The Ontario Food Terminal - Our Past and Our FuturePublished on July 26, 2019
There has been a lot of conversation about the Ontario Food Terminal across Etobicoke over the last few months. My office and I have received many questions from community members and those who interact with the terminal. I know how important the Food Terminal is to our community – to our local farmers, retailers, transporters, grocers, restaurateurs not only in Etobicoke-Lakeshore but all across the Province.
On July 8, I was pleased to join Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs for an exciting announcement at the Ontario Food Terminal. Minister Hardeman reaffirmed my position that the Ontario Food Terminal continue to operate at its present location in south Etobicoke. I know its continued success and growth right here in Etobicoke will create even more local job opportunities. In order to alleviate any remaining concerns, I would like to outline how we got to this decision, and what happens from here.
Last November, the government launched an independent review of the Food Terminal as part of a plan to ensure its continued success and growth – not just for the next 5 years, but the next 50 years and onwards. The review includes representatives from the farming community, as well as distributors, producers, and other groups involved in the supply chain from the farm to our dinner tables.
The review is looking at a range of aspects of the Food Terminal, including governance, modernization and administration. For instance, the review is looking at opportunities to encourage more Ontario food to be sold through the terminal, to replace some of the current imported food.
The announcement on July 8 represents an early finding of the review showing the advantages of its location in South Etobicoke, which is why Minister Hardeman confirmed the Food Terminal will stay at its current location.
These preliminary findings mirror what I, and indeed many of you, have said from the start, about the importance of the Food Terminal in Etobicoke as a key economic hub for Ontario food and local jobs.
Following that announcement, I drafted a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Hon. Steve Clark requesting that the Food Terminal lands be designated as a Provincially Significant Employment Zone (PSEZ).
Designation as a PSEZ will further solidify the long-term protection and economic potential of the Food Terminal. This will help our agri-food sector achieve long-term prosperity for decades to come, and it will complement our government’s work to capitalize on modern food distribution systems, infrastructure and promote local food for the people of Ontario.
I am so pleased to let you know that Minister Clark agreed, and has announced that the Food Terminal will be designated as a PSEZ. In his letter, Minister Clark wrote “I absolutely recognize the important role that the Terminal plays as a key economic hub for the agri-food sector and beyond”. This decision will provide even greater protection for the land and certainty for the people who rely on the Terminal.
I know how important the Food Terminal is to our community – it is part of our past, and we know it is going to be a part of our future. We are fortunate that its continued success will create even more local job opportunities.