Bill to Promote Local Food Passes Final Vote
Ontario Committed to Supporting Farmers, Building Stronger Agri-food Industry
Ontario is moving forward to help promote the good things that are grown, harvested and processed in Ontario with today's passage of the Local Food Act, 2013.
The new legislation is part of a strategy to build Ontario's economy by making more local food available in markets, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and restaurants. This will create jobs and expand the province's agri-food sector.
The new legislation -- the first of its kind in Canada -- will increase local food awareness, and boost sales by setting local food goals and targets in consultation with sector partners. The act will also create a non-refundable tax credit of 25 per cent for farmers who donate their surplus harvest to eligible community food programs such as food banks, and proclaim a Local Food Week that will take place annually, beginning the first Monday in June.
Building a stronger agri-food industry is part of the government's economic plan to support a dynamic and innovative business climate, invest in people and invest in infrastructure.
- The Local Food Act will also require the government to produce an annual local food report on its activities to support local food.
- The province’s agri-food sector contributes approximately $34 billion to the economy and supports more than 740,000 jobs across Ontario.
- The province’s farmers produce more than 200 commodities, including fruits, vegetables, livestock, dairy, poultry, grains and oilseeds. Food processors in Ontario purchase about two-thirds of the food that is produced on the province’s farms.
- Ontario’s Local Food Fund is part of a $30 million investment from the province to create jobs and support innovative local food projects over the next three years.
“The Local Food Act will benefit people by making the connection between buying local and helping grow an important Ontario industry. If we increase demand to homegrown food, we will create jobs and boost the agri-food sector’s contributions to our economy. It’s an important and historic step forward and I thank everyone who helped support this legislation.”
“The Local Food Act will serve as a constant reminder of the bounty of Ontario. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is happy to see that it will target food literacy, local food use and will help farmers attend to the needs of others through a community food donation tax credit.”
“By raising the profile of local food, the Local Food Act will provide Ontario food and beverage processors with an opportunity to further develop local food systems and market development strategies. Ontario consumers are demanding high quality food and drink, and our processors are willing and able to deliver.”