Election Outcomes Promising for Ontario Organic
The election results are in and there's good news for the Ontario organic sector. On June 7th, 2018, the Ontario PC Party led by Doug Ford won 76 seats in Ontario, forming a majority government. Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP will form the official opposition with 40 seats in total. The Ontario Liberal Party picked up only 7 seats, resulting in the loss of its official party status and the resignation of party leader Kathleen Wynne.
For the first time in Ontario history, the Green Party of Ontario won its first seat for party leader Mike Schreiner in Guelph, Ontario.
Sylvia Jones (PC) and Peter Tabuns (NDP), co-sponsors of the organic Private Member's bill, both retained their seats. Bill 153, the Organic Products Act, was introduced and passed second reading in 2017, before legislature was prorogued in March and the bill had to be reintroduced.
"OCO is encouraged to see that so many organic supporters have been elected as Members of Provincial Parliament." says Rob Wallbridge, Chair of the Organic Council of Ontario's board.
Also reelected are representatives John Vanthof (NDP), Catherine Fife (NDP), and Jim McDonnell (PC) who all spoke out in support of the bill during its second reading.
While the Green Party only holds one seat, Mike Schreiner was an early endorser of Bill 153 and his party scored highest on their support for organic in OCO's provincial report card.
In its response to OCO's election report card questions, the NDP committed to bringing forward the Organic Products Act again. MPP Tabuns reiterates this message: "I am committed to bringing back the organic bill and I hope the Ford government will see the huge business opportunity in building our organic sector. It's good for the environment and good for prosperity."
The PC platform commitments to organic remain unclear. However, with MPP Sylvia Jones as an organic champion within government, and so many organic supporters among all four parties, organic producers and consumers are in a good position to see progress.
"MPP Jones played a major role in getting organic on the agenda this past year. We look forward to working with her and the new government to realize the goal of regulating organic claims within Ontario." comments Carolyn Young, OCO's Executive Director.
Organic advocates throughout the province will be watching carefully and holding their elected officials accountable.