Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary
By Brent Royce, OFA Director
The search is on for Ontario’s first Chief Science Officer. The Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science is hiring a Chief Science Officer as the newest position in the government’s lineup with a mandate to advance science in the province.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) welcomes this new addition to government staff and with it, a new opportunity to provide a trusted source of information about science, scientific developments and how science is part of our everyday lives.
We trust this role will help the public understand science’s role in our society and guide policy makers in public policy decisions.
Farming is a science based industry. Farmers rely on and readily adopt scientific developments and their applications to drive productivity and stewardship.
Over the past 200 years, dedicated scientific research has pushed Canada’s agricultural productivity to exceed that of all other industries. At its core, our sector is based on advanced and sophisticated science combined with traditional knowledge stemming from generations of family farms.
As farmers, we thrive on research and eagerly adopt the results – genetics, equipment and techniques to improve our farms and our products. Research and new innovations are also necessary to enable farmers, agri-food and food processing companies to adapt to changing environmental conditions and consumer demands.
OFA supports the renewed emphasis on science in public policy decision making. Adopting innovations, technologies and scientific advancements will improve the adaptability, efficiency and productivity of Ontario’s agricultural industry.
Building and maintaining public trust in this area is key. That’s why OFA’s submission to the government called for agricultural awareness and communication skills for Ontario’s new Chief Science Officer.
The role will involve strengthening science and innovation in the province. OFA’s feedback was a solid representation of how this new role can support our agriculture and agri-food industry.
We recommended priority focus areas and outlined how the Chief Science Officer should work across all interest groups – from industry, the public and our education system to agricultural organizations and policy makers.
Our agriculture and agri-food sector is Ontario’s economic powerhouse. This industry relies on science, innovation and technology to compete on a national and global scale.
We also rely on sound, science based policies. OFA looks forward to working with the new Chief Science Officer to ensure Ontario’s farmers and our agriculture and agri-food industry are involved and valued in this new role.