Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary By Don McCabe, OFA President
Two groups pushing for economic growth in Ontario right now are the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).
OFA shares a similar mandate with the OCC – we both work on behalf of businesses in the province. OFA focuses our advocacy on farm businesses. It is a strong lever to OFA’s forward advocacy actions to have OCC’s work helping to support growth for Ontario’s agri-food sector in various ways.
On January 26, a report authored by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Mowat Centre, and Leger highlighting several issues OFA is pushing for to grow our industry, farm businesses and the greater Ontario economy was released. The report, Emerging Stronger 2016, is the OCC’s assessment of Ontario’s economic strengths and weaknesses since 2012. It’s encouraging to see the OCC support issues like curbing rising electricity costs, extending broadband across the province, the development of a Cap and Trade system and promoting Ontario’s agri-food sector at home and abroad.
OFA supports the Emerging Stronger 2016 report recommendations for a stronger Ontario, identifying many areas that support Ontario farmers and OFA’s current advocacy work. The five-year analysis report outlines five priority areas for economic strength in Ontario.
1. Fostering a culture of innovation and smart risk-taking in order to become a productivity leader
2. Building a 21st century workforce
3. Restoring fiscal balance by improving the way government works
4. Taking advantage of new opportunities in the global economy
5. Identifying, championing, and strategically investing in our competitive advantages in the global economy
Prime Minister Trudeau recently stated in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum that Canada is full of resources and resourceful people. Ontario farms and rural business communities exemplify and carry a long history illustrating resourceful people properly managing resources.
To leverage our resourceful talents, and to grow our economy, OCC’s report outlines key priorities for much-needed economic development in Ontario. It demonstrates how organizations like OFA and OCC can realize our province’s potential in collaboration with others and collective action.
The OFA asks the federal government and provincial government to combine their resources with Ontario’s number one industry, and announce these intentions in upcoming budgets. A copy of the full Emerging Stronger 2016 report is available at occ.ca.
Congratulations to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Mowat Centre and Leger for their hard work to compile this report, and helping to promote Ontario’s farmers, who are the core strength of the current Ontario economy.
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