From a Release
In the spring of 2011, farmer leaders across commodity groups came together with the provincial government to design a made-in-Ontario solution to help bring predictability, stability and bankability to their business operations. Established with much fanfare, a new provincial cost-shared Risk Management Program (RMP) was created to help stabilize the industry as many costs and prices are global in nature and far beyond the farmer’s control.
In the fall of 2013, Premier Wynne tasked the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food and senior ministry staff to work collaboratively with Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition (OASC) leaders to review the RMP program and ensure the existing program and its funds were best serving farmers.
After a year of working with senior Ministry officials, our detailed analysis, measured against clear criteria have led OASC to conclude that the current RMP program is far superior to any of the other alternatives with respect to assisting job creation, bankability and predictability.
Through that review, it also became clear the mandatory requirement that all RMP participants also enroll in the federal AgriStability program was doing more harm than good given cuts to the AgriStability program and other challenges with the way AgriStability is currently operating.
The provincial government and farmers have worked well together in the creation of RMP and must continue to do so in order to convince the federal government to fix their broken safety net programs and work together in the interest of all of Canada’s rural and urban economies.
OASC would like to thank the Premier for establishing the informal joint RMP working group, as well as Minister Jeff Leal, Deputy Dr. Deb Stark and a long list of Ministry officials who treated us as trusted partners. We believe all ministries would be wise to examine the approach utilized by OMAFRA for use as a model for future government / stakeholder collaboration.