Eager to build on the strengths of this sector, in 2013 Premier Wynne challenged the agri-food industry to double its annual growth rate and create 120,000 jobs by 2020. However, farmers and food processors’ ability to meet this 2020 target continue to be challenged by an overly prescriptive regulatory environment. Released during Ontario Agricultural Week, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce’s report presents recommendations to business and government designed to enhance the economic environment in which agribusinesses currently operate.
“In the Peterborough area, agri-food stakeholders have cited regulatory pressures as a significant barrier to growing their competitiveness,” said Jason Becker, Chair of the Board, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “In fact, the food processing component of the Ontario government’s Red Tape Challenge has identified over 170 regulations that need to be updated. While this government initiative begins an important discussion, continued efforts need to take place to ensure that these industries are able to continue to create jobs and grow the economy.”
Among the 15 recommendations presented in the report, the Peterborough Chamber identifies the following three as priorities to be addressed in the short term:
- Work with industry and all levels of government to establish a regulatory “concierge service” to assist industry in understanding, navigating and achieving compliance with relevant regulatory requirements.
- Publicly release economic impact assessments of policy initiatives that could affect the agri-food sector to ensure decision-making is evidence-based, participatory, unbiased and transparent.
- Work with industry and post-secondary institutions to ensure that program offerings remain responsive to the needs of agricultural producers and processors.
In order to attract, retain and grow agribusiness, the Peterborough Chamber is looking for government to work collaboratively with the agri-food sector to set goals for Agriculture Week 2017 that support the industry in meeting the Premier’s Agri-food Challenge. The Peterborough Chamber in partnership with the OCC is committed to working with government and agribusinesses to enhance the competitiveness of this sector.
Report: Fertile Ground: Growing the Competitiveness of Ontario’s Agri-food Sector
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is a member-based organization. Our main focus is to channel the collective strength of the business community to improve the economy. This includes providing representation on numerous committees, conducting surveys, issuing discussion papers and developing policy positions on issues of significance to our members.
For further information contact:
Sandra Dueck, Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Phone: (705) 748-9771 ext.215