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.
- Unleash the growth potential of rural communities through infrastructure investment.
- Address financial disincentives to improve tax and trade competitiveness.
- Remedy labour shortages through regulatory improvements and skills training.
OFA also partnered with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in the 2019 pre-budget submission. All three organizations are aligned with the priority areas to further strengthen and reinforce these budget recommendations.
We want the agri-food sector to continue to be recognized for the contribution it makes to the entire economy, and to ensure it is a priority area for government investment.
Our provincial and federal agri-food sectors, including farm businesses, processors, input suppliers, exporters, researchers and labourers are poised to realize our potential. But we need proper public investments for new and ongoing programs and enterprises. There is no shortage of studies that demonstrate our industry’s potential. OFA, along with our partners, will be taking these recommendations to government to advocate for the investments in agriculture and food that will deliver returns for all Canadians.
Agri-food businesses are leading economic drivers for Ontario and Canada. Our contributions and growth potential were recognized in the 2017 federal budget, noting the agri-food sector as one of six key priority areas with the greatest potential to drive economic growth in our country. Additional support for our sector was outlined in the Barton Report, identifying the agri-food industry’s potential for substantial growth and export improvement.
Our 2019 pre-budget submission is asking for the same level of recognition and commitment for the contributions and the future potential the agri-food sector holds for everyone.
For more information on OFA’s budget submission or to read the full report, visit ofa.on.ca.