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NDP’s Vanthof fights to protect farmland with new bill as Ford again tries to carve up Greenbelt

PRESS RELEASE - November 9, 2022

QUEEN'S PARK-- With Doug Ford again poised to tear up farmland in Ontario's Greenbelt, the NDP's Agriculture critic John Vanthof said legislation he has tabled to protect agricultural land is particularly urgent.

Vanthof's bill, the Protecting Agricultural Land Act, would ensure that existing farmland in the province is protected. If passed, the bill would prevent land prescribed for agricultural uses from being rezoned and the uses of the land from being changed, unless it passes an Agricultural Impact Assessment.

"Once again, Ontarians are seeing that the precious green spaces and farmland we rely on to grow our food, support natural habitats and prevent flooding aren't safe in Doug Ford's hands," Vantfhof said.

On Friday, the Ford government released a scheme that would allow developers to bulldoze and pave over 7,000 acres of farmland in the Greenbelt , on top of the 319.6 acres that Ontario loses daily to development. Among the farmlands at risk is Ontario’s irreplaceable Duffins-Rouge Agricultural Preserve.

"Ford's latest attempt to pave over the Greenbelt shows that he still puts the profit interests of politically-connected developers and land speculators over the food security of Ontarians," said Vanthof. "Ford has been forced to back off his schemes to carve up the Greenbelt before, and the NDP will be vigilant in ensuring he backs off again. Passing legislation like my bill to protect farmland is one piece of that puzzle.”

Vanthof said Ford should listen to his Housing Affordability Task Force, which found there are plenty of places to build homes without destroying the Greenbelt

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