Date: February 17, 2012
How can OFA reduce red tape for you?
By Mark Wales, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Ontario farmers have identified regulatory burdens as a major obstacle to the success of farming and agri-food businesses. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has long advocated for regulatory modernization and has been fortunate to work with the government of Ontario on the Open for Business initiative to modernize regulations for the past two years.
The Ontario government asked OFA to lead agriculture and agri-food consultations on regulatory reform through the Open for Business process. We were pleased to be asked to represent farmers, agricultural input suppliers and food processors in a review of existing regulations that were outdated, inconsistent or over-reach the legislative intent. And we’ve been making progress. The Open for Business initiative enabled OFA to present the top five regulatory issues, along with recommendations for modernizations that would benefit the industry. We’ve made some good progress with submissions on regulatory issues including farmland property tax, source water protection, farmland drainage, species at risk and livestock predation.
Our successes are just the beginning. As OFA’s work on Open for Business continues, we want to know how this process can help our members directly. We’d like to hear from all our members and ask that you share with us which regulations get in the way of your farm business. This process enables OFA to directly speak on behalf of our members, and if we can help reduce regulatory red tape, outdated or inconsistent regulations, then we can help impact the way we all do business.
While the Open for Business initiative is new to our industry in Ontario, it’s not unique. A parallel process is being undertaken by the federal government called the Red Tape Reduction Commission. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also in the process of reviewing its regulations as a separate initiative from the Red Tape Reduction Commission. These new developments clearly demonstrate that the concept of regulatory reform has been widely embraced. OFA is pleased to see both levels of government open to industry input and committed to enabling businesses in our agri-food industry to operate as effective and efficiently as possible.
I encourage all our OFA members to contact us about the regulations you want reformed by emailing your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be sure to take your recommendations directly to the Open for Business consultations and ensure we’re speaking for you as Ontario‘s voice of agriculture.