Standing policy: Committee As A Whole
Accurate Accounting of Container Toll Contribution by Commodity (LR2009-12)
WHEREAS OFVGA is currently funded through container tolls; and
WHEREAS the tolls are submitted to the OFVGA by the container companies or obtained through audits by the OFVGA;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA work with the container companies to provide the membership with an accurate accounting of container tolls received by commodities and that a report be provided by next Annual General Meeting (AGM).
CHC Funding and Sustainability (2013-01)
WHEREAS many of the issues facing the Ontario edible horticulture sector including registration of crop protection materials, international trade, plant health and biosecurity, food safety traceability, financial risk mitigation and the funding of research, business risk management and other initiatives must be addressed at least in part at the national level; and
WHEREAS Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and other federal government departments and agencies strongly prefer to liaise with organizations with a national rather than a provincial or regional mandate; and
WHEREAS the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), the national organization representing edible horticulture farmers has been inadequately funded to effectively deliver on its mandate, particularly given the geographic size of Canada and the diversity of the Canadian horticultural sector; and
WHEREAS the CHC Legacy Project while well-intentioned, failed to deliver the hoped-for supplementary funding to compliment CHC's core funding from member provincial organizations; and
WHEREAS the OFVGA represents the fruit and vegetable farmers in the province that has Canada’s largest and most diverse edible horticulture sector; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA Board take a leadership role in working with the CHC and the other provincial horticultural organizations to develop a funding model that will guarantee that the CHC is adequately funded to carry out its critical mandate of representing Canadian horticultural producers on issues of national Importance; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this model ensure that the resources to carry out the ongoing core activities of the CHC are funded fairly by Canadian edible horticultural farmers, and that any supplementary revenue be generated on a project basis and committed to in a manner that does not jeopardize the role of the CHC in representing farmers’ interests.
CHC Governance and Operations (2013-02)
WHEREAS the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) is the key organization representing the interests of Ontario edible horticulture producers on issues of national importance; and
WHEREAS the geographic size of Canada and the time necessary to operate their own businesses limits the participation of CHC farmer board members in critical ongoing activities including lobbying opportunities and policy/programme development meetings with government and private sector organization staff; and
WHEREAS CHC staff must be competent, credible and capable of representing the CHC by participating directly in these critical ongoing activities of the organization; and
WHEREAS the core functions of the CHC are funded almost entirely from contributions provided by provincial horticultural producer organizations such as the OFVGA since no mandatory national funding mechanism currently exists; and
WHEREAS the OFVGA therefore has a vested interest in ensuring that the CHC carries out its functions in an effective and cost-efficient manner;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA Board seek the support of the CHC Board and other provincial horticultural organizations in having an external consultant complete a review to determine how the CHC governance and operations can be improved to more effectively and cost-efficiently deliver on the CHC’s mandate; and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this consultant review be presented to the CHC Board for discussion and decision making by that Board and where appropriate by the membership at the first CHC AGM following the completion of the report; and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OFVGA work closely with the CHC Board and the other provincial horticultural organizations to ensure that this review is adequately responded to and necessary changes are implemented.
Container Toll Report (LR2010-10)
WHEREAS the OFVGA is currently funded through container tolls; and
WHEREAS at the 2010 Annual General Meeting (AGM) a report providing an accurate accounting of container tolls was provided to the OFVGA and its membership; and
WHEREAS it is in the ongoing interest of the membership that this practice and report continue; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the self assessments and audit reports continue to be reported at all future AGM’s of the OFVGA.
Container Tolls (2011-06)
WHEREAS the Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has granted the OFVGA a unique legislated capacity to generate container tolls from Ontario’s horticulture producers; and
WHEREAS the OFVGA therefore has a responsibility to administer the tolls in an effective and efficient manner; and
WHEREAS repeated requests at the OFVGA Board have confirmed that the OFVGA has no meaningful information on whether the tolls are collected on all legally subject containers or on the amounts collected by sector, and no effective revenue forecasting capability;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA Board immediately undertake to develop and implement credible administrative procedures and audit processes that enable it to gather such information; and
AND THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OFVGA Board be required to report annually to the membership on the amount of container tolls collected by sector and by container type, and on its forecasts for the subsequent two years.
Financial Protection for Canada's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Sector (2015-01)
WHEREAS the lack of payment protection for fruit and vegetable sellers relating to slow pay, non-pay and bankrupt Canadian buyers results in disproportionate financial risk for produce sellers in Canada; and
WHEREAS the failure of the Canadian Government to provide financial protection for U.S. produce sellers into Canada has resulted in the U.S. removing the longstanding preferential access for Canadian produce sellers to the protections under the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA); and
WHEREAS Canadian produce exporters will now be required to post a bond valued at double the value of their claim to access the PACA process resulting in significant additional financial burden in addition to lack of payment by the U.S. buyer; and
WHEREAS the risk of non-pay will now increase disproportionately for Canadian sellers into the U.S. since U.S. buyers will be aware that the additional costs of accessing the PACA process may serve as a deterrent to pursuing claims by Canadian sellers; and
WHEREAS the USDA has indicated its willingness to reinstate Canada’s preferred status under PACA if Canada provides equivalent protection for U.S. sellers to Canadian buyers;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA, in conjunction with the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), aggressively advocate for the creation of a limited statutory deemed trust to provide financial protection for produce sellers in Canada in a manner that is equivalent to the U.S. PACA protections for produce sales to American buyers, and that this protection, once in place be extended to U.S. sellers to permit reinstatement of the preferred access to PACA protection for Canadian produce sellers into the U.S. and the elimination of this unnecessary trade irritant.
Late Resolution (2011-01)
WHEREAS one of the stated objectives of the OFVGA Annual General Meeting is to deal with resolutions pertaining to important issues of our membership; and
WHEREAS these resolutions need to be allocated to the annual section meetings; and
WHEREAS resolutions should be printed in our Annual General Meeting book to give our membership the opportunity to review and discuss prior to the section meetings; and
WHEREAS late resolutions can neither be printed in the book or allocated to the various section meetings;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that to encourage the timely remittance of resolutions so as to allow for the above that any late resolutions require a passing vote of 67 per cent while those received in time to be printed in the book require a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one.
Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (LR2010-07)
WHEREAS it is recognized that country of origin labelling is mandatory on produce imported into Canada; and
WHEREAS it is recognized that this requirement currently only applies to the label on containers of imported fruits and vegetables and does not apply to the individual piece of fruit or vegetable; and
WHEREAS this practice does not apply to produce that is delivered to Canada in bulk form leaving the Canadian sector vulnerable to illegal repacking, mislabelling and potentially unacceptable food safety and traceability practices; and
WHEREAS horticulture imports should be subject to the same requirements as Canadian horticulture exports;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA aggressively pursue the requirement of COOL labelling on all imported produce by the individual piece or consumer-sized package.
National Nutrition Policy (2015-03)
WHEREAS The costs in human suffering and to the Canadian health system relating to overweight and obese people are rising rapidly in Canada; and
WHEREAS the incidence of unhealthy weights among children has been identified by many experts as the most alarming aspect of what is described as a health crisis; and
WHEREAS improper proper diet and nutrition along with inadequate exercise are most often cited as the key causative factors contributing to the increase in these body weight-related health concerns; and
WHEREAS increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables is a key component in improving the diet and nutrition of Canadians; and
WHEREAS Canada does not have a national policy for dealing with this issue, and is one of the few developed countries to not have such a policy; and
WHEREAS a National Nutrition Policy could provide the framework for the federal government to standardize and coordinate the provincial and community programs that will be needed to address this issue;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA Board take a leadership role in working with the Canadian Horticultural Council to lobby the Canadian Government to develop a National Nutrition Policy, and through it to take a leadership role in developing a coordinated approach to improving the health of Canadians through proper diet.
OFVGA Legislative Funding Mechanism (2013-03)
WHEREAS the OFVGA receives its core funding through tolls generated on the purchase of farm product containers through the Ontario Farm Products Containers Act (OFPCA); and
WHEREAS the value of farm product containers provides an inadequate proxy for the value of an Ontario farmer’s or sector’s horticultural production or for the potential benefit that an Ontario farmer or sector would derive from the activities that the OFVGA provides on their behalf; and
WHEREAS the tolls generated under the OFPCA unfairly force some farmers to pay for services provided to other farmers who escape funding the OFVGA altogether; and
WHEREAS the move to reusable plastic containers (RPC’s) and away from single use disposable containers will not only reduce the revenue available to the OFVGA to carry out its programmes, but will also potentially further skew OFVGA funding away from the principle of funding based upon benefit; and
WHEREAS the OFVGA plays a critical role in representing the interests of the entire edible horticulture sector in Ontario; and
WHEREAS it is important that the OFVGA be adequately funded to deliver on its mandate;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA develop and implement a strategy for lobbying the Ontario Government to develop an alternative mechanism that will allow the OFVGA to be funded by edible horticulture producers in a manner which more fairly adheres to the principle of funding an organization based upon the potential benefit derived from the organization.
Ontario Budget (2012-09)
WHEREAS the Ontario government has stated that there will be budget cuts; and
WHEREAS such cuts could affect OMAFRA and their programs and services;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA strongly request that if there are cuts to the OMAFRA budget that OMAFRA consult with the agricultural sector prior to making a final determination on where cuts are made.
Percentage of the Provincial Budget Allocated to OMAFRA (LR2010-08)
WHEREAS there is the perception that the provincial funds allocated to our industry are decreasing in size;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA will research the percentage of the provincial budget that is allocated to Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) over a 5 to 10 year period. OFVGA will examine the percentage allocated to Ministry staff, funds allocated to the operation of OMAFRA, funds allocated to administration of grower programs, funds to growers allocated and, finally, funds allocated to research.
Research, Promotion, and Marketing Fund (2013-07)
WHEREAS research and minor use projects are essential for the vitality of each crop sector and would be limited or non-existent without the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) implementing the allocation of a portion of the container tolls collected for funding Research Promotion & Marketing projects; and
WHEREAS these Research, Promotion and marketing funds are greatly appreciated and critical to small organizations such as the Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA consider the continuation of the Research, Promotion and Marketing Funds to each commodity association on a long term basis.
Retail Sales Rebates (2013-05)
WHEREAS the level of mandatory rebates being charged by Ontario and Canadian retailers to their produce suppliers has escalated, with some reported to be as high as 4.25 per cent of the value of all sales; and
WHEREAS the cost of these rebates is generally passed on as a charge to the produce farmer thus threatening their financial viability by eroding any margin over production costs that they may have; and
WHEREAS these rebates do not appear to be connected to funding any promotion that would increase the sales of the produce that the rebate was taken on; and
WHEREAS refusal by an individual farmer or marketer to pay rebates is difficult given the imbalance in marketplace influence between the retail buyer and the produce seller;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA engage in discussions with retailers and governments with a goal to eliminating the practice of mandatory rebates
Reusable Plastic Containers and Biosecurity (2013-04)
WHEREAS the use of Reusable Plastic Containers (RPC`s) is being increasingly mandated by Ontario retailers as the required method for farmers to package and ship product to them; and
WHEREAS despite the assurances issued by companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of RPC`s, many Ontario farmers have identified visible cleanliness issues with the RPC`s delivered to their farms; and
WHEREAS these visible observations raise suspicions and fears about the existence of organisms that could cause food safety and particularly plant pathology problems; and
WHEREAS there does not appear to have been any controlled scientific studies carried out under the conditions of RPC use in Ontario that could allay these fears;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA work with the CHC and the CFIA to ensure that a full and comprehensive scientific study is carried out to examine the possible areas of biosecurity concern including plant pathogenicity to determine if there are any possible risks to human health or to the production base, and to make recommendations on RPC management, handling and use practices to eliminate these risks.
Streamline Approvals Under the "Open for Business" Mandate (2012-05)
WHEREAS growers of horticulture products are experiencing frustration and concern relating to the time and resources required by the complex web of approvals necessary to operate, change or expand their operations; and
WHEREAS these approvals which are at times duplicative and at others conflicting, are required by various public bodies including provincial ministries, municipal departments and other local or provincial agencies such as the conservation authorities; and
WHEREAS these various regulatory approval organizations do not appear to coordinate their approval requirements in a manner which considers the perspective of the regulated client; and
WHEREAS these processes often result in significant delays in obtaining necessary permits and approvals; and
WHEREAS we do understand the importance of having a permits and approvals process that operate in a seamless and streamlined fashion while operating with an acceptable level of service commitment;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario Government and work closely with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) within the “Open for Business” initiative to take a client based approach to improving the provincial, municipal and other agency approval and permitting processes through co-ordinating their respective requirements to eliminating duplication.