OFA wants agriculture on municipal election agendas

By Mark Wales, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Agriculture must make the list of issues that matter to candidates in the upcoming fall municipal elections. Farmers are a minority in most Ontario municipalities. And the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) believes it’s our responsibility, as farm families and farm business owners to work with local governments to help them understand agriculture and make sure our rural communities are well served.

On Oct. 27, Ontarians will go to the polls in local elections for municipal council. We must be sure that local services to farmers, farm families and farm businesses are top of mind with candidates. OFA wants to make sure municipal office candidates hear and understand the concerns of farm constituents, so if elected, they can make informed decisions on issues that impact Ontario agriculture.

The OFA has created an elections kit to help members talk about agriculture with local municipal candidates. The kit, available at www.ofa.on.ca, includes a sample letter to candidates, background on municipal governance, and information and questions to ask candidates on nearly 20 different issues from land use planning to wildlife damage, drainage and natural gas service.

It’s important for all OFA members to be informed and support candidates who have the best interests of our communities at heart. Local, or municipal, governments are responsible for important community functions, including services, building and maintaining infrastructure, waste management and land use planning. Municipal councillors are also responsible for funding all these services, roadways and bridges through taxpayer and farm property tax dollars.

The OFA wants to make certain agriculture has a voice in municipal priorities. Every community and municipality has its own focus or areas of concern, but OFA has provided information on a variety of common agricultural issues affecting farmers across Ontario. Working with municipalities is also a priority for the OFA, to make sure rural infrastructure investment is a top issue in municipal elections. The OFA is already working with government and policy makers to make sure rural municipalities get their fair share of infrastructure funding from the provincial government, and help prioritize funding allocations.

Be informed. Be active. And get engaged in your community in the upcoming fall election. It’s up to all of us to make agriculture and rural Ontario a municipal priority.

For more information, contact:

Mark Wales
Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Neil Currie
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture


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