Local MPP Bill Walker says Ontario’s Government for the People is taking action to cut red tape and reduce regulatory burdens for the agri-food sector in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.
“We campaigned on a promise to help businesses and farmers by eliminating unnecessary and antiquated regulatory burdens. Today we’re delivering on our commitment to make it easier for agri-food companies to do business in Ontario by reducing paperwork that causes frustration, consumes time and provides no real protections for consumers,” said Walker.
Proposed regulatory changes under the Food Safety and Quality Act would reduce paperwork and fees and also encourage additional business opportunities for provincially-licensed meat processors. For example, meat-plant licenses would no longer need to be renewed, saving operators $300 every three years, and eliminating time consuming paperwork. In another proposed change, the process would be simplified for owners who no longer want to operate meat-plants, to voluntarily give up their licenses, reducing confusion and aggravation for processors.
The government is also aiming to reduce the regulatory burden under the Milk Act, with support from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, promoting growth, innovation and job creation in the dairy sector. For example, under current regulations, small dairy processors, such as artisan cheese makers, can spend up to one-third of their construction budget on outdated building requirements. Amending requirements related to receiving rooms, plant ceiling height and floor drains will reduce costs and allow processors to use existing buildings. In another proposed change, licensing criteria would be revised to eliminate overlap between OMAFRA and Public Health Unit.
“Farmers and food processors have told us that too many of Ontario’s regulatory requirements are out of date, unnecessary or heavy-handed. They say the process costs them time, money and a lot of frustration, and it doesn’t provide any real added protections for people,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The changes we are proposing will make it easier and faster for agri-food companies to do business in Ontario.”
The proposed amendments are now posted on the Regulatory Registry, with comments accepted until January 10, 2019.
To read the full list of proposed changes and provide your feedback, please visit the Regulatory Registry at www.ontariocanada.com/registry