THE VOICE OF ONTARIO'S FRUIT, VEGETABLE
AND GREENHOUSE PRODUCERS FOROVER 150 YEARS

Resolutions 2017

The following resolutions were presented by member organizations of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association (OFVGA) at the 2017 Annual General Meeting:

 

2017-01           Reassertion of Resolution 2016-02

 

WHEREAS Ontario has been subject to rapidly increasing electricity rates; and

WHEREAS the cooling, and/or processing of horticultural products is an energy intensive activity; and

WHEREAS the economic viability of the horticultural sector is under pressure due to these high electricity rates;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the Government of Ontario to establish an agricultural electricity rate comparable to those of geographically close provinces, and states.

Respectfully submitted by Georgian Bay Fruit Growers.                 CARRIED

 

2017-02           Crop Protection Products

 

WHEREAS Canada continues to reevaluate crop protection products; and

WHEREAS Health Canada and the PMRA have a mandate to continue the use of crop protection products until a replacement product exists;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA and CHC lobby Health Canada to continue their commitment to not deregister crop protection products when there is no replacement product that the horticultural industry considers effective. 

Respectfully submitted by Georgian Bay Fruit Growers.                 CARRIED

 

 

2017-03           Niagara Escarpment Commission

 

WHEREAS the Niagara Escarpment Commission is considering increasing the size of the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP); and

WHEREAS the inclusion of more property in the NEP strips the landowner of the rights to make the best business management, and property management decisions for their land;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the government of Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment Commission to stop any and all increases to the amount of property included in the NEP.

 

Respectfully submitted by Georgian Bay Fruit Growers.                 CARRIED

 

2017-04    Support for Emerging Technologies to address Climate Change

 

WHEREAS the impacts of cap and trade will be felt as of January 1, 2017, effectively eliminating the possibility of a smooth transition to the new low carbon economy; and

WHEREAS the technologies, procedures, and processes necessary to facilitate this transition will require a fundamental shift in the way energy is managed both on-farm and in the surrounding communities; and

WHEREAS adoption of these emerging technologies will be expensive, difficult, and risky for horticultural growers; and

WHEREAS the response from the agriculture sector will benefit society by stabilizing food costs and ensuring food security;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA work with the Ontario government to put in place targeted innovation and transition funds to both drive fundamental research and support the uptake of emerging technologies such as: alternative and renewable fuel options for heating and cooling, novel insulation materials and strategies for enhanced production efficiencies.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers   CARRIED

2017-05 Climate Change Adaptation Fund

WHEREAS some possible outcomes from climate change could involve extreme weather events, intermittent water scarcity, and infestation by new and existing invasive species and emerging diseases; and

WHEREAS these outcomes could have a detrimental impact on horticultural growers across the province;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA work with the Ontario government to put in place targeted adaptation funds to help farmers mitigate the impacts of a changing climate such as tools to reduce the introduction and stop the spread of invasive species and emerging diseases through biosecurity planning; strategies to ensure adaptive water management; and support for farm infrastructure that is more resilient to extreme weather events.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers              CARRIED

 

2017-06 Net-Zero Carbon Pricing Impact

 

WHEREAS the new Cap and Trade program will result in significant increased expenses for the majority of Ontario’s greenhouse farmers as of January 1, 2017; and

WHEREAS these costs impact growers’ ability to remain competitive when compared to jurisdictions that do not have in place a carbon pricing mechanism and threatens food security by increasing food costs, impacting the most vulnerable of our society; and

WHEREAS there are opportunities to reduce these impacts through: offset support programming which facilitates the transition to the low-carbon economy, recognition of photosynthetic carbon capture, which effectively reduces facility CO2 emissions, and acknowledgement of past improvements that have increased productivity through energy efficiency; and

WHEREAS there must be recognition of the unique nature of Ontario agriculture as differentiated from other jurisdictions with carbon pricing and lower heat demands, such as California;  

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA work with the Ontario government to ensure a net-zero cost impact to Ontario's fruit and vegetable farmers who, because of Ontario's Cap and Trade program, will be subject to carbon pricing, thereby mitigating the risk of trade exposure and supporting food security.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers             CARRIED

 

2017-07 Restoration of Canada's Preferential PACA Status

 

WHEREAS during the last Federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada pledged to provide farmers of perishable produce with an acceptable Canadian PACA-like program and restore Canada's preferential access to PACA in the USA; and

WHEREAS produce producers continue to not have financial protection mechanisms in our domestic marketplace; and

WHEREAS the absence of a reciprocal financial protection tool continues to be a trade irritant with our largest trading partner, the United States;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA support the House of Common's Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food's motion "that the Chair write to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to recommend to examine the model legislation put forth by Professor Ronald Cuming under the guidance of the horticulture industry and the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation with regards to Canada's Preferential Status under the United States Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), and to consider adopting a legislation based on this model as soon as possible."

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers             CARRIED

 

2017-08 Phosphorus Monitoring and Adaptation

 

WHEREAS the Federal government has established a phosphorus reduction objective of 40% by 2025 for Lake Erie’s western and central basins through Annex 4 of the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and has committed funds through the 2016 budget to address this initiative; and

WHEREAS the Ontario government has adopted these targets and is addressing them through the Canadian Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health and through the development of a Canada-Ontario Action Plan for Lake Erie; and

WHEREAS reducing phosphorus loadings in the Leamington tributaries and Thames river watershed has been identified as a high priority; and

WHEREAS there is limited data on current loading levels and such data is vital toward developing and monitoring policy progress;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA work with the Ontario government to put in place targeted funds and programming to firstly establish a monitoring programming that will allow for the accurate determination of baseline loading and enable progress to be tracked, and secondly, to support growers through education and adaptation funds in their effort to reduce phosphorus loss from their operations using a risk-based priority ranking.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers             CARRIED

 

2017-09 Restoring AgriStability Coverage

 

WHEREAS both the Federal and Provincial governments state that the AgriStability program is the primary BRM response vehicle for income losses accrued due to a disaster situation; and

WHEREAS the 2013 AgriStability program year doubled the amount a farmer's reference margin must decline before triggering a payment, from 85% to 70%; and

WHEREAS this trigger level change has drastically reduced the utility provided by AgriStability to the point where enrollment levels are rapidly declining;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA recognize that returning AgriStability coverage from the current 70% trigger to the previous 85% trigger is the highest federal and provincial Business Risk Management lobby priority, and to work with the OFA, CHC and CFA to return AgriStability support to those levels in the Next Agricultural Policy Framework.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers             CARRIED

 

2017-10 Diversified Farms

 

WHEREAS far more farms are diversified in 2016 than they were when the original program was being designed almost 20 years ago; and

WHEREAS these diversified farms, by their very nature, experience more muted fluctuations in their reference margins than farms with a single commodity; and

WHEREAS the impact of a bad year for one commodity is no less painful to a diversified farm's overall revenue than it is to a single-commodity farm; and

WHEREAS the net farm income, including BRM payments, for a single-commodity farm will be higher when averaged over a longer period than it would be for a diversified farm that does not receive BRM compensation; and

WHEREAS this results in a moral hazard where government policies are encouraging farms to limit their diversification efforts legally and/or operationally;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA & CHC lobby the federal and provincial governments to address the issue of inequitable risk management coverage between diversified and non-diversified farms by reducing the amount a farm's reference margin must fall before triggering a payment.  This reduction would reflect the income distribution of the farm's reference margin and the subsequent reduction in farm income fluctuations for farms with multiple marketable commodities and level the playing field for all types of farming operations across Canada.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers             CARRIED

 

2017-11 AgriRecovery Response

 

WHEREAS the AgriRecovery application process is difficult to initiate and contains numerous unnecessary delays; and

WHEREAS an emergency or disaster situation by its very nature demands a rapid response; and

WHEREAS AgriRecovery does not adequately bridge the cavernous gap between structured business risk management programs and losses incurred due to a disaster situation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA & CHC work with the federal and provincial governments to increase the effectiveness of AgriRecovery by reducing the time spent between initial request and final approval, as well as minimizing the compensation gap between AgriRecovery and other BRM programs so that farmers can effectively recover from disaster situations.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers             CARRIED

 

2017-12 Establishment of an Energy and Environment Committee

 

WHEREAS provincial and federal policy issues involving energy and the environment have become high priorities for both levels of government over the past few years; and

WHEREAS proposed and suggested legislation at the provincial and federal levels indicate this trend will continue, and likely strengthen; and

WHEREAS appropriate energy and environmental policy responses can mean the difference between a competitive Ontario and/or Canadian horticulture sector and a sector in decline;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA establish a separate committee with the primary focus of evaluating and developing policy for Energy and Environmental issues; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA encourage the CHC to develop a similar Energy and Environment committee and, if successful, to work closely with this committee with the objective of advancing horticultural priorities at the federal level.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers             CARRIED

 

2017-13 Next Agricultural Policy Framework

 

WHEREAS there is significant variation in average farm size between agricultural sectors and regions across Canada; and

WHEREAS significant positive social contributions toward environmental responsibility, carbon sequestration, and economic development can be made by larger agricultural farms; and

WHEREAS many non-BRM funds are often left unspent due, in part, to flat allocations based on arbitrary applicant funding caps or ceilings;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA & CHC lobby the federal and provincial governments recognize the significant variation in agricultural production across the province and Canada and subsequently design BRM and non-BRM programs to reflect the needs of the average-sized farm in each agricultural commodity or sector; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA & CHC lobby the federal and provincial governments to allow "stacking" of program benefits in special circumstances when multiple applicants intend to undertake a unique community or sector-wide project that is of significant environmental, economic, and/or social benefit.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers             CARRIED

 

2017-14 Reassertion of Resolution 2016-06

WHEREAS Eastern Ontario is still an important fruit and vegetable growing area in Ontario. Some say even the most progressive apple area in Canada; AND

WHEREAS there used to be three fruit and vegetable specialists in this area ten years ago working full time for OMAFRA; and

WHEREAS Margaret Appleby, the last one, has now been retired for eight months.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that her position be filled ASAP in Ontario.

Respectfully submitted by the East Central Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. CARRIED

 

2017-15           Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

 

WHEREAS the paper work concerning the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program is more and more complex; and

WHEREAS growers are now subjected to a new, stressful experience through the complex on-farm audits from the Integrity Office of Service Canada;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that FARMS generate a check list and information for growers to support them with Service Canada’s requirements regarding on-farm labour audits.

Respectfully submitted by the East Central Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. Supported by The Ontario Tender Fruit Growers.             CARRIED

 

2017-17          

           

WHEREAS the PMRA evaluation staff need first-hand experience of horticultural production practice; and

WHEREAS on-farm tours have proven to be valuable to impart such knowledge; and

WHEREAS such tours conducted in the past have been dropped for financial reasons and staff     time away from their day jobs; and

WHEREAS staff development is considered a high priority item in Health Canada;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA offer such on-farm experience to PMRA staff on an annual basis working in partnership with OMAFRA, Crop Life, CHC and other interested partners, and contribute a share of the funding to make it happen.

Respectfully submitted by the Crop Protection Committee             CARRIED

 

2017-18

 

WHEREAS PMRA has expressed concerns about the ability of farmers to ensure post application farm workers get adequate training and warnings about pesticide hazards; and

WHEREAS they have proposed elimination of many uses of pesticides like Captan, Bravo, Mancozeb, Thiram, Ferbam and others; and

WHEREAS other uses for these pesticides come with such long re-entry periods as to be useless in our production systems; and

WHEREAS it is important to not only provide such training and instruction about pesticides to farm workers; and

WHEREAS the documentation of such records needs to be kept on a real time basis and be available for auditing; and

WHEREAS any such record keeping system must satisfy PMRA needs before they agree to put label warnings about post application protective gear for workers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA work with external partners such as the CanadaGap On-Farm Food Safety Program and others to develop suitable real time record keeping systems that can meet the needs of PMRA for protection of post application workers, and thereby allow workable re-entry timeframes after pesticide application.

Respectfully submitted by the Crop Protection Committee             CARRIED

 

2017-19

 

WHEREAS growers and exporters need up to date information on pesticide residue limits in all potential market places; and

WHEREAS AAFC cancelled their national subscription to such a service in 2014 under the impression that a free service available then would suffice; and

WHEREAS the free service was eliminated leaving no available source of such residue limit data for growers and exporters to access; and

WHEREAS such a service can be purchased by AAFC for a very reasonable cost and made available across Canada;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that CHC petition AAFC Market Access Secretariat to purchase and provide this service on an annual basis.

Respectfully submitted by the Crop Protection Committee             CARRIED

 

2017-20

 

WHEREAS the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) mission is to promote a viable, sustainable and efficient energy sector that serves the public interest and assists consumers to obtain reliable energy services that are cost effective; and

 WHEREAS transparency is one of the guiding principles of the OEB’s Staff discussion paper on a Cap and Trade Regulatory Framework for the Natural Gas Utilities; and

WHEREAS Cap and Trade will have a significant impact on all consumers, including Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers; and

WHEREAS despite overwhelming support for cap and trade related costs to be included on consumer bills as a separate line item, the OEB has ruled that these costs will be buried in the delivery line item requiring consumers to obtain utility tariff sheets in order determine their contribution to cap and trade related costs,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario government to appeal the decision made by OEB, by whatever means necessary, to ensure consumers have free and clear access to cap and trade related costs through their utility invoices.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers                  CARRIED

 

2017-21

 

WHEREAS Becky Hughes has retired as of November 2016 and the New Liskeard Facilities require investment.

WHEREAS the Ontario tissue culture SPUD Unit is under review by OMAFRA and OAC

WHEREAS clean, virus free plants are essential to all vegetatively propagated horticulture

WHEREAS the North American phytosanitary regulations require clean material for border crossings

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA request that OMAFRA, University of Guelph OAC reinvest in Ontario lab capacity for tissue culture, and a timely replacement of the research and service faculty position.

Respectfully submitted by the Ontario Berry Growers                    CARRIED