant on whether the application is approved for a hearing (Note: an application cannot be considered unless the complaint has gone through the conflict resolution process):

  • Goal: The performance standard was set at 20 days.
  • Results: In all cases, the waiting period was within the performance standard.

Number of days between completion of the hearing and issuing the decision.

  • Goal: The performance standard was set at 60 working days.
  • Results: In one case the waiting period was 69 working days, because of delays caused by unavoidable circumstances of Board members. In all other cases, the waiting period was within the performance standard.

Values/Operating Principles

Values of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board:
  1. Respect and consideration for participants.
  2. Quality of hearing process information provided to participants.
  3. Fairness in the processing of applications.
  4. Consideration of participants in the selection of the hearing date.
  5. Convenience to participants of the hearing location.
  6. Appropriateness of the hearing room set-up.
  7. Fairness in the conduction of the hearing.
  8. Adequate opportunity for participants to present evidence.
  9. Adequate opportunity for participants to respond to the evidence of the opposing party.
  10. Satisfaction that the decision reflected the evidence presented at the hearing.
  11. Clarity of the reasons why the Board reached its particular decision, as presented in the written Decision.
  12. Timing of the release of the decision.
  13. The plain language used in the decision.
  14. Absence of bias.

Because of the small number and the nature of hearings, the Board does not ask hearing participants to rate its performance on these issues. The Board relies on the incidence of complaints to assess its performance in these areas.

In 2011-2012, there were no new complaints regarding fairness. A fairness complaint filed in the previous fiscal year (October 2010) was processed this fiscal year. After the conclusion of a pre-hearing/settlement conference in a case before the Board (September 2010), one of the parties lodged a formal complaint with the Board Secretary. The complaint stated that: (1) the Board Vice-Chair, who conducted the conference, was not impartial; and that (2) the Board's settlement process was flawed because submissions were received only from the applicant, and the respondent had no opportunity to present submissions in response. The Secretary applied the Board's Public Complaints Policy. The policy requires that the Board issue an initial response to the complainant within two days; the initial response was issued the same day. With the complainant's written consent, the investigation into the complaint was postponed until all hearing procedures in the original case had been concluded. Processing of this complaint started in October 2011.

In January 2012, the party that had lodged the complaint against the Vice-Chair lodged another complaint. This second complaint was about the Rules of Practice and Procedure concerning the structure of pre-hearing/settlement conferences. The Secretary issued a response as required by the Board's Public Complaints Policy. The issues raised in the complaint were discussed in detail at the Board's annual meeting. At the end of the fiscal year the decision on the Rules complaint was pending.

There were no other complaints regarding any of the values and operating principles listed above.

Supporting the Intent of the Act

In its Preamble, the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998 states:

It is in the provincial interest that in agricultural areas, agricultural uses and normal farm practices be promoted and protected in a way that balances the needs of the agricultural community with provincial health, safety and environmental concerns.

The Board continues to monitor its effectiveness in supporting these principles. Below is a summary of the disposition of all cases handled by the Board since the Act was amended in 1998 to the end of 2011-2012. These results are tabulated in Appendix D.

1998-2010 - 78 cases
  • 17 decisions in favour of applicant
  • 25 decisions in favour of respondent
  • 18 agreements between parties
  • 10 withdrawn by applicant
  • 6 closed due to inaction by applicant
  • 1 was referred to other legislation
  • 1 went to litigation

Financial Performance

The operation of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board is funded by OMAFRA. Up to the end of the fiscal year the Board did not have a separate funding allocation. Board expenditures are covered by the Innovation, Engineering and Program Delivery (IEPD) Unit of OMAFRA's Environmental Management Branch. The ministry provides staff, office facilities and supplies, and covers Board operating expenses. Board expenditures are the responsibility of the Chair but are managed jointly by the Chair and the Manager of the IEPD Unit.

Total operating expenditures for the 2011-2012 fiscal year was $32,426.75 (Table 2). This amounted to only 45 percent of the budgeted amount of $71,500, for the following reasons:

  1. The budget was based on an estimate of five hearings, one annual meeting and two teleconferences annually. The Board handled four new cases and motions for cost awards for two additional cases, but there were no hearings. This is because the Board's pre-hearing/settlement process was very successful in reducing the number of hearings during the fiscal year. Consequently expenditures were minimized for members' per diem payments and travel expenses, and for court reporters. Total avoidance of hearings was a very unusual development, however, and is not expected to be repeated.
  2. Training costs were budgeted for a new Chair ($4,500). At the end of the fiscal year, however, a new Chair had not been appointed and therefore the training allocation could not be used.
  3. The Citizen's Guide was scheduled for revision and publication costs were budgeted. The revision had to be delayed, however, for inclusion of Accountability Documents mandated by the new Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009. The Guide will be published in the new fiscal year 2012-2013.
Table 2. NFPPB Expenditures 2011-2012
  Total Budget Variances Explanation of Variances
Board Member Per Diems $24,042.75 $40,000.00 $15,957.25 No hearings held this fiscal year.
Travel Expenses $3,370.18 $15,000.00 $11,629.82 No hearings held this fiscal year.
Training $0.00 $4,500.00 $4,500.00 Training deferred to 2012-2013 for new Chair and Vice-Chair who will be appointed then.
Translation Services (Decision Summaries) $3,942.15 $3,000.00 -($942.15) Translation of Accountability Documents under Accountability legislation
Publication ("Citizen's Guide") $0.00 $3,000 $3,000.00 Citizen's Guide publication deferred to next year
Court Reporters $900.00 $5,000.00 $4,100.00 No hearings held this fiscal year
Miscellaneous $171.67 $1,000.00 $823.33 No hearings held this fiscal year
Total $32,426.75 $71,500.00 $39,073.25 No hearings held this fiscal year

Board Appointees

Under the Act, the Board consists of at least five members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The members are appointed from across the province, with various backgrounds and expertise in agriculture and municipal affairs.

During the 2011-2012 fiscal year there were nine members on the Board. The Board welcomed a new member, Mr. Douglas Eadie of Kincardine, Ontario, appointed in April 2011. Member Mr. John DeBruyn of Salford, Ontario resigned in September 2011 because of increased responsibilities in his career. Following is the membership list as of March 31, 2012:

Board Members 2011-2012
Name Address Occupation Original Appointment Appointment Expiry Date
Glenn C. Walker, Chair Ridgetown lawyer Nov 14, 2001 Jan 7, 2013
Anthony Little, Vice-Chair London lawyer Apr 6, 2005 Apr 14, 2013
Dwayne Acres Osgoode cash crop and livestock farmer June 3, 2005 July 16, 2013
Hélène Blanchard Embrun dairy farmer June 3, 2005 July 16, 2013
Marty Byl Niagara-on-the-Lake grape grower July 17, 2007 July 16, 2013
Douglas Eadie Kincardine cash crop farmer Apr 15, 2011 Apr 14, 2014
Tom Field Glencoe dairy, beef, sheep, cash crop farmer Feb 27, 2009 Feb 26, 2014
Roger Pelissero St Anns poultry farmer July 17, 2007 July 16, 2016
P. Maxwell Kaiser Napanee poultry farmer July 17, 2007 July 16, 2016

Acknowledgement

On behalf of the members of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board, I wish to thank the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for the services provided to the Board, and for facilitating the smooth and effective operation of the Board.

Submitted this 29th day of August, 2012.

Kirk W. Walstedt, Chair

Normal Farm Practices Protection Board

Appendix A

Figure 3. Number of NFFPB Noise Complaints (April 2011 - March 2012)

Figure 3. Number of NFFPB Noise Complaints (April 2011 - March 2012)

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Figure 4. Number of NFPPB Odour Complaints (April 2011-March 2012)

Figure 4. Number of NFPPB Odour Complaints (April 2011-March 2012)

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Figure 5. Number of NFPPB Complaints of Flies (April 2011 - March 2012)

Figure 5. Number of NFPPB Complaints of Flies (April 2011 - March 2012)

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Figure 6. Number of NFPPB Dust Complaints (April 2011 - March 2012)

Figure 6. Number of NFPPB Dust Complaints (April 2011 - March 2012)

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Figure 7. Number of NFPPB Smoke Complaints (April 2011-March 2012)

Figure 7. Number of NFPPB Smoke Complaints (April 2011-March 2012)

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Appendix B

Introduction

The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) is committed to providing quality service to the public.

  • The Board is open and honest in its behaviour, responsive to change, and committed to continuous self-improvement and integrity.
  • The Board will make every reasonable effort to resolve an issue in a fair, consistent manner and is committed to effective relationships with the general public, clients and other staff within and across ministries, and with elected officials.

From time to time, the Board may receive complaints about the quality of service related to Board policies and procedures, the application of those policies and procedures or the conduct of the Board members and staff. The purpose of this policy is to create a transparent and fair method of responding to public complaints.

Important Points about the Policy

  • Dissatisfaction with the outcome of a decision is not a complaint. Such an issue cannot be resolved by the Board directly. The complaint procedure is not another form of reconsideration, appeal or judicial review. If your complaint would best be resolved through a reconsideration, appeal or judicial review, the Board Secretary will advise you of the appropriate procedure.
  • As part of the Board's commitment to service quality, the Board will accept complaints from the public about quality of the Board's service. Persons who can make a complaint include a party to a Hearing; a party's representative, friend or family member; a witness; or any member of the public who has dealt with the Board.
  • Where possible, complaints will be addressed immediately. However, some complaints may require more effort to address. The Board Secretary will acknowledge verbal or telephone complaints within two business days, and complaints received by mail, email, fax or diskette within 15 business days.
  • If the complaint cannot be resolved immediately, the acknowledgement will indicate when it will be resolved, within a 30-day limit.
  • The Board will respond to your complaint and make every reasonable effort to resolve it in a fair and consistent manner.
  • This policy does not affect your right to raise your concerns with the Ombudsman of Ontario if you are dissatisfied with the responses provided by the Board.

Board Complaints Procedure

Confidentiality: Complaints are kept strictly confidential. However, for a thorough and fair review, the Board must advise the person who is the subject of the complaint.

Making a Complaint about Agency Policies and Procedures

  • Take your complaint to the Board Secretary. If the Secretary cannot resolve it, the Secretary will take it to the Chair. The Secretary's contact information is shown below.

Making a Complaint about the Secretary

  • You can raise a complaint about the Secretary directly with the Secretary. If you do not receive a satisfactory response, you can refer the complaint to the Manager, Innovation, Engineering & Program Delivery, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) (contact information below). You can also bypass the Secretary and take the complaint directly to the Manager.

Making a Complaint about a Board Member (other than the Chair)

  • If you have a complaint about the conduct of a Board member while the Hearing is in process, take it to the Board Secretary. Except in unusual circumstances, the Chair may defer the review in order to maintain the integrity and impartiality of the Hearing process. The Chair will provide an initial response within 15 days. The Chair will advise the Board member, conduct a review and fully respond to the complaint as soon as, in the Chair's opinion, it is appropriate to do so.
  • If your complaint about the Board member occurs after the Hearing is finished, or if the Board member is not involved in the Hearing, the chair will respond within 15 days.
  • The review of the complaint by the Chair will take the form of hearing by written submissions. Your complaint should be fully explained in writing (written submission). Your submission will be issued to the Board member, who will be required to submit a written response within ten working days. Your submission will also be issued to any witnesses identified in your submission, and they too will be required to submit a written statement within ten working days. All responses will be forwarded to you, so that you can, if you wish, respond to them as appropriate. You must submit your response document within ten working days. The Chair will then consider all documents submitted and issue a written decision, with reasons, within 20 working days of receiving all written submissions.

Making a Complaint about the Board Chair

The Minister or Minister's delegate is the most appropriate choice for reviewing complaints against the Board Chair. You can submit the complaint in writing, or in other forms as appropriate for persons with disabilities, either through the Board Secretary or directly to the Minister's office. The review may be conducted by the Minister or his or her delegate.

Contact Names

The Secretary
Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs
1 Stone Road West, 3rd Floor
Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2

The Manager
Innovation, Engineering & Program Delivery Unit
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs
1 Stone Road West, 3rd Floor
Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2

Ombudsman Ontario
125 Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M53 2C7
General Inquiry Client Access Centre
(416) 586-3300 or 1-800-263-1830

Appendix C - Members' Code of Conduct

Purpose of the Code

This Code of Conduct sets out the standards of conduct governing the professional and ethical responsibilities of members of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board from the beginning of their term of appointment and ongoing obligations as an appointee. It addresses the principles of good conduct and collegial responsibility. Appointees are responsible for applying an appropriate standard of conduct and acting in an ethical and professional manner.

The principles set out in this code are founded on the professional and ethical values of public service, which are set to uphold the public trust.

This Code of Conduct does not refer to appointees' legislated obligations regarding a conflict of interest or political activity rights and obligations. Please refer to the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 and its regulations. Also, it is not intended to conflict with any legal or professional requirements.

Principles of Conduct

Compliance with Laws
  1. Members shall act in accordance with all applicable laws and should comply with the spirit and intent of the law.
  2. Members shall not commit or condone an unethical or illegal act or invoke another to do so.
  3. Members should be familiar with legislation, policies and directives that apply to their work and the work of the Board in order to comply with or facilitate others' compliance with applicable laws.
Fairness / Courtesy
  1. Members have an obligation to comply with procedural fairness and natural justice requirements and to act impartially in the conduct of proceedings, including in matters of law and Member attitude and demeanour.
  2. Members should treat each person with dignity and respect and in a manner that builds trust.
Accessibility
  1. Members should treat those who appear before the Board fairly, without discrimination or favouritism.
  2. Members should be aware and respectful of social and cultural differences. In the course of their duties, they should act in a manner that promotes an appreciation of diversity.
  3. Members must be sensitive to potential barriers to accessibility.
  4. Members should conduct hearings or reviews such that those who appear before the Board understand the procedures and practices and can participate equally, whether or not they are represented.
Timeliness
  1. Members should take all reasonable steps to ensure that proceedings are concluded in a timely manner, avoiding unnecessary delays and cancellations of proceedings.
  2. Parties are entitled to a decision as soon as possible after the proceeding.
  3. Members should meet the timeliness standards established by the Board.
Quality and Consistency
  1. Members should be fully prepared for a proceeding and ensure that proceedings are orderly.
  2. Members should maintain the integrity of the hearing or review process.
  3. Members should ensure that decisions are prepared in accordance with the Board's guidelines on form and language, and meet the Board's standards for quality decision-making.
  4. Members should recognize the public interest through consistency and predictability in the exercise of their independent decision-making authority by considering relevant facts and evidence as well as law and jurisprudence.
Transparency
  1. Members should ensure that proceedings are conducted in a manner that is transparent and seen to be fair.
  2. Members should act in a transparent and accountable manner regarding their personal and professional actions, in such a fashion that actions would bear close public scrutiny.
Expertise / Competence
  1. Members should commit the time and effort required for the work of the Board.
  2. Members should maintain the high level of professional competence and knowledge required to discharge their obligations and duties.
  3. Members should remain current in the field by participating in Board discussions and ongoing professional development.
  4. Members should contribute their unique skills, experience and knowledge to the Board.
Optimum Cost
  1. Where appropriate, members should provide parties with opportunities to resolve issues before them without a formal hearing.
  2. Members should ensure that proceedings are streamlined to the best extent possible without sacrificing fairness.
  3. Members should respect the use and treatment of public funds.
Integrity
  1. Members should act with honesty, integrity and high ethical standards.
  2. Members shall not engage in conduct that exploits their position as a member.
  3. Members should conduct themselves personally and professionally in a manner consistent with the nature of their responsibilities and the maintenance of public confidence in the administration of justice.
Collegiality
  1. Members should foster a collegial working environment and conduct themselves in a manner that reinforces the integrity and professionalism of the Board among appointees and with staff.
  2. Members should conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates respect for the views and opinions of colleagues.
  3. Members should share their knowledge and expertise with other appointees as requested and appropriate.
  4. Members should not comment publicly on another member's decision or conduct.
Objectivity / Impartiality
  1. Members should approach every proceeding and every issue arising in a proceeding with an open mind, and avoid doing or saying anything to cause any person to think otherwise.
  2. Members should be independent in decision-making.
  3. In the conduct of Board proceedings, members' decisions should be based on an application of the relevant law to the evidence presented in each case.

Confidentiality
  1. Members shall consider the privacy interests of individuals in the conduct of hearings and decisions, and act in accordance with applicable laws.
  2. Members must not disclose information that the Board considers to be confidential.
  3. Members must not take advantage of confidential information obtained through official duties to obtain a personal benefit.
  4. Members should follow Board protocols for communicating in the media and should not communicate with the media regarding a decision.
Acknowledgement
  1. Each member must adhere to this Code of Conduct and commit to supporting the standards set out in applicable legislation, policies or guidelines.
  2. Members should review and reaffirm their commitment to and compliance with the Board's Code of Conduct upon initial appointment and on a regular basis thereafter.

Appendix D - Disposition of Board Cases

Table 3 shows the disposition of all cases brought to the Board (after conflict resolution by the Agricultural and Food Engineers and Environmental Specialists) since the Act was amended in 1998.

Table 3 Key:
  • UPPER CASE: Primary complaint
  • Lower case: Secondary complaint
  • F: Decision in favour of farmer 
  • X: Decision against farmer
  • A: Agreement between parties
  • W: Withdrawn
  • (P): Pending (continued in new fiscal year; not counted in cumulative totals)
  • C: Closed - no action by applicant
  • L: Litigation
  • D: Referred to another jurisdiction
Table 3. NFPPB Case Disposition, 1998 - 2011
Year Odour Noise Dust Flies Smoke Light Vibration By-Law Total Completed
2011-12 A A,A a A,a

 

 

 

  4
2010-11 a, A, F F,X,A, f f,a a, a, f

 

 

a

A, A 7
2009-10 A,(P),(P) X,p   (p),(p)

 

 

 

A,(P) 3
2008-09 (P),a A,A,(P) F,a  

 

 

 

  3
2007-08 X,x,A X,F (P) x

 

x x F 5
2006-07 X,p,(P) F,X,W,A     C x x X,(P) 6
2005-06 W,(P) W,A C,A w

 

 

 

(P) 5
2004-05 X,F, X,(P) f    

 

 

 

X,(P) 4
2003-04 X,F,(P) W,X A,w  

 

w

 

X,X,
X,X,
(P)
9
2002-03 (P) F,W w  

 

f,w f F,W,
X,(P)
5
2001-02 F,F, C,X,(P) X,X   f

 

 

 

X,X 8
2000-01 C,W,C,D,(P) W,F  

 

 

 

 

F,X,
A,W,
W,C,
X,L
14
1999-00 F

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1
1998-99 X F  

 

 

 

 

F 3
Total 23 25 4 1

1

0 0 24 78

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 03 November 2011
Last Reviewed: 17 January 2014