OFA comments on Ontario’s Marine Transportation Strategy. OFA supports actions aimed to create a more efficient marine transport strategy. However, we emphasise that this requires consideration of our food safety, food security and the health of our livestock. OFA recommends the Ministry address key barriers to the growth and sustainability of Ontario’s agricultural sector. Our topline feedback is summarized below:
- Ensure sufficient ferry capacity is in place to accommodate the movement of agricultural inputs, equipment and production for farm businesses on Wolfe, Amherst and Howe Islands in eastern Lake Ontario, Pelee Island in Lake Erie, and Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron. While these islands are predominantly farm communities, ferry services need to be able to accommodate seasonal recreational and tourist traffic while ensuring farm production and support services move freely during critical planting, development and harvest windows.
- While the Marine Transport Strategy review intends to solidify our inter-modal transportation system, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs and shipping delays, considering Canada’s economy is reliant on exports, we recommend the Ministry of Transportation work with transport stakeholders to reduce the risks of critical transportation infrastructure delays and work stoppages.
- Each year, Canadians export almost $US 200 billion in agricultural production and processed food and beverages; annual imports are about $US 135 billion1. As climate uncertainty and must continue to be seen as a stable source of high quality agricultural and agri-food products. Delays transporting livestock and harvested crops to markets risks impacting the quality, safety and security of our food systems and the health of our livestock.
OFA looks forward to working with the provincial government to support infrastructure development that protects human health and the environment, while ensuring the sustainability of agriculture in Ontario.