For Immediate Release
May 22, 2014
(London): Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, says Green MPPs will take bold action to support Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector.
“Ontarians want the corn, peas, tomatoes, and strawberries grown here to be processed here,” says Schreiner. “Local food processing is key to keeping the family farm in business.”
The food and farming sector employs more than 740,000 people and contributes more than $40 billion to Ontario’s economy. Ontario’s food and beverage processors alone generate $40 billion in revenue, create 125,000 jobs directly, and contribute $11 billion to Ontario’s GDP.
In the wake of the Heinz ketchup factory closing in Leamington in 2013 — and in response to pressure from Green Party supporters and local food advocates — the Liberal government announced some funds for food processing.
Unfortunately, the Heinz announcement was only one in a string of Ontario processing plant closures. In the past five years Ontario has lost a major sweet corn and pea canning factory in Exeter and a fruit canning plant near Niagara-on-the-Lake. Since 1998, the province has lost more than half of its small abattoirs.
“Greens will continue to push for a dedicated fund to support homegrown entrepreneurs to start and expand local food processing businesses,” says Schreiner. “Greens will also push for regulatory changes to make it easier for local producers to bring products to market.”
The GPO is calling for regulatory reforms that support small and medium scale food producers who must comply with rules written for large processing firms.
Mike Schreiner and the Green Party are committed to bringing honesty, integrity, and good public policy to Queen’s Park.
Media contact: Candice Lepage