Producers are among the most vulnerable when it comes to mental health issues. Stress, anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion and burnout are all high among producers.

If you are in crisis, please visit your local emergency department or call 911 immediately.

Stressed? Help is available. Click here for more.

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OFA Commentaries

Read OFA’s weekly commentaries for our position and activities on the current issues and legislation impacting Ontario’s agriculture sector. View on the OFA website.

Stay-at-home exemption letter

Updated: January 14, 2021

In response to the Ontario government’s stay-at-home orders which came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 14, 2021, OFA has developed the Stay-at-Home Exemption Letter for members and their employees. The letter clearly outlines that under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, any person (farmer or employee) carrying the letter is considered exempt from the stay-at-home order while conducting essential business activities.

The letter clearly identifies businesses that are permitted to stay open as well as a list of essential activities related to the agriculture and food sector that are exempt.

The purpose of the letter is to allow farmers and employees to travel in order to conduct business.

GUELPH, ON [November 23, 2020] – The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is preparing for a year of growth and opportunities for the agri-food sector with a new leader at the helm. Peggy Brekveld has been elected as OFA’s 32nd President and the third female President in the organization’s history. She will serve in the position for a one-year term.

Working together and collaborating with other organizations during the pandemic has been vital in keeping the agri-food sector strong and addressing the ongoing issues that our industry continues to face. This year more than ever, our industry has come together as many voices, with one message, to better support Ontario farmers.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recognizes that as we navigate through a global pandemic, there are many competing issues, priorities, and concerns that continue to take precedence throughout the province. Many don’t realize that a strong domestic agri-food sector is the key to food security, economic recovery and growth.

When challenges arise, the agri-food industry has been able to come together as one to best support, not only Ontario farmers, but the provincial economy and families across the province. As Ontario’s largest general farm organization, OFA has the ability to build bridges, strengthen connections, and support the 200 commodities and agri-food stakeholders across our province.

Throughout the pandemic, our industry has been able to come together to tackle critical issues that have threatened the structure and wellbeing of our sector. Earlier this year, a freedom-of- information (FOI) request was filed asking for the names and farm business registration numbers of all farms in Ontario. OFA, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, and National Farmers Union – Ontario were able to collaborate on this issue and effectively mediate the situation, ensuring that the request was withdrawn.

When Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020, was introduced, Ontario’s livestock and poultry commodity organizations, the food processing sector, and OFA worked together to strongly support and advocate for the legislation to be passed.

On a national scale, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, commodity organizations, and provincial organizations such as OFA have been advocating for changes to improve the AgriStability program to help manage production and market risks. The ongoing collaborative effort that agri-food organizations are taking has been well received at the recent Federal- Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Ministers’ meeting.

The agri-food industry is diverse, with many organizations advocating for support. We are stronger when we can forge and strengthen partnerships and speak up for agriculture as one voice.

This year, OFA has been able to collaborate with organizations to advocate for the industry and produce resources to help spread awareness or support individuals through various labour initiatives. OFA was able to work alongside Meat and Poultry Ontario and livestock representatives on a Meat and Poultry Growth Strategy, to launch a series of training videos through the Feeding Your Future initiative.

We have also been able to work with rural and municipal organizations to expand broadband internet across rural Ontario, and countless other initiatives and committees at the local, provincial and national level.

OFA staff and board members will continue to expand our network and collaborate with industry stakeholders through 2021, identifying new ways to support and grow the agri-food industry, and achieve our priorities.

The future of agri-food depends on the strength of our industry’s voices collectively. As the African proverb states, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’

For more information, contact:

Peggy Brekveld
President
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
807-707-2814

Cathy Lennon
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883

Updated: November 21, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Canadian government and the Ontario government have announced financial assistance measures for individuals and businesses, including farm businesses. OFA has developed a summary of existing programs and new financial assistance measures that may be relevant to Ontario farm businesses.

Please note this summary is provided for information purposes only and program details may have been amended since this summary was drafted. Therefore, we recommend you rely on official program guidelines instead of this summary when applying (E&OE).

New Programs

Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF)

Overview: Created by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), “Canada United” is a national fundraising campaign which aims to bring partners together to support local Canadian businesses. The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) will provide small businesses (including farmers) relief grants of up to $5,000 to offset costs related to purchasing personal protective equipment, making physical modifications to their business to meet local health and safety requirements, and/or adopting digital technologies to move more of their business online. CUSBRF will be managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network in support of other chambers and partners. The federal government contributed $12 million to the CUSBRF.

Who is eligible: Eligible small businesses (including farmers) must have between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales; and have up to 75 employees. A pre-application checklist is available online.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2020/10/minister-ng-announces-support-for-small-businesses-through-the-canada-united-small-business-relief-fund.html

How to apply: Starting on Oct 26, 2020, small businesses can apply online through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce website (https://occ.ca/canada-united-small-business-relief-fund/).

Ontario-Canada’s Emergency On-Farm Support Fund

Overview: AAFC will invest $11.6 million to compensate Ontario farmers for some costs associated with on-farm mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on farms. This funding originates from part of the $35 million national funding announced July 31, 2020 in 50:50 cost-share funding to assist farm employers with the costs of additional on-farm mitigation measures, including living quarters, to improve the health and safety of all farm workers and limit the spread of COVID-19. Eligible costs include infrastructure improvements to living quarters, temporary or emergency housing (on- or off-farm), as well as PPE, sanitary stations, and any other health and safety measures. Ontario farmers can claim for preventive expenses including a combination of workplace modifications, PPE, transportation and temporary housing will double to $15,000. The program will also include a new category for small capital projects of up to $100,000 for housing modifications, workplace modifications and equipment to allow greater physical distancing for workers.

Who is eligible: Ontario farm employers of Canadian and temporary foreign workers.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/07/government-of-canada-invests-in-measures-to-boost-protections-for-temporary-foreign-workers-and-address-covid-19-outbreaks-on-farms.html & https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58785/governments-investing-266-million-to-further-protect-ontario-agri-food-workers-during-covid-19

How to apply: (Update: Oct 27, 2020) – In Ontario, the $11.6 million federal investment will be delivered through the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program (see below for details). OMAFRA intends to make updated program guidelines and submission forms available soon (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/agrifoodprogram.htm).

Ontario’s Northern Ontario Recovery Program (NORP)

Overview: Announced on September 28, 2020, NORP is targeted to assist Northern Ontario businesses adapt to new COVID-19 public health guidelines and protect employees and customers. Eligible projects may include: Building renovations and new constructions; Customer and employee safety installations; Equipment purchases, including personal protective equipment (PPE); Marketing for new business initiatives; Restructuring of business operations.

Who is eligible: Northern Ontario businesses, opened for over one year as of March 17, 2020, that experienced a revenue loss or expense increase as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and were impacted by the March 24, 2020 Ontario Emergency Order that closed in-person workplaces/worksites for non-essential businesses (although a business would not have had to close down completely itself to qualify).

Website for more details: https://nohfc.ca/en/news/2020/ontario-launches-recovery-program-for-northern-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19

How to apply: Applications are available from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) until December 31, 2020.

Ontario’s supports for small businesses in control or lockdown areas

Overview: (Updated) – On November 20, 2020, the Ontario government announced an additional $300 million in financial relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures. Combined with the funding announced on October 7, 2020, a total of $600 million in financial relief is available. Eligible businesses could receive rebates for municipal and education property taxes, and energy costs, including electricity and natural gas (or where natural gas is not available, propane and heating oil). Funding will cover the entire length of time that regionally targeted public health restrictions are in place.

Who is eligible: Support is available for businesses that were required to close or significantly restrict services in public health areas categorized as control or lockdown (or formerly categorized as “modified Stage 2”).

Website for more details: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58790/ontario-continues-to-support-restaurants-during-covid-19-pandemic & https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs

How to apply: Applications are now available online: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/

Ontario Main Street Relief Grant: PPE support

Overview: On October 7, 2020, this $60 million initiative was announced as part of the proposed Main Street Recovery Act, 2020. It will provide a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Who is eligible: Ontario businesses should review requirements when applying.

Website for more details: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs

How to apply: Applications are now available online: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/

Ontario-Canada Digital Main Street platform

Overview: On June 11, 2020, this $57 million initiative was announced. It is targeted to assist 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence. Three programs are available under the initiative: ShopHERE powered by Google (to build online stores for small businesses); $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant (to small businesses for adoption of new technologies and digital marketing; Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce and Businesses Improvement Areas may also apply for a Digital Service Squad grant and provide one-on-one support to businesses); Future-Proofing Main Street (to provide digital transformation services and support to help existing businesses create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content). Also announced, the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Recovery Activation Program (RAP), offering digital consulting sessions, will be available province-wide.

Who is eligible: Ontario businesses should review requirements when applying.

Website for more details: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/ontario/ and for details on the Recovery Activation Program: http://supportbusiness.bot.com/RAP/

How to apply: Sign up for application details using the above-noted website; (for the Recovery Activation Program, applications are available: https://wtctoronto.com/scaleup/applynow-rap/).

Ontario’s Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program

Overview: On June 12, 2020, the Ontario Government enhanced the previous $2.25 million Ontario-Canada Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program by committing up to $15 million. Farm businesses can apply for 70 per cent funding (up to a maximum of $7,500) for initiatives like purchasing personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and redesigning workstations. The $7,500 limit is calculated based on the amount of all payments made under both the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program and the previous Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program. Project costs incurred on or after March 15, 2020 will now be eligible under the enhanced programming. The program has been expanded to include operations that provide off-farm packing services (i.e. cooling, storing, washing, sorting, packing) for products such as fruit and vegetables, as well as organizations that offer corn detasseling services. Support is also now available for producers and other operations to assist with costs for short-term accommodation and transportation related to preventive measures, as well as those incurred in addressing an illness or outbreak.

Who is eligible: A registered Ontario farm business, with a valid FBR number or allowable exemption, with intensive use of labour where employees may operate within close proximity of one another, or where the operator is responsible for accommodating workers on- or off-site. Ontario corn detasseling businesses and Ontario off-farm primary packing businesses (e.g., cooling, washing, sorting, packaging, storing) for primary agricultural commodities (e.g., fruits and vegetables) are also eligible.

Website for more details: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/agrifoodprogramguide.htm

How to apply: Apply online: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/agrifoodprogram.pdf Applications will be continuously processed upon submission, while funding is still available.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

Overview: (Oct 9, 2020) The federal government announced its intention to introduce legislation to provide rent and mortgage support until June 2021 directly to qualifying businesses, charities and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop. The program will subsidize a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations will be able to make retroactive claims for the period beginning September 27 and ending October 24, 2020. A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25 per cent for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy.

Who is eligible: Organizations should review requirements when applying.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/11/canada-emergency-rent-subsidy.html

How to apply: Application details to be released after Bill C-9 receives Royal Assent.

Canada’s Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund

Overview: The federal government announced $100 million for Farm Credit Canada to be the sole investor in a new Venture Capital Fund, in partnership with Forage Capital Inc. This Fund can provide companies with the stability and flexibility they need to rebuild their business models during challenging times. The fund will primarily offer convertible debt investments, as well as other flexible financing solutions. Convertible debt investments give companies the flexibility of paying down debt or providing the investor with equity in the business.

Who is eligible: The Fund will consider investments along the entire Agri-Food system with a focus on companies that have suffered a significant disruption to their business model and have a well-defined need for new capital.

Website for more details: https://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/about-fcc/media-newsroom/news-releases/2020/fcc-invests-150-million-into-canadas-agriculture-and-food-industry.html

How to apply: Contact Forage Capital Inc. (http://www.foragecapitalpartners.com/)

Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Overview: The federal government announced a $962 million fund specifically targeted to those businesses and organizations that have been unable to access existing support measures. The initiative includes $675 million to support regional economies, businesses, organizations, and communities across Canada and $287 million to support Community Futures Development Corporations to specifically target small businesses and rural communities.

Who is eligible: Businesses and organizations unable to access existing support measures.

Website for more details: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/icgc.nsf/eng/h_07682.html

How to apply: For loans up to $40,000, contact your local Community Futures Office: https://cfontario.ca/find-cfdc-office-pf-en;

For loans over $40,000, contact your Regional Development Agency, in Southern Ontario: http://www.feddevontario.gc.ca/eic/site/723.nsf/eng/h_02581.html?OpenDocument;

in Northern Ontario: http://fednor.gc.ca/eic/site/fednor-fednor.nsf/eng/h_fn04591.html;

Ontario-Canada AgriRecovery (cattle & hog) Initiatives

Overview: The federal government launched national AgriRecovery initiatives of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants. This new federal funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing. (Update: June 17, 2020) – The governments of Canada and Ontario has announced they will invest up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. The beef cattle set-aside program will provide beef farmers with up to $5 million in support. Farmers will be able to claim $2 per head of cattle per day to help pay for additional maintenance costs should they have to keep their market-ready animals on their farms for extended periods of time. The hog sector support program will provide hog farmers with up to $5 million to help cover additional maintenance costs. Ontario is also providing up to $1.5 million to process and package surplus pork for food banks, to provide those in need with fresh, locally produced pork products.

Who is eligible: Details still to be released.

Website for more details: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/05/05/supporting-canadas-farmers-food-businesses-and-food-supply &

https://news.ontario.ca/omafra/en/2020/06/canada-and-ontario-support-beef-and-hog-farmers-during-covid-19.htm

How to apply: Application details still to be released.

Canada’s $5 billion increase to Farm Credit Canada’s lending capacity

Overview: Farm Credit Canada (FCC) received an enhancement to its capital base that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity. Focus will be on assisting the industry in addressing cash flow challenges so that businesses can remain focused on business-critical functions.

Who is eligible: Farmers, agri-businesses, and food processors.

Website for more details: https://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/covid-19.html

How to apply: Customers facing financial pressure may contact their FCC relationship manager or the FCC Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301.

Canada’s Income Tax Payment Deferral

Overview: (Update: Sept 23, 2020) – CRA further extended the payment due date for 2019 individual tax returns and 2019 or 2020 corporation, or trust returns, as well as for installment payments to Sept 30, 2020. CRA will waive late-filing penalties where a 2019 individual return or a 2019 or 2020 corporation, trust return is filed late if it is filed by Sept 30, 2020. CRA will also waive arrears interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporation, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020 to Sept 30, 2020, and from April 1, 2020 to June 30,2020 for Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) returns.

Who is eligible: All businesses owing income taxes.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

How to apply: Check the above website for filing due dates and extended payment due dates.

Canada’s Work-Sharing Program

Overview: Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. It provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the government is introducing temporary special measures, including the extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.

Who is eligible: The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing.html

How to apply: Ontario employers should email completed applications (available on the website noted above) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Overview: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is a temporary wage subsidy for employers that aims to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19. (Update: Oct 9, 2020) – The federal government extended CEWS until June 2021. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

Who is eligible: Individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non-profit organizations and registered charities.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/news/2020/08/canada-revenue-agency-opens-applications-for-enhanced-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html

How to apply: Applications are online: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html

Canada’s 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

Overview: Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (noted above) may qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, 2020. The Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 for each eligible employee and to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer.

Who is eligible: Eligible employers are individuals, partnerships, non-profit organizations, charities, or Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation), who are eligible for the small business deduction: and have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html

How to apply: Whoever is responsible for making your payroll remittances must manually calculate the subsidy. Your current payroll remittance of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that you send to the CRA can be reduced by the subsidy amount.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

Overview: The CRB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, if they are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Who is eligible: Self-employed individuals and those previously employed, who are not entitled to EI benefits.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit.html

How to apply: Apply online (website above) through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Overview: The CRSB is for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 ($500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks).

Who is eligible: Workers who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19; are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19; or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-sickness-benefit.html

How to apply: Apply online (website above) through either the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Overview: The CRCB is for care givers who are unable to work because of care giving responsibilities ($500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household).

Who is eligible: Workers unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19; or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit.html

How to apply: Apply online (website above) through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Canada’s Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Overview: The BCAP will support access to financing for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions. Business Development Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) will employ their internal risk management practices to provide more than $65 billion in financing at market rates to businesses with viable business models.

Who is eligible: All credit-worthy businesses with viable business models whose activities fall within the mandate of either BDC and/or EDC are eligible to benefit from BCAP.

Website for more details: https://www.bdc.ca/en/special-support/special-support-edc-business-credit-availability-program-bcap-guarantee

How to apply: Contact your financial institution. (Update: Aug 31, 2020) – The extended application deadline is June 2021.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Overview: The CEBA is being expanded to a $60,000 interest-free loan. Up to $20,000 of that amount will be eligible for complete forgiveness if the remaining amount is fully repaid on or before Dec 31, 2022.

Who is eligible: Businesses and not-for-profits can determine their eligibility by using the CEBA Pre-Screen Tool (https://verify-verifier.ceba-cuec.ca/). As of Oct 26, 2020, eligible Canadian businesses that currently operate through a personal bank account can apply for CEBA, but they must open a business bank account at their financial institution. (Update: Nov 17, 2020) – The announced CEBA loan limit increase to up to $60,000 will be available soon to all eligible previous and new applicants.

Website for more details: https://ceba-cuec.ca/

How to apply: Contact your financial institution to apply. The government’s CEBA Call Centre number is: 1-888-324-4201 (Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST). The extended application deadline is Dec 31, 2020.

Ontario’s support for industrial and commercial electricity users

Overview: (June 26, 2020) – The Government of Ontario announced that companies that participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will not be required to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours, as their proportion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for these companies will be frozen, providing more stable electricity pricing for two years.

Who is eligible: Industrial and Commercial electricity users participating in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI).

Website for more details: http://www.ieso.ca/en/Sector-Participants/Settlements/Global-Adjustment-Class-A-Eligibility

How to apply: Applies automatically – customers will not need to anticipate and reduce their electricity demand during peak hours.

Ontario’s new fixed electricity price for time-of-use rates

Overview: Effective November 1, Winter time-of-use (TOU) prices are: Off-Peak at 10.5 ¢/kWh, Mid-Peak at 15.0 ¢/kWh, and On-Peak at 21.7 ¢/kWh.

Who is eligible: Residential, farm and small business customers on time-of-use pricing.

Website for more details: https://www.oeb.ca/newsroom/2020/ontario-energy-board-sets-new-electricity-prices-households-and-small-businesses

How to apply: Pricing applies automatically – no customer action is required.

Ontario’s COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)

Overview: Ontario government’s $9 million CEAP for residential customers provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. The program is being delivered by electricity distributors, gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers. The government also announced $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to help small businesses that are struggling to pay their energy bills because of the COVID-19 emergency. Through CEAP-SB, small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise. Small business and registered charity customers could also be eligible for up to $425 in support towards their natural gas bill.

Who is eligible: Residential electricity and gas customers (or spouse) who are unemployed on the date of their application for CEAP; and have received Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) since March 17, 2020. Eligibility details for small business customers through CEAP-SB are available on the website noted below.

Website for more details: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-ceap

Residential CEAP details: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-ceap/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-0

CEAP-SB details: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/covid-19-energy-assistance-programs/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-small

How to apply: Apply for CEAP (both Residential and Small Business applications) through your utility.

Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
(Now closed)

Overview: Announced $900 million to help Ontario business tenants through forgivable loans to eligible commercial property (retail, industrial, office) owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The forgivable loan would be conditional on the property owner and tenant entering into a rent forgiveness agreement (including a moratorium on eviction for three-months) pursuant to which the property owner would reduce the tenant’s monthly rent to 25 per cent of rent that relates to fixed costs. The property owner would be responsible for the remaining 25 per cent.

Who is eligible: An eligible small business tenant is one that: Pays monthly rent not exceeding $50,000 in gross rent payments; and is, a non-essential small business that has temporarily closed, or who is experiencing a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.

Website for more details: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/4/ontario-canada-emergency-commercial-rent-assistance-program.html

How to apply: Application intake is now closed: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
(Now closed – However retroactive applications (Aug 30 – Sep 26) are being accepted until December 2, 2020)

Overview: To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, this benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB replaced the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. (Update: Aug 20, 2020): Access to additional 4 weeks of CERB (for maximum of 28 weeks). On Sept 27, CERB beneficiaries will transition to Employment Insurance benefits. The government intends to create 3 new programs: The Canada Recovery Benefit for self employed workers and workers not eligible for EI ($400 per week), the Canada Recovery Care Giving Benefit for care givers who are unable to work because of care giving responsibilities ($500 per week), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate for reasons related to Covid-19 ($500).

Who is eligible: The CERB covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who cease working for reasons related to COVID-19 for at least 14 consecutive days within the four-week period in which they apply for the payment, and for those who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Workers earning up to $1,000 a month and those who have recently run out of employment insurance will now also be eligible. Eligibility is proposed for seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI benefits and can’t find their usual seasonal work as a result of the pandemic.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

How to apply: Apply online (website above) through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Ontario-Canada Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative (now closed)

Overview: Eligible agriculture, agri-food and agri-products businesses/organizations (such as farmers, processors, individual farmers markets, on-farm markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries and agricultural associations) that are looking to bring their business online quickly can apply for a Canadian Agricultural Partnership grant of up to $5,000 in order to capture business opportunities and address marketing challenges through a new, expanded or enhanced online e-business and marketing presence.

Who is eligible: An applicant must have a Canada Revenue Agency Business Number; be involved in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors; and be engaged in the project and be contributing cash towards the project.

Website for more details: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/ebusiness.htm#eligible

How to apply: Due to high demand, the intake was paused while applications that were submitted by May 25, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. are reviewed and funding decisions made. If funding is still available following the review of the remaining applications, OMAFRA will re-open the application intake.

Ontario’s Electricity Disconnection Ban Extension (now closed)

Overview: The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) extended the winter ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for residential customers until July 31, 2020.

Who is eligible: Residential, farm and low-volume small business electricity customers.

Website for more details: https://www.oeb.ca/newsroom/2020/oeb-covid-19-update

How to apply: Contact your electricity utility.

Canada’s Deferral of HST Remittance and Customs Duty Payments (now closed)

Overview: Businesses, including self-employed individuals, could defer until June 30, 2020 their remittances of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), as well as customs duties owing on their imports.

Who is eligible: Business who must remit HST and Customs Duties.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-gst-hst.html

How to apply: New deadlines applied automatically.

Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Quarantine Assistance Program (now closed)

Overview: The announced $50 million is to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers with temporary foreign workers (TFWs) with the costs associated with the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. Up to $1,500 per TFW will be provided to employers or those working with them to ensure isolation protocols are fully met.

Who is eligible: Above-noted employers with TFWs adhering to the upon-arrival 14-day isolation protocol.

Website for more details: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/mandatory-isolation-support-for-temporary-foreign-workers-program/?id=1588186409721

How to apply: Online applications are available on the above-noted website. (Update: Sept 23, 2020) – Applications were to be submitted by Sept 15, 2020.

Canada’s Surplus Food Rescue Program (now closed)

Overview: Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada (AAFC) launched the $50 million program on June 15, 2020. This time-limited program will assist eligible participants to purchase (at cost or below cost) surplus food commodities from producers and food processors. The food is then to be distributed to vulnerable Canadians. Surplus food may be fresh (such as produce), or in need of further processing due to its highly perishable nature (fish or meat).

Who is eligible: Community or charitable organizations/municipal government and agencies who can acquire and deliver the most surplus product to vulnerable Canadians.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/agriculture-agri-food/news/2020/06/government-of-canada-implements-surplus-food-rescue-program-to-help-alleviate-food-concerns-of-vulnerable-canadians.html

How to apply: Application intake for the Surplus Food Rescue Program is now closed.

Canada’s Emergency Processing Fund (now closed)

Overview: The $77.5 million program will provide project funding to assist food businesses to implement changes required by COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of workers, including plant retrofits. The program will also provide repayable contributions (loans) to assist businesses with Strategic Investments to improve, automate, and modernize food processing or manufacturing facilities to manage surplus stock; increase production; or that are operating at less than full capacity or closed, including conversion or adaptation of existing greenhouses to increase horticultural production.

Who is eligible: Eligible applicants are for-profit organizations (including cooperatives) involved in agricultural food manufacturing or processing, This includes agricultural producers growing or rearing product which have a processing line to processes products grown or reared at the facility. For example, greenhouses that also clean, sort and package their or other greenhouses production. Also eligible are agricultural producers that are converting or adapting existing greenhouses to increase year-round horticultural production. Activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by Sept 30, 2020.

Website for more details: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/emergency-processing-fund/?id=1591291974693

How to apply: Application intake for the Emergency Processing Fund is now closed.

Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) (now closed)

Overview: Increased funding of $9.2 million is to assist in helping to create up to 700 new positions in agriculture for youth (ages 15 to 30). The YESP will provide agriculture employers up to 50% of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth up to $14,500.

Who is eligible: Farmers, agri-businesses, and industry associations are eligible. Employers may apply for funding retroactive to Apr 1, 2020, with projects to be completed by Mar 31, 2021.

Website for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/agriculture-agri-food/news/2020/05/government-of-canada-enhances-youth-employment-and-skills-program-to-help-create-new-positions-for-youth-in-the-agriculture-sector.html

How to apply: Due to a high demand, the application intake closed July 6, 2020.

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Ins. Board’s Financial Relief Package (now closed)

Overview: The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) deferred premium payments for six months for all businesses in the province. Employers participating in the financial relief package must report deferred amounts by Oct 31, 2020. Any repayment of deferred WSIB premiums will not begin before Jan 2021. WISB to release repayment installment schedule for deferred amounts this fall.

Who is eligible: All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance were eligible to defer WSIB premium payments until Aug 31, 2020.

Website for more details: https://www.wsib.ca/en/financialrelief

How to apply: Deferral period has now past.

Existing Programs

Ontario’s Risk Management Program (RMP) (including SDRM)

Overview: Ontario’s Risk Management Program (RMP) provides financial assistance when market commodity prices fall below established support levels for eligible livestock and grains and oilseeds commodities. As part of the RMP program, Self-Directed Risk Management (SDRM) accounts enable eligible horticultural producers to receive Ontario government contributions when producer deposits are made, up to the maximum indicated on the deposit notice. The SDRM deposit maximum is based on eligible Allowable Net Sales. (Update July 16, 2020) Ontario has increased funding for Ontario’s Risk Management Program by $50 million, to provide up to $150 million per year starting in the 2020 program year.

Who is eligible: Livestock, grains & oilseed, edible horticulture producers of eligible commodities can participate in the RMP program. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the program guidelines (available from Agricorp).

Website for more details: https://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/RMP/Pages/Overview.aspx

How to apply: Contact Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999. Ontario farmers had until July 30, 2020, to apply for or make changes to coverage under RMP for livestock and RMP: Grains and Oilseeds.

Canada/Ontario’s Agri-Invest Program

Overview: The Agri-Invest program allows farmers to make an annual deposit into an account based on their Allowable Net Sales (ANS) and then receive matching government contributions up to a maximum government contribution of $10,000 per year. Participants can withdraw funds from their account at any time after the matching funds have been received.

Who is eligible: Farmers reporting farming income for tax purposes are eligible. However, a yearly minimum ANS of $25,000 is required to trigger the minimum matchable deposit of $250. Also, sales of supply-managed commodities are excluded from the Allowable Net Sales calculation.

Website for more details: www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/AgriInvest/Pages/Overview.aspx

How to apply: To participate, farming individuals must submit a T1163 income tax form to Canada Revenue Agency. Corporations must submit a Statement A to Agricorp.

Canada/Ontario’s Agri-Stability Program

Overview: The Agri-Stability Program is a whole-farm, margin-based program available to eligible farmers regardless of the commodities they produce. Under the Agri-Stability Program, a farm operation’s current year margin (eligible income minus eligible expenses) is compared to the farm operation’s reference margin. A government payment is made to the farmer when the farm’s margin in the current year (program year margin) is lower by an amount that exceeds 30% of the farm’s reference margin.

Who is eligible: Farmers reporting farming income for tax purposes are eligible as long as they have completed a production cycle and have completed at least six consecutive months of farming activity in the program year.

Website for more details: https://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/AgriStability/Pages/Overview.aspx

How to apply: Contact Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999. Ontario farmers had until July 3, 2020 to enrol. Participants who apply for a 2020 AgriStability interim payment will now receive 75 per cent of their estimated final payment (https://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/News/2020/Pages/AgriStability-HowToApplyForAnInterimPayment.aspx).

Canada/Ontario’s Production Insurance Program

Overview: Production Insurance coverage provides financial compensation for production losses caused by eligible perils. Some of these eligible perils include drought, flood, wind, frost, excessive rain, heat, snow, uncontrolled disease, insect infestations and wildlife. (Update: July 9, 2020) Ontario farmers already enrolled in an eligible production insurance plan, who suffer crop losses due to labour disruptions during the 2020 growing season, should notify Agricorp to access enhanced insurance coverages for: (1) an inability to attract sufficient on-farm labour due to COVID-19; and (2) Illness or quarantine of on-farm labour and the producer due to COVID-19.

Who is eligible: Farmers producing an insurable agricultural commodity.

Website for more details: https://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/ProductionInsurance/Pages/Default.aspx

How to apply: For plans with typical enrolment deadlines of April 1, May 1, and May 10, Ontario farmers had until June 1, 2020, to apply to Agricorp (1-888-247-4999) for coverage under Production Insurance or make changes to existing coverage.

Canada’s Advance Payment Program

Overview: The federal government announced up to $173 million in loan repayment deferrals under the Advance Payments Program (APP) to help farmers with an APP loan due by April 30.

Who is eligible: Farmers with APP loans.

Website for more details: https://www.agcreditcorp.ca/what_advance_payments_program_app

How to apply: APP borrowers in Ontario should contact the Agricultural Credit Corporation

Ontario’s Food Donation Tax Credit for Farmers

Overview: Provides farmers with a tax credit worth 25% of the fair market value of the agricultural products donated to eligible community food programs

Who is eligible: Ontario farmers (or their spouse or common-law partner) who have donated agricultural products to an eligible Ontario community food program. This tax credit is also available to Ontario Farm Corporations.

Website for more details: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/info-taxcredit.htm

How to apply: This credit can be claimed on personal/corporate income tax returns.

By Peggy Brekveld, Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Farmers are dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of our land. It’s our business to maintain healthy soils that will ensure food production today and for future generations. Soil is one of our most valuable and irreplaceable resources. That’s why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is committed to researching, implementing and promoting farming practices that protect our soil and environment.

OFA recently renewed an important partnership with agricultural organizations that will see the continuation of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program. Together with Fertilizer Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Agri Business Association, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, OFA signed a Memorandum of Cooperation. The agreement, along with a combined total investment of nearly $400,000 will ensure the 4R program will continue providing solutions for Ontario farmers currently facing the pressures of reducing environmental impacts while maximizing yields and economic benefits.

By Pat Jilesen, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Doug Griffiths turned heads at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s (OFA) recent annual general meeting with his presentation on “13 Ways to Kill Your Community.” Based on a best-selling book he co-authored, Griffiths addressed the crowd of voting delegates, agriculture industry representatives and politicians from across the province, outlining the most common mistakes most communities make that hinder their success.

A former Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Griffiths has traveled across North America to visit communities, interview residents and councilors, and consulted with many communities to inspire positive changes.

By Keith Currie, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

As Ontario’s fall harvest continues, corn quality and the threat of moulds and mycotoxins have become a serious concern across the province. Elevated levels of vomitoxin (DON) in this year’s corn crop has growers concerned about finding a market for their grain, and in some cases, figuring out how to safely dispose of crops that cannot be marketed.

Mycotoxins and DON can cause serious health threats to livestock when ingested at concentrated levels. DON can also pose a serious health threat to farmers working with the infected grain if the mould is inhaled. Early field reports across the province are indicating higher than expected levels of DON and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) reminds all farmers to work safely during the busy harvest season, especially when dealing with DON-infected corn.

By Brent Royce, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The recent introduction of Bill 47 – Making Ontario Open for Business Act in the Ontario legislature provides some regulatory relief for farmers, employers and small business owners. Bill 47 proposes to amend three legislative acts impacting employment in the province – the Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Act and Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act. These acts all influence employment regulations for Ontario businesses, including farms.

If passed, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) believes Bill 47 signals the return of balance to Ontario workplaces. OFA is hopeful this new legislation will start the process of amending other regulations that are restricting the growth and ability to create new jobs for many of our province’s farms and small and medium sized businesses. Bill 148 and the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is also facing changes with some of the more controversial sections, like minimum wage increases, being repealed or revised by the government.

By Crispin Colvin, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Ontario went to the polls for the second time this year with the municipal elections on October 22. While municipal politics may not be as high on some people’s radar as what happens at Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill, agriculture and our rural communities depend on sound municipal government for many aspects of our day-to-day farm businesses and lives in rural Ontario.

Politics can be a thankless calling. OFA salutes all the candidates who put their name on a ballot with a desire to serve in public office and we congratulate all those who were successful. Municipal leadership is a vital cornerstone of successful and sustainable communities across Ontario.

By Debra Pretty-Straathof, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Safety must be a top priority on and off the farm – especially now as farmers head out on the roads with equipment during harvest. It’s getting tougher to travel on roadways. Roads, bridges and traffic circles aren’t built to accommodate machinery and a lot more motorists are increasingly impatient around slow moving vehicles.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recently sent a letter to the Minister of Transportation, John Yakabuski outlining the key issues and concerns farmers face when travelling Ontario’s roadways with farm equipment. The letter was part of OFA’s series of priority letters sent to various ministries that focus on short-term issues we are asking the provincial government to address.

By Mark Wales, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Every year, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has the opportunity to make a formal presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance, in advance of the federal government’s spring release of its annual budget. We used this recent forum with the committee to remind the government about the investments needed to continue to drive the economic powerhouse that is our agri-food sector and our rural communities.

The government’s own Barton Report, released in 2017, clearly identified the agri-food industry as one of the key sectors to drive growth and create jobs. But we can only really succeed with strategic investments in rural Canada that will support our ability to operate in a competitive marketplace.

By Keith Currie, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Most Canadians and business sectors are relieved that a new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has been drafted. Canadian markets in agriculture, automobiles and services are highly integrated across North American. A tripartite trade agreement is a necessity to keep goods and services flowing. Unfortunately, a major part of Canadian agriculture is the sacrificial lamb in the new iteration of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new deal opens up more market access for U.S. farmers who want to export dairy, eggs and poultry into Canada.

We need trade, there’s no denying it. Solid trade agreements and rules are critical to many sectors of Canadian agriculture with export interests including beef, pork and grain. But the opening of new market access to dairy, chicken and eggs is a serious blow that will have a lasting impact on the health of Canada’s supply managed commodities and extract economic activity from our rural communities.

By Mark Reusser, Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Over the past few weeks, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) delivered 13 priority letters to several provincial ministries outlining the key issues and concerns for Ontario agriculture and our rural communities. These letters outline the short-term areas on which OFA feels the ministers can make quick improvements for the benefit of our farm members.

Since the PC government took power in Ontario this summer, OFA has been working to introduce the new government to the agri-food sector – highlighting the depth and diversity of our economic powerhouse. We also continue to work on a long-term investment strategy by working with government policymakers to support economic growth and competitiveness in our industry and in our rural communities.

By Larry Davis, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

From international trade talks to provincial and federal government issues, the agri-food sector finds itself in the spotlight – and not always in a way that represents the real value and strength it brings to the economy. When Ontario votes for municipal government representatives on October 22, let’s make sure they know how important the agri-food sector is to the prosperity of local municipalities and rural communities across Ontario.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) encourages its members to get involved with the municipal candidates in their region. It’s critical that everyone running for public office understands the issues that affect our livelihood and our rural communities. Whoever we elect will be in a position to impact policies and bylaws that determine the way we operate our farm businesses. So let’s make sure they understand what’s important to the agri-food sector.

By Mark Kunkel, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Some long awaited relief is on the way for Ontario livestock farmers with the promise of changes coming to the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (OWDCP). Predators are a constant threat to farm animals, especially cattle and sheep, and the current compensation process was an aggravation for Ontario farmers.

On September 10 the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) announced his government’s commitment to program improvements in the coming months, in consultation with industry stakeholders. One change that’s effective immediately is the Farm Business Registration (FBR) eligibility change. This was a frustrating technicality for claims submissions, and now Ontario farmers who pay their FBR registration by September 1 will remain eligible for claims.

By Louis Roesch, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

September means show season for Ontario farmers and rural residents. While it’s busy on the farm, the agriculture industry makes time to attend events like Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS) and the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM).

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) looks forward to meeting with our members every September at these two popular shows. There are many other events throughout the fall too, but OFA will be hosting members at our display at COFS (September 11-13) and IPM (September 18-22).

By Keith Currie, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Canadian agriculture and our trading opportunities are in a very precarious position as trade negotiations between Mexico and the U.S. appear to be moving forward. It’s an extremely unfortunate situation for our industry and our country, as Mexico appears to have caved under the undoubtedly heavy handed approach of the U.S. These latest negotiations excluded Canada – even though we are a much more significant trading partner.

For the past many months, Canada has been at the table in an attempt to negotiate a new trilateral trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico – to replace the 24-year old North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that U.S. President Trump believes is grossly unfair…only for Americans.

By Brent Royce, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The strength of any organization depends on the involvement of its members in providing guidance and participating at the grassroots level. For the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), one of the key ways of encouraging local participation is at regional annual meetings that are happening across the province over the next few months.

OFA encourages all members to take the time to attend their local meeting to vote for local delegates, engage in discussions about the issues and priorities for the farm sector, and connect with other OFA members in your community.

By Pat Jilesen, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Ontario is ripe with agri-food opportunities for farmers, food processors and entrepreneurs. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is a strong promoter of farming and of value-added initiatives through our awareness and advocacy work with government, policy advisors and municipal planners.

OFA’s board of directors recently toured Northumberland County for a firsthand look at the innovative farms and value-added agri-food businesses in the region.

By Debra Pretty-Straathof, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

In a recent submission to the federal government, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) outlined a plan to ensure Canada’s competitiveness… through our agri-food sector. The document was submitted as part of consultations before the 2019 federal budget is released. OFA clearly outlined the opportunities that would keep Ontario agri-food businesses competitive, and continue to drive provincial and federal economies.

OFA focused on three priority areas to ensure Canada’s competitiveness.

By Louis Roesch, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Farmers and community partners are taking action to keep waterways safe with a science-based approach. Four new on-farm test sites will be added this fall in southwestern Ontario, thanks to new funding, to collect real-time data on phosphorus and nitrogen loss into waterways, as part of the Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative (PRC).

A recent federal funding announcement has helped the group expand their research. One is already operating, and four more will be added with the new funding. The project sites will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of phosphorus removal technologies at the edge of agricultural fields and in municipal drains that collect agricultural runoff in the Thames River Basin area.

By Jackie Kelly-Pemberton, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

On any given day, farmers are talking about the weather. It dictates what we do across all seasons and dominates our thoughts and conversations as we try to work with or around whatever nature dishes out. And this season has provided plenty of fodder for commenting, comparing and complaining about the drought-like conditions across most of the province, followed by a few heavy rains over the past week.

The incidence of extreme weather events seems to be accelerating. Variable planting and harvesting conditions each year make for highly unpredictable farming schedules and yields. Extreme fluctuations in temperatures throughout the summer and winter months challenge our livestock and our own stewardship capabilities. But this all seems to be the new normal so, farmers need to find ways to adapt with and thrive in this changing environment.

By Brent Royce, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Every community across Ontario has dreamed up, created and carried out interesting programs and events to support their local agri-food sector. These local initiatives are powered by volunteers, and anything that helps get these ideas and projects off the ground saves valuable time and energy.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has created a new online resource to give communities and local municipalities a head start on their next project. It’s an idea bank full of existing projects, programs and tools that any community can access to help with a local initiative. The Agri-Food Initiatives Ontario Directory was created to encourage the pay-it-forward premise – sharing resources to encourage others to get a great idea off the ground. By sharing, you can avoid duplication, avoid pitfalls or challenges, and use limited resources more efficiently.

By Peggy Brekveld, Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

As the new PC government sits at Queen’s Park for the first time, the Premier is expected to provide direction to each new cabinet member about the priorities for their ministry. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has crafted its own priority recommendations to key cabinet ministers as its first official communication with the new provincial policymakers.

By Drew Spoelstra, Executive Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Weather, climate and trade are all hot topics in Ontario right now. The recent elimination of Ontario’s cap and trade program is leading the news in the province and leaving Ontario farmers with questions.

Wellington Federation of Agriculture

RR#2 / Kenilworth ON N0G 2E0 519.848.3774
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