2011 Report Card

**Please visit the new 2014 Party Platform Report by clicking the link in the main menu. The information below is from the 2011 campaign.**

This report card was put together using a survey that was delivered to all four provincial parties during the 2011 campaign. All information contained in this report card is based on the party responses to that survey or on information drawn from their platforms.

Has a policy, or proposed policy, on the topic.
Based on the party platform and survey, does not        have a stated policy on the topic.

Roll your mouse over the checkmarks to see each party’s policy on each issue.

Food & Economy
Help public institutions buy local and sustainably-grown food
Support regional and small-scale processing
Support market development for Ontario-grown and processed foods
Food & Health
Make healthy eating and food access a health care priority
Food & Environment
Support environmental stewardship on farms
Support on-farm green energy projects
Food & Kids
Fund Student Nutrition programs
Teach kids about food
Build healthy food into schools
Food & Community
Support community food programs
Ensure all Ontarians can afford healthy food
Food & Farmers
Support farm businesses
Support the next generation of farming
Food & Farmland
Support farmland preservation
Food Connections
Create opportunities for more collaboration on food & farming issues

“We will have a Buy Ontario food policy. We will lead by example at provincial institutions such as hospitals and schools.”

“Last year, NDP leader Andrea Horwath introduced a private members’ bill requiring that Government ministries purchase a minimum percentage of local Ontario food. If elected, we will introduce legislation requiring Ontario’s government and public agencies such as schools, hospitals and prisons to spend more of taxpayers’ money on local produce. This will be phased in over time with flexibility built into the system to control cost and avoid any supply issues.”

“Ontario Liberals have invested more than $80 million in support of local food, including: helping more than 200 local food networks, farmers and processors market their products and services, increasing the number of farmers’ markets across Ontario, and showcasing Ontario foods in grocery stores across the province with Foodland Ontario. We are now taking that one step further, investing $6 million through our Broader Public Sector Investment Fund to help increase the amount of fresh, healthy and delicious local foods in our municipalities, universities, colleges, schools, hospitals, longterm care facilities and day care centres. We have also led by example: over 20 government cafeterias prominently feature Ontario foods. And, last year, we spent more than $15 million on local food.”

“We’ll do our part to help Ontarians get healthy local food, by creating a Local Food Act that will celebrate, support and promote local food. We’ll continue to support farmers’ markets and increase the amount of local food purchased by schools and hospitals.”

“The Green Party will require that public institutions buy increasing amounts of the food they serve from Ontario farmers. This approach keeps our food dollars in Ontario and supports local farmers, processors, distributors, and food services.”

“To implement this strategy, the Green Party will immediately require public institutions to measure and report local food purchases. We plan to set standard for all public institutions to purchase 40% Ontario food, including local food certified sustainable and organic, with an increase over time.”

“Business needs to focus on growing, not on endless paperwork, forms, and directives. We will appoint a Minister responsible for reducing the regulatory burden by a minimum of 30%. Special attention will be paid to the burden faced by our farmers and small businesses. Farmers will finally have one window to the Ontario government, in which their needs can be served through the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, rather than through multiple ministries.”

“We will undertake a review of regulatory barriers that put Ontario farmers at a competitive disadvantage. We need regulations that make sense for all sizes of farms, instead of rules about whether there’s panelling in the office or two bathrooms in a small plant with few employees. We will provide relief from municipal taxation and zoning restrictions to encourage on-farm processing.”

“Ontario Liberals recognize the diverse and growing market opportunity the food and beverage processing industry presents. That is why over the past four years we have supported food processing businesses, which have created and kept more than 15,000 jobs and generated nearly $500 million in economic activity across the province.”

“We made a number of positive changes to the meat inspection program, reducing the burden on small operators while maintaining food safety, and we provided more than $6 million through our Rural Economic Development program to help them strengthen their business and access new market opportunities.”

“We will continue to ensure that on-farm processing remains a “farming activity” for the purposes of property assessment.”

“Our Open For Business initiative has successfully reduced red tape in the agricultural sector by 28 per cent.”

“The Green Party will create a Ontario Food and Farming Strategy that will improve the business model for farmers and local food producers. This strategy involves ending one-size-fits-all regulations that make it difficult for many local food processors, especially small abattoirs, to compete. Green MPPs will advocate for of smart regulations that take the size and scope of a business into consideration and create a level playing field for all food producers. Smart regulations will ensure food safety while taking into account the size and scale of operations, allowing local businesses to compete fairly on a level playing field.”

“The Green Party will eliminate tax penalties on farm-based, value-added, and commercial innovations using on-farm and local food products. We will reduce zoning restrictions for small scale, on-farm commercial enterprises. In addition, we will provide support for new revenue streams for farmers, such as on-farm power generation with solar, wind, biomass, bio-gas, and agri-food innovation, like fibres to the auto sector.”

“We would support at-home food processing with appropriate labeling. We encourage efforts to preserve seasonal foods and enjoy them year round.”

“We will increase market access for Ontario’s VQA wines.”

“The Ontario Marketing Investment Fund needs to be expanded to invest in local supply chains, including regional food hubs to link farmers directly with restaurants and consumers. We will extend funding for the Ontario Marketing Investment Fund for a further three years.”

“We will assist businesses, farmers, processors, and local community organizations to develop materials and advertising that will inform consumers of what products are available locally and how/where they can purchase them.”

“We will examine a range of measures to give small wineries more access to more Ontarians including allowing wine to be sold at designated farmers markets. We will work with the LCBO to guarantee more shelf space to independently-produced wines. We will also increase the Ontario grape content in “cellared in Canada” wines to support Ontario wineries.”

“Our support for local food has included:

The Ontario Farmers’ Market Strategy — to help make it easier for people to buy food directly from Ontario farmers.

The Ontario Market Investment Fund — giving more than 200 retailers, local food networks and processors the business tools they need to promote local food and capture a growing demand for Ontario products.

The Foodland Ontario program — supporting ongoing collaboration with Ontario’s retail and food service sectors to promote Ontario producers and processors and their products.”

“The Green Party will support farmers with a tax credit package of $435 million over four years to seek out new markets, alternative revenue streams and higher value markets such as organic production.”

“Our plan will help foster local marketing and distribution systems by investing in rural infrastructure, research and innovation, bio-based manufacturing products, distribution hubs, farmer co-ops, and organic and specialty crops to support farm incomes.”

“We will support local branding and education projects that assist famers in obtaiing higher returns for their products.”

“We will invest additional funds in health promotion to make it easier for people make healthy choices. We have been strong advocates for community-based, preventative health care, and have committed to investing in community health centres and nurse practitioner led clinics.”

“If elected, the NDP will invest additional funds in health promotion. Will also introduce legislation to ban advertising of junk food advertising aimed at children and will make calorie labeling on menus in large chain restaurants the law.”

“Investing in health promotion and prevention will be an important component of our 2011 election platform. Ontario Liberals believe that investing in health promotion and prevention will not only lead to a healthier, more productive Ontario, but will reduce the growth of our health care expenditure. Each year, more than one quarter of our health care budget is spent treating conditions that are entirely preventable if Ontarians were to eat better, exercise more and quit smoking.”

“Ontario Liberals have taken significant steps to encourage healthy eating in the province. For example, we launched the EatRight Ontario (ERO) service in July 2007. It is an interactive web- and phone-based call centre, available toll-free, provincewide in 110 languages. In 2011, we are investing $3 million in this service — one of our key programs supporting the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport in diabetes prevention.”

“The Green Party will make health promotion and illness prevention a top priority. We must integrate health promotion fully into our health care delivery system, and make the connections between strong, sustainable communities, air and water quality and their effects on our health.”

“We will expand incentive programs to pay farmers who set aside and protect land. We will invest $4.5 million over 3 years to expand the successful Alternative Land Use Services pilot project in Norfolk County to 3 new locations.”

“We will spend $10 million over three years to help 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.”

“We will provide farmers and landowners with hands-on assistance in identifying and conserving critical habitat and will ensure that landowners are not penalized for doing the right thing for the environment.”

“Since 2005, we have supported more than 20,000 on-farm projects that help protect our environment. Ontario Liberals have also worked closely with farmers on innovative solutions to protect the environment, such as our new program to protect the endangered bobolink by promoting and providing incentives to farmers for stewardship. We will continue to work with farmers to craft environmental solutions that protect both our environment and our farms.”

“The Green Party believes it is time to expand the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program in Ontario. We will invest $100 million over four years for an ALUS program to reward farmers for good stewardship practices including promoting biodiversity, preserving wildlife and habitat, storing carbon and ensuring clean water.”

“We will complete the closure of coal powered plants by 2014.”

“We will end the feed-in-tariff program that, in some cases, pays up to 15 times the usual cost of the hydro. Hardworking farmers and other Ontarians who signed contracts to host energy production on their property will have their contracts honoured. But there will be no more of these deals.”

“We will exceed the current targets for renewable energy with 10,700 MW in 2018 and will commit to at least 5,000 MW of additional green power by 2030.”

“We will maintain the Feed-In-Tariff program for small and community-based projects.”

“For new larger renewable projects we will move towards public ownership. Ontario Power Generation will contract out for large projects with an affordable and transparent process to ensure economic benefits and environmental protection. We will respect existing contracts and move carefully to ensure we continue the momentum towards renewable energy.”

“The FIT and microFIT programs have been a tremendous success for our farmers. The stable long-term income from these contracts improves the viability of agriculture, easing financial pressures and enabling farmers to spend more time on the farm. Farmers and community groups can earn up to $10,000/year while generating clean energy for our grid and supporting Ontario jobs.”

“The Green Party will support farmers in seeking alternative revenue streams, including increasing income through energy generation on their farms. We will eliminate tax penalties and reduce zoning restrictions so that farmers know that they can invest in their businesses without placing them at a competitive disadvantage.”

“All Ontarians should have the option to become renewable energy producers, earning income by generating clean, green power for the grid. The Green Party will promote a FIT program that prioritizes grid access for locally owned and community-based energy projects.”

“We are proud to support the Student Nutrition Program as part of our Poverty Reduction Strategy. We are investing $18 million annually, quadrupling the amount since 2003, to help Ontario students access fresh food at school. The program supports close to 600,000 students each year in communities across Ontario. In 2010 alone, over 68 million breakfasts, lunches and snacks were served to children in need.”

“With the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Porcupine Health Unit, Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport (MHPS) and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), we are providing fresh produce to 36 schools in the Porcupine region through the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program. This pilot program began at 24 schools in 2006-2007, through a $500,000-investment, and was expanded to 36 schools in 2007-2008.”

“We will create a Council on Childhood Obesity whose goal will be a 20% reduction of the childhood obesity rate within 5 years. We’ll start by providing all elementary school children with a healthy snack program, exposing more students to fresh, nutritious foods and building healthy eating habits.”

“Now is the time to lay the foundation for a provincial school snack and lunch program that makes healthy, local, and sustainable food available in all of our schools. The Green Party will invest $200 million over four years in a comprehensive, healthy school food program.”

“We will work with teachers and education stakeholers to explore ways to strengthen food and nutrition education.”

“Ontario Liberals are committed to promoting student health and making schools healthier places to learn because the well-being of our children and youth depends on a healthy, active lifestyle. That is why we expanded and enhanced the role of healthy eating in the updated elementary Health and Physical Education curriculum (2010). The curriculum gives students the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy eating choices.”

“We also created a pilot program, “Eating Well Looks Good On You,” with Chef David Racco. It created healthy, easy recipes students could make and share with their families. Through our Specialist High Skills Majors, we also help students prepare for careers as chefs, dieticians and nutritionists. Their experience, including co-op placements, gives them the background in the healthy, nutritious cooking and farming they need to be successful in the future. We will continue to work with our partners to create new ways of supporting healthy eating in schools.”

“The Green Party will increase food literacy for families and children by adding food preparation and nutrition education courses to after-school and community programming. We will also reintroduce food preparation courses to the high school curriculum.”

“We would also build on the Healthy Food for Healthy Schools Act to make healthy eating the easy choice for all students.”

“There is great potential for greening of playgrounds and school grounds and involving students in gardening and cooking activities. Unfortunately, many schools are struggling just to pay for basic repairs. The NDP will work to increase support for infrastructure investments in schools.”

“The NDP will support efforts to encourage school cafeterias to serve healthy, fresh and local food. As mentioned, we are committed to ensuring that a percentage of food sold in schools and hospitals is sourced from local, Ontario farmers.”

“We also support the ban on pop and candy sales in elementary school vending machines which takes place in September. We are concerned however that junk food and pop will continue to be sold in high schools (in part because high schools rely on revenues from deals with soft drink companies). Schools should not be forced to sign deals with junk food companies to cover the basics of education. We also oppose proposals to allow advertising in schools, such as through TVs in high schools hallways. Indeed, we have proposed a ban on junk food advertising to children.”

“The well-being of our children and youth depends on a healthy, active lifestyle. That is why we are committed to promoting student health and making schools healthier places to learn, including the School Food and Beverage Policy, to be implemented this fall. We want to create an environment where the healthiest choices are the easiest choices for students to make. The policy builds on other initiatives we have introduced, including banning junk food in our schools and 20 minutes of mandatory daily physical activity for elementary school students.”

“We have taken steps to help more students gain exposure and experience with school kitchens and gardens. We support the Ontario EcoSchools program, which helps students plant gardens and green space on school grounds.”

“Community-based food programs help people build skills, access food, and connect with others. They build strong communities. The NDP will take action to support the expansion of urban agriculture and community gardens.”

“Ontario Liberals have provided over $21 million to more than 360 provincial and community organizations across Ontario to create local health promotion programs and services that benefit approximately 500,000 Ontarians since 2009 through the Healthy Communities Fund (HCF). The HCF has been established to help deliver a wide range of services focusing on physical activity, healthy eating, injury prevention, tobacco use, substance and alcohol misuse, and mental health promotion at the community level.”

“The Green Party of Ontario will invest $200 million over four years for a Good Food fund, to support community food centres and food security programs. We will also introduce a Producers’ Donation Tax Credit for farmers who make healthy food available through donations to food banks, food security, and food access organizations.”

“We will start by increasing the minimum wage to $11 an hour this year and then tie future increases to the cost of living. We will reduce the clawback on social assistance benefits from people with disabilities when they take a job, and ensure that Ontario Works rates keep pace with inflation. And we will support seniors by developing an Ontario Retirement Plan for the two out of three Ontarians who do not have a workplace pension.”

“We will also make life more affordable by taking the HST off daily essentials like electricity, home heating and gas. And we will work with municipalities to freeze transit fares.”

“In 2008, we set a goal of reducing child poverty by 25%. To do that, we raised the minimum wage seven times, strengthened employment standards and introduced the Ontario Child Benefit. As a result, child poverty actually fell between 2008 and 2009 – despite the recession – 19,000 children and their families have moved out of poverty.”

“Over a million children now receive the Ontario Child Benefit and we have seen the number of single-parent families on social assistance drop from 42% in 2002 to 30% today. We’ll build on that success by increasing the Ontario Child Benefit from $1,100 to $1,310 in 2013.”

“Next, we’ll consider delivering a new housing benefit for Ontarians who are struggling and we will ask our experts working on the Social Assistance review to develop options. We’ll work with municipalities, non-profits and developers to identify opportunities to help create affordable housing. We will also set the next poverty reduction target to continue making progress on this important issue.”

“Community food centres promote food security and increase access to healthy local food for Ontarians who need it. Our investments will focus on community food programs that promote access to healthy food, community gardens, and cooking and nutrition classes.”

“Green MPPs will advocate for the expansion of food sharing programs like the Good Food Box program to target priority populations and neighbourhoods, with a particular focus on First Nations and children. We will build partnerships with local food retailers to sell subsidized boxes, and conduct research and program evaluation on the value of dollars spent on programs that improve food security.”

“We will deliver the business risk management program that the Ontario PC Party has long championed.”

“We will also protect supply management for farmers.”

“We will fund the planned expansion of the risk management program to include cattle, sheep, pork and veal, and horticulture. We support the inclusion of the honey industry in this program to reflect the critical role played by bees in pollination and biodiversity.”

“We strongly support supply management to protect farmers.”

“Ontario Liberals have delivered on their promise to Ontario farmers by creating a permanent Risk Management Program for all of the non-supply managed commodities: cattle, hogs, grains and oilseeds, sheep, veal, vegetables and fruits. This program gives our farmers the predictability, bankability and stability they need to focus on what they do best — providing us with the good things that grow in Ontario.”

“Ontario Liberals believe supply management provides opportunities for growth, and contributes to a strong economy, so we will continue to support it in international trade talks and fight for its place in Canadian farming.”

“The Green Party will support farmers with a tax credit package of $435 million over four years to seek out new markets, alternative revenue streams and higher value markets such as organic production.”

“Our plan will help foster local marketing and distribution systems by investing in rural infrastructure, research and innovation, bio-based manufacturing products, distribution hubs, farmer co-ops, and organic and specialty crops to support farm incomes.”

“We will support innovative programs to assist farmers in developing new business models and sources of revenue. We will also support local branding and education projects that assist farmers in obtaining higher returns for their products.”

“Our plan also involves reform and expansion of organic crop insurance programs to cover producers of all organic commodities.”

“Our rural communities need investments in modern food processing facilities that can help farmers get their products into local stores and in markets around the world. Rural infrastructure provides consumers with the opportunity to purchase fresh, local foods in Ontario stores and markets.”

“The Green Party of Ontario plans to improve income stabilization programs so they are more accessible for family farms, cover a wider range of products and don’t penalize farmers who experience bad years.”

“The Green Party supports a permanent, Business Risk Management Program that is more accessible for a diverse range of farms and doesn’t penalize farmers who experience bad years. We will also support efforts to bring the federal government to the table to support a business risk management program.”

“The Green Party will work with the farm community and other stakeholders to develop effective programs to manage losses from wildlife.”

“Strong farms are vital to a strong Ontario. Like every business, our farms have been hit hard by sneaky tax grabs, excessive red tape, and skyrockiting hydro bills. At the same time, farming comes with some unique challenges. We must meet those challenges to see farmers succeed and maintian farming as an attractive career choice for the next generation.”

“We will help young farmers get a start. We will create a new apprenticeship program for young people to develop the skills they need for a successful farming career. Rural employers will be eligible for our training tax credit to help them invest in Ontario agricultural workers.”

“Support is needed for young farmer organizations as they fulfill the important role of identifying challenges and developing solutions that work for young and beginning farmers.”

“We will work with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the National Farmers’ Union and Young Farmer organizations to develop incentives and programs to support succession planning of a farm between generations.”

“Our Risk Management Program (RMP) is one of the most important things we can do to help new farmers. It provides them with the predictability, stability and bankability new and young farmers need when they enter the farming business. In building the program, we specifically sought to address the unique challenges faced by new and beginning farmers, which is why new and beginning livestock farmers may enter the RMP at any time throughout the program year, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements.”

“Earlier this year, we announced changes to the Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program, which supports short-term loans for buying cattle and allows farmers to negotiate lower interest rates. This is especially helpful to new farmers in that it helps them build their base. In fact, right now a full one-quarter of the users of this program are new farmers. That is why we have extended the coverage available through this program from $80 million to $130 million. This will help many new farmers enter the sector.”

“Another positive change we have made to help new farmers is to exempt the land transfer tax for farms that changes ownership between members of the same family — helping to preserve and strengthen our farms and help keep them in the family.”

“The Green Party of Ontario will introduce refundable tax credits that support peer-based internship and training programs to assist new farmers. We support having OMAFRA staff partner with non-profit organizations such as FarmStart, CRAFT and others developing training programs for new farmers. Further, we will provide refundable tax credits to farmers transitioning to production systems that earn higher margins for farmers such as organic and Local Food Plus certification.”

“The Green Party of Ontario will support and work with new farmers in developing access to grants and affordable loans to facilitate access to capital for new farmers. We will support OMAFRA programs to assist new farmers with business planning and partner with organizations such as FarmStart and CRAFT that support new farmers.”

“The Green Party supports legislation enabling new financial instruments such as community bonds to assist in financing small business start-ups and community ventures. New farmers could potentially use these instruments to capitalize their business operations.”

“The NDP has regularly raised concerns about the need to better protect prime farmland from proposed developments, new highways and quarries. We argued for stronger protections in the Lake Simcoe Act. We voiced deep concern about special zoning orders allowing unsustainable development in Bradford-West Gwillimbury. We have raised concern – and will continue to raise concern – about planned highway expansions that threaten the Greenbelt, such as the Bradford by-pass, the 404 extension, and the Mid-Peninsula highway.”” Despite plans to prevent sprawl and plan development, it keeps happening.”

“We will put an end to government backroom deals to exempt developers from growth limits, such as those set out in the Greenbelt Act, and we will balance the playing field when it comes to new development, by putting an end to developer “SLAPP” lawsuits used to silence local opposition to mega-projects.”

“The NDP would work with municipalities that have expressed interest in expanding the Greenbelt. The NDP will undertake a full and open review of the Greenbelt in 2015, and do everything possible to strengthen and expand the Greenbelt in order to keep urban sprawl in check and protect valuable Ontario farmland.”

“Ontario Liberals are protecting Ontario’s prime farmland and greenspaces from development through the establishment of Ontario’s Greenbelt, which is the size of Prince Edward Island.”

“Our planning policies have sought to ensure that prime agricultural land is protected from things like urban creep. We have maintained policies that do not allow large parcels of agricultural land to be severed for residential purposes.”

“Through our landmark Green Energy Act, Ontario Liberals have specifically sought to protect prime agricultural land by mandating that no renewable energy projects — wind or solar — will be permitted on Class 1 or 2 farmland.”

“We’ll build on our successes and work with our municipal partners to expand the Greenbelt to further protect our land from urban sprawl.”

“We are committed to making the Greenbelt permanent and to modifying the Greenbelt Act to prevent further urban sprawl. We support freezing urban boundaries around Greenbelt municipalities, and other prime farmland, and allowing new construction only on land already zoned urban.”

“We support changes to the Development Charges Act so that new developments, not taxpayers, pay for their full cost. We will also protect municipally-identified agricultural, rural, and natural heritage sites such as the Niagara Escarpment.”

“Urban sprawl, highway construction and industrial activities pose threats to the Greenbelt, our watersheds and prime farmland. The Green Party has and will continue to oppose unsustainable and ill-conceived projects, such as the Melancthon Mega-Quarry, that threaten these areas.”

“We will support the development of an inter-ministerial food and nutrition policy.”

“We have invested $6 million through our Broader Public Sector (BPS) Investment Fund to help increase the amount of fresh, healthy and delicious local foods in our municipalities, universities, colleges, schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and day care centres. Many of the projects supported through the BPS Investment Fund included local and regional efforts to promote local food.”

“The BPS Investment Fund will help to connect farmers, food processors and distributors with schools, hospitals, and municipalities and strengthen the supply chain. As part of this, we will be looking at ways to better integrate local efforts into a provincewide program.”

“We have also supported our regional and local efforts to promote local food through the Ontario Market Investment Fund, which has given 200 retailers, local food networks and processors the business tools they need to promote local food and capture a growing demand for Ontario products.”

“The Green Party plans to establish an Ontario Food and Farming Policy Council to coordinate planning across ministries and consult diverse stakeholders. This council will advise the government on agricultural policies, plans and strategies, including the development of the Ontario Food and Farming Strategy. This coordination will help avoid the creation of contradictory policies, regulations, and decisions that have unintended consequences to family farmers, processors and retailers across the province.”