Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO)

Mission Statement

"ARIO, as appointed representatives of the agri-food sector, are dedicated to the strategic use of science and innovation to enhance the sustainability and profitability of Ontario's agri-food and rural sectors"

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What is ARIO

The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario is a corporate body which reports directly to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. It was created in 1962 by the ARIO Act to:

  • advocate areas of research for the betterment of agriculture, veterinary medicine and consumer studies
  • increase the production efficiency and marketing of agricultural products by stimulating interest in research.

Foundational documents and information

What does ARIO do

Provides strategic advice, advocacy and leadership:

The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario provides advice to the Minister on strategic directions for research activities that contribute to prosperous, competitive and sustainable agricultural and food sectors and rural communities in Ontario. ARIO is also an advocate for the future of OMAFRA's research system.

The Institute provided the foundation for, and is a key component of, the OMAFRA Research Advisory Network (ORAN). The Network identifies priorities for OMAFRA funded research and guides research program development.

Research property management:

Research stations and infrastructure are an important platform for conducting agri-food research. ARIO owns 14 research stations and 3 agricultural colleges located across Ontario. These facilities provide the capacity for research on a wide variety of agri-food issues. An ARIO-led reinvestment strategy is currently being implemented to revitalize research infrastructure to support demand-driven research. More about the properties

Who is on ARIO


The ARIO Director of Research administers the business and affairs of ARIO and is appointed to the position by the minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Appointed members

ARIO is comprised of up to 15 members who reflect the broad based nature of Ontario's agri-tech industry such as:

  • farmers
  • agribusiness and rural partners
  • researchers

The Institute members are committed to:

  • excellence and innovation in agri-food and rural research
  • relevance of research to needs of industry and society
  • efficient, well informed decision making
  • ethical research practices


A director from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada serves as ex-officio to ARIO. He or she gives ARIO a federal perspective about research activities across Canada.

2014-2015 Members

Member Appointment Date Expiry Date
Mr. Stewart Cressman (Chair) August 31, 2005 August 31, 2015
Dr. Rebecca Baker October 26, 2009 November 19, 2015
Ms. Rose Gage September 10, 2014 September 10, 2017
Mr. Adrian Jaques July 22, 2014 July 22, 2017
Mr. Paul Henderson December 23, 2008 December 23, 2016
Ms. Elizabeth Johnston September 22, 2009 September 22, 2015
Dr. Gord Surgeoner June 2, 2005 November 14, 2016
Dr. Denis Petitclerc (ex officio)    

Who provides secretariat services to ARIO?

The Research and Innovation Branch of the ministry provides secretariat support to ARIO and administers research programs on behalf of ARIO. The following staff play a key role:

Role Name Phone Number
A/ ARIO Director of Research Rena Hubers
Director, Research and Innovation Branch Michael Toombs
ARIO Research Liaison Wilma Macfarlane
Comptroller Heather Harrison
Research and Intellectual Property Agreements Sharon Gerrie
Research Facilities, Property Management Paul Brine
Manager, Finance, Infrastructure and Administration Jeff Schieck
Manager, Research Program Coordination Debbie Ramsay

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For more information:
Author: Wilma Macfarlane, Research Liaison/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 03 September 2003
Last Reviewed: 30 March 2015