The Ontario Government makes important decisions ON Economy, ON Health, ON Environment, ON Education, and ON Community Services.
Top 5 Reasons to Vote ON Food in Ontario
- The Ontario Government controls programs and regulations that impact farms and food businesses. A government that values food and farming will make it easy for farmers and food enterprises to survive and thrive. A vote on food and farming is a vote ON a growing economy.
- The Ontario Government decides how our health care system works. A government that values healthy eating will create a system that prevents disease and promotes health. A vote on food and farming is a vote ON a healthy province.
- The Ontario Government is responsible for environmental protection and natural resources. A government that values food and farming can preserve farmland, support farmers in being environmental stewards, and encourage local food systems. A vote on food and farming is a vote ON the environment.
- The Ontario Government is responsible for education. A government that values food and farming will ensure that all students eat healthy food every day and learn good eating habits for life. A vote on food and farming is a vote ON education.
- The Ontario Government is responsible for vulnerable people. A government that values food and farming will create opportunities for communities to come together through food and will ensure that all Ontarians can afford healthy food. A vote on food and farming is a vote ON communities.
Ontario Ministries that Relate to Food and Farming
Below is a summary of the 18 key Ontario Ministries that impact food and farming in the province. You can find more details on their websites.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS
What it does: responsible for supporting Ontario’s agri-food sector, enforcing and implementing new food safety regulations, protecting the environment, and strengthening Ontario’s rural communities.
Food connection: This is the ministry responsible for agriculture and the agri-food sector. Key initiatives: Ontario Market Investment Fund, Risk Management Program for Ontario farmers, Growing Forward, Foodland Ontario, the Rural Economic Development Fund, the Agriculture Development Branch, OMAFRA – University of Guelph research partnership, involvement in implementing new food safety regulations, and funding for traceability, biosecurity and environmental farm plans.
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
What it does: responsible for providing a fair and accessible justice system for all Ontarians, administering court services throughout Ontario, providing legal advice and services to government, drafting all legislation and regulations, and administering approximately 115 statutes.
Food connection: one of its agencies, the Environmental and Land Tribunals Ontario (ELTO), makes decisions on disputes related to land use planning, environmental protection, land valuation, and other matters.
MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES
What it does: provides income and employment supports to people who are in temporary financial need and helps adults with a developmental disability live, work and participate in a range of community activities and promotes accessibility and works to break down barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in the social and economic life of Ontario.
Food connection: this is the main ministry dealing with income security, and their programming relates to food insecurity, e.g. Ontario Disability Support Program (special diet allowance) and Ontario Works (both programs provide food to those who cannot afford it).
MINISTRY OF CONSUMER SERVICES
What it does: responsible for educating, protecting and serving Ontario consumers by ensuring a fair, safe and informed marketplace.
Food connection: Strengthened Ontario’s wine and grape industry through new labelling.
MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TRADE
What it does: responsible for growing the provincial economy by supporting businesses of all sizes, by attracting new growth and investment to Ontario, and by promoting Ontario goods and services abroad.
Food connection: many Eastern Ontarian Buy Local programs are supported by the Eastern Ontario Development Fund; it is the connection point for comments on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Trade Agreement (CETA), which will impact Canadian farmers; it administers the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wine support program and the Ontario Craft Brewers Opportunity Fund (OCBOF).
MINISTRY OF ENERGY
What it does: works to develop a safe and reliable energy supply in Ontario.
Food connection: responsible for the Green Energy Act, which impacts agriculture by boosting investment in renewable energ. The Ontario Clean Energy Benefit provides 10% off monthly bills to families, farms and small businesses to help them through the transition to a cleaner electricity system. The Feed in Tariff (FIT) supports farmers in green energy projects, such as solar, wind and biomass.
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT
What it does: responsible for protecting and restoring the environment in order to ensure healthy ecosystems for the people of Ontario.
Food connection: responsible for enforcement and compliance under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA), the Pesticides Act (PA) and the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA). These statutes all apply to agricultural operations. Other laws administered by the MOE, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Environmental Assessment Act, will also occasionally directly affect farmers. The MOE is also responsible for the Climate Change Action Plan.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
What it does: provides fiscal, taxation and economic policy advice to the Cabinet and Premier. Other key responsibilities include: preparing the provincial budget, ensuring prudent management of the province’s debt, reporting on the province’s economic and fiscal plans and results to the public, ensuring the accountability for the use of public funds, and regulating financial services to protect consumers and inspire investor confidence.
Food connection: The Ontario Budget allocates funding to different areas that impact food and farming, such as infrastructure, agriculture, research and development, education and health.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND LONG-TERM CARE
What it does: responsible for administering the health care system and providing such health-related services as health insurance, drug benefits, assistive devices, care for the mentally ill, long-term care, home care, community and public health, health promotion, and disease prevention. It also regulates hospitals and nursing homes, operates psychiatric hospitals and medical laboratories, and co-ordinates emergency health services.
Food connection: houses Public Health, which is responsible for health promotion, health protection and prevention, and food safety regulations.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH PROMOTION AND SPORT
What it does: help Ontarians lead healthier, active lives.
Food connection: oversees several initiatives that relate to healthy eating, including Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL), EatRight Ontario, the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program and the Healthy Communities Fund.
MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE
What it does: responsible for planning, developing, maintaining, and helping to finance infrastructure (e.g., water and wastewater, transportation, health, schools, post-secondary education and affordable housing) to meet the needs of a growing population and economy.
MINISTRY OF LABOUR
What it does: set, communicate, and enforce safe and fair workplace standards.
Food connection: although the government prevents labour unions from having collective bargaining rights on Ontario farms, the Ministry does seek to ensure the enforcement of fair and equitable labour standards on farms. It is also responsible for the Employment Standards Act (relates to agricultural workers and seasonal agricultural workers), the Agricultural Employees Protection Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
MINISTRY OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS AND HOUSING
What it does: support the development of safe and strong urban and rural communities.
Food connection: responsible for the Greenbelt Act, Greenbelt Protection and Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) which has implications for land use planning across Ontario including when, and if, farmland is kept as farmland and whether or not on-farm processing or retail outlets are allowed.
MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES
What it does: responsible for promoting economic opportunities in the resource sector while also ensuring that Ontario’s ecosystems are managed in such a way that they will be healthy and available for future generations.
Food connection: Responsible for fighting invasive species, protecting wetlands and protecting biodiversity and administering many programs that can be used by farmers, such as the Ontario’s Species at Risk Stewardship Program.
MINISTRY OF RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
What it does: responsible for encouraging innovation in Ontario’s economy and showcasing Ontario nationally and internationally.
Food connection: the Ontario Research Fund (sometimes funds agricultural research).
MINISTRY OF REVENUE
Food connection: oversees regulations and acts that pertain to farming: the Land Transfer Tax Act, the Harmonized Sales Tax (replaced the Ontario retail sales tax on farm building materials and farm supplies), the Farm Fuel Tax and farm tax rebates.
MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND CULTURE
What it does: promotes and increases investment in Ontario’s tourism industry.
Food connection: Part of their mandate is to promote Ontario, which includes agri-tourism in such areas as Niagara and Prince Edward County.
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION
What it does: responsible for building an effective and integrated transportation system that supports communities across Ontario.
Food connection: Responsible for Farm Truck and Trailer Rules.
Why in Ontario (pdf)