Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary
By Don McCabe, OFA President
Regulations are a fact of business, whatever business you are in. As farmers, we love to hate regulations that we know are not based on common sense. These ones come to mind immediately when government regulations are mentioned. However, the vast majority of regulations actually serve important functions to protect actions or allow certain activities to be maintained. An important part of the regulatory process is to ensure regulations stay relevant and adapt as needed for today’s business environment.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has talked a lot about regulations over the years. We’ve worked with government on the Open for Business program to improve the way regulations are developed and to look at existing regulations to ensure they are effective and not detrimental to our competitiveness.
We’re encouraged that the Ontario government is going through an open, public review of a significant list of existing regulations. The Red Tape Challenge is the name of this review and is set out to simplify and streamline regulations to make it easier to do business in Ontario. Regulations in six business sectors will be reviewed over the next two years. The food processing sector is one of six sectors under the process, and is open for review right now. There are 171 regulations suggested as part of the review. Many of these regulations impact OFA members. Do not assume the farm gate is not involved here.
It’s easy to have your voice heard about regulations that negatively or positively impact your farm business. Right now, there are eight regulatory categories open for comment that affect food processing namely food marketing, food oversight, environment, land use, taxation and reporting, employment, occupational health and safety, as well as corporate and commercial law.
The OFA will be submitting comments on this consultation. We encourage all farm businesses to do the same. Changes to these regulations would impact the entire food value chain. It is critical that the farm gate speaks up and is recorded. This process is open to all in the public realm, and nobody knows your farm better. Do not allow your views to be missed.
All feedback is provided online. You start by selecting one of three options on a regulation to keep it the same, improve it or eliminate it. A comment box is available for feedback, input and suggestions.
The current regulations are open for public feedback until September 30. Visit the site at talks.ontario.ca/
Please note the breadth of this consultation. Make sure you have your say to keep Ontario farms at the forefront of competiveness and ability to market with your suggestions for elimination of the regulations that are barriers, and protection of those regulations that give your business the opportunity it deserves.