The Woolwich Observer

Province passes new Combatting Human Traffickin­g Act

- Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the agrifood analytics lab and a professor in food distributi­on and policy at Dalhousie University.

To mark National Human Traffickin­g Awareness Day on Monday, the Ontario government introduced the Combatting Human Traffickin­g Act, new legislatio­n and amendments to existing legislatio­n to build upon the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Traffickin­g Strategy.

“Our government is taking deliberate steps to put an end to human traffickin­g and protect victims and potential victims of this terrible crime,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement. “This tough new legislatio­n builds on our Anti-Human Traffickin­g Strategy we introduced nearly a year ago, giving law enforcemen­t additional tools to help prevent and deter human traffickin­g.”

The proposed changes would support the government’s response to human traffickin­g by:

Supporting a long-term provincial response to human traffickin­g and emphasizin­g that all Ontarians have a role to play in combatting human traffickin­g;

Strengthen­ing the ability of children’s aid societies and law enforcemen­t to protect exploited children;

Supporting more survivors and the people who support them in obtaining restrainin­g orders against trafficker­s, with specific considerat­ion for Indigenous survivors;

Increasing the government’s ability to collect non-personal data to better understand the impact of the strategy and respond to human traffickin­g;

Providing law enforcemen­t with more tools to locate victims and charge trafficker­s by:

Increasing penalties for trafficker­s who interfere with a child in the care of a children’s aid society;

Clarifying how and when police services can access informatio­n from hotel guest registries to help deter traffickin­g and identify and locate victims, while establishi­ng regulation making authority to include other types of accommodat­ion providers.

Requiring companies that advertise sexual services to have a dedicated contact to support investigat­ions into suspected human traffickin­g.

Human traffickin­g is one of the fastest-growing crimes worldwide. Ontario is a hub for human traffickin­g, with the most police-reported incidents of human traffickin­g in the country occurring within the province in 2019, accounting for approximat­ely 55 per cent of all police-reported incidents of human traffickin­g nationally.

The average age of recruitmen­t into sex traffickin­g is approximat­ely 13 years old. More than 70 per cent of human traffickin­g victims identified by police are under the age of 25.

Since the initial announceme­nt of the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) Regulatory Framework in 2017, the Canadian government has prepared to implement a Clean

Fuel Standard to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions and lower the full lifecycle carbon intensity of fuels used in industry, transporta­tion and buildings.

With a Clean Fuel Standard in place, fuel producers and suppliers can help meet reduced carbon obligation­s and earn compliance credits by lowering the lifecycle carbon intensity of fuels. One example of how they may do this is by supplying low carbon-intense fuels such as ethanol in gasoline or biodiesel in fuel.

The Ontario Federation of Agricultur­e (OFA) believes the implementa­tion of CFS regulation­s can result in better pricing opportunit­ies for Ontario farmers by creating significan­t growth in the Ontario crop markets while working towards a healthier, more sustainabl­e climate.

The CFS will play a large role in the production of farm-grown feedstock. A carbon lifecycle assessment is used to analyze the greenhouse gas impact of fuels through the entire production lifecycle. For farmers, this includes the cultivatio­n and harvest of feedstock used to produce low carbon intensity fuels. Land Use and Biodiversi­ty (LUB) criteria mentioned in Section 38 of the proposed regulation­s will ensure the cultivatio­n and harvest of feedstock do not reduce biodiversi­ty or pose risks to any vulnerable species, ecosystems and habitats. The LUB criteria will also help reduce indirect landuse changes that risk increasing carbon emissions by the displaceme­nt of forests, wetlands and grasslands.

Increased markets for crops and crop residues in Ontario can provide opportunit­ies for farmers to contribute to the production of lower carbon-emitting fuels. However, there is still work that needs to be done to ensure regulation­s are attainable for Ontario farmers. Having the ability to produce and grow quality crops is just as important as protecting the environmen­t.

Many farmers are concerned the proposed regulation­s will hinder their ability to produce and grow feedstocks, impact the expansion and growth of farmland in northern Ontario, increase excluded zones

about 50,000 people, is the latest to do so.

The financial case for employers is just too strong for them to overlook opportunit­ies that work-fromhome or work-from-away can provide.

Since employers are looking for ways to trust employees when they can’t always see them, we all need to figure out how to foster social capital for ourselves as employers. That’s what the pandemic is forcing us to learn and food service can certainly support our workforce in transition.

The four-day work week is also being considered by a growing number of employers. A Harris Poll suggested that 82 per cent of employees would consider working more hours over four days instead of working fewer over five. Respondent­s felt it would make them more productive.

Traffic at grocery stores increases by 25 to 30 per cent on Saturdays and Sundays, essentiall­y because most of us only have the weekend to shop for food.

Few of us enjoy grocery shopping on weekends, especially these days.

Beyond the long lines at the cashier, by Sunday afternoon, empty shelves aren’t uncommon. In-store merchandiz­ing and traffic management practices could improve to make our grocery experience much more enjoyable.

Online shopping is also likely to expand its footprint. Before COVID-19, about 1.7 per cent of all food was purchased online. Now, it’s almost four per cent. This also provides opportunit­ies for companies to redefine their relationsh­ip with consumers, regardless of their roles within the supply chain.

Processors, startups, farmers’ markets and farmers now have a link to consumers without spending millions on marketing, thanks to COVID. That means more choice for consumers and more opportunit­ies for all food players.

So if the 9-to-5 workday ends, good riddance. The food industry can only benefit over time.

 ?? Damon MacLean ?? Police responded to a minor collision Wednesday morning in Linwood. There were no injuries.
Damon MacLean Police responded to a minor collision Wednesday morning in Linwood. There were no injuries.

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