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Ontario election comes at critical time for recovery and growth
Created on 9/9/2022 10:13:17 AM

Written by Michael Graydon, CEO of Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada
Published on May 5, 2022

As Ontarians head to the polls in a little less than a month, it goes without saying that there is a lot at stake. In the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario’s essential food, health, and consumer product manufacturing and supply chains have never been more important, and strengthening them should be at the top of voters’ and political leaders’ minds.

Ontario is already one of the most important agricultural and food processing hubs in North America, and it has the potential to experience even greater success in this critical sector.

More than 100,000 Ontarians work in food processing alone, not to mention in farming and other parts of the food supply chain. The province is home to more than 3,100 food processing facilities, and food processors buy an estimated 70% of what Ontario’s farmers grow. 

The agricultural bounty that makes Ontario a potential food powerhouse includes more than 125 different fruits and vegetable crops grown on more than 245,000 acres of land. Ontario is the home of two-thirds of Canada’s soybean crop, and 136 dairy farming establishments.

In addition to the food Ontario makes, the province is also a hub of manufacturing activity for other grocery and drug store products Canadians rely on every day. Ontario has more cosmetic and beauty product manufacturing establishments than any other province

Ontario’s election comes at a critical time. Canadians have made clear they understand the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 for the food, health, and consumer goods sector, and they strongly support government action to strengthen essential supplies. 

Now is the time for political leaders to address long-standing constraints that hold Ontario back from reaching its full potential as an engine for Canada’s resilience and self-reliance.

As Canadian families and business continue to reckon with post-COVID recovery and other unprecedented disruptions, Ontario leaders must: 

  • Address labour shortages Strong provincial-federal collaboration is critical to keep manufacturing lines functioning at full capacity including by helping Canadian job seekers connect with opportunities in our sector, streamlining the Temporary Foreign Workers program, and investing in modern automation technology.
  • Implement a grocery supply code of practice Unfair fines and power imbalances between grocery giants and suppliers are contributing to consumer inflation and food insecurity. Ontario needs an enforceable and mandatory Grocery Code to restore balance. 
  • Support a circular economy for plastics Industry and government share the goals of building a circular economy and efficiently transitioning Ontario’s Blue Box program to full producer responsibility. To achieve these goals, industry requires the support and collaboration of a proactive, engaged partner in a government committed to keeping plastics in the economy but out of the environment, creating new domestic jobs, reducing emissions, and eliminating value lost from unrecovered materials.

Ontario voters can learn more about food, health and consumer goods and ask their political representatives to support this essential sector, its workers, and Canadian families by visiting oneveryshelf.ca/act-now/
 

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