OMAFRA's Guidelines on Permitted Uses

Farm Diversification and Economic Benefit

PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER

Dr. W.J. Caldwell, Professor
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
University of Guelph

CONTRIBUTING RESEARCHERS

Ms. Pamela Duesling
University of Guelph Grad Student – Doctoral Level
Ms. Helma Geerts
OMAFRA Staff
Dr. Dave Guyadeen 
University of Guelph
Dr. Lee-Ann Sutherland
James Hutton Institute, Scotland

SUBMITTED TO

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

executive summary

OMAFRA’s Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Prime Agricultural Areas provide guidance to support implementation of the Provincial Policy Statement (2014) with regards to agricultural, agriculture-related and on-farm diversified uses. This research will assess the effectiveness of these guidelines including measures of their performance in terms of supporting farmland protection, assessing if the policy/guideline have increased the numbers of new businesses, and benefits and costs for farmers and municipalities. The research will also identify/evaluate best practices for land use planners to achieve policy objectives for agriculture-related and on-farm diversified uses.
Specifically the research will do 5 things:

  1. It will provide a literature review and jurisdictional scan of best practices (with examples from North America and Europe).
  2. It will survey all upper tier municipalities to identify the range of policy and strategies used to encourage agriculture-related and on-farm diversified uses.
  3. It will evaluate the specific effects of policy on individual farmers within different policy regimes (using a Case Study methodology).
  4. It will apply an evaluation framework to determine the relative merits /effects of different policy.
  5. Based on the above, best practices for policy framework/development and implementation will be identified (evidence based policy for municipalities and the province).
goals and objectives
This research has an overall goal of assessing the effectiveness of OMAFRA’s Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Prime Agricultural Areas. Effectiveness will be evaluated in terms of impact on farmland protection, new business establishments, and benefits and costs for farmers and municipalities. The research will also identify best municipal and provincial practices intended to assist the farm community.

Specific objectives include the following:
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of policy that allows for agriculture-related and on-farm diversified uses within Ontario (at a farm, municipal and provincial level).
  • To identify existing policy and strategies used to encourage agriculture-related and on-farm diversified uses (at a County and Regional level).
  • To evaluate the specific effects of policy on individual farmers To identify best practices for policy and strategies for agriculture-related and on-farm diversified uses based on literature, jurisdictional scan and a survey of Ontario Municipalities (evidence based policy for municipalities, the province and agriculture).