Ontario: A Place to Grow
Ontario grows over 200 commodities and is home to over 48,000 farms. Almost one in ten residents of this province works in the agri-food sector supporting $47 billion of our yearly GDP. Ontario’s farmers are not just feeding Canadians but millions around the world.
Yet, Doug Ford and the Conservatives allow our farms to be paved over, fail to support our farmers as they rack up millions of dollars of financial losses, and fail to help farmers adopt new and innovative technology.
I believe Ontario’s agri-food sector is central to creating shared and sustainable prosperity, guaranteeing food security, and building on our historic innovation and competitiveness.
As I traveled across the province, I admire the tenacity, perseverance, and stewardship of our farmers. They are job creators, stewards of the land, hard workers, and pillars of their communities. Farmers are building on our food and farming successes through careful stewardship of the land and its resources to create shared and sustainable prosperity in Ontario.
As Leader and Premier, I am committed to transforming Ontario into an agricultural powerhouse, leveraging the strength and potential of the earth, water, air, and farmers across our province. Here are some opportunities to grow together:
Protect prime farmland and champion a sustainable agri-food sector
- Protect prime farmlands of Ontario through the creation of a ‘food and water belt’, and focus on infill development and intensification instead of urban sprawl in accordance with my Housing Plan.
- Support supply-management to avoid wide fluctuations in supply and prices, and support farmers’ incomes.
- Enhance the Risk Management Program so Ontario’s agricultural sector has the tools to deal with challenges from inflation, supply chain disruptions, climate change, geopolitical instability, and other local and global factors.
- Monitor soil health and water quality in priority watersheds, test the efficacy of best management practices in collaboration with farmers, and establish a network of demonstration farms.
- Increase procurement of locally grown food by at least 10 per cent in the broader public sector, in partnership with Supply Ontario.
Build a resilient supply chain to bolster food security and strengthen local economies
- Introduce a right-to-repair legislation to equip farmers with appropriate tools that enhance productivity and lower cost of doing business.
- Foster excellence and translate agricultural research into practical solutions focused on disease prevention and control for cattle and plants, animal welfare, reproduction, biosecurity, and nutrient management.
- Establish a Local Food Development Fund to support innovative local agricultural and food processing projects, create jobs, increase value, attract new investment, and enhance awareness of and demand for foods grown and harvested in Ontario.
- Introduce a Farming for the Future Act to enshrine a simple, flexible, local farmer-focused, succession planning framework; and review it every 5 years.
- Establish mobile veterinary clinics and emergency facilities with 24/7 service, and explore enhancing virtual care and telemedicine to facilitate access to veterinary professionals in underserved areas.
Grow Ontario’s agri-food sector and promote it globally through enhanced innovation, commercialization, export, and value-added activities
- Increase Ontario’s export of crops, agri-food and value-added products by 15 per cent by diversifying the customer base and identifying New Markets through agricultural trade missions, market research, and promotional campaigns.
- Develop a comprehensive action plan to help farms become more resilient to drought, higher intensity rainfall, and other extreme weather events from the climate crisis as well as to better predict, identify, and respond to supply chain vulnerabilities.
- Enhance value-added food processing capacity, attract new private sector investments, and support modernization in collaboration with agri-food stakeholders.
- Invest in farm-to-classroom learning opportunities through secondary and post-secondary education programs focused on agriculture, agri-businesses, veterinary sciences, livestock management, and dairy, poultry, and food processing so more youth can have careers in agri-food.
I continue to travel the province and want to hear from you. Do you have an idea? Email us.