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

What We're Working on For You: OFVGA issues and activities update October 2018

What we’re working on for you:
OFVGA issues and activities update

October 2018

For a PDF version, click here.

This regular newsletter is to keep you, our members, informed about what the key issues and files are that OFVGA is currently tackling on behalf of growers.

For more information on any items in this newsletter, please contact Gordon Stock, Senior Policy and Government Relations Advisor, at gstock@ofvga.org or 519-763-6160, ext. 125.

 

The top three issues

Crop protection – PMRA re-evaluation of mancozeb

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has reposted its proposed decision on mancozeb. This time, the proposal is for the removal of all uses except for greenhouse tobacco, which is more restrictive than the previous decision posted in June. OFVGA had taken the lead in convincing PMRA to cancel their proposed phase-out of mancozeb and re-start the process. The data analysis behind the re-evaluation is not being revised. Feedback provided to PMRA by OFVGA and other organizations in the summer regarding mancozeb has not been incorporated into the new proposed decision.

Latest status: A comment period on the proposed decision is open for 90 days. OFVGA will be submitting comments in support of continued use.

 

Crop protection – PMRA process for re-evaluation of crop protection materials

OFVGA continues to monitor re-evaluation proposed and final decisions published by the PMRA. Significant concerns with respect to the re-evaluation process are apparent, and OFVGA is working to build a productive working relationship with PMRA to improve the process.

Latest status: OFVGA is committed to developing a lobbying strategy for the industry to bring attention to the problems surrounding re-evaluations. PMRA is beginning its own internal review of the re-evaluation process; industry consultations will be part of that review.

 

Environment/Energy – Cap & Trade and Carbon Tax

OFVGA welcomed the provincial government’s cancellation of the cap and trade program, and has met with Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Rod Phillips, to express that support as well as discuss other environmental issues. The federal government has announced details of its carbon tax program, and while OFVGA was glad to see the announcement include some relief for greenhouse vegetable producers, the program still represents a burden to the sector. Lack of relief for heating and cooling of other horticultural facilities, for example, remains a concern.

Latest status: OFVGA is continuing its efforts to ensure carbon and environmental strategies for Ontario don’t affect the competitiveness of fruit and vegetable production in the province.

 

National issues

Many of the files OFVGA works on actively are national in nature and affect growers right across the country. In recent months, this has seen OFVGA step up to take the lead by investing time and resources on two key files that impact all growers, not just those in Ontario: crop protection and carbon tax.

OFVGA spearheaded the initial mancozeb and metiram response by bringing a committee together to strategize and take initial steps. Using its government relations firm, OFVGA subsequently worked very closely with the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) to urge the PMRA to reconsider its final decisions on these important crop protection tools.  

In recent weeks OFVGA, CHC and the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, with support from OFVGA’s government relations firm, collaborated for a final lobbying push on the federal government for broader carbon tax exemptions.

OFVGA representatives will be in Ottawa in November for the Canadian Horticultural Council’s Fall Harvest lobbying event to meet with government officials about labour, crop protection and trade.

 

Other files we’re keeping an eye on

Regulatory burden reduction

The Ontario government has indicated its intent to improve the regulatory environment for businesses in Ontario, including farmers. OFVGA is identifying specific areas where regulations can be made smarter and more effective for the fruit and vegetable sector.

Latest status: OFVGA is meeting with various provincial ministers and ministry officials on a regular basis, promoting smarter regulation and service-driven instead of compliance-focused government.   Anyone with examples of where regulations can be simplified or improved is asked to contact Gordon Stock at OFVGA.

 

Government cost-share programs

The OFVGA is monitoring the situation with respect to paused government cost-share programs and reviews that are occurring with Canadian Agriculture Partnership funded initiatives and programming.

 

Business management and labour training opportunities for fruit and vegetable farmers

The Agricultural Management Institute is offering two programs this fall for fruit and vegetable growers:

Advanced Farm Management Program for Fruit and Vegetable Growers – the program runs for five Mondays, beginning December 3, 2018. Details at http://advancedfarmmanagement.ca/.
Labour resources for Ontario fruit and vegetable growers – a one-day workshop being held on November 29 in Grimsby focused on where to find human resources, legislative obligations, and staff retention and engagement. For more details click here.

 

Events we are attending

November 1: Farm and Food Care Harvest Gala

November 2 – 12: Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

November 5 – 7: Canadian Horticultural Association fall harvest lobbying event

November 9: Ontario Produce Marketing Association Gala

November 13-14: Canadian Centre for Food Integrity Public Trust Summit

November 15: OFVGA Board Meeting

November 19 – 20: Ontario Federation of Agriculture annual convention

Nov 20-21: Crop Protection Advisory Group meeting of the Canadian Horticulture Council

November 27 – 29: Grow Canada Conference

December 6: Agricultural Adaptation Council annual general meeting