GUELPH, ON (April 20, 2016) – Grain Farmers of Ontario is extremely disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal of Ontario, released today, which denies the request for appeal on the dismissal of the case surrounding the Ontario government’s seed treatment regulations.
“The decision is both frustrating and disheartening for myself, our farmer-members, and the grain industry,” says Mark Brock, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “While the result is not what we hoped for, the judgement acknowledged that farmer rights have been negatively affected by this regulation and that it does create legitimate hardships on grain farmers in this province.”
Grain Farmers of Ontario defended its farmer-members’ rights to the highest court possible within the province and the judgement recognizes that there is no legal remedy for regulatory decisions, such as this one, made by government.
The seed treatment regulation, and the precedent it sets for regulating farm inputs, has a significant and detrimental impact on agriculture in Ontario. While the Grain Farmers of Ontario Board of Directors will have further discussion regarding an appeal, it has decided to immediately engage BDO to conduct an audit of the impact of these regulations on Ontario’s grain farmers.
“To ensure the government truly understands how decisions like this impact our businesses, and with the goal of improving how agricultural policy is formed in the future, we are commissioning this audit and we will regularly inform the government of findings throughout this study,” says Brock. “This issue remains a top priority for Grain Farmers of Ontario and we will continue to engage government on this topic today and into the future.”
BDO is one of the leading accounting and advisory firms in Canada. Over the next three years, BDO will investigate the socio-economic consequences of these regulations, including the cost to farmers operating under this new regime and the cost to the future of food and fibre production in Canada. The Conference Board of Canada conducted a study prior to the implementation of these regulations that estimated a loss of over $600 million if farmers were unable to access neonicotinoids and that some farmers would simply move away from farming.
Grain Farmers of Ontario
Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover over 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.