Pre-Budget Submission from Sustain Ontario

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Author: Jenn Kucharczyk

Posted: April 2, 2014

Categories: GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Ontario

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The Ontario government is accepting submissions for its consultations on the provincial budget. The consultation period began in December and is culminating on April 11th. Visit Pre-Budget Consultations 2014 for more information on the process. You can email your own letters to or express ideas on Twitter by tweeting at @OntMinFinance or using the hashtag #BudgetTalks.

On behalf of the alliance for healthy food and farming, Sustain Ontario put forward a pre-budget submission  that describes and builds upon the food and farming system advances we have witnessed this past year. As you can read in the excerpt from our 2014 submission below, we urge the province to:

  • Invest in further inter-ministerial communication and collaboration between food and farming-related ministries; we recognize the innovative work that is accomplished when ministry staff members work together across sectors;
  • Consider aligning funding priorities and resources dedicated to food systems from diverse ministries (eg. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care;
  • Continue to support local food and farming infrastructure that builds capacity for regional food systems and allows for more processing and distribution dollars to remain in Ontario;
  • Grow the Local Food Fund and consider adjusting the parameters of the program to better suit all food system players including civil society. Consider allowing for more flexibility in matching funds and staffing criteria, particularly for non-profits;
  • Continue to invest in student nutrition programs across the province and build on the recommendations from the Healthy Kids Panel including the opportunity for supportive food literacy programming; continue to build capacity for these programs to expand their purchasing of local food;
  • Invest in growing domestic and value-added markets, particularly niche markets and value chains such as organic, sustainable, pastured livestock, halal, gluten-free, world crops and forest and fresh-water foods that promote healthful and ecologically sound products and grow Ontario’s regional economies;
  • Support, recognize and reward ecological practices in agriculture: strengthen existing programs to prioritize ecological practices with the most regenerative impact for Ontario’s natural resources and keep current with leading research and innovators;
  • Work with the federal government to ensure that Growing Forward 2 programs meet the needs of all Ontario producers, processors and food entrepreneurs, with an eye to succession planning;
  • Invest in transparent and regionally appropriate calculations of social assistance rates to include the cost of a nutritious food basket in all areas of the province, continuing to prioritize poverty reduction to ensure that everyone, regardless of income, can afford healthy food; and
  • Invest in community food programs and centres that ensure access to fresh and affordable food to all Ontarians while building food skills and literacy.

Read our previous blog post for a review of what some of our members and allies have addressed in their submissions.