Natural gas: The OFA work plan (2016)

 By Don McCabe, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Extending natural gas throughout rural Ontario is the single best investment Ontario can make to our rural economy. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has been working hard to make sure every level of government understands the urgency and importance of this message. The expansion of Ontario’s natural gas infrastructure to rural and farming communities supports economic development, job creation and a more affordable cost of living for rural Ontario. It is needed infrastructure for long term goals in this province, and ability to harness new opportunities like renewable natural gas in the future.

There are recent references to phasing out natural gas, leaked in an Ontario government report as part of the Climate Change Action Plan. OFA continues to advocate for vital natural gas infrastructure expansion to rural Ontario in spite of this leak. This includes working closely with Union Gas and Enbridge to explore opportunities to expand gas lines throughout rural Ontario, and engaging with ministries and with the current Ontario Energy Board (OEB) hearings.

In 2015, Ontario’s Minster of Energy asked the OEB to examine opportunities to enable access to natural gas services to communities across the province. This resulted in five proposed projects requiring some flexibility to finance rural and remote community expansion. In January 2016, the OEB began a generic review of those recommendations to establish a common framework and provide guidance to all parties looking to service Ontario communities with natural gas. The Generic Review is still underway, seeking stakeholder input on a number of issues including flexible regulations to test community viability, rate making and rate recovery approaches, establish community exemption criteria, new utility entrant processes and economic impacts of related government programs.

Natural gas expansion makes sense. Investing in natural gas for our rural and farming communities will make substantial improvements to local economies and living standards. OFA will be looking carefully at the Climate Change Action Plan when it is released in June. The leaked information suggests continued rural expansion and production from agricultural sources while prohibiting natural gas use for home heating and other requirements. This sends a confusing message to Ontarians. The full costs and benefits of any proposed Action Plan must be analyzed. OFA will be working to ensure Ontario’s farm competitiveness is not unduly compromised in a move away from our most competitive source of energy.  

In the short to medium term rural Ontario can benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars per year in new disposable income by saving energy costs with natural gas versus electric heat. This benefit must be weighed against all other economic factors including the real greenhouse gas reductions of the Climate Change Action Plan to determine the best public policy. 

For more information, contact:

Don McCabe
Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Neil Currie
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture


Hugh Deighton says on May 20, 2016 at 6:09 PM

It's Time we the public get off our butts and stop the craziness we call the Ontario government. They have all but killed the industry in Ontario and now want to make us a third world country. They have a good start.WE CAN NOT AFFORD THE HYDRO RATES NOW. What will our children and grand children do. Winn does not serve us but her self, I would love to know your thoughts.

Alex says on May 20, 2016 at 7:52 PM

Will anyone in the government ever examine the costs and benefits of the fight against fossil fuels? See Alex Epstein and "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuel." It would be nice if they would speak to solar physicists, examine the terrible climatologists' model predictions of trophospheric temperatures. They could also talk to physicists about the sensitivity of temperatures to changes in the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Alton Mckibbon says on May 20, 2016 at 7:58 PM

I am fed up with this Govt. wanting to shut down Natural gas to use windmills and let water flow over hydro damns a waste . Windmills in Sarnia area are shut down as can't sell the power .Dumb and dummer

Ron Paquette says on May 20, 2016 at 8:53 PM

I heard on the news tonight that the Ontario government is going to ban natural gas from the province to save carbon emissions and force us to hydro or geo thermal units for a heat source. How they can come up with ideas to raise the price for hydro rates is beyond me. For the farmers sake I hope this is rejected.

Robert Stewart says on May 21, 2016 at 12:33 AM

We need natural gas on farms

Wayne Rankin says on May 21, 2016 at 7:46 AM

It would seem that the natural gas company's has dropped the ball as if they would 've jumped in bed with Liberals as the (Wynne) wind farms and solar companys did and paid into the Liberal pockets i'm sure they would be looked at more favorably , personally i'm at a loss for words that would indicate any common sence coming from Queens Park over these issues at hand .It would seem the libs are more concerned over shareholders and investers for the wind and solar farms than the residents of Ontario

Doug mcgee says on May 21, 2016 at 10:04 AM

Been trying for gas line 4000 foot extension. For years the cost is out of this world. I could install but union will not give enough pressure on line to run drier . So how does this work. Rural Ontario is Halliburton to the Ontario goverment. The rest of us can get lost to put it mild

Chris Graham says on May 22, 2016 at 7:11 PM

Of course it will become available, lol. Carrot...donkey...kick in the ass. HELLOOOO!!!!!

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