OFA urges mem­bers to keep is­sues on front burner

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

By Crispin Colvin,

Di­rec­tor, On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of

Agri­cul­ture The bar­be­cue and sum­mer event sea­son is upon us. For most On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­ture (OFA) mem­bers it’s time for catch­ing up and en­joy­ing lo­cal On­tario fare. This so­cial sea­son is also an op­por­tu­nity to ad­vo­cate for is­sues im­pact­ing On­tario agri­cul­ture and your farm busi­ness.

The sum­mer bar­be­cue sea­son of­ten fea­tures com­mu­nity events with politi­cians, mu­nic­i­pal coun-

On­tario’s agri-food in­dus­try is alarmed by the gov­ern­ment’s Chang­ing Work­places Re­view. Farm­ers are em­ploy­ers too, and the min­i­mum wage in­crease will have nega­tive im­pacts on our farm busi­nesses and On­tario’s agri-food in­dus­try. Rais­ing min­i­mum wage will make On­tario farm­ers and agri-food busi­nesses less com­pet­i­tive, threaten food se­cu­rity and un­der­mine the sus­tain­abil­ity and va­ri­ety of On­tario agri­cul­tural prod­ucts. Farm em­ploy­ers need to main­tain the cur­rent, flex­i­ble ap­proach to

Ru­ral eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment a pri­or­ity for fed­er­a­tion

em­ploy­ing farm work­ers within the Em­ploy­ment Stan­dards Act, com­ing up for re­view in fall 2017. Any changes made to the agri­cul­tural ex­emp­tions un­der the Em­ploy­ment Stan­dards Act will fur­ther com­pound the com­pet­i­tive pres­sures.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment needs to rec­og­nize ru­ral On­tario’s tremen­dous growth po­ten­tial. Ru­ral On­tario growth is af­ford­able with smart in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments. OFA is ask­ing the gov­ern­ment for re­li­able high speed in­ter­net, low cost en­ergy op­tions like nat­u­ral gas, lo­cal schools and re­li­able so­cial ser­vices. Th­ese ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments will sup­port the vi­a­bil­ity and growth of farms, ru­ral busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties and pay div­i­dends.

OFA en­cour­ages mem­bers to speak up for our agri-food in­dus­try when­ever the op­por­tu­nity arises. Take the op­por­tu­nity this sum­mer to at­tend com­mu­nity events and bar­be­cues and share your rea­sons why ru­ral On­tario needs sup­port from all lev­els of gov­ern­ment.

SLOWLY BUT SURELY: sea­son. Fields of soya beans are ma­tur­ing de­spite a wet start to the grow­ing

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