Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) Business Plan 2016-2019

April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2019

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Mandate
  3. Overview of Programs and Activities
  4. Environmental Scan
  5. Strategic Directions
  6. Resources Needed
  7. Risk Assessment and Management
  8. Human Resources
  9. Initiatives Involving Third Parties
  10. Implementation Plan
  11. Financial Budget
  12. Performance Measures
  13. Communication Plan

Executive Summary

Introduction

The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (the NFPPB or 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 a disturbance resulting 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 provides that no municipal by-law applies to restrict a normal farm practice carried on as part of an agricultural operation.

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. Under the Act, the Board holds hearings on nuisance complaints about farm practices, applications seeking non-application of municipal by-laws, and referrals from judges. In all these cases, the Board rules on whether the farm practices at issue are "normal farm practices."

By protecting normal farm practices, the Board helps to preserve the competitiveness of Ontario farmers in the face of increasing external pressures.

Board hearings are less formal than court proceedings, but follow the rules of natural justice. Hearings are managed in such a way that any complainant or respondent may present their case with or without representation by legal counsel. This promotes access to the services of the Board for all citizens.

Board proceedings are subject to the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998 ("the Act") and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act (SPPA).

The Board is governed by the Agency Appointments Directive (AAD), the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive, and other applicable Directives from Management Board of Cabinet and Treasury Board. Board members are made aware of the AAD and its requirements. All accountability and governance documents required for the Board have been published on the Board's web page in accordance with the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 (ATAGAA). Reimbursements of Board members' expenses were all within the guidelines of the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive.

Key Achievements for 2015-2016

The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) established the Farm Practices Conflict Resolution Process in 2004. Its purpose is to help resolve conflicts about farm practices and reduce the need for Board hearings. The conflicts arise from nuisance complaints about odour, noise, dust, flies, light, smoke or vibration. The Process is also used for conflicts between farm practices and municipal by-laws. During the fiscal year, OMAFRA received 107 nuisance and municipal by-law complaints about farm practices. The conflict resolution process, conducted by OMAFRA agricultural engineers and environmental specialists, resolved 95 of these complaints (89 percent). The remaining 11 percent (12 complaints) proceeded to the Board to be considered for hearings. The Board also conducts settlement conferences to promote a resolution for the cases which it receives, in order to reduce the need for a hearing.

In addition to the new cases, the Board worked on two cases from previous years, bringing its total case load to fourteen. All fourteen cases met the Board's service standards in 2015-2016.

Commitments and Strategies for 2016-2019

The Board will be delivering on the following key commitments/strategies in 2016-2019:

  1. The Board's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs expires in 2016. The Board will review and establish a new MOU with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  2. The Board will conduct its business in accordance with the Act, its new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the ATAGAA.
  3. The Board will meet the requirements of the AAD.
  4. Conflict Resolution is mandated by the Board, but is conducted by OMAFRA agricultural engineers and environmental specialists. This has proved very effective in drastically reducing the number of cases that come to the Board for hearing.
  5. For applications that come before the Board an attempt will be made to conduct pre-hearing and settlement conferences whenever possible, to further reduce the number of hearings by promoting mutual agreement between parties.
  6. The Board will ensure that hearings are of high quality in terms of administrative law, and enable access to transcripts.
  7. The Board will provide to unrepresented parties, prior to their hearings, information on hearing procedures in a format which is easily understood and that meets the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). All Board business will be conducted according to the customer service standards of the AODA, as established in the Board's Accessibility Document at Accessibility Document.
  8. The Board will continue to be diligent in meeting the requirements of the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive and all other applicable Management Board directives.
  9. The Board will keep its members aware of their responsibilities under the applicable legislation and directives.
  10. The Board will endeavour to meet and exceed the service standards set out in its published Service Standards Policy.
  11. The Board will provide full access to information on the Act and Board processes, and to all Board decisions.

Expenditures

Total operating expenditures for the 2015-2016 fiscal year were $115,279. This amounted to 72% percent over the budgeted amount of $67,000, for reasons explained in the section on Financial Performance. Also in that section, the Board presents its budget for the next three years: $125,000 in 2016-2017, $80,000 in 2017-2018 and $60,000 in 2017-2018. We expect hearing expenses to increase significantly in 2016-17 because of the high volume of cases currently before the Board. As time progresses, the estimates can be adjusted with greater accuracy.

Mandate

Mandate and Mission Statement

  1. The mandate of the Board is established by the Act. Section 3 of the Act establishes the Board and makes it accountable to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The Act provides for the Minister to appoint the Chair, Vice-Chair and members. Subsection 4(2) of the Act 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; and
    2. make the necessary inquiries and orders to ensure compliance with its decisions.


    The Board protects normal farm practices which are fundamental to farming and food production. While the authority for this protection is the Act, the Board adds value through a conflict resolution process mandated by the Board's Rules. This process, conducted by OMAFRA, resolves the vast majority of farm practice conflicts without recourse to hearings. Farmers and residents are thus spared the costs and time involved in preparation for hearings. In addition, since conflict resolution often results in agreements between the parties, farmers enjoy a better relationship with their neighbours after the conflict than if the matter was decided by a Board ruling.
  2. Vision Statement: To be acknowledged and respected by all parties in the agricultural, municipal and environmental fields as the authoritative, fair arbiter of disputes involving farm practices.
  3. Mission statement: To provide a fair hearing and decision process to all parties involved in disputes regarding farm practices.
  4. Accountability

    The Chair is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Board and for responsibilities assigned by the Act or the MOU.

    The Deputy Minister is responsible to the Minister for the performance of OMAFRA in providing administrative support (including staff and funding) to the Board and for responsibilities assigned by the Act or the MOU.

    The Secretary is responsible to the Deputy Minister or the Deput Minister's designate for the management of the Board's operations. The Secretary is responsible to the Chair in implementing policy and operational decisions.

    The MOU addresses the Board's relationship with the Minister. It incorporates the requirements of the AAD. The 5-year MOU was originally signed by the then Minister on May 18, 2011. The current Chair, Mr. Kirk Walstedt, affirmed the MOU on July 23, 2012. The Hon. Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, affirmed the MOU on November 6, 2014.

Overview of Programs and Activities

The Act protects farmers from nuisance complaints, provided the farmers are following normal farm practices. The Preamble to the Act states: "It is desirable to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agricultural lands for the production of food, fibre and other agricultural or horticultural products. Agricultural activities may include intensive operations that may cause discomfort and inconveniences to those on adjacent lands. Because of the pressures exerted on the agricultural community, it is increasingly difficult for agricultural owners and operators to effectively produce food, fibre and other agricultural or horticultural products. 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."

Nuisances covered are those arising from odour, dust, flies, light, smoke, noise and vibration. The Act also protects farmers from municipal by-laws that restrict normal farm practices if carried on as part of an agricultural operation.

The Act defines "normal farm practice" as a 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.

In responding to a complaint, the Board conducts a hearing to determine whether the farm practice involved is a "normal farm practice." After a hearing, the Board shall,

  1. dismiss the application if the Board is of the opinion that the disturbance results from a normal farm practice;
  2. order the farmer to cease the practice causing the disturbance if it is not a normal farm practice; or
  3. order the farmer to modify the practice in the manner set out in the order so as to be consistent with 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 cease from the practice or adhere to the by-law. The Board may also rule that the practice would be normal if specified modifications are made.

The Act is subject to the Environmental Protection Act, the Pesticides Act, the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and the Ontario Water Resources Act.

Hearing Application Process: Before the Board hears a dispute, OMAFRA's Conflict Resolution Process must first be applied. This is a requirement of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure. Conflict resolution is done by the regional OMAFRA engineers and environmental specialists, as appropriate. If the case is not resolved, the engineer or specialist refers it to the Board. The Chair then decides whether the Board has the jurisdiction to hear the matter and thus whether to hold a hearing.

Pre-Hearing/Settlement Conferences and Motions: Prior to a hearing, the Board holds a pre-hearing conference to clarify issues, identify all parties and settle procedural matters. This simplifies and shortens the hearing. After the pre-hearing conference, the Board may conduct a settlement conference to try to resolve the issues by mediation. This settlement conference is in addition to OMAFRA's Conflict Resolution Process conducted by the engineers or specialists before the case is brought to the Board. While OMAFRA's Conflict Resolution Process is successful in most cases, experience has shown that some parties become more inclined to settle their issues if faced with the prospect of a formal hearing. Thus, the settlement conference often leads to agreement between the parties. When this occurs, the applicant withdraws the hearing application. The Board does not become a party to the agreement.

Parties may also submit motions on matters such as Board jurisdiction or exchange of documents between parties.

Board Jurisdiction: The Board is authorized by the Act to rule on two types of cases: nuisance and by-law.

  1. Nuisance case: Complaint by a neighbour regarding a disturbance resulting from an agricultural operation carried on as a farm practice. The disturbances covered are: odour, noise, dust, flies, smoke, light and vibration. The Board rules on whether the practice causing the disturbance is a normal farm practice. If it is, the agricultural operation can continue, and is protected from further complaints.
  2. By-law case: Complaint by an agricultural operator that a municipal by-law is restricting an alleged normal farm practice carried on as part of an agricultural operation. The Board rules on whether the practice affected by the by-law is a normal farm practice. If it is, the practice is exempt from the municipal by-law.

Hearings: A panel of at least three Board members (who, practically-speaking, usually have farming or municipal experience), including the Chair or Vice-Chair, hear disputes. To minimize costs for the parties, the Board usually holds the hearing in the community where the dispute arose. The hearing process follows the requirements of the SPPA. While all parties have the right to be represented by legal counsel, parties may participate without legal counsel if they so choose. The Board has issued a "Citizen's Guide to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board" (the Citizen's Guide) which explains hearing procedures in detail. In addition, three pamphlets summarize the most important aspects of hearings in an easy-to-read format. The Citizen's Guide and the pamphlets are provided for informational purposes only. (To access the pamphlets or the Citizen's Guide, please refer to the Communication Plan on page 13).

Post-Hearing Process: The Board is required to issue written decisions according to a schedule presented under section "Speed of Decision" on page 11. The decision usually includes the identity of all witnesses and a summary of their testimony, the positions of the parties, the reasons for the Board's decision and the decision itself. All hearings are recorded by court reporters, but the Board does not provide transcripts of the proceedings. Parties requiring transcripts may purchase them directly from the court reporter. When a party chooses to purchase a transcript they are required to provide a copy of the transcript to the Board and the other party as per rule 39(5) of the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board.

A party may appeal the Board's decision to the Divisional Court of the Superior Court of Justice within 30 days of the issuance of the decision.

Environmental Scan

1. Increasing complexity of hearing applications, requiring legal advice on acceptance or rejection:

In recent years, some hearings have become more complex due to an increase in Motions regarding independent site visits, jurisdiction and parties seeking third party status. This tendency for greater complexity has spread to hearing applications. In the past two years, the Board dealt with four applications that contained complex issues of jurisdiction and three applications featuring members of the public seeking third party status.

Risks and Cost Implications: Before deciding to hear a case, the Chair reviews the application. The complexity of the application can increase the time required for this review from 15 minutes to several hours, potentially increasing the cost of each occurrence by thousands of dollars. Such complexity can also introduce a need for legal counsel, with associated costs. The increased complexity also tends to result in longer hearings. We anticipate more such occurrences in the coming years; estimate, three per year.

Operations: Since a complex application may require further review, additional staff time would be required. The amount of time would depend on the complexity of the application.

2. Increased Volume of applications for both nuisance complaints and by-law issues:

The Board is experiencing the highest volume of cases in it's 30 year history. There has been a total of 14 active cases this fiscal year. Twelve new cases were accepted this fiscal year and two active cases were carried forward from previous years.

Risks: Increased time requirements for the Secretary, Board and staff to manage the volume. Hearing delays for cases due to availability of the Board and Secretary.

Cost Implications: The additional hearings could increase operational costs of the Board.

Operations: Staff resources may need to be increased to handle the additional work of new cases annually.

3. Board ability to provide a timely Hearing:

The Act prescribes that the Board can only have one chair and one vice-chair as part of its membership. The Act also prescribes that a quorum for a Hearing must comprise of Chair or Vice-Chair and two other members. The Chair and Vice Chair are part time appointed positions. These individuals devote a significant amount of time for this public service.

Risks: This operational constraint, along with an increase in case load, will make it difficult to proceed with timely and efficient hearings.

Operations: No additional cost expected because it is tied to case load (volume of applications).

4. Site Alteration: By-Law:

The movement of excess soil from developed land to farm land has become a contentious issue, particularly, in the municipalities surrounding the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The public's concerns range from nuisance (i.e. noise, dust) to ground water contamination. Municipalities are reacting to local concerns by enacting or revising their own site alteration by-laws. The approach has not been consistent across a number of municipalities in Ontario. For example, some municipalities have instituted an approval process that requires a technical review and others have outright banned the practice completely. Lastly, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is developing a policy framework to manage movement of excess soil in Ontario.

Risks: The Board is currently hearing a number of cases involving farmers who are challenging their local site alteration by-law. The decisions in these cases may be incorrectly interpreted as definitive rulings on whether or not the movement of excess soil to farm land is considered a normal farm practice in all instances.

Outcomes: In Cox v. Town of Mono (Board #2014-05), counsel for the Respondent sought a ruling from the Board that would definitively state that receiving large amounts of fill on farmland is not a normal farm practice. In its decision, the Board reiterated cases before the Board are site specific and the Board is not in the position to make statements on whether a practice is normal or not normal across the province.

5. Tree Cutting By-Law:

Municipalities have the authority under section 135 of the Municipal Act to pass by-laws for the purposes of regulating the destruction or injuring of trees. Some recent municipal by-laws provide exemptions for normal farm practices, but as decided by the the Board. Since 2013, the Board has received 5 applications regarding tree-cutting by-laws. To date, the Board has only rendered one decision, and is still actively managing the remaining four cases.

Risks: The most recent increase in applications (3 in the last year) has raised concerns this will be a trend that will result in an increased work load for the Board.

Operations: A new communications project is in early development by OMAFRA staff to raise farmer awareness of municipal by-laws for tree cutting.

Strategic Directions

The Board has developed the following three key strategic directions to help fulfill its mandate in its operating environment:

  1. Communication with the Public
    1. Through the website, the Board will continue to provide the public with information about normal farm practices, what to expect when people move into farming country, the work of the Board, how to apply for a hearing, how to prepare for a hearing, accessibility considerations and the operation and accountability of the Board. The Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, Citizen's Guide and summaries of Board decisions are available from the Board's website at Normal Farm Practices Protection Board, and from Board secretary at SecretaryNFPPB@ontario.ca . Full past Board decisions are available on CanLII. Board decisions are also available from the Board Office.
    2. Before making substantive changes to its Rules of Practice and Procedure, if any, the Board will consult with key client groups according to its Consultation Policy. The Board's Consultation Policy is published on the Board's website.
  2. Processing of Applications
    1. The Board will process hearing applications according to performance standards.
    2. In order to minimize hearings and promote agreement between parties, the Board will continue to require that cases go through conflict resolution before they are processed for hearings. OMAFRA conducts a highly successful Farm Practices conflict resolution process, which resolves a minimum of 80 percent of cases (89 percent in 2015-16). The Board will also conduct settlement conferences whenever possible as part of the pre-hearing process on cases that were not resolved through the conflict resolution process.
  3. Hearings

    The Board will:
    1. Conduct all Board business according to the customer service standards of the AODA, as set out in the Board's Accessibility Document.
    2. Endeavour to have hearing procedures adhere to the principles of natural justice and the duty of fairness.
    3. Provide to unrepresented parties, prior to their hearing, adequate information on hearing procedures in a form that is easily understood and meets the requirements of the AODA.
    4. Provide full access to information on the Act and the Board, and to all Board decisions. Subject to the cost implications, parties will continue to have full access to transcripts of Board hearings, by purchasing from court reporters.
    5. Manage cases at the pre-hearing and hearing stages in a manner that encourages agreements between the parties and eliminates or shortens hearings.
    6. Complete the processing of hearing applications and the production and issue of decisions in a timely manner to meet Board service standards.

Resources Needed

OMAFRA provides the resources that the Board needs, through the Environmental Management Branch. These resources include:

  • the Board's operating budget and staff (presented below); and
  • offices and overhead at OMAFRA headquarters at 1 Stone Road West, Guelph.

Details are provided in the sections on Human Resources (below) and Financial Budget Ipage 8).

Risk Assessment and Management

Risk assessment and management is reviewed every quarter from the perspectives of both the Board and the Ministry. In Q2 of the 2015-16 fiscal year, the Board identified a high level risk because its membership dropped below a critical number of 8 members. The reduction in Board members put a number of cases at risk of being cancelled due to the availability of the current board membership. The Board, concurrently, sought the appointment of four new members. On October 26th, 2015, the Minister appointed two new members, who were immediately trained and assigned to two cases held in November and December 2015. The Q4 risk assessment did not identify any high level or medium level risks; all risks were assessed as low level from both Board and Ministry perspectives.

Human Resources

OMAFRA provides the following staff resources on full-time equivalent basis (FTE) to enable the Board to perform its duties. The following constitute staff assignments on an FTE basis:

  • Board Secretary (0.5 FTE)
  • Administrative Service Representative (0.4 FTE)

The cost of these resources are reported in OMAFRA's planning and financial documents.

Two new board members were appointed through the recruitment process meeting the requirements of ATAGAA and the AAD. Jane Sadler Richards and Robert Brander joined the Board on October 26, 2015.

Andrew Jamieson was was appointed Board Secretary July 6, 2015. The new Seretary is a past Secretary and brings valuable experience to this position.

The new Vice-Chair Glenn Walker was appointed May 11, 2015. The Vice-Chair was previously a member of the Board in 2012 and brings valuable knowledge and experience to this role.

New appointments will continue throughout the next fiscal year to replace Board members completing their term and to ensure a healthy number of members are available to provide service in a timely and effective manner.

Legal services to the Board are provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) through the Legal Services Branch of OMAFRA. The cost of these services is reported in MAG's planning and financial documents.

On April 1st, 2016, the Ministry services dedicated to administrative support and budget of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board has been delegated to the Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs Tribunal (AFRAAT) Support Services Unit . A process is in place to transition the current Secretary role to these staff. These changes to admistrative support to the Board are not expected to affect Board operations or its service to the public.

Initiatives Involving Third Parties

  1. Conflict Resolution Process: The Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure require that a dispute go through a conflict resolution process before the Board can accept it for a hearing. OMAFRA has a well-established conflict resolution process in place, implemented by regional OMAFRA engineers and environmental specialists. If the case is not resolved through this process, the parties may proceed with an applicatoin for a hearing before the Board..
  2. Expert Witnesses: To help determine normal farm practices, the Board may require technical knowledge and experience in established and emerging farming practices. The Board under its rules of practice and procedure can call its own expert witnesses to provide essential evidence not presented by the parties. The parties involved typically provide expert testimony as part of their case. When calling its own expert witness, the Chair of the panel of each case determines the Board's need for expert witnesses.

Implementation Plan

Staff in the Innovation, Engineering and Program Delivery (IEPD) Unit of OMAFRA's Environmental Management Branch will continue to provide services "at arms length", as part of the conflict resolution process for minimizing the number of cases going to the board. Pre-hearing and Settlement conferences will generally be held in cases that come to the Board, to further reduce the number of hearings. In every case, Board policies will be applied according to the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, the hearing application process, the Risk Management Plan, the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the French Language Services Act and all other applicable directives and guidelines.

Financial Budget

The Board is funded by the ministry under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Chair of the Board. The MOU sets out the relationship between the Board and the ministry, to enable the Board to operate "at arm's length" from the ministry. The "arm's length" relationship is vital to ensure that neither the ministry nor the Minister has any influence on the decisions of the Board regarding cases that come before it.

The Board does not have a separate funding allocation, though a specific cost centre was assigned in October 2011. Board expenditures have been 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 and are covered in this Business Plan. The cost of staff, office facilities and supplies are covered in OMAFRA's Business Plan. As of April 1, 2016, the cost centre will be transferred to the Business Services Branch.

Total operating expenditure for the 2015-2016 fiscal year was $115,279 (compared to $59,607 in 2014-15) (refer to Table 1). The expenditure exceeded the budget of $67,000 by 72 percent. This variation reflects the challenges of accurately predicting the incidence of the different types of hearings the Board may have to conduct (pre-hearings, motion hearings, full hearings), and the degree of complexity of the cases.

Table 1: NFPPB Financial Report 2014-2015

  2014-2015
Actual
2015-2016
Actual
2015-2016
Projected
Variances Explanation of Variances
Board Member Per Diems
$41,903
$80,392
$49,000
%64
Record number of applications received in 2015-2016. A total of 12 new applications with a higher than typical percentage of by-law cases. Hearings lasting longer than initially projected due to an increase in complexity of the cases. It also trained two new staff members.
Travel Expenses
$7,927
$18,642
$8,000
%133
Record number of applications received in 2015-2016. Hearings lasting longer than initially projected due to an increase in complexity of the cases.
Translation Services(Decision Summaries)
$5,026
$1,811
$5,000
%64
Board rendered one decision in 2015-2016
Publication ("Citizen's Guide")
$0
$0
 
Court Reporters
$2,297
$5,781
$3,000
%53
Increased number of hearing dates each requiring the services of court reporters.
Miscellaneous
$2,454
$8,653
$2,000
%333
Required security services for two cases.
Total
$ 59,607
$115,279
$67,000
%72
Based upon the unexpected increase in the number of applications and an increase in complexity of the cases.

The Board presents its budget for the next three years in Table 2, below: $117,000 in 2016-2017, $80,000 in 2016-2017 and $60,000 in 2017-2018. We expect hearing expenses to increase significantly in 2016-17 because of the volume of cases currently before the Board. We anticipate that the increased volume is an abnormality given the number of recent by-law cases, and the amount of cases before the board will return to previous levels, hence the subsequent budget years are reduced.

Table 2: NFPPB Budget 2016-2019

3-Year Budget
2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
Board Member Per Diems
$79,000
$54,000
$40,000
Travel Expenses
$15,000
$10,000
$8,000
Translation Services (Decision Summaries)
$5,000
$5,000
$5,000
Publications
$0
$0
$0
Court Reporters
$15,000
$8,000
$4,000
Miscellaneous
$3,000
$3,000
$3,000
Total
$117,000
$80,000
$60,000

Performance Measures

The NFPPB measures the performance of its programs in four areas:

  1. The performance of the conflict resolution system in reducing the number of NFPPB cases that arise from complaints about farm practices. If the conflict resolution system were not in effect, all complaints about normal farm practices would become NFPPB hearings.
  2. Speed of response regarding Acceptance or Rejection of Application for hearing: Number of days between receipt of a hearing application and response to applicant on whether the application is set for a hearing. This is a measure of the length of time a person who applies for a hearing has to wait before they know when the Board will hear their case. The measure begins when the Board receives a complete application; it does not include time taken for the applicant to provide missing information. To assist the applicant, the Board has provided full application forms showing all the required information on the NFPPB website linked to the OMAFRA website.
  3. Speed of Issue of Board decisions: Number of days between completion of the hearing and release of the decision. This is a measure of the length of time the parties have to wait for the Board's decision after the hearing has ended.
  4. Quality of Service: The Board is committed to the following values and operating principles:
    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 conduct 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 and completeness 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; and
    14. Absence of bias.

Performance Results

Following are the results of the Board's performance measures:

  1. Conflict Resolution System: The performance of the conflict resolution system in reducing the number of NFPPB cases that arise from complaints about farm practices. The goal is that a minimum of 80 percent of complaints should be resolved by the conflict resolution system

    Results: In 2015-2016 there were a total of 107 farm practice complaints received. Of these, 95 were resolved by the Conflict Resolution Process required by the NFPPB, so that only 12 became NFPPB cases; Performance Result: 89 percent.
  2. Speed of Acceptance: Board response regarding acceptance or rejection of application for hearing: On receipt of a complete application for a hearing, the Board will issue a decision on whether the case is accepted for hearing within 20 calendar days.

    Results: The Board administered twelve cases in fiscal year 2015-2016. The performance standards and results are shown in Table 3, below. On average, the Board met its performance standards in every case it administered.
  3. Speed of Decision: Following completion of a hearing, the Board endeavors to release its written Decision, with reasons, to the parties according to the following schedule:
    • Hearing lasting less than 5 days: Decision released within 60 business days
    • Hearing lasting 5 to 20 days: Decision released within 90 business days
    • Hearing lasting more than 20 days: Decision released within 120 business days.

    Results: The Board administered seven cases in fiscal year 2015-2016. The performance standards and results are shown in Table 3, below. The Board met its performance standards in every case it administered.
  4. Quality of Service: Incidence of complaints from parties about any aspect of the quality of the Board's service to them. The goal that there should be fewer than 3 complaints about quality of service for the year.

    Results: There were no complaints regarding quality of the Board's service during the fiscal year.
Case # Board Name Application Date (complete) Acceptance Date No. of days for acceptance (calendar days) Service Standard (calendar days) Hearing Date
2015-01 Sneig v. Town of New Tecumseth April 10, 2015 April 23, 2015 13 20 Dec. 21-23, 2015; March 23-24, 2016
2015-02 Dell et. al. v. Seifman Partners May 8, 2015 May 29, 2015 21 20 Dec. 3, 4, 8-11, 2015; Jan 12-15, 21-22, April 13-15, June 21-23, July 5-8, 2016
2015-03 Smith et. al. v. Smith July 13, 2015 July 23, 2015 10 20 March 29-30, November 21-24, 2016
2015-04 Reid v. Town of Puslinch July 27, 2013 July 27, 2015 0 20 TBD
2015-05 Slade v. City of Pickering July 27, 2015 Aug. 13, 2015 17 20 TBD
2015-06 Leith v. Town of West Lincoln Aug. 19, 2015 Aug. 24, 2015 3 20 N/A
2015-07 McGregor v. Grand Bend Produce Sept. 2, 20915 Sept 8, 20915 6 20 June 13-16, 2016
2015-08 Maieron v. Town of Erin Sept 14, 2015 Sept 28, 2015 14 20 TBD
2015-09 Robko Farms v. County of Oxford Nov 10, 2015 Nov 13, 2015 3 20 TBD
2016-01 Meijaard v. County of Norfolk Feb 11, 2016 Feb 17, 2016 6 20 TBD
2016-02 Tucker v. Five Oaks Farm Feb 23, 2016 Mar 7, 2016 9 20 TBD
2016-03 Shedden v. G.Lunshof & Sons Ltd. Mar 8, 2016 Mar 16, 2016 6 20 TBD
2014-05 Cox v. Town of Mono Jan 28, 2015 Feb 10, 2015 13 20 Nov 23-27
2012-05 Macpherson v. County of Huron Jan 9, 2013 Jan 15, 2015 6 20 Feb. 29 - Mar 4; Sept 12 - 16, 2016

 

Case # Board Name Decision Date No. of Days for decision (business days) Service Standard (business days) Status
2015-01 Sneig v. Town of New Tecumseth N/A N/A 90 Case completed; Decision Pending
2015-02 Dell et. al. v. Seifman Partners N/A N/A 120 Case in Progress
2015-03 Smith et. al. v. Smith N/A N/A 90 Case in Progress
2015-04 Reid v. Town of Puslinch N/A N/A TBD Pending; 2nd PHC Scheduled for 2016-2017
2015-05 Slade v. City of Pickering N/A N/A TBD Pending; 2nd PHC Scheduled for 2016-2017
2015-06 Leith v. Town of West Lincoln N/A N/A N/A Application Withdrawn
2015-07 McGregor v. Grand Bend Produce N/A N/A 60 Scheduled
2015-08 Maieron v. Town of Erin N/A N/A TBD Pending; PHC Completed; Adjourned until January 31, 2017
2015-09 Robko Farms v. County of Oxford N/A N/A TBD Pending; 1st PHC Completed; Scheduling 2nd PHC
2016-01 Meijaard v. County of Norfolk N/A N/A TBD Pending; PHC Scheduled for 2016-2017
2016-02 Tucker v. Five Oaks Farm N/A N/A TBD Pending; PHC Scheduled for 2016-2017
2016-03 Shedden v. G.Lunshof & Sons Ltd. N/A N/A TBD Pending; PHC Scheduled for 2016-2017
2014-05 Cox v. Town of Mono Feb 22, 2016 61 90 Completed
2012-05 Macpherson v. County of Huron N/A N/A 90 Case in Progress

*No complaints were received by the Board regarding quality of service in 2015-2016.

Communication Plan

Board documents are accessible to the public, as required by the Adjudicative Tribunals Accessibility, Governance and Appointments Act (ATAGAA), in formats as addressed in the Board's Accessibility Document under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

The following Board documents are accessible through the website:

  • Information pamphlets:
    • So, You're Moving to the Country
    • Are You Preparing for an NFPPB Hearing?
    • The Hearing Procedure
    • Citizen's Guide to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
  • Legislation and Rules
    • Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998 (E-Laws)
    • NFPPB Rules of Practices and Procedure
  • Summaries of Decisions of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
  • The Board's Accessibility Document
  • Public Accountability Documents:
    • Mandate and Mission Statement
    • Consultation Policy
    • Service Standard Policy
    • Ethics Plan
    • Member Accountability Framework
  • Governance Accountability Documents
    • Memorandum of Understanding
    • Business Plan 2014-2017
    • Annual Reports 2007-2008 to 2011-2012

Copies of full Board decisions are available electronically and in print from the Agricultural Information Contact Centre and from Board offices at 519-826-4049. They are also available online from CanLII.

Media requests made to the Board are handled by OMAFRA's Communications Branch.

All questions or queries regarding any matter pertaining to the Board may be directed to:

The Secretary
Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, Ontario N1G 4Y2

Submitted

Kirk W. Walstedt, Chair
Normal Farm Practices Protection Board


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 30 September 2015
Last Reviewed: 6 December 2016