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Ontario ag minister to get new powers on farm programs

Move part of province's red tape-cutting plan


Ontario’s minister of agriculture is expected to get direct authority to set up farm programming, as part of a legislative package resurrected from this spring to cut regulatory red tape.

Provincial Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid on Tuesday reintroduced the Burden Reduction Act, a package of amendments meant to “reduce regulatory burdens and practices that cost businesses time and money, while protecting environmental and health standards and enhancing worker safety.”

The package includes amendments to over 50 provincial statutes, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act — under which the new bill proposes to eliminate the need for an order-in-council (OIC) to establish a program.

The minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs — in this case, Jeff Leal — would then have authority to either create or amend provincial programs “responsive to the needs of industry,” the province said.

The agriculture minister would then be able to establish “programs for the encouragement of any branch of agriculture, food or rural affairs,” offering grants, services or other payments and/or requiring that program participants pay specific fees.

The minister would also have authority to name an agriculture ministry employee or contractor, or an outside operator or company, to administer such programs.

OICs are decrees issued by a provincial lieutenant governor on the advice of executive council — that is, the premier and cabinet. OICs aren’t debated in the legislative assembly before they’re implemented.

The Burden Reduction Act previously got as far as first reading in June and died when the legislature was prorogued Sept. 8. –– Network

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