Regulation - Minister

Proposed amendments to Ontario Regulation 783/20 (General) made under the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act, (FRFOFA) aimed at reducing administrative burden and supporting program delivery.

Regulation Number(s):
O. Reg. 783/20
Instrument Type:
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act, 1993
Summary of Decision:
The Minister is implementing changes to two areas of O. Reg. 783/20 under the FRFOFA: (1) the eligibility criteria for the francophone organization; and (2) the per registration administrative fee.

The changes to the eligibility criteria are: (1) removing the duplicate requirement for the eligible francophone organization to have an elected board of directors (as a non-profit, the organization is already required to have a board of directors); and (2) extending the deadline for reporting financial statements to 60 days from 30 days which will provide more flexibility for the francophone organization.

The administrative processing fee per application that the Accredited Farm Organizations pay to the Director for the costs AgriCorp incurs to administer the Farm Business Registration Program (Program) will also be updated. This fee is being changed from $19.20 to $19.90 per application. This change represents an increase of $0.70 to the fee that AFOs will pay to Agricorp to administer the Program and is based on actual costs. As part of the annual fee review process, AFOs must endorse AgriCorp's Operational Plan, which sets the budget and per application fee for each program year. AFOs reviewed and endorsed the 2024 Operational Plan, including the increase to the fee the Director charges.

Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The specified changes to the eligibility criteria for the eligible francophone organization, historically and currently the UCFO, are not anticipated to have any quantifiable impacts. The changes are intended to remove a duplicative requirement on the organization and reduce their administrative burden, while ensuring continued accountability and value for Ontario's francophone farmers.

There is a small financial impact limited to the three Accredited Farm Organizations. The administrative fee that the Accredited Farm Organizations pay per program registration to the Director to cover AgriCorp's cost to deliver the Program is being updated to reflect changes in program administration costs. The administrative fee is being changed from $19.20 to $19.90 per registration to reflect actual costs.

Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
October 18, 2023
Summary of Proposal:
The FRFOFA, and the regulations thereunder, guide the delivery of the FBR program. Under the FBR program, farm businesses that have an annual gross income from farming activities of $7,000 or more are required to register annually. The FBR payment is directed towards the AFO selected by the registrant. An FBR number is an eligibility requirement for many provincial agricultural programs, including the Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program.

Over the last couple of years, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), working with AgriCorp (the agency that delivers the FBR program) and the AFOs, has made several changes to the FBR program to reduce administrative burden, provide flexibility and enable online program delivery.

The changes were made in a phased approach. Most changes came into effect on January 1, 2021, and were aimed at supporting online delivery, improving FBR program administration, and reducing burden for farmers. For example, among the changes made were removing of the requirement for farm businesses to complete a detailed registration form every five years and streamlining the information collected as part of the registration process.

The additional changes, which became effective on January 1, 2022, focused on improvements to the accreditation criteria for the AFOs to provide clarity, reduce burden and improve governance. In addition, provisions were added to allow flexibility for the AFOs and the eligible francophone organization in periods of emergencies by allowing for suspension of certain criteria during emergencies declared under the Emergency Management And Civil Protection Act.

The proposed amendments will: focus on clarifying and adding flexibility to the eligibility criteria that a francophone organization must meet to be eligible to receive special funding; and evaluate whether the administrative fee that AgriCorp charges per application to the AFOs to administer the FBR program needs to be changed.

OMAFRA is reviewing the criteria that a francophone organization must meet to be eligible to receive special funding under the FRFOFA. In 2022, OMAFRA held consultations with the current eligible francophone organization, exploring opportunities to update the criteria to reduce administrative burden and add clarity while ensuring continued accountability and value to Ontario's francophone farmers. As part of this engagement, several opportunities for improvement were identified. For example, removing the duplicate requirement for a board of directors or changing the timing for posting financial statements to better align with the requirements for the AFOs.

Additionally, OMAFRA is reviewing the current per application administrative fee in section 13 of the Minister's Regulation that AFOs pay to AgriCorp to administer the FBR program to ensure it continues to reflect administration costs, which is expected to increase slightly for the coming year.
Contact Address:
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, ON
N1G 4Y2
Effective Date:
January 1, 2024