Memorandum of Understanding between Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board

Table of Contents

  1. Definitions
  2. Agency's Legal Authority and Mandate
  3. Crown Agent Status
  4. Agency Classification
  5. Guiding Principles
  6. Acountability Relationships
  7. Conflict of Interest
  8. Roles and Responsibilities
  9. Recruitment, Orientation and Training of Tribunal
  10. Reporting Requirements
  11. Communications
  12. Administrative Arrangements
  13. Financial Arrangements
  14. Audit and Review Arrangements
  15. Staffing and Appointments
  16. Liability and Indemnification
  17. Effective Date and Duration and Periodic Review of the MOU
  18. Appendix 1: Applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance Directives
  19. Appendix 2: Communications and Media Protocol
  20. Appendix 3: Administrative and Organizational Support Services
  21. Appendix 4: Indemnity

1. Purpose

  1. The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to:
    • Establish the accountability relationships between the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (Agency), through the Chair.
    • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Minister, the Chair, the Deputy Minister.
    • Set out the expectations for the operational, administrative, financial, auditing and reporting arrangements between the Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  2. This MOU should be read together with the Farming and Food Production Protection Act (FFPPA). This MOU does not affect, modify or limit the powers of the agency as set out in the FFPPA, or interfere with the responsibilities of any of its parties as established under any applicable law. In case of a conflict between this MOU and any Act or regulation, the Act or regulation prevails.

2. Definitions

In this MOU:

"Act" means the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 1;

"Agency" means the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board;

"AAD" means the Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet Agencies & Appointments Directive;

"Appointee" means the vice-chairs and other member appointed to the Agency by the Minister, but does not mean an individual appointed by the Agency as staff;

"Chair" means the chair of the Agency;

"Constituting Instrument" means the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, C. 1 that established governs the Agency;

"Deputy Minister" means the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;

"MBC" means Management Board of Cabinet;

"Minister" means Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;

"Ministry" means the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;

"PSOA" means the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 35, Sched. A;

"Secretary" means the Secretary of the Agency;

"TB" means Treasury Board.

3. Agency's Legal Authority and Mandate

  1. The establishment of the Agency and its legal authority is set out in the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998. In carrying out its hearing duties, the Agency is subject to the laws of natural justice and the requirements under the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S 22.
  2. The mandate of the Agency is 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.

4. Crown Agent Status

  1. The agency is not an agent of the Crown within the meaning of the Crown Agency Act.

5. Agency Classification

  1. The Agency is classified as an adjudicative Agency under O. Reg. 126/10 of the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009.

6. Guiding Principles

The parties agree to the following principles:

  1. The Minister acknowledges that the Agency exercises powers and performs duties in accordance with its mandate. The Minister acknowledges the need for the Agency's adjudicative decisions to be made, and be seen by the public to be made, independently and impartially.
  2. The Chair acknowledges that accountability is a fundamental principle to be observed in the management, administration and operation of the Agency. The Appointees acknowledge that accountability to the government means accountability to the Minister through the Chair.
  3. As an agency of the government, the Agency conducts itself according to the management principles of the Government of Ontario. These principles include ethical behaviour; prudent, efficient, and lawful use of public resources; fairness; high quality service to the public; and openness and transparency to the extent allowed under law.
  4. The Agency and the Minister agree to avoid duplication of services wherever possible subject to observance of the principle of independence in decision-making, which may in some cases limit or preclude the joint delivery of some services by the Agency and the Ministry.
  5. As an agency of the Ontario government, the Agency will comply with the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; French Language Services Act; Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001; Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005; Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006; the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009; and any other applicable provincial statutes.

7. Acountability Relationships

The parties to this MOU agree that the accountability relationships are as follows:

7.1 Minister
  1. The Minister is accountable to the Legislative Assembly for the Agency's fulfillment of its mandate, and compliance with government administrative policies. For these purposes the Minister reports and responds to the Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the Agency.
  2. The Minister is accountable to the Cabinet for the performance of the Agency and its compliance with the government's operational policies and broad policy directions.
  3. The Minister is accountable to TB/MBC of Cabinet for the Agency's compliance with applicable TB/MBC directives and operational policies.
7.2 Chair
  1. The Chair is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Agency in fulfilling its mandate, and for carrying out the roles and responsibilities assigned to the Chair by all applicable legislation, this MOU, and applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives.
7.3 Appointees
  1. The Appointees are accountable to the Ministry, through the Chair.
7.4 Deputy Minister
  1. The Deputy Minister is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Ministry in providing administrative and organizational support to the Agency and for carrying out the roles and responsibilities assigned by the Minister, by TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, and this MOU.
7.5 Ministry Lead
  1. The Ministry Lead (Director, Business Services Branch, Research and Corporate Services Division) is accountable to the Deputy Minister, through the Chief Administrative Officer/Assistant Deputy Minister, Research and Corporate Services Division for ensuring the Ministry provides administrative, financial and support services to the Agency as specified in this MOU.
7.6 Ministry Liaison
  1. The Ministry Liaison (Manager, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal Support Services Unit, Business Services Branch, Research and Corporate Services Division) is accountable to the Ministry Lead (Director, Business Services Branch) for coordinating the delivery of administrative, financial and support services to the Agency as specified in this MOU.
7.7 Agency Secretary
  1. The Agency Secretary is accountable to the Chair for fulfilling the operational and administrative requirements of the Agency, and to the Ministry Liaison in supporting the Ministry's requirements of the Agency.

8. Conflict of Interest

  1. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that Appointees of the Agency are informed of the conflict of interest rules to which they are subject, including the rules on political activities that are set out in Ontario Regulation 377/07 under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006.

9. Roles and Responsibilities

The parties to this MOU agree to the roles and responsibilities as follows:

9.1 Minister

The Minister is accountable to Cabinet and to the Legislative Assembly for:

  1. Reporting and responding to the Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the Agency.
  2. Attesting, reporting and responding to TB/MBC on the Agency's performance, compliance with applicable TB/MBC directives, the government's operational policies and policy directions and this MOU.
  3. Where required, recommending to TB/MBC the merger, any change to the Agency's mandate or dissolution of the Agency.
  4. Recommending to TB/MBC the powers to be given to, or revoked from, the Agency when a change to the mandate of the Agency is being proposed.
  5. Determining at any time the need for a review or audit of the Agency and recommending to TB/MBC any changes to the governance or administration of the Agency resulting from the review.
  6. When appropriate or necessary, taking action or directing that corrective action be taken with respect to the Agency's administration or operations.
  7. Receiving the Agency's annual report and ensuring that the annual report is made available to the public after tabling it in the Legislative Assembly.
  8. Informing the Chair of the government's priorities and broad policy directions for the Agency.
  9. Meeting with the Chair if the Minister requires.
  10. Consulting, as appropriate, with the Chair on significant new directions or when the government is considering regulatory or legislative changes for the Agency.
  11. Developing the Agency's MOU with the Chair and signing it into effect after it has been signed by the Chair.
  12. Reviewing and approving the Agency's annual business plan.
  13. Directing the Chair to undertake reviews of the Agency on a periodic basis, and making recommendations to TB/MBC as may be required after such reviews are completed.
  14. Reviewing the advice or recommendation of the Chair on candidates for appointment or re-appointment to the Agency.
  15. Recommending to TB/MBC any provincial funding to be given to the Agency.
9.2 Chair

The Chair is responsible for:

  1. Directing the affairs of the Agency in accordance with its statutory mandate.
  2. Providing leadership to the Agency as well as monitoring the performance of the Agency.
  3. Setting the goals, objectives, and strategic directions for the Agency within its statutory mandate.
  4. Ensuring the implementation of actions that support the goals, objectives, and strategic direction of the Agency.
  5. Developing performance measures and targets for the Agency.
  6. Making decisions consistent with the business plan approved for the Agency.
  7. Ensuring that the Agency operates within its approved budget allocation in fulfilling its mandate.
  8. Ensuring that public funds are used for the purpose intended with integrity and honesty.
  9. Directing that corrective action relating to the operations of the Agency be taken, if needed.
  10. Seeking strategic policy direction for the Agency from the Minister.
  11. Ensuring timely communications with the Minister regarding any issues or events that may concern, or may reasonably be expected to concern the Minister in the exercise of his/her responsibilities relating to the Agency.
  12. Consulting with the Minister in advance regarding any activity which may have an impact on the government and Ministry's policies, directives or procedures or on the Agency's mandate, powers or responsibilities as set out in the Agency's constituting instrument.
  13. Reporting to the Minister as requested on the Agency's activities within agreed upon timelines.
  14. Developing the Agency's MOU with the Minister and signing it on behalf of the Agency.
  15. Reviewing and approving the Agency's business plan, budget, annual report and financial reports, and submitting them to the Minister in accordance with the time lines specified in the applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, and this MOU.
  16. Cooperating with any review or audit of the Agency directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.
  17. Providing both the Minister and the Minister of Finance with a copy of every audit report, a copy of the Agency's response to each report, and any recommendations in the report.
  18. Advising the Minister annually on any outstanding audit recommendations.
  19. Making sure that an appropriate framework is in place for Agency's Appointees to receive adequate orientation and training.
  20. Making sure that Agency appointees are aware of and comply with applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives.
  21. Ensuring that Appointees are informed of their responsibilities under the PSOA with regard to the rules of ethical conduct (Part III of the PSOA), including the political activity rules (Part IV of the PSOA).
  22. Recording any declared or apparent conflicts of interest and advising the Conflict of Interest Commissioner (COIC) of these conflicts promptly.
  23. Making sure that appropriate management systems are in place (financial, information technology, human resource) for the effective administration of the Agency.
  24. Providing direction to Ministry staff assigned to the Agency as necessary in carrying out their administrative duties for the Agency.
  25. Making sure that Ministry staff assigned to the Agency are aware of and comply with applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives.
  26. Making sure a process for responding to and resolving complaints from the public and Agency clients is in place.
  27. Carrying out effective public communications and relations for the Agency as the chief spokesperson (i.e. media protocol - appendix 2).
  28. Implementing administrative policies for Appointees to the Agency concerning:
    1. A code of conduct or conflict of interest framework
    2. Post-service conduct (lobbying, appearing before the Agency etc.) including time periods for restrictions.
  29. Keeping the Minister informed of upcoming appointment vacancies and provide recommendations for appointments or re-appointments to the Agency.
9.3 Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister is responsible for:

  1. Advising and assisting the Minister regarding the Minister's responsibilities for the Agency.
  2. Advising the Minister on the requirements of the AAD, and other directives that apply to the Agency.
  3. Recommending to the Minister, as may be necessary, the evaluation or review, including a risk-based review, of the Agency or any of its programs, or changes to the management framework or operations of the Agency.
  4. Facilitating regular briefings and consultations between the Chair and Minister, and between Ministry staff assigned to the Agency.
  5. Attesting to TB/MBC as required, to the Agency's compliance with the mandatory accountability requirements set out in the AAD.
  6. Ensuring, where appropriate, that the Ministry and the Agency has the capacity and systems in place for on-going risk-based management, including appropriate oversight of the Agency.
  7. Ensuring, where appropriate, that the Agency has an appropriate risk management framework and a risk management plan in place for managing risks that the Agency may encounter in meeting its program or service delivery objectives.
  8. Undertaking, where appropriate, timely risk-based reviews of the Agency, its management or operations, as may be directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.
  9. Establishing a framework for reviewing and assessing the Agency's business plans and other reports.
  10. Supporting the Minister in reviewing the performance targets, measures and results of the Agency.
  11. Advising the Minister on documents submitted by the Agency to the Minister for review or approval, or both.
  12. Submitting to the Minister as part of the annual business planning process a risk assessment and management plan for each risk category.
  13. Undertaking reviews of the Agency as may be directed by the Minister.
  14. Cooperating with any review of the Agency as directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.
  15. Monitoring the Agency on behalf of the Minister while respecting the Agency's authority, identifying needs for corrective action where warranted, and recommending to the Minister ways of resolving any issues that might arise from time to time.
  16. Negotiating a draft MOU with the Chair of the Agency, as directed by the Minister.
  17. Consulting with the Agency's Chair, as needed, on matters of mutual importance including services provided by the Ministry and compliance with TB/MBC directives and Ministry policies.
  18. Meeting with the Chair of the Agency as needed or as directed by the Minister.
  19. Arranging for administrative, financial and other support to the Agency as specified in this MOU.
  20. Informing the Chair, in writing, of new government directives and any exceptions to or exemptions in whole or in part from TB/MBC directives or Ministry administrative policies.
  21. When required, submitting a report to the secretaries of TB/MBC on the wind-down of the Agency (immediately following the disposition of any assets), the completion of any outstanding responsibilities by the Agency, and the termination of any appointments.

The Deputy Minister may delegate any of the powers and duties assigned to the Deputy Minister that the Deputy Minister deems appropriate.

9.4 Ministry Lead

The Ministry Lead is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring the Agency operates in accordance with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directrives, accepted business and financial practices, and this MOU.
9.5 Ministry Liaison

The Ministry Liaison is responsible for:

  1. Managing the day-to-day delivery of administrative, financial and support services to the Agency in accordance with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, accepted business and financial practices, and this MOU.
  2. Ensuring that the Agency has the oversight capacity and an effective oversight framework in place for monitoring its management and operations.
  3. Applying policies and procedures so that public funds are used with integrity and honesty.
  4. Ensuring that the Agency has an appropriate risk management framework and risk management plan in place.
  5. Establishing and applying a financial management framework for the Agency in accordance with applicable Minister of Finance controllership directives, policies and guidelines.
  6. Seeking support and advice from the Ministry, as appropriate, on Agency management issues.
  7. Undertaking timely risk-based reviews of the Agency's management and operations.
  8. Consulting with the Deputy Minister or designate as needed, on matters of mutual importance, including services provided by the Ministry, and on TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and Ministry policies.
  9. Informing the Chair and Agency staff of all TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and policies applicable to the Agency.
  10. Applying policies and procedures so that public funds are used with integrity and honesty.
  11. Providing leadership and management to the Ministry staff assigned to the Agency, including financial resources management; review and approve claims for per diems and expenses of appointees.
  12. Supporting the Chair when requested in meeting his or her responsibilities.
  13. Keeping the Chair and Agency staff informed of matters that may concern the Chair and Agency staff in the exercise of their responsibilities.
  14. Seeking support and advice from the Ministry, as appropriate, in the delivery of administrative, financial and support services to the Agency.
  15. Ensuring that the Agency has a system in place for the retention of Agency documents and for making such documents publicly available when appropriate, for complying with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Archives and Recordkeeping Act where applicable.
  16. Ensuring the media protocol is implemented and the Chair responds to all media inquiries in a timely manner.
  17. Consulting with the Ministry Lead and Chair as needed, on matters of mutual importance, including services provided by the Ministry to the Agency, and on TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and Ministry policies.
  18. Cooperating with a periodic review directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.
9.6 Agency Secretary

Working under the direction of the Agency Chair, the Agency Secretary is responsible for:

    1. Managing the operations of the Agency in accordance with its mandate and this MOU.
    2. Advising the Chair on the requirements for compliance with the AAD and the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 as well as other TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and policies, and Agency rules, by-laws and policies.
    3. Translating the goals, objectives and strategic directions of the Board into operational plans and activities in accordance with the Agency's approved business plan.
    4. Keeping the Chair informed on the operations of the Agency.
    5. Establishing systems to ensure that the Agency operates within its approved business plan.
    6. Preparing an appropriate risk management plan for the Agency.
    7. Supporting the Chair in meeting his/her responsibilities.
    8. Carrying out in-year monitoring of the Agency's performance and reporting on results to the Chair.
    9. Keeping the Ministry and the Chair advised on issues or events that may concern the Minister, the Deputy Minister and the Chair in the exercise of their responsibilities.
    10. Establishing a system for the retention of Agency documents and for making such documents publicly available when appropriate, for complying with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Archives and Recordkeeping Act where applicable.
    11. Cooperating with a periodic review directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.
    12. Preparing the Agency's annual business plan for approval of the chair prior to submission to the minister.
    13. Preparing financial reports.
    14. Preparing the Agency's annual report for the approval of the chair prior to submission to the minister.
    15. Preparing responses to media inquiries for the Chair's approval in a timely fashion.
    16. Advising the chair of upcoming appointment expiries and preparing the necessary documents for reappointments and new appointments.

       

10. Recruitment, Orientation and Training of Tribunal Members

10.1 Recruitment

Appointees to the Agency will be recruited in accordance with the requirements of the Public Appointments Secretariat and the Public Appointments Processing Guide.

10.2 Orientation

Appointees to the Agency will receive an orientation within 4 months of their appointment covering the following key items:

  • Overview of the Agency
  • Overview of the Agency's application and hearing process
  • Roles and expectations for Appointees to the Agency
  • Roles of Agency staff
  • Review of the Agency's Rules of Procedure
  • Review of the Agency's Code of Conduct
  • Obligations under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 and the role of the Chair as Ethics Executive
  • Requirements under the Travel, Meal and Hospitality and Expenses Directive and how to complete expense claims
  • Accessibility Training
  • Oath of Office

10.3 Training

Appointees to the Agency will be provided with training which includes the following:

  • Observation at one or more of the Agency's hearings prior to participation on a hearing panel
  • Attendance at an annual training session covering a range of topics applicable to Appointees to the Agency
  • Mentoring by other Appointees to the Agency
  • Attendance at applicable adjudicator training courses
  • Attendance at decision writing courses, as needed
  • Attendance at other training sessions of value to members
  • Any other training required by government

11. Reporting Requirements

11.1 Business Plan

  1. The Chair will ensure that the Minister is provided annually with the Agency's business plan that includes a financial budget covering a minimum of three years from the current fiscal year and a risk management plan, for approval within the timelines established by the AAD or the Minister for this purpose.
  2. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency's annual business plan meets the requirements of the AAD.
  3. The Chair will ensure that the business plan includes a risk assessment and risk management plan to assist the Ministry in developing its risk assessment and risk management plan information in accordance with the requirement of the AAD, to assess risks, develop and maintain necessary records and report to TB/MBC.
  4. The Minister will review the Agency's annual business plan and will promptly advise the Chair whether or not he/she concurs with the directions proposed by the Agency. The Minister may advise the Chair where and in what manner the Agency's plans vary from government or Ministry policy or priorities as may be required, and the Agency will revise its plan accordingly.
  5. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency's business plan includes a system of performance measures and reporting on the achievement of the objectives set out in the business plan. The system must include performance goals, how they will be achieved, and target results and time frames.
  6. TB/MBC may require the Minister to submit the Agency's business plan to TB/MBC for review at any time.

11.2 Annual Reports

a. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency's annual report is submitted to the Minister for tabling in the legislative assembly.

b. The Chair will submit the annual report to the Minister within 90 days of the Agency's fiscal year end.

11.3 Other Reports

The Chair is responsible for:

a. Ensuring that the reports and documents are submitted for review and approval to the Minister in accordance with the prescribed time lines.

b. At the request of the Minister or Deputy Minister, supplying specific data and other information that may be required from time-to-time for the purpose of Ministry administration.

12. Communications

The parties to this MOU recognize that the timely exchange of information on the operations and administration of the Agency is essential for the Minister to meet his or her responsibilities for reporting and responding to the Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the Agency.

The parties also recognize that it is essential for the Chair to be kept informed of government initiatives and broad policy directions that may affect the Agency's mandate and functions.

The parties, therefore, agree as follows:

  1. The Chair will keep the Minister advised, in a timely manner, of all planned events and issues that concern or can be reasonably expected to concern the Minister in the exercise of his or her responsibilities.
  2. The Minister will consult with the Chair, as appropriate, on broad government policy initiatives or legislation being considered by the government that may impact on the Agency's mandate or functions.
  3. The Minister and the Chair will consult with each other on public communications strategies and publications. They will keep each other informed of the results of stakeholder and other public consultations and discussions.
  4. The Minister and the Chair will meet annually, or as requested by either party, to discuss issues relating to the fulfillment of the Agency's mandate, management and operations.
  5. The Ministry Liaison will consult with the Chair, as appropriate, to discuss issues relating to the efficient operation of the Agency and the provision of services by the Ministry to the Agency.
  6. The Agency and Ministry will adhere to the Communications Protocol set out in Appendix 2 to this MOU.
  7. Inquiries received by the Minister's office regarding a case in progress at the Agency must be re-directed to the Agency without comment. Any response made by the Minister's office to the inquiring party will indicate that the inquiry has been forwarded to the Agency and that the Minister cannot comment on an adjudicative proceeding.

13. Administrative Arrangements

13.1 Applicable Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet and Ministry of Finance Directives13.1 Applicable Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet and Ministry of Finance Directives
  1. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency operates in accordance with all applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, as well as applicable Ministry financial and administrative policies and procedures. Appendix 1 to this MOU provides a list of applicable directives and policies.
  2. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the legal, financial and other interests of the government in intellectual property are protected in any contract that the Agency may enter into with a third party that involves the creation of intellectual property.
13.2 Administrative and Organizational Support Services
  1. The Deputy Minister is responsible for providing the Agency with the administrative and organizational support services listed in Appendix 3 to this MOU.
  2. Appendix 3 may be reviewed at any time at the request of either party.
  3. The Deputy Minister will ensure that the support or services provided to the Agency are of the same quality as those provided to the Ministry's own divisions and branches.
13.3 Legal Services
  1. The Agency requires legal services. These services are to be provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General unless it is determined for certain cases that outside legal counsel is warranted. In those cases, the Agency will follow the Ministry of the Attorney General's policy on obtaining outside legal services.
13.4 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
  1. The Minister is the head of the Agency, as identified in Regulation 460 under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
13.5 Records Management
  1. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that a system is in place for the creation, collection, maintenance, and disposal of records.
  2. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency complies with the TB/MBC Management of Recorded Information Directive.
  3. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency complies with the Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 34.
13.6 Client Service
  1. The Chair will ensure that the Agency delivers its services in accordance with the principles and mandatory requirements, as appropriate, of the OPS Service Directive.
  2. The Agency must have in place a formal process for responding to complaints about the quality of services received by clients of the Agency consistent with the government's service quality standards.
  3. The Agency's annual business plan will include performance measures and targets for client service and the Agency's response to complaints.
  4. The Agency's process for responding to complaints about the quality of services is separate from any statutory provisions about re-consideration, appeals, etc. of the Agency's adjudicative decisions.

14. Financial Arrangements

14.1 Funding
    1. The Agency is funded under the budget of the Ministry and as such does not have its own audited financial statements. The Agency's resource requirements are incorporated under the Ministry's business plan. The budget allocated to the Agency will continue to be used to deliver on all business priorities.
    2. The Ministry will prepare estimates of the Agency's expenditures for inclusion in the Ministry's Program Review, Renewal and Transformation (PRRT) process.
    3. Financial procedures of the Agency must be in accordance with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and guidelines and other applicable government direction.
    4. When ordered to do so by the Minister of Finance, pursuant to section 16.4 of the Financial Administration Act, the Agency shall pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund any money that the Minister of Finance determines is surplus to its requirements.
    5. Pursuant to section 28 of the Financial Administration Act, the Agency shall not enter into any financial arrangement or commitment, guarantee, indemnity or similar transaction that may increase, directly or indirectly, the indebtedness or contingent liabilities of the Government of Ontario without the written approval of the Minister of Finance. The Minister's approval is required before seeking MOF's statutory approval.
14.2 Financial Reports.
    1. The Agency will submit its salary information to the Ministry of Finance in accordance with the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act.

15. Audit and Review Arrangements

    1. The Agency is subject to periodic review and value-for-money audit by the Auditor General of Ontario under the Auditor General Act or by the Ontario Internal Audit Division.
    2. The Ontario Internal Audit Division may also carry out an internal audit, if approved to do so by the Ministry's Audit Committee or by the Corporate Audit Committee.
    3. Regardless of any annual external audit, the Minister may direct that the Agency be audited.
    4. The Agency Chair, its appointed members, ministry staff assigned to the Agency and the ministry are to co-operate in any audit of the agency.
    5. The Agency will promptly provide a copy of every report from an audit to the Minister and the Minister of Finance. The Agency will also provide a copy of its response to the audit report and any recommendations therein. The Agency will advise the Minister annually on any outstanding audit recommendations.
    6. The Chair may request an external audit of the financial transactions or management controls of the Agency at the Agency's expense.

16. Staffing and Appointments

16.1 Staffing

    1. The Agency is staffed by persons employed under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006.
    2. The Agency, in its dealings with staff employed under the PSOA, is subject to TB/MBC human resource directives and Public Service Commission directives under the PSOA.

16.2 Appointments

    1. The Chair is appointed to the Agency by the Minister pursuant to sections 3(1) and 3(2) of the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998.
    2. The Vice-Chair and members of the Agency are appointed to the Agency by the Minister pursuant to sections 3(1) and 3(2) of the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998.
    3. The Appointees of the Agency are remunerated according to the Agencies & Appointments Directive.

17. Liability and Indemnification

The Minister agrees to at all times indemnify and save harmless in the manner set out in Appendix 4 to this MOU the appointees to the Agency from and against all claims, demands, losses, costs, damages, actions, suits or other proceeding by whomsoever made, sustained, brought or prosecuted that is in any way attributable to anything done in good faith under the authority or purporting to be done under the authority of the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998.

18. Effective Date and Duration and Periodic Review of the MOU

18.1 Effective Date of MOU
    1. This MOU becomes effective on the date it is signed by the parties.
    2. This MOU will continue in effect for not more than five years from the effective date, unless it is replaced by a new MOU as a result of a significant change in the Agency's mandate, governance structure or powers.
    3. If a new Minister or Chair takes office before this MOU expires, the Minister and Chair must affirm by letter that the MOU will continue in force without a review; or alternatively, they may agree to revise it. A copy of the letter of affirmation between the Minister and Chair must be provided to the Secretary, Management Board of Cabinet within six months of the new party or parties commencement.
    4. Without affecting the effective date of this MOU, either the Minister or Chair may initiate a review of this MOU by written request to the other.
    5. The process for review or amendment to the MOU will be the same as for the development of the MOU.
    6. A full review of this MOU will be conducted prior to its expiry not more than five years following the date it came into effect, or immediately in the event of a significant change to the Agency's mandate, powers or governance structure as a result of an amendment to the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998.
18.2 Reviews
    1. The Agency may be subject to a review at the discretion and direction of TB/MBC or the Minister. The review may cover such matters relating to the Agency that are determined by TB/MBC or the Minister, and may include the mandate, powers, governance structure and/or operations of the Agency.
    2. The Minister will consult the Chair as appropriate during any such review.
    3. The Chair will cooperate in any review

Appendix 1: Applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance Directives

1. The following TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, guidelines, and policies apply to the Agency:
  • Agency Establishment and Accountability Directive
  • Accountability Directive
  • Procurement Directive/Procurement Directive (July 2009) as it applies to Ministry
  • Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive
  • OPS Service Directive
  • Open Data Directive
  • Visual Identity Directive

2. The ministry will inform the Agency of amendments or additions to directives, policies and guidelines that apply to the Agency; however, the Agency is responsible for complying with all directives, policies and guidelines to which it is subject.

Appendix 2: Communications and Media Protocol

1. Definitions

a. "Public communications" means any material that is communicated to the public, either directly or through the media in:

  • Oral form, such as a speech or public presentation
  • Printed form, such as a hardcopy report
  • Electronic form, such as a posting to a website.

b. A "contentious issue" is a matter that is, or may reasonably be expected to be, of concern to the legislative assembly or the public, or is likely to result in inquiries being directed to the Minister or government. Contentious issues may be raised by:

  • Members of the Legislative Assembly
  • The public
  • Media
  • Stakeholders
  • Service delivery partners.

2. The Ministry and the Agency will appoint persons to serve as public communications "leads".

  • The Ministry lead is Media Spokesperson, Communication Branch.
  • The Agency's lead is the Chair.

3. Media protocol for Agency hearings and related matters.

If a media call comes to the Agency:
    1. Ministry staff assigned to the Agency shall ascertain if the caller is from the media.
    2. If the caller is from the media, they must be asked to put their inquiry in writing by email to the Agency's email account at NFPPB@ontario.ca. The caller will be asked to include their name, employer name and telephone number. This generic email account is monitored regularly by the Agency.
    3. Ministry staff assigned to the Agency shall gather information relevant to a response and inform by email the Chair and the Ministry Liaison that they are gathering information to help with a response to the media inquiry.
    4. Ministry staff assigned to the Agency shall review the request, consult amongst themselves and with legal if required about an appropriate response, and then shall forward to the Chair and the Ministry Liaison a recommended response.
    5. The Chair shall then respond to the email and report to the Ministry Liaison, with a copy being sent to the Agency's email account.
    6. The Ministry Liaison shall report to Strategic Communications/Issues Management Unit of Communications Branch.
If a media call comes to Communications Branch staff:
    1. If the media contacts the Ministry's Strategic Communications/Issues Management Unit of Communications Branch, the caller will be asked to put their request in writing and send it by email to the Agency's email account.
    2. The Ministry's Strategic Communications/Issues Management Unit shall email the Agency's email account and copy the Ministry Liaison, to ensure the issue will be addressed appropriately and in a timely manner.
    3. Then steps 3 to 6 would be completed.

Appendix 3: Administrative and Organizational Support Services

The following list includes common examples of support services provided by the Ministry to the Agency.

  1. Financial administration: pay and benefits administration, accounts payable and technical advice, purchasing, central mail and printing services, and records and form advisory services.
  2. Human resource services: classification, advice and consultation regarding recruitment procedures and staff relations, job description writing, career counselling and staff development, and advice and consultation regarding corporate initiatives such as occupational health and safety.
  3. Corporate educational opportunities and career planning services are available and open to Agency staff.
  4. Information technology and telecommunications services: advice, consultation, and support.
  5. Internal audit: financial compliance, management, human resource and information systems audits, operational reviews, and special investigations as required.
  6. Legal services.
  7. Accommodation: planning, including lease renewals.
  8. Freedom of information program services.
  9. French language services translation and interpretation services.
  10. Business planning.
  11. Performance measurement and program evaluation.
  12. Communications and marketing.

Program Administration

The Deputy Minister is responsible for ensuring that the Ministry provides the following administrative support services to the Agency:

  • Board Secretary
  • Board Secretary
  • Board Administrative Services Representative (Bilingual)

Appendix 4: Indemnity

Appointee of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board Carrying Out Business as a Member of the Board

In consideration of your agreement to be appointed to act as a Member of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB), the undersigned, Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario as represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (the "Province") hereby agrees, subject to the terms hereof, to indemnify and hold harmless you and your heirs and legal personal representatives against and from any and all losses, costs, damages, expenses and liabilities of whatsoever kind, including amounts paid to settle an action or to satisfy a judgement and including all legal fees and other expenses (a "Claim" or collectively, the "Claims") which you may sustain or incur or become subject to by reason of your being or having been a Member of the NFPPB, but this indemnity does not apply with respect to Claims:

(a) arising from any circumstances for which coverage is provided under an insurance policy or claims fund to the extent that you are indemnified or covered under such policy or fund;

(b) arising out of circumstances in which you did not act in the performance or intended performance of your duties as a Member of the NFPPB; or

(c) brought about or contributed to by your dishonesty, negligence or wilful misconduct.

In order to be entitled to indemnification hereunder, you must comply with the following terms and conditions:

  1. if you receive a notice of Claim or Claims, whether actual or threatened, you shall forthwith deliver to the Province (through the Director of Legal Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) a notice setting forth in reasonable detail all available particulars of the Claim;
  2. upon written request of the Province, you shall furnish to the Province copies of all documents and provide any other information relating to the Claim(s) that is in your possession or under your control;
  3. you shall take all reasonable steps necessary, in a timely manner, to secure and preserve your rights in respect of the Claim(s) and, to the extent that you have a right to commence a proceeding against another person (whether for damages or indemnification or otherwise) in respect of a matter for which you claim indemnification from the Province hereunder, you shall assign that right to the Province and subrogate the Province to that right to the extent of the amounts paid by the Province or for which the Province is liable hereunder;
  4. you shall not voluntarily assume any liability in respect of or settle or compromise a Claim or any proceeding relating thereto without obtaining the Province's prior written consent;
  5. the Province shall have the right to participate in or assume control of the negotiation, settlement or defence of the Claim(s) and any proceedings relating thereto or appeal thereof but the Province may not settle any action commenced against you without your written consent;
  6. if the Province elects to participate in or assume control of the negotiation, settlement or defence of the Claim(s) and any proceedings relating thereto or appeal thereof, you shall cooperate fully with the Province in connection with the same, and you shall agree to be represented by legal counsel chosen by the Province, unless, in the opinion of such legal counsel, there would arise a conflict of interest preventing such legal counsel from representing you, and, where it is such legal counsel's opinion that a conflict of interest prevents their representing you, you will be entitled, subject to the Province's prior written approval, to retain legal counsel of your choice (it being understood that the Province may withhold its approval in relation to any counsel proposed by you who does not agree to retainer terms, including fees, consistent with the policies of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario), and the fees and expenses of your counsel incurred in your representation shall be costs to which this indemnity extends;
  7. if the Province is not also a party to the Claim, you shall consent to any order or leave that may be required for the Crown to be added as a party or to be allowed to make representations on its own behalf without being a party; and
  8. the expenses incurred by you in investigating, defending or appealing any Claim(s) shall, at your request, be paid by the Province as may be appropriate to enable you to properly investigate, defend or appeal such Claim(s), with the understanding that if it is ultimately determined that you are not entitled to be indemnified hereunder, you shall immediately repay such amount(s) so paid, which shall become payable as a debt due to the Crown;
  9. you agree to pay to the Province all amounts you receive as a recovery or reimbursement of any Claim which has been previously indemnified by the Province hereunder.

For greater clarity, this indemnity shall apply to Claim(s) that are referable to the period during which you were a Member of the NFPPB, and of which notice is received by the Province either during the period you are a Member or after you cease to be a Member.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 20 March 2015
Last Reviewed: 21 March 2017