OFA seeks to modify elections for provincial compliance

NORTHERN ONTARIO – The Manitoulin/North Shore region of Zone 15 (Northern Ontario) in the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) held a virtual meeting last Friday, October 2, where area members of the federation endorsed a proposed update to provincial-level bylaws that would change the executive election process to align with provisions under the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act (ONCA).

The provisions under the provincial legislation (which is scheduled to come into force at the end of 2020) threatened to dissolve the federation’s regional representation, an important part of the work it conducts. Its board of directors would all be elected as directors-at-large, meaning no region would have guaranteed representation to air local issues at a provincial level.

Recently, however, the Ontario government enabled OFA to be grandfathered under the policies in the Ontario Corporations Act, the legislation in which OFA presently abides, provided they align their policies with the provincial directive.

“OFA would like to express our sincere appreciation of the time and effort that has been taken to ensure organizations like OFA are not negatively impacted when ONCA is brought into force,” stated OFA president Keith Currie in a press release.

The province added a new section, 207(3) to ONCA, which permits regionally elected delegates from grandfathered corporations to continue to attend OFA’s annual meeting.

Members at the Manitoulin/North Shore regional meeting were in favour of the proposed changes but the vote on the revisions will take place at the group’s annual general meeting, in a virtual format this year, on November 23.

Other discussions at the meeting included an update on the Sandhill crane study in the area, including reports of the outcomes of tagging on Manitoulin Island. The purpose of the study is to determine whether the Sandhills in the area are a resident population or transient; if they are not migratory there could potentially be a hunting season for the cranes.

The regional group held three votes. The first concerned the members of the provincial advisory committee, who advise the board on policy issues and present reports on industry developments to their local meetings.

Mike Johnston was elected as the committee member, with Bill Orford serving as alternate.

The second vote determined the region’s delegates who will attend the virtual OFA annual general meeting in November and vote on resolutions, including the bylaw amendment. Mack Emiry was designated as the delegate, with Mike Johnston serving as alternate and the third seat remaining vacant. The regional body passed a motion to appoint a third delegate if such an opportunity should arise.

The final vote was to determine a slate of regional directors for this year. Those who stood for the position were Alan Emiry, Mike Johnston, Rick Campbell, Bill Orford, Charlie Smith, Nathanial Wood, Jim Anstice and John Mooney.

The board also passed a motion to appoint additional directors as those opportunities should arise, to offset the people who were not able to attend the regional virtual meeting.

The delegates also discussed OFA’s plans to purchase and deploy compactors to process waste plastic. The federation is working on online resources for training and troubleshooting in the absence of doing in-person visits. They noted that Island farmer Jordan Miller has his own compactor and may be of assistance when the federation expands the program to Manitoulin.