By Brent Royce
Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Balancing a budget is tough and takes vision and discipline. The Ontario government is working on balancing the province’s books, collecting information and consulting across ministries to develop the 2019 provincial budget.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) understands the province’s current fiscal situation and the need for restraint, but we also know that sound public investment in Ontario agriculture and rural communities will pay dividends and will ultimately improve Ontario’s fiscal outlook by driving our economy forward.
OFA will be presenting budget recommendations to the provincial government, offering advice on pursuing a policy of distributed economic development through prudent public investment. We are confident that any monies invested in rural Ontario will drive business development and the provincial economy along with job and housing opportunities for families.
Our advice to the provincial government is to invest specifically in access to natural gas, transportation and infrastructure, broadband and our rural schools and health care. OFA’s campaign to secure these investments is called Producing Prosperity in Ontario, a continuation of our 2018 provincial election strategy that focused on the economic potential of agriculture and rural Ontario.
Rural Ontario, driven by its agri-food industry, has the potential to grow food and grow economic opportunities. Ontario’s economy has the most to gain by investing in what OFA sees as underperforming, or neglected regions of the province. Proper public investments in rural Ontario will jump-start farming, agri-businesses and rural Ontario growth, and in turn, stimulate the entire Ontario economy.
OFA has a sound economic plan for the province, including projected investment return, and a practical long-term solution to strengthen communities across Ontario. We look forward to presenting our Producing Prosperity in Ontario plan as part of the pre-budget consultations and continue working with government to implement programs that will serve our members, Ontario farm families and rural residents.