Annual Report of the Normal
Farm Practices Protection Board
The tables and charts show primary complaints only. "Primary" complaints refer to cases where the nuisance mentioned is the only or the major cause of the complaint. Many cases include complaints about multiple nuisances. For example, a complaint about noise from tractors working at night may also name light and vibration; a complaint about odour from a manure pile may include flies. When the case involves multiple nuisances, the main nuisance is identified as a Primary Complaint; the others as Secondary Complaints.
Figure 1. Trend in number of complaints by type of nuisance
Figure 2. Trend in total numbers of complaints
Figure 3. Types of Complaints by Percentage (2013-2014) (Primary Complaints only)
|County||Odour||Noise||Dust||Flies||Smoke||By-Law||County Totals||County %|
|Lennox & Addington County||1||1||1%|
|Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry||2||1||1||4||3%|
As stated earlier, the Board is established under the Act to hear complaints about farm practices, applications regarding by-laws, and referrals from judges. From the hearing, the Board determines whether the farm practice in question is a "normal farm practice." All cases (except referrals from judges) must first go through a conflict resolution process before the Board can hear them.
In 2013-2014, the Board handled six cases, described below:
Issue: By-law: land application
A farmer complained to the Board that the municipality was preventing him from bringing in sufficient landfill to cover his tile drains. While the application was in process, however, the farmer asked that the application be put on hold, pending the results of his proceedings with the municipality.
Status: On Hold
Issue: By-law - tree-cutting
A farmer applied for relief against a tree-cutting by-law in the County of Huron. The case proceeded through several pre-hearing teleconferences and is proceeding to a full hearing.
Status: Case in progress
Issue: By-law - municipal drain
This is a drainage case which went through the full drainage adjudication process, including an Appeal Tribunal hearing. The Tribunal ruled against the applicant. He then applied to the NFPPB on the grounds that the municipal drainage by-law was interfering with his normal farm practice. While the matter was proceeding through pre-hearing processes, the applicant withdrew their application.
Issue: By-law - tree-cutting
This case carried over from the previous fiscal year. A farmer sought relief from the Board from a tree-cutting by-law in the County of Huron. The Board held a pre-hearing conference, and has since held two motion hearings. A hearing date will be set after resolution of the motions.
Status: In progress
A municipal resident applied for a hearing on the grounds that a farmer's bird banger was threatening her health. The parties reached an agreement at a pre-hearing/settlement conference in 2012. In August 2013 the applicant returned to the Board to request a hearing, on the grounds that the farmer had not followed the agreement and the bird banger was again threatening her health. Further conflict resolution was unsuccessful, and the matter is proceeding within the Board's hearing process.
Status: In progress
The applicant said that the neighbouring farmer was using a bird banger inappropriately, causing constant excessive noise to the applicant. Through the pre-hearing/settlement conference, the parties agreed in 2011 to work with OMAF and MRA's bird banger expert to resolve the issues. The two parties reached a negotiated settlement in July 2012. The settlement failed, and in March 2013 the parties returned to the Board. After renewed negotiations, the parties signed a new agreement and the applicant withdrew their application.
Status: Resolved through agreement.
In its Preamble, the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998 states:
It is in the provincial interest that in agricultural areas, agricultural uses and normal farm practices be promoted and protected in a way that balances the needs of the agricultural community with provincial health, safety and environmental concerns.
The Board continues to monitor its effectiveness in supporting these principles. Below is a summary of the disposition of all cases (85) handled by the Board since the Act was amended in 1998 to the end of 2013-2014. (No full hearings were completed in 2013-2014.) These results are presented in chart form in Figure 4, and tabulated in Appendix B (page 15).
Disposition of all cases (85) completed from 1998 to 2014:
These results indicate that the Board has been effective in balancing the needs of the agricultural community with provincial health, safety and environmental concerns, and with the needs of rural residents. In general, 29 percent of the cases heard were decided in favour of the farmer, and 20 percent in favour of the resident.
Figure 4. NFPPB Case Disposition (1998-2014)
The Board tries to make it easier for farmers and residents to attend hearings:
To help parties who do not have legal counsel, the Board developed a Citizen's Guide to the FFPPA and the NFPPB in 2005. The guide explains:
OMAFRA has also published three brochures to give residents and farmers a brief overview of the Act and the Board.
In addition to the Citizen's Guide, the Board has also published its Rules of Practice and Procedure. Parties refer to this document to help them prepare for Board hearings. The Citizen's Guide, Rules of Practice and other information on the Act and the Board are available online. People can also obtain copies from the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.
All the documents described above were updated during the fiscal year 2009-2010.
Summaries of all NFPPB decisions can be found on the NFPPB website. Full decisions are available electronically or in hard copy by contacting the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or email@example.com.
In accordance with the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009, the Board has published online five Accountability Documents: Mandate and Mission Statement; Consultation Policy; Service Standard Policy; Ethics Plan; and Member Accountability Framework. The Member Accountability Framework includes a Code of Conduct. Appendix C and D presents these documents.
The Board also complies with other governance requirements of the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009, and applicable directives of Management Board of Cabinet. These include risk identification, assessment and mitigation strategies and reports, and the Board's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which addresses its relationship with the Minister of Agriculture and Food. The Board also complies with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001, the Communications in French Directive, and the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive.
The Board measures the performance of its programs in three areas:
Values of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board:
Because of the small number and the nature of hearings, the Board does not ask hearing participants to rate its performance on these issues. The Board relies on the incidence of complaints to assess its performance in these areas.
Following are the results of the Board's performance measures:
a) The performance of the conflict resolution system in reducing the number of NFPPB cases that arise from complaints about farm practices. The goal is that a minimum of 80 percent of complaints should be resolved by the conflict resolution system;
Results: In 2013-2014, there was a total of 156 farm practice complaints received.
Of these, 153 were resolved by the Conflict Resolution Process required by the Board, so that only three became new Board cases;
Performance Result: 98 percent.
b) Board response regarding acceptance or rejection of application for hearing: On receipt of a complete application for a hearing, the Board will issue, within 20 days, a notice regarding acceptance or further evaluation.
Results: Three new cases were received for hearing in fiscal year 2013-2014. The results are shown in the Table 3 below.
|Case #||Case Name||No. of days to respond to applicant||Response||Comments|
|2013-01||Boon v. County of Central Huron||22||Accepted for hearing||The response time did not meet the standard 20 days because of complex legal issues|
|2013-03||Sproul v. County of Huron||1||Accepted for hearing||This case was similar to another case before the Board|
|2013-04||Yake v. Town of Uxbridge||N/A||(Application on Hold)||The applicant put the application on hold|
Response time did not meet the standard in one case because of complex legal issues.
c) Release of Board Decisions: Following completion of a hearing, the Board endeavors to release its written Decision, with reasons, to the parties according to the following schedule:
Results: The Board did not complete any full hearings in fiscal year 2013-2014, so it did not issue any decisions.
The Board is funded by the ministry under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Food and the Chair of the Board. The MOU sets out the relationship between the Board and the ministry, to enable the Board to operate "at arm's length" from the ministry. The "arm's length" relationship is vital to ensure that neither the ministry nor the Minister has any influence on the decisions of the Board regarding cases that come before it.
The Board does not have a separate funding allocation, though a specific cost centre was assigned in October 2011. Board expenditures are covered by the Innovation, Engineering and Program Delivery (IEPD) Unit of OMAF and MRA's Environmental Management Branch. The Unit provides staff, office facilities and supplies, and covers Board operating expenses. Board expenditures are the responsibility of the Chair.
Total operating expenditures for the 2013-2014 fiscal year was $23,171 (compared to $31,290 in 2012-13) (refer to Table 4). This amounted to 39.3 percent of the budgeted amount of $59,000. The following factors contributed to the lower spending: (a) no full hearings were completed, though there were two motion hearings and four pre-hearing conferences (three of them by teleconference); (b) training costs budgeted for a new Vice-Chair were not used because the out-going Vice-Chair was reappointed; and (c) publication of the Board's Citizen's Guide was deferred to 2014-15.
|2012-2013||2013-2014||Budget||Variances||Explanation of Variances|
|Board Member Per Diems||$ 26,274||$18,063||$40,000.00||$(21,937)||No full hearings, 2 motion hearings held this fiscal year.|
|Travel Expenses||$ 2,572||$1,378||$7,500||$(6,122)||No full hearings, 2 motion hearings held this fiscal year.|
|Training||$0||$0.00||$4,500.00||$(4,500)||Training deferred to 2014-2015.|
|Translation Services (Decision Summaries)||$ 477||$29||$1,500||$(1,471)||Translation of Complaints Procedure|
|Publication ("Citizen's Guide")||$0||$0.00||$2,000||$(2,000)||Citizen's Guide publication deferred to 2014-15|
|Court Reporters||$ 964||$2,652||$2,500||$ 152||No full hearings, 2 motion hearings held this fiscal year.|
|Miscellaneous||$ 1,003||$1,049||$1,000.00||$49||Police protection services needed for hearings and Board-ordered events in one particular case.|
|Total||$ 31,290||$ 23,171||$59,000||$ (35,829)|
Under the Act, the Board consists of at least five members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture and Food, through the Public Appointments Secretariat, according to the requirements of the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009. The Board invites candidates from across the province, with various backgrounds and expertise in agriculture and municipal affairs.
During the 2013-2014 fiscal year there were nine members on the Board. During the past fiscal year five members were reappointed, including the Chair and Vice-Chair. Here is the membership list as of March 31, 2014 (Table 6):
|Name||Address||Occupation||Original Appointment||Appointment Expiry Date|
|Kirk W. Walstedt, Chair||Maidstone||lawyer||June 1, 2013||June 30, 2017|
|Anthony Little, Vice-Chair||London||lawyer||Apr 6, 2005||Apr 14, 2013|
|Dwayne Acres||Osgoode||cash crop and livestock farmer||June 3, 2005||July 15 2015|
|Hélène Blanchard||Embrun||dairy farmer||June 3, 2005||July 15 2015|
|Marty Byl||Niagara-on-the-Lake||grape grower||July 17, 2007||July 16, 2016|
|Douglas Eadie||Kincardine||cash crop farmer||Apr 15, 2011||Apr 14, 2019|
|Tom Field||Glencoe||dairy, beef, sheep, cash crop farmer||Feb 27, 2009||Feb 26, 2019|
|Roger Pelissero||St Anns||poultry farmer||July 17, 2007||July 16, 2016|
|P. Maxwell Kaiser||Napanee||poultry farmer||July 17, 2007||July 16, 2016|
On behalf of the members of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board, I wish to thank the Minister of Agriculture and Food for the services provided to the Board according to the Memorandum of Understanding, and for facilitating the smooth and effective operation of the Board.
Submitted this 21st day of June, 2014.
Kirk W. Walstedt, Chair (signed)
Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
Figure 5. Odour Complaints by County (2013-2014)
Figure 6. Noise Complaints by County (2013-2014)
Figure 7. Dust Complaints by County (2013-2014)
Figure 8. Flies Complaints by County (2013-2014)
Figure 9. Smoke Complaints by County (2013-2014)
Figure 10. By-Law Complaints by County (2013-2014)
Table 7 shows the disposition of all cases brought to the Board (after conflict resolution by the Agricultural and Food Engineers and Environmental Specialists) since the Act was amended in 1998.
"Primary" complaints refer to cases where the nuisance mentioned is the only or major cause of the complaint. Many cases include complaints about multiple nuisances. For example, a complaint about noise from tractors working at night may also name light and vibration; a complaint about odour from a manure pile may include flies. When the case involves multiple nuisances, the main nuisance is identified as a Primary Complaint; the others as Secondary Complaints.
|(P) W, D||4|
|2010-11||a, A, F||F,X,A, f||f,a||a, a, f||
We present the five Accountability Documents, as required by the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009: the Mandate and Mission Statement; Consultation Policy; Service Standard Policy; Ethics Plan; and Member Accountability Framework. The Member Accountability Framework includes a Code of Conduct.
When considering substantive changes to its rules or policies, the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (Board) will consult with persons or entities or groups of persons or entities (parties) whose interests would be affected by those changes, where, in the opinion of the Board Chair, it would be appropriate to do so.
When consulting with persons or entities or groups of persons or entities on such matters, the Board will do so in a manner that allows the Board to receive feedback from those engaged before changes are finalized. Consultation periods will vary according to the complexity of the matters under discussion and the range of parties involved. The minimum consultation period will be 30 days, beginning the date the matter is communicated to the parties.
The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (Board) is a quasi-judicial adjudicative board committed to providing a fair hearing and decision process to all parties involved in disputes regarding normal farm practices. The Board operates within the context of a professional and accountable public service, and is committed to providing a high standard of service to the public.
From time to time, the Board may receive complaints about the quality of service related to its practices, or the conduct of Board members or staff. This policy outlines the Board's service standards for communication between the Board and the public, and informs the public about the Board's process for responding to complaints.
Correspondence - Written correspondence (mail, e-mail or fax) will be acknowledged within 15 business days.
Telephone - Telephone calls will be returned within one business day. Voicemail messages will provide an option for reaching an alternate staff person to assist.
In-person service - Core hours for staff assisted service is 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.Applications for hearings - Applicants will be informed whether their application for a hearing has been accepted by the Board within 20 days, beginning with the receipt of a complete application that meets Board requirements. To assist the applicant, the Board has provided full application forms showing all the required information on the Board web page.
Issue of Board decisions - Following completion of a hearing, the Board will issue its written Decision with reasons to the parties according to the following schedule:
The Accessibility Document of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board is published on the Board website.
The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) is committed to providing quality service to the public.
From time to time, the Board may receive complaints about the quality of service related to Board policies and procedures, the application of those policies and procedures or the conduct of the Board members and staff. The purpose of this policy is to create a transparent and fair method of responding to public complaints.
Confidentiality: Complaints are kept strictly confidential. However, for a thorough and fair review, the Board must advise the person who is the subject of the complaint.
The Minister or Minister's delegate is the most appropriate choice for reviewing complaints against the Board Chair. You can submit the complaint in writing, or in other forms as appropriate for persons with disabilities, either through the Board Secretary or directly to the Minister's office. The review may be conducted by the Minister or his or her delegate.
Normal Farm Practices Protection Board
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs
1 Stone Road West, 3rd Floor
Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2
125 Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M53 2C7
General Inquiry Client Access Centre
(416) 586-3300 or 1-800-263-1830
1V (Ethical Conduct) and Part V (Political Activity) of the Public
Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA)
The Board will ensure that members are familiar with the requirements of the PSOA by:
The Board will ensure that members are familiar with the Board's Code of Conduct by:
The Board's Member Accountability Framework consists of:
This Code of Conduct sets out the standards of conduct governing the professional and ethical responsibilities of members of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board from the beginning of their term of appointment and ongoing obligations as an appointee. It addresses the principles of good conduct and collegial responsibility. Appointees are responsible for applying an appropriate standard of conduct and acting in an ethical and professional manner.
The principles set out in this code are founded on the professional and ethical values of public service, which are set to uphold the public trust.
This Code of Conduct does not refer to appointees' legislated obligations regarding a conflict of interest or political activity rights and obligations. Please refer to the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 and its regulations. Also, it is not intended to conflict with any legal or professional requirements.
|Creation Date:||25 March 2015|
|Last Reviewed:||25 March 2015|