MPP Thompson appointed Ontario Minister of Rural Affairs

Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce is honoured to have been appointed Minister of Rural Affairs and proud of her legacy as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The new Ministry she will be leading was announced earlier this month, when Premier Doug Ford unveiled his renewed team that will continue building Ontario’s economy and deliver on the government’s core commitments.

“I am honoured to be appointed as the new Minister of Rural Affairs to represent the people of Rural Ontario at the cabinet table,” said Thompson. “The fact that Premier Ford has created a separate Ministry of Rural Affairs demonstrates our government’s commitment to rural Ontario, and I look forward to focusing exclusively on the needs of Ontario’s small towns and rural communities.”

A graduate of the University of Guelph and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, Thompson began her career with OMAFRA as a Rural Community Advisor and she feels “this opportunity has brought my career full circle with regards to my commitment to building capacity in rural Ontario.” She added “I am proud to represent a government that understands the need to dedicate a specific focus (by way of standing up a brand new ministry) on small towns and rural communities across the province.”

During her three years as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Thompson worked diligently with leaders from across the agriculture and food industry to see that their priorities for Ontario agriculture and food production were heard at the cabinet table and enshrined in the province’s Grow Ontario Strategy, a landmark of her tenure in the role. Released a year and a half into her term as Minister, the strategy has set out ambitious goals for the industry that aimed to strengthen the supply chain, increase technology adoption, and attract and grow the workforce. This strategy has and will continue to guide government decision making for the industry to 2032.

“As Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, I was committed to working with stakeholders in the spirit of understand priorities and delivering programs and supports in a timely fashion,” said Thompson. “I want to thank everyone for their engagement and advocacy while we developed a bold new strategy, passed two important pieces of legislation, launched significant funding programs and developed numerous initiatives to help grow the industry.”

In the past year Thompson was responsible for introducing two important pieces of legislation. The first piece of legislation, which received Royal Assent on April 25, 2024 was the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario Amendment Act. This modernized the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) and brought agriculture and food research into the 21st century. The second, which received Royal Assent on June 6, 2024, was the Enhancing Professional Care for Animals Act, which will enable an expanded role for registered veterinary technicians and increase access to veterinary services for farmers and pet owners across Ontario. Because of Thompson’s commitment to consultation and ‘getting it right,’ both pieces of legislation passed through the legislative process with unanimous support at every stage.

Some of Thompson’s other accomplishments while at OMAFRA include:

  • Co-hosted a federal-provincial-territorial meeting that resulted in the Guelph statement; this later led to the signing of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a 5-year agreement with the federal government that will see upwards of $1.77 billion in support for the agri-food sector in Ontario;
  • Launched the Veterinary Incentive Program which provides support to newly licensed veterinarians who practice on large animals in underserved communities;
  • Announced 20 additional vet school spaces through a partnership between University of Guelph and Lakehead University;
  • Updated the legislative framework for the livestock and grain financial protection programs;
  • Increased farmer and farm worker mental health supports;
  • Increased individual loan limits under the Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee program;
  • Renewed the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Agreement, a $343-million initiative that funds research, testing and training through the University of Guelph;
  • Opened the Ontario Swine Research Centre and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with poultry industry leaders to build a new Ontario Poultry Research Centre;
  • Introduced a new focus on careers in the agriculture and food industry and enabled the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies, in partnerships with AgScape, to facilitate the new program;
  • Extended support for important rural leadership development organizations such as 4-H Ontario, Rural Ontario Institute and AgScape (responsible for Agriculture in the Classroom);
  • And more.