ONTARIO — The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) joins livestock organizations in applauding the provincial government on the introduction of new legislation to protect farmers, livestock and our food supply – Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019.
“We have been very vocal in our call for swift, strong action against trespassers and activists who are jeopardizing the safety of our farms and food supply, and we are very pleased to support the new legislation introduced at Queen’s Park on December 2,” says Keith Currie, OFA president. “We truly appreciate the consultation that was done throughout the industry that’s behind this new legislation. It’s heartening to know the serious concerns of Ontario livestock and poultry farmers were heard. This is very important legislation that will play an important role to ensure the continued integrity of Ontario’s agri-food system.”
If passed, the proposed legislation – Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019 – is intended to reduce the likelihood of trespassing on farms and processing facilities. The act would keep farmers, livestock and agri-food workers safe throughout the value chain – from on-farm, through transportation and at food processing facilities.
The new legislation provides a balanced approach to protect farms, families, livestock and food safety, while recognizing a citizen’s right to protest. A key component of the legislation is the establishment of “animal protection zones” on farms and at processing facilities that recognizes the importance of minimizing animal stress and reducing the potential of spreading disease.
There are significant fines proposed in the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019 as a further deterrent to trespassing, with escalating fines up to $15,000 for a first offence, and up to $25,000 for subsequent offences.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.