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Ontario proposing changes to meat and dairy processing regulations


The Government of Ontario is proposing regulation changes to the Food Safety and Quality Act  and the Milk Act that it says will cut red tape and reduce the regulatory burden for all businesses.

“Farmers and food processors have told us too many of Ontario’s regulatory requirements are out of date, unnecessary or heavy handed,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). “They say the process costs them time, money and a lot of frustration, and it doesn’t provide any real added protections for people. These proposed changes will make it easier and faster for agri-food companies to do business in Ontario.”

The proposed changes under the Food Safety and Quality Act will reduce paperwork and fees and encourage additional business opportunities for provincially-licensed meat processors. Meat-plant licences would no longer need to be renewed, saving operators up to $300 every three years, and eliminating time consuming paperwork. The process will also be simplified for owners who no longer want to operate meat plants and voluntarily give up their licences, reducing confusion and aggravation for processors.

The government is also proposing to reduce the regulatory burden under the Milk Act, with support from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission to promote growth, innovation and job creation in the dairy sector. Under current regulations, small dairy processors, such as artisan cheese makers, can spend up to one-third of their construction budget on outdated building requirements. The proposed amendments will reduce costs and allow processors to use existing buildings. In another proposed change, revised licensing criteria will eliminate overlapping oversight between OMAFRA and Public Health Units.

The proposed amendments are now on the Regulatory Registry, with comments accepted until January 10, 2019.

To read the full list of proposed changes and provide your feedback, please visit:


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