By Keith Currie, President, OFA
To The Haldimand Press
There’s something in this year’s federal budget for everyone, at least that’s the government’s intent ahead of a federal election this year. The good news for Canadian agriculture is the emphasis on food, developing a food policy, and new school food programs. Dedicated funding support for farmers in supply managed sectors in response to recent trade agreements and the promise of rural broadband internet also highlight the 2019 budget announcement for farmers.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), along with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), submitted budget recommendations outlining what we believe the agri-food sector needs to be competitive and sustainable. A number of these requests were included in the March 19 budget announcement.
Food security is a must for Canadians and the budget allocation to create a National Food Policy is a welcome promise. OFA is especially encouraged by the three-year agricultural immigration pilot that will help address year-round agricultural labour shortages, the development of a national school food program, and a $25 million commitment to a “Buy Canadian” promotional campaign that are all included in the proposed strategy. A National Food Strategy is a landmark announcement for Canadian agriculture and together, OFA and CFA will be working directly with the federal government to understand how this program will be implemented in support of the whole agri-food sector.