Provincial Election 2014: CFFO asks for a focus on Agriculture Jobs

By Nathan Stevens
May 16, 2014

The CFFO believes that the agriculture and agri-food sector is and can continue to be a cornerstone of the Ontario economy. The CFFO believes that there are many factors that need to be dealt with for the farm economy to achieve its potential, and for the food processing sector be all that it can be. As our provincial political parties unfold their platforms, the CFFO hopes to see a focus in a number of key areas to help stimulate jobs in agriculture.

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The CFFO hopes to see serious considerations being put forward with regards to energy policy in Ontario. The current forecast of fast, steady increases over three years in energy costs is going to hurt Ontario business’s ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace. This is especially important for our export-oriented agricultural sectors such as greenhouse vegetable producers and for food processors.
The CFFO hopes to see wage policy on the agenda of each party. This is a complex issue that needs to continue to find the balance between a fair living wage for people and a wage that businesses can absorb. The direction that each party wants to take has a significant impact on a business’s viability and individual’s buying power. In particular, the CFFO hopes to see other alternatives that exist to help out low-income wage earners that do not hurt businesses.
The third area the CFFO hopes to see commitments is in continuing the process of cutting regulatory red-tape. The CFFO recognizes that while there are many rules and regulations that serve a positive purpose, there are also many regulations that can either be removed due to duplication in other areas, or repurposed in a way that is triple-bottom line sustainable. The CFFO is particularly interested in what each party is willing to do to cut red tape in the areas of planning approvals, environmental compliance approvals, and border-crossing waiting times for business.
The CFFO believes the agriculture and agri-food sector needs to know how our respective political parties are going to manage energy costs, create jobs, ensure fair wages, and reduce red tape. There are all important components of having a successful agriculture and agri-food sector in the years ahead.

Nathan Stevens is the General Manager and Director of Policy Development for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and UCB Canada radio stations in Chatham, Belleville, Bancroft, Brockville and Kingston. It is also archived on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,000 family farmers across Ontario.