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.

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 sustaina ble 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 15 research stations 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.

2018-2019 Members

Member Appointment Date Expiry Date
Mr. Lorne Hepworth (Chair) January 18, 2019 January 18, 2022
Ms. Rose Gage (Vice Chair) September 10, 2014 March 8, 2021
Dr. Gord Surgeoner June 2, 2005 March 12, 2020
Mr. Paul Henderson December 23, 2008 March 12, 2020
Mr. Adrian Jaques July 22, 2014 October 5, 2020
Ms. Jennifer Christie September 8, 2017 September 7, 2020
Mr. Evert Veldhuizen January 2, 2019 January 1, 2022
Dr. Javier Gracia-Garza -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
ARIO Director of Research Christine Primeau
Director, Research and Innovation Branch Jen Liptrot
Comptroller Sue Mihelchic
Research and Intellectual Property Agreements Sue Shaw
Research Facilities, Property Management Paul Brine
Manager, Finance, Infrastructure and Administration Kelli Rice
Manager, Innovation & Knowledge Management Oswald Zachariah
Manager, Research Program Coordination Cassandra Lofranco

Governance documents


Expense claims

Ontario's Open Data Directive

Under Ontario's Open Data Directive, provincial agencies are required to post a public data inventory of the data sets they create, collect and/or manage:

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For more information:
Author: Wilma Macfarlane, Research Liaison/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 03 September 2003
Last Reviewed: 31 January 2019