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

Standing policy: Property

The OFVGA believes in the protection of private property and strongly supports charging individuals convicted of stealing, malicious damage, and other activities that affect farm property.

The OFVGA is a strong proponent of producers’ rights to protect farm property from damage by wildlife (deer) and fowl (Canada Geese).

  • 2019-14 Maintaining or enhancing a competitive electricity policy framework

    2019-14                 Maintaining or enhancing a competitive electricity policy framework

    WHEREAS Ontario’s current suite of electricity programs align well with greenhouse sector demands; and

    WHEREAS access to competitive electricity pricing is key to maintaining the global competitiveness of Ontario’s greenhouse farmers;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA work with the Ontario government to ensure the current suite of electricity programming tools is maintained or enhanced.

    Submitted by Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers                      

  • 2019-15 Establish risk-based agricultural boiler safety standards

    2019-15                 Establish risk-based agricultural boiler safety standards   

    WHEREAS the Auditor General has flagged agricultural boilers and pressure vessel safety as a concern and is reviewing all agricultural exemptions; and

    WHEREAS the greenhouse sector has previously played a leadership role with regards to boiler safety; establishing and requiring members to acquire boiler safety certifications; and

    WHEREAS the greenhouse sector has worked closely with TSSA and MGCS over the past two years to develop a risk-based assessment that results in achievable compliance measures;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA work with the greenhouse sector and the Ontario government to ensure regulations for the use of pressure vessels at agricultural facilities are both reflective of risk and address safety concerns.  

    Submitted by: Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers 

  • 2019-19 Revised Farming Insert For MTO

    2019-19                 Revised Farming Insert For MTO

    WHEREAS growers are continually being harassed by MTO, Regional and Provincial Officers regarding rules concerning farm equipment on Ontario roadways; and

    WHEREAS MTO, Regional and Provincial Officers do not appear to be trained and updated on the current or any rules and regulations in regards to farming equipment, transportation of them and the use of them on Ontario roadways;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA work on behalf of the growers with the government, to have communications with MTO, Regional and Provincial officers to enable them to view the grower as a client and not a criminal. Clear direction and education should be given to the officers on agriculture vehicular traffic. 

    FUTHER BE IT RESOLVED:  That documented guidelines that outline the rules and regulations concerning farm vehicles be provided to MTO, Regional and Regional Officers.

    Submitted by Holland Marsh Growers Association 

  • 2019-20 Research in Proper Irrigation Treatment Systems

    2019-20                 Research in Proper Irrigation Treatment Systems

    WHEREAS There have been repeat recalls of leafy vegetables, more so with the romaine, happening in the past 18 months affecting the Canadian market; and

    WHEREAS With the recall of the leafy vegetables these past months due to irrigation practices in another country, it is only a matter of time before there will be mandatory irrigation treatment in Ontario;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA protect the interests of the fruit and vegetable growers by requesting CHC to explore research opportunities on irrigation systems to address food safety issues for fruit and vegetables and their efficacies.

    THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that OFVGA lobby the provincial government to develop science-based policy to support on-farm food safety.

    Submitted by Holland Marsh Growers Association

  • 2019-21 Infrastructure / High-Speed Internet

    2019-21                 Infrastructure / High-Speed Internet

    WHEREAS many growers still do not have access to high-speed internet and three phase hydro; and

    WHEREAS these tools are mandatory in today’s world;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA continue to lobby the Ontario government and the CRTC, so growers have access to proper infrastructure in particular high-speed internet and 3 phase hydro.

    Submitted by Holland Marsh Growers Association 

  • 2019-22 Food Safety Regulatory Burden

    2019-22                 Food Safety Regulatory Burden

    WHEREAS the Canadian horticultural sector developed and launched the CanadaGAP food safety program to meet the needs of large Canadian grocery retailers over a decade ago; and

    WHEREAS the CanadaGAP Program is a HACCP based program which received full Canadian government recognition in 2017 to meet federal regulatory requirements; and

    WHEREAS the Safe Food for Canadians Act, which took effect January 15, 2019, stipulates that growers who grow, package and label fresh fruits and vegetables for interprovincial trade must have a preventative control plan in place by January 2020; and

    WHEREAS many food safety requirements are not supported by scientific evidence to show that the requirement actually improves food safety; and

    WHEREAS the proliferation of food safety regulations, requirements, certifications and audits is a significant administrative burden for fruit and vegetable farmers; and

    WHEREAS duplication of audits between CanadaGAP and the Safe Food for Canadians Act will result in increased costs and unnecessary administrative burden, and is an inefficient use of everyone’s time, including the federal government;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that CHC lobby CFIA and Health Canada to ensure growers who are audited through the CanadaGap System and can show proof of certification do not have to complete or pay for a secondary audit from the CFIA; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CFIA, Health Canada and CanadaGap be held to account to ensure that food safety regulations have scientific evidence supporting that the requirement(s) actually lead to a safer food supply and is not just an additional cost and administrative burden for farmers.

    Submitted by OFVGA board of directors                  

  • Ag land initiatives (08-15)

    WHEREAS, agricultural lands in Ontario have similar land use restrictions as have been imposed on the Greenbelt through legislation and,

    WHEREAS, the Greenbelt Foundation funds agricultural initiatives to nurture the viability of the primary agricultural activities within the Greenbelt,

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that agriculture lands throughout Ontario be eligible for the same level of support as has been designated to the Greenbelt

  • Agricultural classification for horticultural waste management (2012-04)

    WHEREAS, greenhouse production has always been deemed an agricultural activity; and

    WHEREAS the greenhouse sector has been working for the past two years in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and OMAFRA to develop a strategy that both protects Ontario’s natural resources and supports continued growth of the greenhouse vegetable sector; and

    WHEREAS the MOE has commenced regulating greenhouse vegetable producers utilizing what has been an industrial process requiring Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA’s) for various processes involved in the management of storm water and nutrient effluent; and

    WHEREAS the MOE has similarly started requiring ECA’s from field vegetable producers for managing vegetable wash water; and

    WHEREAS applying for and maintaining an ECA is a costly, time-consuming process which in MOE’s plan is essentially a prerequisite to production that will be required whether or not there are environmental management problems on a farm operation; and

    WHEREAS resources expended on an ECA are resources that are not available to directly carry out any necessary environmental improvements on a farm, since approvals in and of themselves do not address environmental remediation; and

    WHEREAS ECA’s are not required as a prerequisite for any other agricultural production,

    THEREFORE be it resolved the OF&VGA lobby the Ontario Government even if it requires outside resources, to ensure that environmental regulation of the horticulture sector take place in a manner that respects the unique role that agriculture plays in the natural environment, and which is consistent with the regulatory processes utilized in other sectors of Ontario agriculture.

  • Competitively Priced Electricity (2016-10)

    COMPETITIVELY PRICED ELECTRICITY (2016-10)    

    WHEREAS the Ontario greenhouse sector is ready to expand, creating jobs and investing heavily in the Ontario economy both through the expansion of acreage and through the move to 12-month production allowing Ontario growers to: retain and expand their market share, edge out competing imports during the winter and shoulder seasons, and contribute to meeting the Premier’s challenge to Agri-food, ensuring a secure food supply for Ontarians through the winter months; and

    WHEREAS year round production will require an investment in innovative lighting strategies and the ability to access competitively priced electricity is critical to ensuring the economic success of this transition; and

    WHEREAS electricity rates in Ontario have risen sharply over the past 10 years to the point of being non-competitive as compared to neighbouring jurisdictions; and

    WHEREAS the inclusion of the greenhouse sector in the Industrial Electricity Incentive (IEI) and Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) programs were positive first steps, these programs have seen reduced uptake due to a misalignment between program requirements and greenhouse production cycles,

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario Government to continue to work with the greenhouse sector to put in place programs that allow growers to access competitively priced electricity, allowing the sector to grow and innovate through lighted 12-month production in Ontario.

  • Deer damage compensation (02-01)

    WHEREAS wildlife population seem to be out of control, and

    WHEREAS two years cropping of apples are lost due to browsing by wildlife.

    THEREFORE be it resolved that OFVGA request the Government of Ontario to develop a plan of compensation to fruit and vegetable growers for their losses due to deer browsing and other wildlife damage.

  • Energy Infrastructure For Economic Development (2016-11)

    ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (2016-11) 

    WHEREAS the current Ontario Energy Board (OEB) beneficiary-pay model of energy infrastructure development places most of the cost and risk associated with, what is essentially, public infrastructure on those wishing to invest or expand in Ontario; and

    WHEREAS this in combination with non-competitive Ontario electricity rates acts as a deterrent to investment and growth in the province;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario Government to take a more fulsome view of economic development that ensures the mandate of the provincial energy regulators directly supports the Premier’s growth challenge to both Agri-Food and to the economy in general.

  • Environmental Farm Plan (2011-02)

    WHEREAS the response to the Environmental Farm Plan illustrates the environmental commitment of farmers across Ontario and their willingness to engage in projects that reduce environmental risk

    WHEREAS almost 12,000 farm businesses completed  "Action Plans" through the Environmental Farm Plan 3rd Edition Workbook and were deemed appropriate.

    WHEREAS in less than one week of opening the door to project applications for 2010 cropping year, all available project budget funds were used up.

    THEREFORE be it resolved that OFVGA lobby government for additional funding for environmental improvement projects for Ontario farmers.

  • Funding support required for “On-farm food safety" and “nutrient and water management" (03-08)

    WHEREAS Ontario’s agricultural producers are coming under severe pressure to meet government “On-Farm Food Safety” and “Nutrient and Water Management” standards, and

    WHEREAS these improvements are necessary and for the public good, and

    WHEREAS there are currently no cost-shared programs available to producers for this purpose.

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA and CHC immediately solicit OMAF and/or AAFC to introduce programs, which would provide 75% cost-shared funding to producers to make required improvements to meet “On-Farm Food Safety” and “Nutrient and Water Management” standards.

  • GST / HST classification (00-03)

    WHEREAS the majority of agriculture equipment is 0 rated for GST/HST purposes and

    WHEREAS a number of major comparable equipment inputs in the horticultural industry are not 0 rated for GST/HST

    THERFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby Revenue Canada to include amendments to GST/HST that include major horticultural equipment expenses in the 0 rated provision of the Excise Tax Act

  • Irrigation Under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) (LR2018-16)

    IRRIGATION UNDER THE ONTARIO WATER RESOURCES ACT (OWRA) (LR2018-16)

    WHEREAS the OWRA has far reaching implications for future water use through restrictions and,

    WHEREAS the declaration of a level three (3) drought as a result of the Low Water Response process, requires mandatory water restrictions and,

    WHEREAS the only essential water uses listed are:

    1)For human consumption

    2)For human waste disposal

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the irrigation of food crops be moved from important to essential under the Ontario Water Resources Act.

     

  • Land use - agricultural preserve (03-09)

    WHEREAS there has been progressively increasing pressures to establish an Agricultural Land Preserve in the Niagara Peninsula, and

    WHEREAS changes to land use legislation would affect significant numbers of horticultural producers across Ontario.

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA adopt the position that if a government or governmental agency implements a policy initiative for restrictive covenants or agricultural preserves, then the affected landowners must be fairly and reasonably compensated for the interest in the property given up.

  • Large Fill Sites in Agricultural Land (2016-07)

    LARGE FILL SITES IN AGRICULTURAL LAND (2016-07)

    WHEREAS farmland needs to be protected in Ontario so it can stay productive; and

    WHEREAS there is a lot of pressure from both urban Ontario and people interested in hosting dumps to get rich quick

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Ontario Municipalities stop large fill sites from being placed in agricultural land

  • Niagara Escarpment Commission (2017-03)

    NIAGARA ESCARPMENT COMMISSION (2017-03)

    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.

  • NMP resources and funding (01-06)

    WHEREAS the Province of Ontario through legislation may expand the need for Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) for horticulture that includes nutrients from commercial fertilizers, and

    WHEREAS the OMAFRA computer program NMAN was designed for livestock namure management, and

    WHEREAS there is no research being done on horticulture crops in regards to NMP’s and crop uptake of nutrients,

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby the Province of Ontario for additional research funding and personal for horticulture in order to provide proper documentation and information for an OMAFRA based NMP computer program for horticulture

  • Permit to take water charges (05-05)

    WHEREAS water used for agricultural irrigation is a non-consumptive use of water and

    WHEREAS no public infrastructure is involved in transportation of irrigation water in Ontario

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA take forth the message that no fee(s) should be associated with the Permit to Take Water for agricultural use

     

  • Property tax increases (LR2013-15)

    WHEREAS farmers are facing dramatic property tax increases,

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA work to minimize property taxes for farmers

  • Rapidly Increasing Electricity Rates (2016-02)

    RAPIDLY INCREASING ELECTRICITY RATES (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

    THERFORE 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. 

  • Water permits (LR2009-08)

    revised 2019

    WHEREAS Ontario has created a complicated and often costly and time-consuming permit process that includes extensive hydrological studies, data recording and analysis, that makes it challenging for farmers afford to take water for necessary crop irrigation; and

    WHEREAS irrigation is necessary at times due to uncontrollable weather and rainfall, the cost of irrigating crops prohibits careless use of water resources drawn from the environment; and

    WHEREAS data on water taken is collected by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, but is not used in any meaningful way; and

    WHEREAS permits to take water do not appear to improve environmental performance of farmers, but does impact competitiveness through increased cost of doing business; and

    WHEREAS the Ontario government has communicated its priority to cut red tape and regulatory burden to make Ontario ‘open for business’;

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario government for a more reasonable permit to take water process that reduces the levels of bureaucracy that exist, without impacting the sector’s environmental performance; and

    BE IT FURTHER resolved that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario government to NOT charge a fee for the Permit to Take Water on water taken for food production; and

    BE IT FURTHER resolved that if the Ontario government is intent on a meter on each intake source, for every farmer who renews a permit or requests a new one, then the government should be the body responsible for the cost of said meter – not the farmer.

  • Wildlife management (06-07)

    WHEREAS berry growers are facing increased pressure from wildlife including deer, bears and

    wild turkeys, and

    WHEREAS growers are unable to legally defend their crops from wildlife damage, and

    WHEREAS growers need the flexibility to protect their crops from further damage;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OBGA strongly request to the Ontario Government that Wildlife Management of deer, bears, & wild turkeys must be improved, so that grower may control (kill) wild life and stop the destruction of all fruit crops by these animals.