Members Statements — Food Processors

September 12, 2012

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: This morning, the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors released a study showing the economic impact of their industry. It found that the total direct and indirect output generated by the food and beverage manufacturers in Ontario’s economy is about $67 billion. It generates over 360,000 jobs and close to $5 billion in tax revenue.

The report illustrates how vital this sector is to the success of our agriculture industry and our economy. It demonstrates that the government should be looking at how we can help them grow and ensure that the government isn’t blocking their success. As executive director Steve Peters said this morning, “If managed and supported properly, there are tremendous opportunities.”

But this government has a poor track record. They have dramatically increased the cost of hydro and burdened these businesses with excessive red tape, permits and paperwork. The Liberals promised they would create a one-window access to government, as the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors recommended several years ago, but they are breaking that promise. A year after the Liberals copied our commitment to create one window, they have not actually taken any action to implement the promise.

We understand that food manufacturers are the number two industry in Ontario and the number one purchaser of agriculture products. On behalf of Tim Hudak and the PC caucus, I was pleased to meet with the representatives of the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors today to hear about the challenges they are facing. We look forward to continuing to work with the food processors to help strengthen the industry and, through that, the Ontario economy. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity