Ontario Government takes steps to better protect farmers, livestock and our food supply
Guelph, Ontario, December 3, 2019–Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) was pleased to join Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman at Queen’s Park yesterday to announce and introduce new legislation that will, if passed, better protect farmers and their animals. VFO congratulates the Minister on taking this decisive and necessary action to protect the province’s food supply.
“The Minister has listened to the concerns from across the supply chain and is taking meaningful steps to protect our farmers, our livestock and our food supply,” says VFO Chair Tom Kroesbergen. “The threat of on-farm trespassing has caused enormous stress for our farmers, and we appreciate the attention the Minister has given to the seriousness of this issue,” he adds.
The Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019 attempts to address the unique risks and challenges posed by unwanted visitors and trespassing onto a farm or food processing facility, including risks to the safety of farmers, their families, and employees, exposure of animals to stress and disease, and the introduction on contaminants into our food supply. The health and safety of farmers and their livestock are integral components of the proposed legislation.
The act incorporates stiffer penalties for those convicted of trespassing, including escalating fines for first and multiple offences, allowing courts to consider additional factors that may result in an increased fine, and ordering restitution for damages to livestock or theft. It also offers additional protection for farmers against civil liability from those injured while contravening the act and rendering consent to enter the premises invalid if it was obtained under duress or false pretenses.
VFO would like to thank Minister Hardeman for bringing this important legislation forward, following extensive consultations with industry stakeholders this fall. “VFO has been actively engaged on this issue on behalf of our members and will continue to work with the Minister and his staff in order to protect our farm families and their businesses,” stated Jennifer Haley, Executive Director.
Read the full release here.