Lisa Thompson, MPP representing the Ontario riding of Huron-Bruce, recently stepped up to lead the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet, Thompson has held two other cabinet posts, including Minister of Education. She says that even though she is only now moving into the agriculture post, agriculture and rural issues have made their way into all the policy work she has undertaken before now.
For example, Thompson says it was important to her to include agriculture and food career information in the Grade 9 and 10 career and guidance curriculum, to highlight the opportunities within the sector.
Applying that “rural lens” to all that she has been working on now takes on new meaning as ag minister. Within days of assuming the post, Thompson announced Ontario would increase its portion of the compensation rate for AgriStability, regardless of whether or not the changes were made federally.
Changes to business risk management programs will be high on Thompson’s priority list, as will navigating the AgriRecovery program that has been triggered by all provinces from B.C. to Ontario. Also on her list is harmonizing inter-provincial trade so products can flow smoothly across all borders.
Thompson adds that she is focused on ensuring that farmers’ voices are heard, and that the farmers will be supported as they continue to face the pressure to continue to grow.