Annual Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Ministry Overview
  2. Annual Report 2002 - 2003
  3. Annual Report 2003 - 2004
  4. Annual Report 2004 - 2005

Ministry Overview

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) helps build a stronger agri-food sector by investing in the development and transfer of innovative technologies, retaining and attracting investment, developing markets and providing effective risk-management tools.

The ministry consults extensively with stakeholders and works collaboratively with many partners in industry and all levels of government to deliver programs that will enhance the sector’;s position as a world leader in the environmentally sound production of safe, high-quality agri-food products. OMAF also works closely with several other ministries to develop policies and deliver programs in areas as diverse as nutrient management, investment attraction, economic development and food safety. Much of this work involves partnering with municipal governments as well.

To better serve the agri-food industry, OMAF relies on a total of 12 agencies, boards and commissions. Some, such as the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal, have an adjudicative role. Others are operational services and enterprises. Agricorp, for example, administers crop insurance programs to provide farmers with protection against natural hazards, and delivers income stabilization payments.

The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission is a regulatory agency that supervises the province’;s 21 marketing boards and three representative commodity associations. The Commission develops and implements policy, and provides strategic leadership and education programs to marketing boards and their industry partners.

Annual Report 2002 - 2003

The April 2003 Budget eliminated the land transfer tax on farmland when the transfer occurs between family members.

The regulation under the Nutrient Management Act came into effect on Sept. 30, 2003. OMAF appointed a Provincial Nutrient Management Advisory Committee and held extensive consultations with stakeholders.

The government commissioned an independent review of Ontario’;s meat inspection and regulatory system. In addition, the ministry increased the number of full-time meat inspectors from 10 to 71, and hired 61 part-time meat inspectors.

In December 2003, an Implementation Agreement was signed with the federal government, under the Agricultural Framework Policy. Over the five-year life of the agreement, Canada and Ontario will invest more than $1.7 billion in the agri-food sector, enhancing its competitiveness and long-term stability.

OMAF also developed and introduced the HACCP Advantage system for small and medium-sized food processing plants as a practical and feasible approach to maintain high food safety standards. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a food safety system that focuses on identifying and preventing problems from occurring during food processing.

Following the May 2003 discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the Canadian cattle herd, Ontario committed to provide up to $138.5 million to assist the ruminant livestock industry recover and rebuild.

Ministry Expenditures ($millions) 2002 - 2003 Actual
One Time and Extraordinary Costs
Staff Strength (as of Mar. 31, 2003)

Note: Starting in 2002-2003, major tangible capital assets owned by provincial ministries (land, buildings and transportation infrastructure) are accounted for on a full accrual accounting basis. Other tangible capital assets owned by provincial ministries will continue to be accounted for as an expense in the year of acquisition or construction. All capital assets owned by consolidated government organizations are accounted for an a full accrual basis.

Annual Report 2003 - 2004

In 2002, Ontario’;s agriculture and food sector posted more than $8.3 billion in sales and maintained its position as Canada’;s leading exporter. Food and beverage companies invested about $800 million in new and existing facilities in Ontario, and created more than 6,000 jobs.

On April 1, 2002, the ministry entered a second five-year agreement with the University of Guelph. Over the life of the partnership, OMAF will invest more than a quarter of a billion dollars in research, education and laboratory services.

In June 2002, the Nutrient Management Act was proclaimed.

Ontario signed the federal-provincial Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), and negotiated with the federal government on behalf of the industry to ensure APF programs are flexible enough to meet the needs of the province’;s diverse agriculture sector.

A number of initiatives to enhance the province’;s food safety system moved forward. More than $1.25 million was allocated to 12 food safety research projects. In addition, OMAF worked in consultation with the ministries of Health and Long-Term Care and Natural Resources on the development of regulations under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001.

The private sector joined the province in committing $246 million to 119 projects under the Healthy Futures for Ontario Agriculture program.

Ministry Expenditures ($millions) 2002 - 2003 Actual
Staff Strength (as of Mar. 31, 2004)

Note: Starting in 2002-2003, major tangible capital assets owned by provincial ministries (land, buildings and transportation infrastructure) are accounted for on a full accrual accounting basis. Other tangible capital assets owned by provincial ministries will continue to be accounted for as an expense in the year of acquisition or construction. All capital assets owned by consolidated government organizations are accounted for an a full accrual basis.

Annual Report 2004 - 2005

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food delivers programming to help achieve a prosperous and competitive agri-food sector while assisting the government to achieve its goals and contribute to the quality of life in Ontario by:

  • enhancing our food safety system from farm to fork;
  • promoting new food products that offer healthier eating choices;
  • fostering a competitive business climate that attracts jobs and investment;
  • exploring new sources of energy; and,
  • protecting the environment.

Research And Technology Transfer

OMAF is helping Ontario's agri-food sector make a greater contribution to an innovative economy by ensuring that research is relevant and new technologies are transferred in a timely way. This encourages the development of new products, new uses for existing products and new markets.

Specialists collect, interpret and deliver research results, and transfer technology and information to Ontario farmers, agri-businesses and food sector businesses through seminars, workshops, applied research, demonstrations and trials, and association meetings. Provincial issues are addressed in partnership with industry, agri-business, researchers and other government agencies.

This program provides expertise to address the critical issues facing rural Ontario, such as land, air and water management. Staff work to ensure that Ontario farm and rural business managers have access to the latest information and decision-making tools. This program also provides funding to stimulate competitive economic growth and partnerships in rural Ontario. Efforts in this area contribute to stronger economies and prosperity for people.

Since April 1, 1997, the ministry has partnered with the University of Guelph to deliver research, laboratory services and education programs. While OMAF continues to set goals and objectives in consultation with industry, the university is responsible for the implementation and management of the programs.

The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO), one of the 12 agencies, boards and commissions of the ministry, provides advice on the current and future research and technology transfer needs of the agriculture and food sectors.

Investment and Market Development

OMAF contributes to the maintenance of a viable agri-food system in Ontario by helping to ensure the competitiveness of Ontario food processors and distributors through the attraction and retention of investment in the sector.

The ministry also delivers programs to expand domestic and international markets for Ontario-produced fresh and processed food products.

To support investment, the ministry provides business planning services and operates a proactive client account management system. Staff assist clients by working to remove barriers to future investment in the industry, to ensure that Ontario is the preferred agri-food industry investment destination in North America.

OMAF's goals in this area are to retain present levels of investment in Ontario's agriculture and food industry, and to promote new investment by farm, agri-business, rural, life science and food companies.

Investment attraction and market development can lead to economic diversification and the creation of new jobs in Ontario, both of which help build strong communities and contribute to our overall prosperity.

Risk Management

The ministry's risk management program co-ordinates policy development, delivers farm income stabilization and other assistance programs to the agriculture sector and manages food safety and environmental risks.

Business risk management programs provide tools for agricultural producers to manage production and price risks in a way that enhances their competitiveness and self-reliance. Producers and the federal and provincial governments share in the cost of these programs; some are national, others are specific to the province.

Managing food safety risks protects consumer safety, market access and industry competitiveness. The ministry provides a regulatory framework, including inspection and enforcement activities, within which industry must conduct its business.

OMAF committed to responsibly implementing recommendations made by Justice Roland Haines, following his independent review of Ontario's meat inspection and regulatory system.

To further mitigate food safety risks, OMAF conducts scientific studies to identify and evaluate new and emerging food safety risks and provides educational programs to industry.

To better protect the environment, the ministry introduced the Nutrient Management Act, 2002. This legislation requires that Ontario's large livestock operations adopt best management practices to enhance their stewardship of our soil and water resources.

In recognition of the fact that all society benefits from the improvements farmers will be required to make to comply with this legislation, the 2004 Ontario Budget made $20 million available (over two years) to assist farmers cover the costs associated with compliance.

OMAF will approve nutrient management strategies and plans, while the Ministry of the Environment will lead inspection and enforcement activities. Working together, the ministries will contribute to the health of the people of the province by enhancing environmental protection.

In addition to protecting the environment, the government of Ontario implemented a plan to protect agricultural land from development and preserve green spaces in the province. OMAF is an active participant in the multi-ministry Greenbelt and Places to Grow initiatives.

Ministry Expenditures ($millions) 2004 - 2005
Staff Strength (as of March 31, 2005)

This includes $285 million in one-time expenditures to assist the agri-food sector and municipalities address extraordinary circumstances.

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