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Letter from the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

18 Mar 2020 9:15 AM | Taylor Chamberlain (Administrator)

Dear Friends,

The health and wellbeing of Ontarians is our government’s top priority. I know the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a widespread concern for everyone in Ontario, including the agriculture and agri-food industry.

I want to assure you that my ministry and I are committed to working with you and doing everything we can to keep Ontario’s food supply system strong and functioning through this difficult time. I know how important the work that you do is to providing the food that the people of Ontario depend on.

Please pass on my thanks to your members and staff for all the work that they are doing to ensure our food system stays strong and continues to provide food for the people of Ontario.

Given the rapidly evolving situation it is important that we all continue to plan and prepare. If you haven’t already, I encourage all agri-food businesses, farmers, and food processing facilities to review their continuity plans and ensure they are up to date in the event of any potential disruptions to business practices that may result from COVID-19.

As you review your plans, if you identify potential challenges that we can address please let me know.

You may have seen my statement last weekend reassuring the people of Ontario that we have a robust food system and asking people to practice normal grocery buying habits to ensure there is food on the shelves for everyone in their communities. If possible, I would appreciate it if you could help to reassure Ontarians that we are working to maintain our food supply system.

I would also encourage everyone to follow regular updates from Ontario’s Ministry of Health as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada. Please share this information as widely as is appropriate for your organization. Additionally, I encourage you to share the following websites with your stakeholders, partners and members.

Ontario Ministry of Health:

www.ontario.ca/coronavirus 

Find your Local Public Health Unit:

www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/system/services/phu/locations.aspx 

Public Health Agency of Canada:

www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirusinfection.html#a1

Thank you for helping to share this information. Please feel free to reach out to me or my staff if you have any questions or to let us know about any challenges you are facing.

Again, thank you for writing.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Ernie Hardeman

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

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