OCO Presents Organic Priorities to Minister Hardeman

On October 13th, 2020 OCO President and Chair Rob Wallbridge participated in a meeting with Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman and his staff to present them with key organic priorities which would help support the sector in Ontario. The Minister and his staff were seeking input to bring forward at the next Federal, Provincial, and Territorial meeting of ministers.

It was an important opportunity to make sure the needs of the organic sector were heard amidst the on going hard-ships and volatilities felt by producers in the wake of Covid-19.

President and Chair – Rob Wallbridge

OCO highlighted the following priorities and key messages in the meeting: 

  • Regarding AgriStability and other business risk management programs: OCO applauds the Minister’s efforts to ensure that AgriStability effectively protects producers against market volatility. We also wish to draw his attention to the need for all business risk management programs to accurately reflect the pricing differential and differing business challenges between organic and non-organic crops and commodities.

  • As part of its action on climate change, we ask that the government prioritize the implementation of policy that reduces climate emissions from farming. As a member of Farmers for Climate Solutions, a national coalition of farmer groups united in finding and promoting solutions to climate change through agriculture, we support policy that encourages:
    • Reduction of the use of high-emission inputs, especially nitrogen fertilizer.
    • Enhancement of soil health on all agricultural land.
    • An increase in on-farm biodiversity and the provision of environmental goods and services.
  • We request that the government ensure that oversight and enforcement of organic claims is consistent across Canada by supporting the maintenance of the Canada Organic Standard and the regulation of intra-provincial organic claims, particularly the implementation of regulations in jurisdictions currently lacking them, including the province of Ontario.

  • At all levels and in all sectors, but especially in agriculture, we ask that governments implement policy that promotes inclusivity and offers priority of access to cultural minority groups including indigenous peoples, youth, and women.

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