Election Season: What Does Government Need to Hear from Farmers?
January 7, 2022 | Paul Bootsma
Here at CFFO, we are heading into our annual Policy Tour this winter, meeting with members across the province to get grassroots perspectives on certain topics.
With the provincial election set for this spring, now is a good time to ask our members what government needs to hear from Ontario farmers. Our members will be asked to look ahead and identify what we’ll need to keep agriculture & food production secure for the future.
In many ways, agriculture has done well over the past number of years. During the pandemic, the industry was able to continue to do its work. The government deemed food production essential and supported farmers. With a combined effort, the supply chain will continue to correct itself.
Top Election Issues for Agriculture
So, what then are some of the top issues for agriculture? Energy costs and carbon pricing come to mind quickly, but also preserving farmland, especially when we see such a push for both housing and development. How much farmland or open space should be given for new transportation routes?
Labour is another crucial part of food production, not only on the farm but also all the way to the dinner plate. Many different jobs are required in the process, from trucking, processing and sorting at distribution facilities to retailers and restaurant staff. Securing a reliable workforce will be important for the industry.
Canada is seeing a decrease in the percentage of young people that make up the working population, due both to demographics and the pandemic. As the average age of workers increases, the potential for searching the globe for workers is becoming a reality.
Another topic of concern is food waste in Canada, which has impacts on both the environment and on food security. With Canadians throwing out over $1,000 worth of food every year, many solutions can be found within the home, but there is much more that can be done to reduce waste.
CFFO Policy Tour Will Tackle Election Issues
The Policy Tour will be hosted online and will coincide with our district annual meetings for 2022. During these sessions, members will also be able to discuss local issues that affect them on the farm.
Be sure to join us to discuss how election topics relate to your farm, your region and the province as a whole. As an accredited farm organization, the CFFO looks forward to working with the government following the election.
Paul Bootsma is Field Services Manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.