The following resolutions were presented and passed by member organizations of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association (OFVGA) at the 2020 Annual General Meeting:
2020-01 Change Twice Year Bunkhouse Inspections Back to Once Annually for Employers Who Don’t have Workers All Year
Whereas bunkhouses are an important part of the success of the SAWP program; and
Whereas employers accept that they need to provide housing that meets all of the standards laid out by the program; and
Whereas all bunkhouses need to be inspected annually.
Therefore, be it resolved that the new regulation of having bunkhouses inspected every eight months for employers that don’t have workers all year round be changed back to an annual inspection.
Further be it resolved that this become standing policy of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and Canadian Horticulture Council.
2020-02 Financial Protection for Ontario’s Fruit and Vegetable Sector
Whereas the lack of payment protection for fruit and vegetable sellers relating to slow payment, non-payment and bankrupt Canadian buyers results in disproportionate financial risk for produce sellers in Canada; and
Whereas the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA) and the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) has been advocating for many years that the Canadian government implement a “PACA-like trust” to protect Canadian produce sellers, without success to date; and
Whereas the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) initiated a review of its financial protection programs for livestock and grains, and has signalled willingness to explore expansion of provincial legislation to include commodities that currently do not have adequate protections; and
Whereas the provincial has legislative tools, such as payment terms, which could protect produce sellers for trade within Ontario, beginning to address the gap in financial protection for Ontario produce sellers.
Therefore, be it resolved that the OFVGA work with OMAFRA to develop a financial protection tools for the Ontario fruit and vegetable sector; and
Further be it resolved that the OFVGA and CHC continue efforts to advocate that the Canadian government to implement a national financial protection scheme to protect interprovincial and export trade of fruits and vegetables, which cannot be addressed through provincial legislation.
2020-03 Encourage Development of Sector Level Crop Protection
Where-as re-evaluation decisions on crop protection products by PMRA are often limited by availability of reliable product use data; and
Whereas reliable product use data will allow refinement of PMRA risk assessments and can result in maintaining access to products and uses that might otherwise be cancelled; and
Whereas such data is already being generated in greater frequency than ever before as per food safety requirements and through record keeping programs such as FruitTracker, SprayHub, Ginseng Manager etc.
Therefore, be it resolved that member commodity organizations be encouraged to explore methods of generating reliable and provincially representative summary data on crop protection use for their sector while maintaining the privacy of individual farms and businesses.
2020-04 Fruit and Vegetable Water Management
Whereas the Ontario government regulates water used by fruit and vegetable farms through Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA) under the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act; and
Whereas Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers pride themselves on their environmental stewardship, and must carefully manage water used for activities such as irrigation, washing vegetables, stormwater off structures, including greenhouses and drainage; and
Whereas the red tape and cost associated with maintaining appropriate approvals, water management systems and weekly water testing is significant for farmers; and
Whereas there is evidence that Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks is not applying consistent requirements for ECA compliance across all farms or all regions in Ontario; and
Whereas the fruit and vegetable wash water and stormwater off greenhouse structures is misdefined as sewage by the legislation, requiring significant investment in water cleaning processes; and
Whereas the competitiveness of fruit and vegetable sector would benefit from the development of improved environmental legislation that balances environmental stewardship and food production.
Therefore, be it resolved that the OFVGA advocate for improvements for how water emissions from fruit and vegetable farms are regulated, including the development of outcome-based rules and more accurately defining wash water and stormwater from fruit and vegetable farms as not sewage; and
2020-05 Canadian Horticultural Council’s Primary Mandate as a
National Lobby Organization
Whereas the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) is the voice of Canadian fruit and vegetable growers and is the only national organization with this as its primary mandate; and
Whereas the Canadian government has regulatory control over many aspects that influence the competitiveness of Canadian fruit and vegetable growers, including crop protection, trade, labour, food safety, business risk management and carbon pricing; and
Whereas the federal government prefers to work with organizations that represent national interests; and
Whereas the CHC has limited resources, making it unrealistic to address all sector issues or be active on committees, boards or organizations, domestic or international, on issues that are not high priority to the Canadian fruit and vegetable sector as a whole; and
Whereas strong lobbying efforts require ongoing interaction with politicians and government officials, which requires significant investment of staff time and financial resources; and
Whereas on a cost recovery basis the CHC provides valuable services, such as research coordination on behalf of the sector, enabling access to national funding programs and leveraging research efforts across the country.
Therefore, be it resolved the CHC board of directors strategically review all of the organization’s activities and finances to ensure that CHC’s limited resources are effectively focused on its primary role to lobby the federal government on behalf of Canadian fruit and vegetable growers.
Be it further resolved that services such as research coordination continue to be supported so long as the CHC’s role in this continue to be done on a cost recovery basis through government funding or specific commodity contributions to offset research costs.
2020-06 Support for the Field Grown Fresh Vegetable Sector
Whereas the field grown fresh vegetable sector represents over 30% of Ontario’s overall fruit and vegetable farm gate sales, approximately 50% of Ontario fruit and vegetable farms, and nearly 20% of the OFVGA’s container toll revenue; and
Whereas unlike the rest of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable sector, the field grown fresh vegetable sector is largely unregulated by government legislation such as the Farm Products Marketing Act; and
Whereas the Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario (FVGO) was established in 2005 as a voluntary organization with a focus on supporting research, promotion, and lobbying related to fresh vegetable production issues; and
Whereas the FVGO’s voluntary membership structure challenges its ability to effectively represent the majority of field grown fresh vegetable farmers in Ontario; and
Whereas there is no effective way to connect and coordinate with Ontario’s field grown fresh vegetable farmers quickly in the event of a significant industry issue such as disease outbreak or trade disruption; and
Whereas virtually all of the FVGO’s revenue in recent years comes from the OFVGA’s Research and Promotion Fund (container toll rebate), which is directed toward research projects.
Therefore, be it resolved that the OFVGA work with the FVGO and other interested stakeholders to develop options for addressing this gap in representation for field grown fresh vegetable farmers.
2020-07 Eastern Canada Clean Plant Hub
Whereas the Canadian Plant Health Council was formed in October 2018 with a goal of creating a National Clean Plant Program; and
Whereas there is an ongoing need in the berry industry as well as other perennial fruit crops to establish new plantings with disease free planting stock; and
Whereas 2020 is the International Year of Plant Health.
Therefore, be it resolved that that the OFVGA work with the CHC to engage the CFIA and AAFC for the creation of an eastern Canada Clean Plant Hub (Centre) which includes berries under a National Clean Plant Program.
2020-08 Admission of Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers as a Member
Whereas the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG) have formally requested membership to the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA); and
Whereas the processing vegetable sector shares common interests with OFVGA in policy areas such as crop protection, labour, environment and safety nets; and
Whereas the OPVG has been informally contributing to some of the OFVGA’s activities and participating with some section committees; and
Whereas the expectations of OPVG membership to the OFVGA have been clearly outlined and understood by OPVG.
Therefore, be it resolved The admission by the board of directors of the OPVG to membership in the OFVGA is hereby ratified and approved conditional upon the OPVG paying on or before such dates as the Board of the Association shall determine from time to time, either directly or to the OFVGA, all fees and other amounts owing to the Canadian Horticultural Council directly or indirectly arising by reason the admission to membership or the continuing membership of the OPVG in the OFVGA.
Be it further resolved to permit the members of the OPVG to nominate a person to serve as a director of the OFVGA, the Constitution and Bylaw of the OFVGA (the “Bylaw”) is hereby amended as follows:
1) Section 14 (a) of the Bylaws which currently provides as follows:
“The affairs of the Association shall be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of eleven elected members, together with the non-voting, ex-officio representatives from the Standing Committees and the Canadian Horticultural Council”
is hereby amended to provide as follows:
“The affairs of the Association shall be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of twelve (12) elected members, together with the non-voting, ex-officio representatives from the Standing Committees and the Canadian Horticultural Council.”
2) Section 14 (b) of the Bylaw which currently provides as follows:
“Each of the marketing boards listed below may nominate a producer of that commodity who is a member in good standing of the Association for the position of Director of the Association and submit the name of the nominee to the annual meeting for the election of directors.
i) The Ontario Apple Growers
ii) The Ontario Asparagus Growers’ Marketing Board
iii) Grape Growers of Ontario
iv)The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers’ Marketing Board
v) The Ontario Potato Board
vi) The Ontario Tenderfruit Producers’ Marketing Board
vii) Ontario Ginseng Growers Association
is hereby amended to provide as follows:
Each of the marketing boards or local boards under the Farm Products Marketing Act (Ontario) listed below may nominate a producer of that commodity who is a member in good standing of the Association for the position of Director of the Association and submit the name of the nominee to the annual meeting for the election of directors.
(i) The Ontario Apple Growers;
(ii) The Ontario Asparagus Growers’ Marketing Board;
(iii) Grape Growers of Ontario and The Ontario Fresh Grape Growers’ Marketing Board;
(iv) The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers’ Marketing Board;
(v) The Ontario Potato Board;
(vi) The Ontario Tender Fruit Producers’ Marketing Board;
(vii) Ontario Ginseng Growers Association; and
(viii) The Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers.”
3) The Bylaw, as amended hereby, is hereby ratified and approved.
4) Any director or officer of the Association be and is hereby authorized and directed, for and on behalf of the Association to do all such acts and things, including without limitation to apply to the Minister for approval of these amendments to the By-law and to execute, whether under the corporate seal of the Association or otherwise, and deliver all such other documents, agreements, certificates and statements as such director or officer may deem necessary or desirable in order to carry out any of the foregoing resolutions.