THE VOICE OF ONTARIO'S FRUIT, VEGETABLE
AND GREENHOUSE PRODUCERS FOROVER 150 YEARS

Standing policy: Property

The OFVGA believes in the protection of private property and strongly supports charging individuals convicted of stealing, malicious damage, and other activities that affect farm property.

The OFVGA is a strong proponent of producers’ rights to protect farm property from damage by wildlife (deer) and fowl (Canada Geese).

  • Ag land initiatives (08-15)

    WHEREAS, agricultural lands in Ontario have similar land use restrictions as have been imposed on the Greenbelt through legislation and,

    WHEREAS, the Greenbelt Foundation funds agricultural initiatives to nurture the viability of the primary agricultural activities within the Greenbelt,

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that agriculture lands throughout Ontario be eligible for the same level of support as has been designated to the Greenbelt

  • Agricultural classification for horticultural waste management (2012-04)

    WHEREAS, greenhouse production has always been deemed an agricultural activity; and

    WHEREAS the greenhouse sector has been working for the past two years in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and OMAFRA to develop a strategy that both protects Ontario’s natural resources and supports continued growth of the greenhouse vegetable sector; and

    WHEREAS the MOE has commenced regulating greenhouse vegetable producers utilizing what has been an industrial process requiring Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA’s) for various processes involved in the management of storm water and nutrient effluent; and

    WHEREAS the MOE has similarly started requiring ECA’s from field vegetable producers for managing vegetable wash water; and

    WHEREAS applying for and maintaining an ECA is a costly, time-consuming process which in MOE’s plan is essentially a prerequisite to production that will be required whether or not there are environmental management problems on a farm operation; and

    WHEREAS resources expended on an ECA are resources that are not available to directly carry out any necessary environmental improvements on a farm, since approvals in and of themselves do not address environmental remediation; and

    WHEREAS ECA’s are not required as a prerequisite for any other agricultural production,

    THEREFORE be it resolved the OF&VGA lobby the Ontario Government even if it requires outside resources, to ensure that environmental regulation of the horticulture sector take place in a manner that respects the unique role that agriculture plays in the natural environment, and which is consistent with the regulatory processes utilized in other sectors of Ontario agriculture.

  • Competitively Priced Electricity (2016-10)

    COMPETITIVELY PRICED ELECTRICITY (2016-10)    

    WHEREAS the Ontario greenhouse sector is ready to expand, creating jobs and investing heavily in the Ontario economy both through the expansion of acreage and through the move to 12-month production allowing Ontario growers to: retain and expand their market share, edge out competing imports during the winter and shoulder seasons, and contribute to meeting the Premier’s challenge to Agri-food, ensuring a secure food supply for Ontarians through the winter months; and

    WHEREAS year round production will require an investment in innovative lighting strategies and the ability to access competitively priced electricity is critical to ensuring the economic success of this transition; and

    WHEREAS electricity rates in Ontario have risen sharply over the past 10 years to the point of being non-competitive as compared to neighbouring jurisdictions; and

    WHEREAS the inclusion of the greenhouse sector in the Industrial Electricity Incentive (IEI) and Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) programs were positive first steps, these programs have seen reduced uptake due to a misalignment between program requirements and greenhouse production cycles,

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario Government to continue to work with the greenhouse sector to put in place programs that allow growers to access competitively priced electricity, allowing the sector to grow and innovate through lighted 12-month production in Ontario.

  • Deer damage compensation (02-01)

    WHEREAS wildlife population seem to be out of control, and

    WHEREAS two years cropping of apples are lost due to browsing by wildlife.

    THEREFORE be it resolved that OFVGA request the Government of Ontario to develop a plan of compensation to fruit and vegetable growers for their losses due to deer browsing and other wildlife damage.

  • Energy Infrastructure For Economic Development (2016-11)

    ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (2016-11) 

    WHEREAS the current Ontario Energy Board (OEB) beneficiary-pay model of energy infrastructure development places most of the cost and risk associated with, what is essentially, public infrastructure on those wishing to invest or expand in Ontario; and

    WHEREAS this in combination with non-competitive Ontario electricity rates acts as a deterrent to investment and growth in the province;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario Government to take a more fulsome view of economic development that ensures the mandate of the provincial energy regulators directly supports the Premier’s growth challenge to both Agri-Food and to the economy in general.

  • Engergy issues (LR2009-06)

    WHEREAS; the Provincial Government has allegedly moved into a direction looking at alternative energy sources, such as ethanol, wind, solar – even conservation; and

    WHEREAS; this Provincial Government has stated publicly, through the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture that it will continue to seek movement away from fossil fuels, especially coal, in favour of better, environmentally-friendly, renewable alternatives for electricity production; and

    WHEREAS the construction of natural gas powered peaker plants, some single cycle with energy efficiency rates in the mid-20 percentile, others constructed as combined cycle with slightly higher efficiency rates, but all being leaders in greenhouse gas emissions, is a detriment to Ontario farmers fight to clean up our environment and reduce our own carbon footprint through the Buy Local programs throughout the province.

    WHEREAS these facilities, in addition to causing devastating environmental impacts relating to climate change, spew toxic particulate matter that are the leading causes of lung diseases and cancer.

    AND WHEREAS these facilities, under the mandate of the Ontario Power Authority [OPA] (and the Ministry of Energy), are beginning to be constructed throughout Ontario’s countryside and in farm areas, such as North Dumfries township, outside Kingston, in locations in Northern Ontario, and in the Holland Marsh;

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA, in conjunction with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, lobby for a cease and desist order from the Ministry of Energy on behalf of farmers throughout the province impacted by the arbitrary decisions of a biased “independent” panel, run by the OPA, until such time as environmental studies (on both muck and mineral soils), global research (regarding peaker facilities), and a better understanding of the potentially devastating destruction that can be rendered upon prime agricultural land can be better understood; and

    AND BE IT FURTHER resolved that OFVGA petition that all facilities – present and future – be put on hold until the Ministry of Energy undergoes a series of better designed public consultation processes that will enable comments to be heard in time for appropriate decisions to be rendered; that the needs of all of society, including the right to access of safe, healthy food is ensured; and that society – including agriculture – benefits from alternative energy resources.

  • Environmental Farm Plan (2011-02)

    WHEREAS the response to the Environmental Farm Plan illustrates the environmental commitment of farmers across Ontario and their willingness to engage in projects that reduce environmental risk

    WHEREAS almost 12,000 farm businesses completed  "Action Plans" through the Environmental Farm Plan 3rd Edition Workbook and were deemed appropriate.

    WHEREAS in less than one week of opening the door to project applications for 2010 cropping year, all available project budget funds were used up.

    THEREFORE be it resolved that OFVGA lobby government for additional funding for environmental improvement projects for Ontario farmers.

  • Funding support required for “On-farm food safety" and “nutrient and water management" (03-08)

    WHEREAS Ontario’s agricultural producers are coming under severe pressure to meet government “On-Farm Food Safety” and “Nutrient and Water Management” standards, and

    WHEREAS these improvements are necessary and for the public good, and

    WHEREAS there are currently no cost-shared programs available to producers for this purpose.

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA and CHC immediately solicit OMAF and/or AAFC to introduce programs, which would provide 75% cost-shared funding to producers to make required improvements to meet “On-Farm Food Safety” and “Nutrient and Water Management” standards.

  • Further addressing grower concerns regarding Greenbelt expansions (LR2009-13)

    WHEREAS there are additional concerns regarding farmland property devaluations including but not limited to Greenbelt expansion and municipal farmland preservation for perpetuity.

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the property section add these concerns regarding farmland devaluation to be in need of compensation before farmland is so designated

  • GST / HST classification (00-03)

    WHEREAS the majority of agriculture equipment is 0 rated for GST/HST purposes and

    WHEREAS a number of major comparable equipment inputs in the horticultural industry are not 0 rated for GST/HST

    THERFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby Revenue Canada to include amendments to GST/HST that include major horticultural equipment expenses in the 0 rated provision of the Excise Tax Act

  • Irrigation Under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) (LR2018-16)

    IRRIGATION UNDER THE ONTARIO WATER RESOURCES ACT (OWRA) (LR2018-16)

    WHEREAS the OWRA has far reaching implications for future water use through restrictions and,

    WHEREAS the declaration of a level three (3) drought as a result of the Low Water Response process, requires mandatory water restrictions and,

    WHEREAS the only essential water uses listed are:

    1)For human consumption

    2)For human waste disposal

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the irrigation of food crops be moved from important to essential under the Ontario Water Resources Act.

     

  • Land use - agricultural preserve (03-09)

    WHEREAS there has been progressively increasing pressures to establish an Agricultural Land Preserve in the Niagara Peninsula, and

    WHEREAS changes to land use legislation would affect significant numbers of horticultural producers across Ontario.

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA adopt the position that if a government or governmental agency implements a policy initiative for restrictive covenants or agricultural preserves, then the affected landowners must be fairly and reasonably compensated for the interest in the property given up.

  • Large Fill Sites in Agricultural Land (2016-07)

    LARGE FILL SITES IN AGRICULTURAL LAND (2016-07)

    WHEREAS farmland needs to be protected in Ontario so it can stay productive; and

    WHEREAS there is a lot of pressure from both urban Ontario and people interested in hosting dumps to get rich quick

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Ontario Municipalities stop large fill sites from being placed in agricultural land

  • Niagara Escarpment Commission (2017-03)

    NIAGARA ESCARPMENT COMMISSION (2017-03)

    WHEREAS the Niagara Escarpment Commission is considering increasing the size of the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP); and

    WHEREAS the inclusion of more property in the NEP strips the landowner of the rights to make the best business management, and property management decisions for their land;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the government of Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment Commission to stop any and all increases to the amount of property included in the NEP.

  • NMP resources and funding (01-06)

    WHEREAS the Province of Ontario through legislation may expand the need for Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) for horticulture that includes nutrients from commercial fertilizers, and

    WHEREAS the OMAFRA computer program NMAN was designed for livestock namure management, and

    WHEREAS there is no research being done on horticulture crops in regards to NMP’s and crop uptake of nutrients,

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby the Province of Ontario for additional research funding and personal for horticulture in order to provide proper documentation and information for an OMAFRA based NMP computer program for horticulture

  • Permit to take water charges (05-05)

    WHEREAS water used for agricultural irrigation is a non-consumptive use of water and

    WHEREAS no public infrastructure is involved in transportation of irrigation water in Ontario

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA take forth the message that no fee(s) should be associated with the Permit to Take Water for agricultural use

     

  • Property assessments (99-02)

    WHEREAS the Ministry of Finance, through the Owen Sound assessment office, has identified apple storage operating under a corporate structure, and charging a rental fee, as being in a Commercial or Industrial class, and

    WHEREAS this policy appears to be inconsistent between corporations, and

    WHEREAS this method of taxation may also impact many other companies storing various agricultural commodities throughout Ontario,

    THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA petition the Ministry of Finance and OMAFRA to recognize the act of storing perishable agricultural commodities, by a farmer, as an integral aspect of the farming operation, and

    BE IT FURTHER resolved that buildings storing such commodities remain in the Farm class, for taxation purposes, regardless of type of ownership.

  • Property tax increases (LR2013-15)

    WHEREAS farmers are facing dramatic property tax increases,

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA work to minimize property taxes for farmers

  • Rapidly Increasing Electricity Rates (2016-02)

    RAPIDLY INCREASING ELECTRICITY RATES (2016-02)

    WHEREAS Ontario has been subject to rapidly increasing electricity rates; and

    WHEREAS the cooling and/or processing of horticultural products is an energy intensive activity; and

    WHEREAS the economic viability of the horticultural sector is under pressure due to these high electricity rates

    THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA lobby the Government of Ontario to establish an agricultural electricity rate comparable to those of geographically close provinces and states. 

  • Water permits (LR2009-08)

    WHEREAS; there appears to be great confusion over water taking permits in Ontario; and

    WHEREAS; the OFVGA has employed a new water expert – surface only – under a cost-recovery program where farmers will pay both the association and the government for a process that is confusing, demeaning, and wasteful at the best of times; and

    WHEREAS; the concept of clean water and the cost of such a program appears to have been squarely placed upon the backs of farmers;

    AND WHEREAS; society continues to bear none of these costs of either clean-up or infrastructure;

    THEREFORE, be it resolved that the OFVGA, despite the hiring of a water expert to help with the ridiculously complicated process, lobby the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs for more clearly defined rights to water for farmers throughout Ontario and reduce the levels of bureaucracy that exist surrounding the Permit to Take Water process;

    AND FUTHER be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario government to NOT charge a fee for the Permit to Take Water – which could return to the budget table as a means of raising revenue over the next few years nor comply farmers to absorb the cost of meters being placed throughout all locations of the province.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if the Ministry of the Environment is that intent on a meter on each intake source, for every farmer who renews a permit or requests a new one, then the MOE should be the body responsible for the cost of said meter – not the farmer

  • Wildlife management (06-07)

    WHEREAS berry growers are facing increased pressure from wildlife including deer, bears and

    wild turkeys, and

    WHEREAS growers are unable to legally defend their crops from wildlife damage, and

    WHEREAS growers need the flexibility to protect their crops from further damage;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OBGA strongly request to the Ontario Government that Wildlife Management of deer, bears, & wild turkeys must be improved, so that grower may control (kill) wild life and stop the destruction of all fruit crops by these animals.