A New Provincial Mandate for Agriculture: What Does it Mean for Organic?

Premier Wynne’s mandate letters to her Cabinet were released last on September 23rd, and her letter to Minister Leal put a great deal of focus on the government’s Climate Change Action Plan, as well as on “Ensuring the Sustainability of Agriculture.” Specifically, Wynne has asked the minister to focus on improving pollinator health and preserving the productive capacity of Ontario’s agricultural land — two interests shared by the organic sector.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development has announced that as part of a package of amendments to the Burden Reduction Act, Minister of Agriculture Jeff Leal will be given the ability to create or amend programming decisions on grants, services or other payments without an Order-in-Council (i.e a decree issued by a provincial lieutenant governor on the advice of the premier and cabinet).

All of this sounds like great news for Ontario farmers, and for the environment. But img_0915what does it mean for the organic sector?

We hope it means that stakeholders outside of the organic industry will finally take note of the potential that organic soil restoration practices such as no-till farming, cover-cropping, and high-efficiency grazing have to sequester carbon in the soil.

We hope
it means that some of the MPPs we met with recently will feel encouraged to bring some of our issues to the table, in order to fulfill Premier Wynne’s mandate and ensure that Ontario’s organic sector will flourish in years to come.

We hope it means that, when offered an opportunity to support the organic industry, Minister Leal will decide to take swift action.

We know it means that sustainable agriculture matters to Ontarians, and the impact that agriculture has on the environment is not being ignored. And we think that’s a good thing.

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