By Keith Currie, President, OFA
To The Haldimand Press
In early December, the provincial government laid out its approach to expanding natural gas access and reducing red tape for rural Ontario and the agri-food sector. Both announcements have been long awaited and the initial response from the agri-food sector, rural residents and business owners was enthusiasm, but the devil is in the details.
Both announcements are still in the early stages, and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has been closely reviewing the few details that have been released.
The passage of Bill 32, Access to Natural Gas Act, 2018 is a step in the right direction to reduce soaring energy costs that so many rural, remote and northern Ontario residents and businesses are currently facing. But the details of the announcement reveal the expanded access is intended to only reach up to 78 communities and 33,000 homes. Those numbers will only meet approximately one tenth of those currently without access to natural gas – a far cry from the complete natural gas access Ontario needs.