Ontario Modernizing Agri-Food Research

Proposed legislation will help the agri-food sector remain on the cutting-edge of innovation

Photo: Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

TORONTO – The Ontario government is updating legislation to strengthen the agriculture and food industry through research and innovation.

Changes to the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario Act (ARIO) would, if passed, broaden the scope of research in Ontario to help the agri-food industry stay on the cutting edge of best production practices and implement new technologies and innovative techniques that will increase the competitiveness and productivity of the sector.

“To maintain Ontario’s position as a world leader in agriculture and food research, it is vital that we support growth, competitiveness and innovation in the industry,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Our proposed updates to the ARIO Act will strengthen the agri-food supply chain, increase technology and adoption, drive opportunities for commercialization and attract and grow talent – all key components of our Grow Ontario Strategy.”

The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) was created in 1962 to advocate for areas of research for the betterment of agriculture, veterinary medicine and household sciences. Proposed changes to the ARIO Act would broaden the areas of research to better reflect today’s research needs and those in the future including digital agriculture, environmental sustainability and value-add agri-food products, along with more socially focused research.

The proposed changes are the result of input received during an extensive consultation process with Indigenous communities, industry stakeholders and academia.

“For more than 60 years, the ARIO Act has served Ontario’s agri-food industry well by supporting research that directly benefits farmers,” said Lorne Hepworth, Chair of the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario. “The proposed changes will strengthen the ARIO’s decades of work by expanding the scope of research to be more relevant today and serve the future needs of our agriculture and food industry.”

By modernizing the ARIO Act, Ontario would further its status as a world leader in agriculture, food processing, and the development of the industry’s unique technologies. Increasing competitiveness and productivity as well as the development and adoption of new technologies in the agriculture and food industry are key goals set out in the Grow Ontario Strategy. Updating the ARIO Act is one way the Ontario government is strengthening the agriculture and food industry, supporting economic growth, and ensuring an efficient, reliable and responsive food supply for Ontarians.

Quick Facts

  • The ARIO was created in 1962 as an agency of the province of Ontario, accountable to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • The Act last received major amendments in the 1990’s; however, these amendments focused on formalizing the operational structure of the agency.
  • Modernizing the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario Act is a key component of the Grow Ontario Strategy that aims to strengthen Ontario’s agriculture and food supply chain, increase agri-food technology and adoption, and attract and grow Ontario’s agri-food talent.
  • The ARIO owns 14 research stations across the province that provide industry with the latest in agricultural and food specific research.

SOURCE Province of Ontario

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