Ford government walks back farmland severance proposal

A controversial proposal to allow up to three severances off an Ontario farm property will be walked back, according to a letter sent to Ontario farm groups by Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Steve Clark.

The decision comes after several farm groups, led by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, lobbied the government to drop the proposal in Bill 97 that would have been detrimental to farmland preservation and rural infrastructure.

In a statement, OFA president Peggy Brekveld says that “a united coalition of farmers and agricultural leaders has spoken up with a single voice against legislation that could make it difficult or impossible for farmers to manage and expand their farm businesses in the future.

“That’s why the news that the provincial government has heard our concern and will not be moving ahead with the three-lot severance proposal is so welcome,” Brekveld says. “The government has also announced it will extend the consultation period that is currently ongoing regarding the proposed Provincial Planning Statement and agreed to work with the agriculture sector to find solutions to this issue.”

There are still some outstanding issues with the bill, including the extension of Ministerial Zoning Orders that farm groups have concerns about, and the OFA says it is committed to “help find ways to support the provincial government’s housing goals, and we look forward to actively engaging in that dialogue in the days and weeks ahead.”

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