Roseville, ON: Prime farmland needs to be protected by legislation, says GPO leader Mike Schreiner.
“The food and farm sector is the largest employer in the province, yet the current government is failing to protect the land that sustains our economic health and feeds our communities,” says Schreiner.
The food and farming sector employs 717,392 people and contributes over $40 billion to Ontario’s economy. From 2006 to 2011 Ontario lost 636,000 acres of farmland. With only 5% of Canada’s land mass rated as prime agricultural land, Ontario cannot sustain an annual loss of 127,000 acres of land per year, which is larger than the city of Toronto.
“We have to stop destroying farmland,” says Schreiner. “A country that can’t feed itself is as insecure as a country that can’t defend itself. I will continue to fight for policies that support profitable family farms and protects important farmland.”
Under Schreiner’s leadership, Green Party has worked with farmers to fight the mega quarry in Melancthon Township, a gas plant in the Holland Marsh and opposed the government’s plan to pave 144 hectares of farmland for a new Highway 7.
Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) must place a greater emphasis on preserving farmland. While the province has a close-to-market policy that prioritizes aggregate extraction in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, it doesn’t have a food security policy that prioritizes the preservation of farmland and farmers.
This must change. Ontario needs to change the PPS to protect class 1, 2, 3 and 4 farmland from development.