Published: Northumberland View, July 15, 2013

Image Credit: Ontario Greenbelt

Recent talk of new tariffs demonstrates that policies to stop urban sprawl are not just good for the environment, but essential ingredients for our economic security

Recent moves by the Canadian government to slap new tariffs on American goods demonstrate the importance of policies that stop urban sprawl from gobbling up Ontario’s farmland.

If these proposed taxes are approved, fruits and vegetables imported from the United States will be more expensive and Canadians will likely count on more Ontario grown food for our meals.

Local food plays a big role in Ontario’s economy. Agriculture in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region produces about 200 ingredients that support our food processing industry, the continent’s second largest after Los Angeles. This sector already employs over 130,000 people directly, making it the largest employer in the province, and that number is expected to grow at 5 per cent each year, a rate which could double by the end of the decade.

Ontario farmland is some of the most valuable in North America. Only 0.5 per cent of Canada’s landmass can call itself Class 1 farmland – the best possible land for farming which can produce almost any crop. More than half of this cornucopia is located in Southern Ontario. That’s why it’s so crucial we protect Ontario’s prime farmland from urban sprawl.

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