Reducing Red Tape for Agricultural Fairs

Reducing Red Tape for Agricultural Fairs
Ontario making it easier to celebrate rural traditions

MARKHAM - Ontario is working to reduce red tape for over 500 Ontario agricultural and horticultural organizations in the province.

This fall, the Ontario government will introduce legislation that, if passed, would save organizations and their volunteers time and money by removing burdensome and outdated rules that regulate agricultural and horticultural societies.

"We want to remove unnecessary and outdated burdens for our province's agricultural and horticultural organizations," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Many local fairs rely on volunteers. By reducing red tape, we will help save these organizations time and money so they can focus on what they do best - promoting rural Ontario and agriculture."

If passed, the proposed changes include giving organizations flexibility and financial savings by removing the requirement to both mail and publish notices of annual meetings. This could reduce compliance costs for all organizations by over $100,000 a year.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Markham and East York Agricultural Society (Markham Fair), we welcome the change to the regulations surrounding our Annual General Meeting," said Todd Silverman, Markham Fair General Manager. "OMAFRA has eased the administrative burden on the society and helped us reduce costs associated with mailings. We welcome the modernization of the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act".

Changes would also remove burdensome and outdated requirements that don't apply to other not-for-profit organizations, such as requiring treasurers to give security for loss or for board members to be personally liable for loss. The proposed changes would not impact government grants and tax exemptions available to agricultural and horticultural organizations.

"The proposed changes announced today reduce unnecessary red tape and make it easier for agricultural and horticultural societies to spend their time and resources more effectively," said Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Prabmeet Sarkaria. "We're proud to support the celebration and promotion of agriculture and rural life in local communities across Ontario."

Due to the current legislation, many agricultural organizations in towns without a local paper are forced to publish notices of annual meetings. The proposed changes include giving organizations more flexibility by removing the requirement to both mail and publish notices of annual meetings.