QUEEN’S PARK - Yesterday in the House and during Agriculture Week, MPP for Huron-Bruce Lisa Thompson's Private Member's Motion Growing Agri-Food Jobs passed with all Party support.
First introduced in June of this year during Local Food Week, Thompson's motion asks the government to recognize the importance of the Agri-Food sector to Ontario's economy by including a component on the industry in the grades 9 and 10 Careers and Guidance Curriculum.
"By introducing a section on Agri-Food career opportunities to secondary school students, we have an opportunity not only to increase awareness of the amazing jobs they may never have considered, but to also meet the needs of an industry that is vital to Ontario's economy," said Thompson. "I look forward to seeing how this industry will grow in the next decade as a result of today."
Along with Lisa, Leader of the PC Party and Critic for Education Patrick Brown strongly believes that Ontario students should be given the opportunity to explore careers in such a prosperous and growing industry.
"This motion will encourage the government to provide students with greater awareness of the agricultural sector and the employment opportunities existing throughout the province," said Leader of the Official Opposition Patrick Brown. "Cultivating a new and enthusiastic generation of agri-food industry employees will grow our economy, feed our cities, and carry on the proud farming tradition in this province."
Fellow Caucus member and Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett agrees, saying, "An agri-food curriculum is a proven way to introduce ideas and information to high school students to farming, food and agri-business as a career."
Over the past several months, Lisa's initiative has received positive feedback from the Liberals and NDP and industry stakeholders. Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. (OAFE), which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016, will be the perfect partner to facilitate the introduction of agri-food careers into the grades 9 and 10 Careers and Guidance curriculum.
For more information on the Motion visit: www.growingagrifoodjobs.com
You can see MPP Thompson Debate the Motion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6jk9VeqDcQ
"This will support an improved level of awareness of the sector and the huge and growing opportunities that exist within and across our province"
─ Robert Gordon, PhD Dean of Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph
"Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. (OAFE) is committed to supporting the economic success of the agri-food industry in Ontario by helping students understand trends and themes occurring in the sector while at the same time motivate them to explore the diverse career opportunities that exist. The next generation of consumers, outstanding scientists, policy makers and business leaders are in high school right now. It is this next generation, Generation Z, who will have a significant impact on the way we think about and respond to societal issues and are more likely to pursue careers they think will help society and give them a sense of economic security."
─ Colleen Smith, Executive Director, Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc.
"Today's consumers want to know where their food comes from, but they also want to know about the process. This understanding needs to start earlier. Including agriculture and food education in the Ontario curriculum is a great place to start"
─ James Rilett, Vice President (Ontario), Restaurants Canada
"Educating youth on the wide range of career choices that exist will help fill the gap the agriculture industry is currently facing"
─ Mark Brock, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario
"The OFA supports this initiatives and congratulates you on recognizing the importance of helping youth learn of the varied and growing opportunities available in the agri-food sector"
─ Don McCabe, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
"To encourage more young people to get involved and excited about the agri-food sector is beneficial for local communities and all Ontarians. CBA and our members support the work that has been done to date and support any future opportunities to promote growing this important sector of our economy and make Ontario a leader within Canada's agri-food industry."
─ Jim Goetz, President, Canadian Beverage Association
"Adding agri-food education to the curriculum will allow younger generations to understand the options that are available to them and will help them to make educated decisions about their future"
─ Plamen Petkov, Vice President (Ontario), Canadian Federation of Independent Business