How would you spend $15 billion? (2015)

By Peggy Brekveld, Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure invited input on how to spend $15 billion in infrastructure funding outside the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). Consultations were held in communities around the province and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) was represented at many of the meetings.

You see, infrastructure covers just about every aspect of our communities. The building of roads, bridges, schools and hospitals all fall under infrastructure banner. It is tremendously important to ensure rural communities have access to the level of services enjoyed in more densely populated areas of Ontario. And in rural Ontario, these projects often intersect with key agricultural areas.

There are endless ways for how and where this $15 billion investment should be divided to build up communities all across the province. OFA’s formal submission to the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure contains two key parts – four guiding principles for any new infrastructure project, and OFA’s specific recommendations for how the dollars should be allocated outside the GTHA.

The four guiding principles are: minimize the loss of prime agricultural land, ensure rural Ontario businesses and farms have access to comparable services and infrastructure as their urban counterparts, use the proceeds from the sale of Hydro One to fund infrastructure in rural communities, and consider the needs of modern agricultural equipment with transportation infrastructure. We believe these important principles should be addressed with any new infrastructure funding program, ensuring agriculture does not pay the cost for community improvements.

Infrastructure decisions and funding are critical to rural Ontario and our communities. OFA’s recommendations for where funding gets allocated outside the GTHA includes the need for natural gas, expanded broadband service, support for northern expansion projects. It should include resiliency to climate change in project funding, and it should increase the overall level of the $15 billion infrastructure funding to specifically support rural projects.

No community or city can function without an effective infrastructure plan. Rural Ontario has specific requests as the government evaluates how to allot $15 billion in new “bricks and mortar” money. Agriculture is a big driver in the provincial economy, and we need appropriate, planned infrastructure support from government to keep our communities and our industry thriving.    

For more information, contact:

Peggy Brekveld
Vice President
Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Neil Currie
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture


EugeneMorrison says on September 18, 2015 at 10:18 PM

Agriculture must be a benefactor in the proposed 15 billion dollar Infrastructure program, not a milkcow to pay for an urban bottomless pit program. I am already witness to Ministry Of Transport (MTO) cutbacks affecting my rural area, in the proposed closing of an existing key "agriculture transport" road bridge over HWY 401, and replacing it with a ridiculously unsafe 1.5 KM detour. This a desperate government/MTO save money program which negatively affects agriculture not supports it. I do not believe that this "Glanworth Drive Situation"is an isolated case, as I remember seeing mention of it one of our local newspapers. You have a big task ahead!

Glenn Faubert says on September 19, 2015 at 8:08 AM

roads & bridge repair / replacment in chatham/kent

Robert Vaughan says on September 19, 2015 at 8:46 AM

We need affordable electricity in this province more than anything. Turbines & solar are a joke. Solar will not keep a pool in Florida at 85 degrees F. without another source of heat in winter months.

martin stubbs says on September 19, 2015 at 4:57 PM

if the money is comeing from the sale of hydro one and it is the Liberal party wanting to do this we are in big trouble

Barry Mac Sweyn says on September 20, 2015 at 8:42 AM

in our area of north glengarry our communities are indire need of a reliable source of water,martintown ,maxville ,alexandria,to mention a few are having there growth stifled,by this ,they all depend on agriculture to a great extent to survive.with a water supply economic growth would explode as there would be new housing developements,which are be held up .

R drouillard says on September 21, 2015 at 1:03 AM

I wondering why the Windsor Essex county area is not included in this windfall. As usual the money stops in London. I think they see what happens with the election they may have to use the money to save the health care system .

Leave a Comment

* indicates required field.