The board of directors for the Ontario Processing Vegetables Marketing Board has been dismissed and all contracts for production this year are open for negotiation.
Elmer Buchanan is in charge. He is a former Ontario agriculture minister under the NDP government of former premier Bob Rae.
Jim Clark, chairman of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, has posted the following statement on the commission’s website today:
“To facilitate the government's decision to appoint a trustee, the Commission used its authority under the Farm Products Marketing Act to terminate OPVG's member appointments to all negotiating agencies for 2017 and give the trustee the power to appoint new members within 14 days.
“Upcoming negotiating deadlines for tomatoes, carrots, cabbage and green and waxed beans have been extended by 14 days.
“This was a difficult decision that was not made lightly. It was based on tensions within the sector over the last several months and, more recently, by a breakdown in negotiations between growers and processors which was endangering this year's tomato crop.
“Not taking this action now would likely have negative effects on the 2017 crop size, which would have had consequences on the livelihoods of Ontario farmers and the provincial economy as a whole.
“Today's decision is a temporary measure to help reinvigorate the processing vegetable sector. Board elections will be held later this year, in time for the 2018 growing season.
“I want to make it clear that today's decision was based on unique circumstances and the Commission, along with the Ontario government, continues to support regulated marketing.”