MPP announces ‘Grow Ontario’ strategy

The Ontario government is building a strong, secure food supply chain and securing the province’s position as a food leader in Canada with the release of the Grow Ontario Strategy.

The strategy outlines the province’s plan to strengthen the agri-food sector, ensure an efficient, reliable, and responsive food supply and address ongoing vulnerabilities through new innovations.

“The Grow Ontario Strategy is our government’s plan to make sure the province’s food supply chain remains safe, strong and stable from farm to fork,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This plan is a bold vision of pride and trust in the quality and quantity of food produced in Ontario, grown on the foundation of a competitive agri-food industry that serves the needs of Ontarians, Canadians and the world.

The future of Ontario’s agriculture and food production is bright but we also can’t ignore the challenges beyond our control that we’ve faced over the past few years.

Labour shortages and limited capacity has made processing in Ontario challenging. We’ve seen firsthand how the delays of equipment and inputs can impact the supply chain and our grocery store shelves. Ontario has the economic power to be a global leader in agriculture and food production. That is why as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, I am proud to release Grow Ontario, our plan to address these vulnerabilities and grow the sector so that families can always have Ontario food on their dinner plates.

Grow Ontario focuses on three key areas: strengthening the food supply chain; supporting research and innovation; and growing Ontario’s agri-food workforce. This is all with one key goal in mind, building consumer confidence and reinforcing Ontario as a leader in agriculture and food production in Canada.

Our strategy is ambitious. It takes bold action, and it sets measurable targets. By 2032, we will increase the consumption of Ontario produced food by 30 per cent and increase exports by nearly 10 percent so that farmers and processors can access new markets, domestically and around the world. We will increase the availability of technology and data across the sector, and we have set a goal to have 250 new technology and research projects developed by 2030.

It also includes a ten-year plan to attract more workers to agriculture and food production and increase the number of large animal vets practicing in our province. And we have a plan to get there which includes concrete actions, such as our $10 million Food Security and Supply Chain that will be invested to upgrade and increase capacity and new training opportunities to promote agriculture and agri-food to youth and newcomers.

We’re also building on work we’ve already done such as the Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund, which will expand processing capacity across Ontario. Ontario’s $47 billion food and agriculture sector has and will always be the cornerstone of our provincial economy. Above all else, this is a plan that will ensure we continue to Grow Ontario.”