GUELPH, ON [September 1, 2020] – The Ontario government took swift action yesterday to better protect the safety and security of the food supply chain across the province with the proclamation of key sections under the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020. Beginning September 2, 2020, sections of the Act will be in force to further prevent persons from stopping, obstructing, engaging or interfering with livestock transportation vehicles.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) appreciates the efforts of Hon. Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ontario government in working diligently to support the needs of the agri-food sector, with specific respect to the livestock transportation sector.
“Proclaiming these sections of the new Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act demonstrates to trespassers, activists, law enforcement and the justice system in Ontario that the protection of farms, families, animals, agri-food employees and the food system is of the highest priority,” said Keith Currie, OFA President.
While these sections of the Act pertain to enhancing the safety and protection of the livestock and poultry transportation sector, they continue to recognize and respect a citizen’s right to peaceful public protest. Individuals or groups still have the right to protest on public property, but the interference of livestock transportation vehicles is prohibited.
Allowing people to stop and interact with vehicles transporting livestock is dangerous for all involved, including the drivers, protestors and animals. It creates safety hazards for all those involved, but also mental health issues for drivers, agri-food employees and business owners, in addition to stressing the animals. Ontario’s workers have the right to a workplace free of harassment and violence.
“Ontarians depend on a steady, reliable food system and without the ability to safely and securely produce, process and distribute our products, it puts the viability of our food supply chain in jeopardy,” stated Currie. “The proposed regulations will help to ensure food safety through the value chain is protected from farm-to-table.”
It’s evident that clear communication of the new provisions from the Ontario government to police enforcement officers and the justice system will be critical to the effectiveness of the regulations. Without their understanding and enforcement of the regulations, the risk of trespassing and harassment by groups and individuals remains high. Everyone in the agri-food sector depends on the legal system and law enforcement to protect their safety.
The draft regulations propose to define a broad range of terms related to biosecurity, food safety, human harm and animal protection zones. As proposed in the draft regulations, farmers and food processing facility owners may have the ability to define their own animal protection zone, perhaps a five-foot perimeter around each building. However, OFA will continue discussions with industry partners and provincial policymakers to seek clarification and determination of animal protection zones. Also included in the regulations are provisions regarding false pretenses, whistleblowers and exemptions for journalists.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit ofa.on.ca.
For more information, contact:
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Ontario Federation of Agriculture