Statement from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Today, Jeff Leal, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, issued the following statement:
"I would like to thank the Auditor General for her report. We agree it's important that Ontario's hard-working farmers are treated equitably and have the confidence they need to invest in innovation and growth when faced with unpredictable weather and other factors beyond their control.
We have already taken action and made significant progress on a number of recommendations outlined by the Auditor General in her report:
- In 2016, FPT Ministers' issued a joint statement, which included a commitment to working with our agri-food partners and federal colleagues to review and modernize BRM programming.
- In July 2017, Ontario championed and secured a comprehensive national review of BRM programming that will have an early focus on AgriStability and;
- At the same time, Ontario has launched a parallel evaluation of our provincial Risk Management Programming.
We are making significant progress in our efforts to modernize BRM programming so that it is timely, simple and predictable while also encouraging greater participation. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations that will result from both of these assessments.
While existing BRM programming effectively meets most of the needs of our producers, improvements should be made to better address the nature of supports when producers face prolonged challenges, such as ongoing droughts or wide spread flooding. The scope of our ongoing BRM review is working to address this concern.
Ontario producers have a lot to be proud of. Agriculture is one of our province's largest economic contributors, accounting for $37 billion in GDP and employing over 800,000 Ontarians across the province. I am proud of the almost 50,000 family farms who grow over 200 diverse crops and help keep our rural communities strong and vibrant."
Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs