Smith recognizes Chicken Farmers of Ontario for supplying over 1.5 million meals to food banks in 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRIDAY, DEC. 13, 2019

Belleville – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services, recognized the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) for their efforts to ensure all of the province’s citizens have access to healthy, nutritious food throughout the year.

Speaking at the Gleaners Food Bank, Smith noted that through its CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program in partnership with Feed Ontario, CFO makes it possible for each of its members to donate 300 chickens each year to local food banks. This year, about 500 chicken farmers donated through the program, translating to over 1.5 million meals. Since 2015, the program has supplied 4 million meals.

“In recent years, more and more Ontario residents have turned to food banks regularly. Programs like CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks ensure they have access to fresh, nutritious options on the dinner table,” said Smith. “I congratulate our local chicken farmers for taking care to ensure their neighbours can visit welcoming community spaces across the province - like Gleaners - and take fresh chicken home.”

Smith added the Government of Ontario also plays a role in supporting the vital partnership.  Thorough the Food Donation Tax Credit for Farmers, the government promotes local food contributions by offering farmers a 25-per-cent tax credit for the fresh food they donate.

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman added the government is pleased to support the Chicken Farmers of Ontario in their giving.

“It’s incredible to see the Chicken Farmers of Ontario make such a positive difference to so many people across our province,” said Hardeman. “The CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program demonstrates the huge generosity of Ontario’s chicken farmers and the hard work they do all year round to make this remarkable contribution possible.”

CFO board director Tim Klompmaker said Ontario’s chicken farmers value its partnership with Feed Ontario and the government.

“Hundreds of farmers have already jumped up at the opportunity to donate chicken and help those in need. It is truly amazing how chicken farmers have responded, and it is only made possible through strong partnership with government, Feed Ontario, and local food banks,” said Klompmaker.

“When chicken farmers donate fresh, nutritious, locally-grown chicken, it takes many food bank volunteers to sort it, portion it, and deliver it to people in need. The food bank staff and volunteers are the real heroes in helping tackle hunger in our community.”

Gleaners Food Bank public relations and fundraising co-ordinator Sarah Kring said the partnership is well received by its clients, adding the donations also allow the not-for-profit charity to dedicate fundraised dollars to address other client needs.

“Our clients’ incomes are spent on rent and utilities first and then, after those bills are paid, there may be limited or no funds remaining to purchase food. Fresh proteins and produce are expensive and, therefore, our clients choose less food items in order to stretch their dollars further,” said Kring. ”Our organization is thrilled to be a part of this program and recognize the CFO donors as it has provided our clients with a protein item that normally they would not be able to afford otherwise.”

Smith encouraged Bay of Quinte residents to follow the CFO’s lead by considering donations to their local food banks this holiday season to address food insecurity.

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Smith backs Premier Ford’s call for local representation at IJC table to address high-water concerns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2019

Bay of Quinte – As shoreland property owners in Bay of Quinte and elsewhere on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River raise their voices about flooding and record high-water levels, the Ontario government is advocating to increase their representation on the International Joint Commission (IJC).

With the support of Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, and neighbouring MPPs, Premier Doug Ford has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urge the federal government to act immediately to appoint an IJC Commissioner from the region hit hard by record high water levels in both 2017 and 2019.

Ford noted flooding has caused extensive damage to public and private property and severely impacted businesses that support the region’s vital tourism economy. He indicated the cost to municipalities, private landowners and businesses in the region “will reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.” The Premier expressed his disappointment the IJC has not been more responsive to concerns raised.

“The people living and working on the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence fear the future of their homes and businesses hang in the balance as decisions are made by the IJC over the coming weeks and months,” Ford wrote.  “It is imperative that the voices of those communities most impacted by the decisions made by the IJC are represented at the table.”

As Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are international boundary waters shared with the United States, Canadian jurisdiction for water-level control is the federal level. Canada is a party to the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, which established the IJC.

In June, Smith wrote federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna to ask her to engage the IJC for an expedient review of Plan 2014, a protocol that has governed water-level management on the international waterways for the past three years. He advocated for revisions that would introduce proactive management tools to lessen impacts on shoreland owners.  He appreciated Ford’s action.

“I’ve heard clearly from constituents who have experienced damaging flooding, sleepless nights, and lingering doubts about their property values – both in terms of their day-to-day living and monetarily,” said Smith. “I thank Premier Ford for standing up for these residents and pushing for them to have true representation in these discussions that mean so much to them.”

Smith expressed hope that Trudeau will act upon Ford’s request.

“Time is ticking and the water levels have not receded. People are scared this nightmare will continue into 2020 and beyond. It’s time for the Prime Minister to acknowledge this problem and address it,” said Smith. “By agreeing to appoint someone with lived experience as an IJC Commissioner ‑ as Premier Ford requested - he would be making a tangible step in that direction.”

 

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Ontario continues investment in County Seniors Centre with $52,725 in 2019-2020 funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONDAY, NOV. 18, 2019

Prince Edward County – Ontario is committed to helping the County Seniors Centre keep local seniors active, healthy, independent and socially connected within their own communities.

Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, recently announced the Province has committed $52,725 in Seniors Active Living Centre funding to the Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association to administer a wide range of programming in community halls throughout Prince Edward County.

“This funding will go a long way in helping seniors in the County stay active and socially connected, while also preventing social isolation, said Smith “Seniors Active Living Centres provide a hub for seniors and their families to build positive connections, encourage physical activity, and in doing so, benefits everyone’s well-being.”

The County Seniors Centre, launched in 2018, now has more than 200 members who participate in a range of programming ranging from fitness activities to educational lectures to cards and games.

“We’ve been able to offer social recreational programming to seniors in a very different way due to having this funding,” said Debbie MacDonald Moynes, Community Care’s executive director.  “We work closely with the municipality to use their halls. We try to have an activity or an event in each of the municipal halls each month. That has been a way that we can take programming directly to seniors. It has been well accepted thus far.”

Seniors who have paid a $25 annual membership fee receive a schedule each month of the opportunities available to them through the County Seniors Centre. More information about the program is available at www.communitycareforseniors.org.

The County Seniors Centre also hosts an annual one-day Seniors Active Living Fair designed to connect seniors to resources and services in their communities.

The investment is among $14.1 million designated to support more than 300 Seniors Active Living Centre programs in communities across the province. Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho said the programs support healthy aging and a maintained high quality of living.

“Supporting our seniors today is about investing in all of our futures. This funding will have a direct and positive impact on seniors in communities across the province by giving them an opportunity to take part in programs and services that will help keep them active, socially connected, and healthy.”

Seniors Active Living Centre programs support over 100,000 seniors across the province, and this funding will provide a variety of programming and activities to help seniors stay active, socially engaged, safe, and healthy. This is especially important given that about 30 per cent of Canadian seniors are at risk of becoming socially isolated.

Ontario remains committed to protecting what matters most to seniors and their families.

Smith noted that the City of Belleville also received $52,725 in Seniors Active Living Centre Program Funding for 2019-2020 to support its 55-Plus activities.

QUICK FACTS

  • Seniors Active Living Centre programs are community-based and promote wellness and social interaction.
  • The senior population in Ontario is the fastest growing age group. By 2023, there will be 3 million Ontarians over the age of 65.
  • Active aging brings positive health benefits, including helping to keep seniors out of the hospital.

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