This platform report was put together using a survey that was delivered to all four provincial parties during the 2014 election campaign. All information contained in this report is based on the party responses to that survey or on information drawn from their platforms.
Roll your mouse over the checkmarks to see each party’s policy on each issue. These excerpts are direct quotations from the survey responses. Visit the Downloads page to see parties’ original responses in full.
The Local Food Act passed in November 2013 with unanimous support from all parties.
“The Ontario NDP has long pushed government to do more to support local agriculture and food processing and tabled legislation in 2010 with a mandated timeline and targets for public procurement of local food.[…]
A NDP government would amend the Local Food Act to mandate a steady and predictable increase in local food procurement over 5 years, along the lines of our 2010 legislation. A mandate with time lines and targets guarantees action. A predictable increase in demand for local food will allow farmers and food producers to plan ahead to increase capacity to meet demand – it just makes sense.”
“Yes, if given another mandate to govern, Ontario Liberals will commit to ongoing partnerships with stakeholders like Sustain to develop meaningful, achievable procurement targets, and goals for the broader public sector under this legislation. […]
The Ontario Liberal government has invested over $116 million in supporting local food since 2003, through marketing and promotion, funding programs, research, capacity building, and advisory services. Key to this has been the on-going promotion of the Foodland Ontario program. […]
We look forward to finalizing the tax credit initiative for farmers who donate their products to food banks. Ontario Liberals further commit to early stakeholder engagement in developing food literacy goals and targets, as well as the development of goals and targets related to local food access and the use of local food by public sector organizations. Ontario Liberals would make proclamation of these provisions a priority for the new government.”
“The Local Food Act was an important start to gain movement in spending public sector dollars on local food. We must go much further. We will work with Ontario’s agri-food sector and support infrastructure and networks to bring more local food to institutional markets, working with a variety of players including farmers, suppliers, chefs, and food services professionals. We will support local and sustainable food production as well with a portion of dollars dedicated to supporting farmers who grow with ecological practices.
Yes. Green MPPs will push the government to work with the broader public sector to create baseline data on local food and targets that are ambitious but make sense, and create stronger support for farmers and processors to make it viable. We will bring an understanding of the agri-food system and its needs from farm to table. We will work to increase funding available for food in hospitals and other institutions so fresh and local food can be made widely available.”
“Our plans to expand agriculture, tourism, mining and forestry will help the provincial economy and create jobs across the province. Ontario needs real growth in these vital sectors to get our province out of its jobs crisis.”
“[…] there are now three jobs open for every person who graduates from University of Guelph Agriculture College. We need to encourage the next generation of farmers and make sure they can learn the high-tech and scientific skills that are needed to succeed in farming today. […]”
“[…] We will amend regulations for small processors to ensure regulations are based on risk and ensure food safety, but do not make it impossible for small businesses to thrive.
Ontario’s farming population is ageing and Ontario’s rural population is older than the provincial average. We are committed to securing the next generation of farmers. We will work with stakeholders to develop flexible assistance programs for beginning farmers and to support farm succession planning.
[…] The Ontario NDP is pleased that the [University of Guelph’s Kemptville and Alfred] campuses are remaining open for now, but their future is still uncertain. We would work with communities to preserve these important training opportunities and keep the campuses open.
We also are proposing to invest more in student nutrition programs so that students can access healthy diets and learn about local food.”
“[…] The Ontario Liberal Party places a high priority on having in place the tools that will allow government to partner with industry in supporting job creation and investment. As part of the 2014 Budget, Ontario Liberals committed to a new 10-year, $2.5 billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund (JPF) to partner with business to attract investments, strengthen Ontario’s strategic sectors and support the province’s future economic growth. The new fund will secure business investments that focus on job‐creating innovation, productivity and going global,as recommended by the Jobs and Prosperity Council, and will invest in Ontario’s key sectors.
As part of the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, the budget committed $40 million annually to a targeted food processing stream to promote innovation and sector growth. This stream will help to incent capital investments in the food and beverage industry, which has been a recognized gap in the array of federal/provincial supports available to Ontario businesses.
If given another mandate, Ontario Liberals are committed to re-introducing the 2014 Budget, including the $40 million per year agri-food fund. […]”
“We will work to create partnerships between post-secondary institutions, non-profits, and the agricultural community to create newly funded opportunities for hands-on education,particularly for young people looking for farming and business development, including in organics and diverse crops. We will advocate for the creation of a plan to match young farmers with rural, near-urban and urban land at appropriate cost that can create opportunities and to give them a leg up. We will direct OMAF, to work with non-profits and municipalities and diverse communities to support entrepreneurs’ with funding, training, and mentorships to grow creative food businesses across Ontario. Our $300 million Social Innovation Foundation will also create opportunities for food businesses and organizations to have available support.”
“We understand that Ontario families are squeezed. That’s why the Ontario NDP committed to take immediate action to help these families by bringing healthy and nutritious meals to over 70,000 additional Ontario schoolchildren. Our plan invests an additional $15 million annually starting this year in student nutrition. Under a NDP government, funding for student nutrition programs will be nearly double what it was just one year ago.
We will also keep kids healthy and active by hiring up to 1,000 new specialist health and physical education teachers for schools within our mandate. That means up to 1,000 more schools will have a specialist health and physical education teacher to help kids keep active.”
“[…] In response to the [Healthy Kids] Panel’s recommendations on healthy food, our government’s 2014 Budget announced an expansion of the existing Student Nutrition Program. This is in addition to the current annual investment of more than $20 million, resulting in a total annual investment of $32 million by 2016–17. The new investment would fund 340 new breakfast programs for an additional 56,000 children in higher-needs elementary and secondary schools, including on-reserve First Nation schools.
In addition, the Wynne government doubled its support for the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program, the Healthy Eating and Active Living program, delivered by Aboriginal Health Access Centres and the Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program. These investments will provide children will access to community gardens and school and family-based healthy eating, among other health promotion activities.
In 2007, our government created EatRight Ontario, a program offering the expertise of dieticians to Ontarians in their communities who would otherwise not have access to nutritional advice. Ontario Liberals are proud of EatRight Ontario and would remain committed to this important program.
If returned to government, Ontario Liberals would build on our track record of improving the health and wellness of Ontarians, proving them with the resources and tools they need to maintain healthy lifestyles.”
“Ontario should be Canada’s healthiest province. We will work with other parties to adopt food literacy in the curriculum – an idea whose time has come. While education on healthy and local food comes into the classroom, we need to stem the amount of junk food advertising that reaches our children. We will work with advocates and other MPPs to pass legislation to this effect.
We will also advocate for food planning to be implemented in all ministries so healthy food is accessible in all neighbourhoods. We will work to direct the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to bring food access into the Planning Act.”
“[…] A NDP government will make it easier for farmers to protect their land, water and biodiversity.
We will consult and work with stakeholders on expanding and improving incentive programs to pay farmers who set aside and protect land. We are also committed to helping farmers with protocol development to accurately measure the value of their stewardship role, in order to participate in emerging markets for ecological services, such as the Western Climate Initiative.”
“In addition to the initiatives identified in answers to Questions #1 and #3, the Wynne government remains committed to the Premier’s Award for Agri-food Innovation Excellence program, which the Ontario Liberal government established to encourage the development of our rural communities, farms, and agri-food processing businesses and agri-food organizations by adding value to existing products, creating jobs and driving economic growth. […]”
“I will work to strengthen support in government for ecologically sustainable agriculture. Greens will support farmers with the training, funding, and access to markets needed to make this a viable reality. We need to support research in sustainable, conventional and organic agriculture to ensure the greenest practices possible are produced here in Ontario. Farmers need to be partners and not attacked by governments.”
“Pollinators are extremely important to our ecosystem and agriculture industry, which is why the Ontario PCs want to ensure we find the right solution to address bee mortalities. That’s why we wrote to the chair of the Ontario Bee Health Working Group to ask that they look at all the causes of bee mortalities and base their recommendations on scientific data.”
“[…] We are encouraged by actions to promote the use of non neonicotinoid treated seeds and promote the use of other products and deflectors. However, we recognize that these actions may not be sufficient.
Rather than pinning the health of Ontario’s bee population on the federal government with their poor record on environment […] The Ontario NDP will use evidence, best practices in other jurisdictions and rigorous research to develop a course of action that makes sense for Ontario.”
“[…] The Ontario Liberal Party is very concerned about the indiscriminate and blanket use of neonicotinoid-treated seed and the potential implications for the environment and pollinator health.
Therefore, Ontario Liberals commit to working with the agricultural and beekeeping sectors to (1) ensure full and equitable access to non-neonicotinoid treated seed for growers, and (2) establish a system that allows for targeted use of neonicotinoids only in production areas or production circumstances where these pesticides are actually shown to be required. Ontario Liberals believe that by moving away from the application of neonicotinoid-treated seed as the default for planting in Ontario, and instead promoting targeted use, we will be able to build common ground between the interests of grain growers and beekeepers in the province.
More immediately, […] Ontario Liberal government established a beekeeper support program this spring to compensate beekeepers for any disaster-level losses experienced over the year. […]
The Ontario Liberal government has provided $1.2 million to support research initiatives on bee health and best management practices in planting that would mitigate the impact on pollinators. Going forward, we are committed to working with affected stakeholders through a broad pollinator working group to develop a roadmap for a provincial pollinator health strategy.
[…] the Liberal government enacted changes to the schedule of noxious weeds under the Weed Control Act to help support the monarch butterfly population. […]”
“Only the Green Party of Ontario has pledged to ban neonicotinoids, starting in next year’s growing season.Green MPPs will also advocate paying farmers who create ecological goods and services on the farm and help regenerate our lands.”
“[…] This issue cannot be resolve by simply making more regulations at the provincial level. It needs to be done in consultation with stakeholders across the province.
The Ontario NDP has a record of standing up to protect farmland and we are committed to working with stakeholders to accomplish this if we are elected. We have argued for stronger protections in the Lake Simcoe Act. We pushed for a review of the Aggregate Resource Act and passed motions for recommendations on farmland protection during the review. We raised concerns about planned highway expansions that threatened the Greenbelt. Only the NDP can be trusted to stand up for farmland protection.”
” […] We have brought into law three major farmland-savers. […] The creation of the Greenbelt in 2005 is among Ontario Liberals’ proudest accomplishments, prohibiting urban sprawl in some of Canada’s best croplands. The 2005 Provincial Policy Statement requires municipalities to identify and protect prime agricultural areas. The 2006 Growth Plan for Greater Golden Horseshoe Areas requires more compact development. […]
[…] the Ontario Liberal platform commits to the following:
– Enhance the Greenbelt. As part of our review of the Greenbelt, we will work with communities and expand the outer boundary of the Greenbelt over the next six years, […]
– Promote urban forestry. We will work with municipalities and our other partners to promote urban forestry and plant one million trees, as part of our commitment to plant 50 million trees province-wide.
– Create a Farms Forever Program. To help land owners protect prime agricultural land close to major urban centres, we will create a Farms Forever Program. This will help support the local sourcing of food and strengthen Ontario’s strong agri-food sector. We recognize that young farmers need sup- port and we will use Farms Forever and other policies to ensure that farming is a lifestyle that can be enjoyed by generations to come. […]”
“I am the only leader and we are the only party to have signed the Food and Water First pledge. We have made it a main platform commitment and key to our campaign. Residents of Guelph, Melancthon, and across Ontario are very concerned. Green MPPs will introduce legislation to permanently protect Ontario’s Class 1 farmland and source water regions. We will make sure the land and water that sustains is preserved for future generations. We will also advocate to support rural, Northern and First Nations communities to protect traditional important food heritage, including cultural practices and diverse species and for future generations.”
“The PCs believe in increasing food literacy and supporting agri-skills training for young Ontarians.[…] As well, the Ontario PC Caucus put forward an amendment to the Local Food Act that would have required food education be part of the curriculum in every grade.”
“As set out in Bill 36, a NDP government will move forward in establishing goals and targets to improve food literacy in respect of local food. We will consult with school boards and other stakeholders in establishing programs and targets.”
” […] Our School Food and Beverage Policy sets nutrition standards for food and beverages sold in schools – including cafeterias, vending machines and tuck shops. It is part of our comprehensive healthy school strategy. We recently introduced the Healthy Eating in Secondary Schools Grant to support a learning environment where the healthiest choices are the easiest choices for students to make. The $3.1 million grant has allowed 90 secondary schools to promote healthy eating, student engagement and well-being and to help transform food culture in schools. […]
We need Ontario’s curriculum to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand food choices. In Full Day Kindergarten, students learn about food as they experience the day. In the elementary, students learn to develop a sense of personal responsibility for taking care of themselves and making healthy food decisions. They also learn to examine their own food choices and eating patterns and then make decisions and set appropriate goals. At the secondary level, courses within the Social Sciences and Humanities, Health and Physical Education, Technological Education, and Science curricula speak to food literacy.
Additional opportunities that support developing food literacy include the Agriculture, Hospitality and Tourism, and Food-Processing Specialist High Skills Majors. Specialist High Skills Majors let students focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). […]”
“If elected we will work with non-profit organizations, agricultural associations and importantly, advocate to other MPPs to put a plan for food literacy on the table and work across the province with educators and community leaders to plan that curriculum. But curriculum itself isn’t enough. It needs to be supported with experiential education like a garden in every school and cooking skills. We will advocate for support within the Ministry of Education for School Boards to develop support for this programming and infrastructure.”
“The Ontario NDP committed to take immediate action to help these families by bringing
healthy and nutritious meals to over 70,000 additional Ontario schoolchildren. Our plan
invests an additional $15 million annually starting this year in student nutrition. Under a
NDP government, funding for student nutrition programs will be nearly double what it was
just one year ago.”
“The 2014 Budget included significant investment to expand and enhance the Student Nutrition Program with an additional investment of $32 million so that more children and youth in higher needs communities have access to a nutritious breakfast or morning meal at school. The program will be expanded to establish 340 new breakfast/morning meal programs in higher-needs elementary and secondary schools and expanded to 95 federally funded on-reserve First Nations schools starting in 2015-16. It is expected that this expansion will enable 56,000 more children and youth to access the program. The proposed investment would build on the success of the Ontario’s Student Nutrition Program (SNP) that provides $20.9M to community organizations that support breakfast, lunch and snack programs in elementary schools, secondary schools and community agencies across Ontario. In the 2012-13 school year, provincial funding for the SNP helped provide nutritious meals and snacks to over 695,000 children and youth in Ontario across over 4,200 programs.”
“The Green Party has and will continue to advocate for universal school nutrition. Ontario needs to show leadership by working with all levels of government, non-profit agencies and private donors to make this happen. We are pleased to see growing support for funding student nutrition programs and look forward to working with other parties.”
The Local Food Act passed in November 2013 with unanimous support from all parties.
“The structure of this tax credit was set out in Bill 36 for donations made on or after January 1, 2014. The Ontario NDP supported this bill and would maintain the tax credit. We proposed extending the credit to local food processors.”
“Yes, if given another mandate, the Wynne government will proclaim the Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit.
The Local Food Act included a new non-refundable income tax credit for farmers who donate food to community food programs, including food banks. The credit is worth 25 per cent of the value of the agricultural goods donated and can be claimed for donations made beginning January 1, 2014. […]
A consultation roundtable meeting was held on February 27, 2014 with farm sector representatives and representatives of community food organizations. As well, the initiative was posted on the Ontario government’s Regulatory Registry on March 3, 2014 for 45 days for broader public comment. If returned to government, Ontario Liberals would move quickly to finalize and enact regulation. […]”
“Yes. The tax credit is a good start. If elected we will work with the CRA and OMAF to ensure the smooth implementation of this tax credit, with application to a range of food and healthy agricultural products from Ontario, to be donated to a variety of community food programs. We will also work with community food centres and food programs across the province to become a provincial funding partner so that healthy food and stronger communities are accessible to all.”
“The Ontario NDP is committed to ensuring that incomes are sufficient to afford housing, food, and other necessities.[…] The NDP has fought to achieve a significant change that allows people to keep the first $200 they earn before triggering clawbacks. We oppose the continuing clawback of the Ontario Child Benefit through the reduction of basic social assistance rates to parents. Going forward, a NDP government will begin by raising social assistance rates by one percent and after the Ontario Child Benefit increases to $1,310 in July, we will link it to inflation. A NDP government will also increase the minimum wage to $12 by 2016 and index it to inflation. In addition we are introducing several other measure outlines in our platform to make life more affordable.”
” […] The Ontario Liberal government ended [the social assistance rates] freeze in 2004 and increased social assistance rates by more than 15 per cent by 2012. In the 2013 Budget, we increased rates another one per cent for adult Ontario Works recipients and people with disabilities receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits. […]
Guided by the advice of the Lankin-Sheikh Commission, we have focused recent rate increases on the lowest incomes in the system – single adults on Ontario Works. Our 2013 Budget provided an increase of $20 for singles receiving Ontario Works. Our 2014 Budget added a further $30, resulting in a total $50 increase for the lowest rates since 2013. Combined with previous rate increases, this constitutes an increase of between 17.2 and 24.4 per cent for social assistance clients since 2004. […]
We have also increased asset limits, so people don’t have to become destitute before they can receive support, and exempted the first $200 of income, so people receiving assistance can earn more and keep more of their earnings.
Our 2014 Budget also proposed a new, flexible employment benefit, meaning that clients and their caseworkers can tailor the benefit to meet individual needs and help people find employment more effectively.
Our 2014 Budget also proposed to assist people living in remote northern communities, particularly First Nations, who can face disproportionately high costs for basic necessities like groceries. […]
We know that we need to do more in the area of rate adequacy. When the election began, we were in the middle of an important process to help define what an adequate rate means and how best to calculate it. You will also note that we will not be merging OW and ODSP. […]”
“Yes. Social assistance rates are sorely inadequate. That’s why we are proposing a guaranteed annual income for all Ontarians that will take into consideration the cost of the Nutritious Food Basket, including in Far Northern Ontario communities. To start, we will use the money allocated to the Liberals 10% subsidy on electricity bills, $2.2 billion, to double the Ontario Child Benefit for children and families close to the poverty line. That’s half a million kids whose lives will be a bit better… A guaranteed annual livable income starting with our most vulnerable.”
“One of the most crucial ingredients in a successful cross-ministry approach is leadership from the Premier. Andrea Horwath is a strong leader who cares about the health of Ontarians and growing our local food market. She has a record of standing up for these issues and will continue to do so. The Ontario NDP understands the issue of food security crosses traditional ministry ‘silos’ and we will work to develop a coordinated approach that makes sense.”
” […] To help achieve these objectives, if given another mandate, the Wynne government would convene an inter-ministerial committee to engage stakeholders such as Sustain on an integrated government approach to agriculture, food, nutrition, health, and environment issues. Ontario Liberals welcome an ongoing partnership with industry and NGOs to help accomplish these goals together.”
“If elected MPP, I will use my background in food and farming to show leadership in food issues, and work to ensure greater co-operation among ministries. The public needs a greater say as well. Therefore I will start by convening an Ontario Food Policy Council with stakeholders and members of the public that is ingrained within OMAF, including a representative from each party and the Premier’s Office.
Greens will work to convene all ministries involved in food to better coordinate the development of programs, and the provision of funding for food and farming in the province. The Ontario Food Policy Council will be asked to provide input in funding priorities on an annual basis.”