Received August 31, 2020 from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman:
“Over the past 2 years, our government has heard from farmers, municipalities and the broader agriculture community about the threat of on-farm trespass activities. We have heard that farmers are worried for their own safety, the safety of their families, their employees as well as the safety of their animals.
We listened to your concerns, and back in December 2019, I was honoured to introduce the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 and to act on our government’s commitment to protect farmers, agri-food businesses, farm animals and our food supply from the risks of trespass activities. The Act received Royal Assent on June 18, 2020.
I appreciate the strong support that I have received from our stakeholder partners, like you, on such an important piece of legislation. The COVID-19 outbreak has shown us now more than ever, how important it is to have a steady, reliable food supply and to protect the health and safety of the agri-food workers who help feed us.
As you may be aware, we have recently seen a public safety situation grow more urgent. Earlier this summer a demonstrator tragically died outside a meat processing plant. Since then, we have seen heightened tensions leading to greater risks for everyone involved. This has created a significant public safety concern that must be addressed to ensure everyone’s safety.
As a result, I am announcing today a partial proclamation of the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 that will come into effect on Wednesday September 2, 2020 at 12:01AM to address these immediate public safety concerns.
We are proclaiming sections 6(1), 7, 14(1) and 15(1) of the Act, making it an offence to stop, hinder, obstruct or otherwise interfere with a motor vehicle transporting farm animals.
Regulation 950 under the Provincial Offences Act (POA) is also being amended so that tickets can be issued under Part I of the POA for a contravention of section 6(1) of the Act. This approach will allow for more immediate use of the relevant provisions to address the obstruction of motor vehicles transporting farm animals.
I am also pleased to inform you that a Discussion Paper has been posted on the regulatory registry, outlining the ministry’s proposed approach for the regulatory items that are needed to make the rest of the Act come into force. It will be posted for public comment for 45 days, closing on October 15, 2020. Comments can also be sent directly to the Security From Trespass e-mail.
I understand the importance and urgency of this Act to many across the sector. However, before the remaining sections can be proclaimed into force, a number of items must be prescribed via a regulation to operationalize the Act. These regulations are needed to ensure the act is clear, easily interpreted and fulfils its intended purposes. It is important that we take the time to hear from those impacted so we can take those comments into consideration in finalizing the regulation.
The remaining sections of the Act come into force upon proclamation by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Once fully proclaimed into force, the Act will recognize the unique risks associated with trespassing on farms and at processing facilities.
I strongly encourage you to provide feedback and comments on this discussion paper. Your insights are valuable as we work to ensure the Minister’s Regulation and the Act are fair and reasonable while also meeting the needs of industry. Your input is an important contribution to help shape the content and design of the Minister’s Regulation.
Again, thank you for your support. I look forward to working with you to create a safe and healthy Ontario for all.”