GUELPH, ON (April 18, 2020) – Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province‘s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario‘s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers cannot fathom why Ontario’s newly announced relief from seasonal load weight restrictions doesn’t include all farmers in Ontario.
Ontario’s newly announced relief to seasonal load weight restrictions on roads has completely left out farmers in Eastern Ontario. The government of Ontario has relaxed restrictions on seasonal load weight limits for one part of the province and not the other. This has left farmers in the non-exempt areas without access to efficient means to transport important goods for planting.
“Grain farmers have been supportive of both levels of governments as they put in place measures to protect health, but we need action now for farmers as they navigate this difficult planting season,” said Markus Haerle, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “The relief on seasonal load weight restrictions needs to be lifted immediately for farmers all across Ontario, not just those in certain areas. All farmers need to be able to grow food people need us to produce.”
The Quebec government waived seasonal load weight restrictions weeks ago, which helped farmers get supplies to their farms. The decision by the Ontario government to lift restrictions for certain areas of the province but not all is an extreme oversight and neglects the needs of farmers who are trying their best to grow food.
“If the provincial government wants to ensure that there are no food shortages during this pandemic and afterwards, they need to make this right,” Haerle said. “Every other sector in society is getting support but not farmers who are trying to get a crop into the ground this Spring to assure there are no food shortages.”
Farm Counties in Eastern Ontario that are not included in the relief from seasonal load weight restriction exemptions include those in upper to lower Ottawa Valley, such as Renfrew County, Lanark, Prescott & Russell, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, and Ottawa. Additionally, there is only partial coverage of other geographic areas (Lennox & Addington, Leeds Grenville and Kingston-Frontenac).
“When we see farmers concerns being neglected on a simple relaxing of seasonal weight restrictions, we have to wonder if there is anyone in government who actually understands that the needs of farmers are the needs of everyone. Do they understand that farmers cannot produce food if we do not keep our farms running, equally and in every area of the province,” added Haerle.