Normal Farm Practices Protection
Board (NFPPB) Business Plan 2017-2020
April 1, 2017 - March 31, 2020
Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Values and Operating Principles
- Resources Needed to Meet Strategic Directions
- Human Resources
- Environmental Scan
- Risk Identification, Assessment and Mitigation
- Overview of Activities
- Performance Measures
- Expected Outcomes
- Commitments and Highlights of Strategies
- Financial Performance
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. By protecting
normal farm practices, the Board helps to preserve the competitiveness
of Ontario farmers in the face of increasing external pressures.
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. The Board rules on whether the farm practices at issue are
"normal farm practices."
The Act provides in s. 2(1) "A farmer is not liable in nuisance
to any person for a disturbance resulting from an agricultural operation
carried on as a normal farm practice." Disturbance is further
defined as meaning odour, dust, flies, light, smoke, noise and vibration.
The Act further preserves the ability to conduct normal farm practices
as part of an agricultural operation pursuant to s. 6(1), "No
municipal by-law applies to restrict a normal farm practice carried
on as part of an agricultural operation."
Board proceedings are subject to the Farming and Food Production
Protection Act, 1998 ("the Act") and the
Statutory Powers Procedure Act (SPPA). 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.
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
(Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs), 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.
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
The mandate of the Board is established by the Act. Section 3 establishes
the Board and provides for the Minister of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs to appoint the Chair, Vice-Chair and members. Subsection
4(2) states that the Board has the power to:
- inquire into and to resolve disputes respecting agricultural
operations and to determine what constitutes a normal farm practice;
- make the necessary inquiries and orders to ensure compliance
with its decisions.
To provide a fair hearing and decision process to all parties involved
in disputes regarding farm practices.
To be acknowledged and respected by all parties in the agricultural,
municipal and environmental fields as a fair arbiter of disputes
involving farm practices.
The Chair is accountable to the Minister for the performance of
the Board and for responsibilities assigned by the Act and the Memorandum
of Understanding (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 Deputy
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 Board is committed to the following values and operating principles:
Timely, evidence-based, impartial and independent
decision-making with clearly reasoned and expressed decisions
Respect and consideration
Fairness and accessibility
Adherence to customer service and adjudicative
Resources Needed to Meet Strategic Directions
- Capable members with adjudicative experience and knowledge of
- OMAFRA provides sufficient administrative, financial and support
- Legal Services provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General
through the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs provides administrative,
financial and support services to the Normal Farm Practices Protection
Board. On April 1, 2016, the Ministry reallocated the support services
provided by the Board Secretary and Administrative Support from
the Environmental Management Branch to the Business Services Branch,
Research and Corporate Services Division, which currently supports
the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal and Board
of Negotiation. This change achieved operational and financial efficiencies
by centralizing common administrative functions and accountability
requirements while allowing the three agencies to maintain their
unique mandate and membership. These changes to administrative support
to the Board are not expected to affect Board operations or its
service to the public. Three full-time Ministry employees from Business
Services Branch are assigned to support the Board. Environmental
Management Branch also provides resources through environmental
specialists and engineers for the Conflict Resolution process.
Staff coordinate the administration and operation of the Board
by supporting all required activities related to hearings, including
liaising with parties to support hearing process and procedures,
issuing official correspondence, explaining process and rules of
procedures to parties to appeals and their counsel, and completing
the necessary accountability documents required by government legislation
Legal services to the Board are provided by the Ministry of the
Attorney General through the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry
of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The Board consists of not fewer than five persons, appointed by
the Minister, of whom one may be appointed as Chair and one of the
remaining members as Vice-Chair. Panels of a minimum of three Board
members adjudicate hearings. The Board meets as necessary to discuss
policy issues. Members are appointed for an initial term of two
years and are eligible for reappointment. The term of appointment
is generally a maximum of 10 years in total.
The Board is an independent, adjudicative agency of the Ontario
government. The environmental scan describes the business environment
in which the Board operates.
The Board's volume of cases remains as some of the highest in its
30-year history; experiencing an increased volume of applications
for both nuisance complaints and by-law issues.
In recent years, some hearings have become more complex due to
an increase in motions regarding site visits, jurisdiction and parties
seeking third party status
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.
In 2016, OMAFRA released a new fact sheet entitled "Importation
of Soil onto Agricultural Land" to provide information regarding
best management practices, regulation requirements, and guidance
for farmers to limit the impacts to farmland.
MOECC (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change) developed an
Excess Soils Policy Framework in 2016. Consistent with this framework,
MOECC is consulting in Spring 2017 on a new proposed excess soil
reuse regulation, including new excess soil reuse standards and
proposed amendments to other supporting regulations. The proposal
includes a supporting rationale document for reuse of excess soil
at receiving sites.
OMAFRA staff have also experienced an influx of nuisance (odour
& noise) complaints from medicinal marijuana production facilities.
Over the past few years, several floriculture greenhouses in Ontario
have converted or are in the process of converting to medicinal
marijuana production facilties.
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, as decided by the Board. A new communications
project has been initiated by OMAFRA staff to raise farmer awareness
of municipal by-laws for tree cutting.
Risk Identification, Assessment and Mitigation
The Agencies & Appointments Directive requires provincial agencies
to have a risk-based approach to managing agency oversight. Risk
assessment and management is reviewed every quarter from the perspectives
of both the Board and the Ministry. The most recent risk assessment
did not identify any high level or medium level risks; those risks
that were identified were assessed as low level from both Board
and Ministry perspectives.
The table below represents a sample of the low-level risks identified:
Risk Category: Operational
Increasing complexity of hearing applications requiring legal
advice on acceptance or rejection.
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.
Board Rules require that all cases coming to the board first
go through a conflict resolution process. The goal is to resolve
at least 80% of cases, drastically reducing the number of
hearings which must be held.
Caseload/number of applications and their complexity could
have an impact on the Board's ability to conduct a timely
Mitigate the risk by informing stakeholders that scheduling
of matters may take longer than anticipated due to the complexity
of the matter under appeal and volume of evidence required
to be considered.
Overview of Activities
The Board will continue to deliver the following key activities
supporting its strategic directions:
- Communication with the Public
- Through its 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 and Citizen's Guide are available from the Board's
website and Board secretary. Full past Board decisions are
available on www.canlii.org
or from the Board Secretary.
- 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.
- Processing of Applications
- The Board will process hearing applications with regard
to its performance standards.
- In order to reduce financial burden and minimize the number
of hearings and promote agreement between parties, the Board
will continue to require that disputes undergo a Conflict
Resolution process before an application is filed for a hearing.
OMAFRA conducts a highly successful Farm Practices conflict
resolution process, which historically has resolved at least
of 80 percent of cases. 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
- Conduct all Board business according to the customer service
standards of the the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Act (AODA), as set out in the Board's
- Endeavour to have hearing procedures adhere to the principles
of natural justice and the duty of fairness.
- Make available to parties adequate information on hearing
procedures in a form that is easily understood and meets the
requirements of the AODA.
- Provide full access to information on the Act and the Board,
and to all Board decisions. Subject to the cost implications,
parties will also continue to have full access to transcripts
of Board hearings, by purchasing them from court reporters.
- Manage cases at the pre-hearing and hearing stages in a
manner that encourages settlement between parties and eliminates
or shortens hearings.
- Complete the processing of hearing applications and issuance
of decisions in a timely manner to meet Board service standards.
The NFPPB measures the performance of its programs in four areas:
- 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.
- 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
- Speed of Issuance 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 written decision after the hearing
- Quality of Service: The Board is committed
to the following values and operating principles:
- Proficient delivery of adjudicative services.
- Confidence in the Board by parties.
- Efficient decision-making and timely release of decisions.
- Compliance with the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive.
- Compliance with the requirements of the AAD and ATAGAA.
Commitments and Highlights of Strategies
The Board will continue to deliver on its historical key commitments
and strategies moving forward into the 2017-2020 business cycle.
These commitments and strategies envelop the Board's steadfast goal
of providing a fair and impartial hearing and decision process in
an accessible venue. The Board's focus continues to be on proficient
delivery of adjudicative services, confidence in the Board by parties
in the application and hearing process, efficient decision making
and timely release of decisions and compliance with all regulatory
The Board operates under a budget allocated by the Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and as such do not have their
own audited financial statements. The budget allocated will continue
to be used to deliver on all business priorities of the Board.
NFPPB Annual Budget for Operating Expenses: 2017-2020
Transportation and Communication
$ 90, 000
Supplies and Equipment
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
The following documents supportig the Normal Farm Practices Protection
Board are available online and in print:
- Information pamphlets:
- So, You're Moving to the Country
- Normal Farm Practices Conflict Resolution Process
- Preparing for an Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
- The Hearing Procedure - Normal Farm Practices Protection
- Citizen's Guide to the Normal Farm Practices Protection
- Legislation and Farming Practices
- Legislation and Rules:
- Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998
- The Farm and Food Production Protection Act, 1998
and Nuisance Complaints
- NFPPB Rules of Practices and Procedure
- Application to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
- Hearing Application
- Accountability Documents:
- Accessibility Document of the Normal Farm Practices Protection
- Public Complaints Policy
- Member Accountability Framework
- Members Code of Conduct
- Consultation Policy
- Ethics Plan
- Mandate and Mission Statement
- Service Standard Policy
- Business Plans
- Annual Reports
- Memorandum of Understanding
Copies of full Board decisions are available electronically and
in print from the Agricultural
Information Contact Centre and from Board office and online
Media requests made to the Board are handled as per the MOU.
All questions or queries regarding any matter pertaining to the
Board may be directed to:
Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, Ontario N1G 4Y2
Telephone: 519-826-4049 or toll free at (888) 466-2372 ext. 519-826-4049