This week, Peggy Brekveld, President of Ontario Federation of Agriculture, addressed the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy regarding OFA’s position on Bill 97 and highlighted risks to the agricultural sector and the potential for a generational impact on farming in Ontario.
The three primary concerns facing the agricultural sector are the introduction of three additional lot severances to farm properties in the province, settlement area boundary expansions, and additional powers afforded to Ministers Zoning Orders (MZOs) in the land use planning process. These have the potential to take acres out of production and introduce increased safety concerns and complaints about normal farm practices. Municipalities would be allowed to expand settlement area boundaries, now without the requirement to demonstrate need. The minimum distance separation (MDS) policies required for additional lot severances would forever impact some farm’s ability to continue to produce.
Peggy outlined that OFA believes that there are ways to build communities in and up by reviewing and renewing current land uses. Doing so would make better use of municipal infrastructure, better support public transit and, in turn, protect farmland and food production.
Examples of how all of this can affect future farm operations looks like:
- The new PPS, enabled by Bill 97, could allow for 30 new residential lots to be created on a typical concession block, which would force livestock operations to comply with near impossible MDS (Minimum Distance Separation) regulations.
- Garbage thrown over the fence. Metal, when eaten by cows can cause life threatening illness.
- Trying to get your combine or equipment onto the road with traffic. Did you know that there is almost four times the fatality rate when a collision includes a slow moving vehicle?
Peggy finished off her speech urging the government to view Bill 97 with a long-term planning lens for agriculture in keeping with our vision of Farms and Food Forever.
Related OFA submissions: