submitted by OFA
Over the past several months, the protection of Ontario farmland has been a key topic of discussion, both in the media and in the corridors of Queen’s Park.
As debate swirls around the Greenbelt and the provincial government’s plans to build 1.5 million new homes in Ontario by 2031, we wanted to clarify OFA’s stance on the issues.
Preserving agricultural lands for the purposes of food production and processing is a top priority for OFA.
The best use — the only acceptable use — of arable farmland is for growing food, fuel, fibre and flowers. In order for future generations of Ontarians to have access to fresh, local food, Ontario’s farmland must be protected. Building on productive farmland jeopardizes Ontario’s agri-food system, threatens the food supply chain and undermines our food security and sovereignty.
Local food production and processing is also extremely vital to the Ontario economy, providing a significant economic impact. Ontario’s agri-food industry contributes more than $47 billion in GDP to Canada’s economy, supporting more than 860,400 jobs on more than 49,600 farms across the Province. Protecting these lands is and remains a main concern for OFA. But that does not mean that OFA is anti-development.
The housing crisis facing Ontario is real, and we understand the government’s need and plan to add more housing stock to the market. We also think that this plan can be achieved by building within existing urban boundaries — utilizing underdeveloped areas, reclaiming abandoned industrial lands and building up instead of out.
To this end, we remain a willing partner with government to find workable solutions that will address the housing crisis without taking farmland out of production.