By Goldie Ghamari, MPP for Carleton
I hope everyone is enjoying summer in the Carleton riding. The one thing I have noticed in the riding is that many people are enjoying the return of the many events in the various communities throughout Carleton. It has been great to see and meet people at various family fun days and farmers markets throughout the riding.
It was also special to see everyone who turned out for the Kars Family Fun Day Pancake Breakfast July 15. An event like that cannot be held without a strong team of dedicated volunteers. Congratulations goes out to this year’s organizing committee and everyone else who gave up their time to make this year’s event a big success.
The media, both locally and around the province, has been very kind in promoting my Private Member’s Bill. If passed, Bill 93, 2023, An Act to enact Joshua’s Law (Lifejackets for Life) would make it mandatory for any child aged 12 years or younger to wear a life jacket or a PFD while on a pleasure boat nine metres in length or less that is under way or while being towed behind a boat: for example, water-skiing, wakeboarding or tubing.
Ontario Simplifying Process to Authenticate Official Documents Required for International Use
The Ontario government is making it easier and more convenient for people and businesses to authenticate documents such as birth certificates, corporate powers of attorney and diplomas for use outside of Canada. The province is expanding this vital service to four additional ServiceOntario locations across the province.
In-person document authentication services are now available locally at the Service Ontario location in Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West.
When a public document is to be used in another country, proof of authentication for documents such as birth and marriage certificates, educational diplomas and corporate documents is often required for people doing business, studying, or travelling abroad, people applying for international visas or people participating in international adoptions.
This expansion of authentication services adds to the services already available in-person and by mail at the Official Documents Services office located at 222 Jarvis Street in Toronto.
This change enables more individuals and businesses to have their documents authenticated via same-day service in addition to the standard mail-in options which often require up to 15 business days to complete.
Expanding services also lays the groundwork to respond to an anticipated surge of document authentication requests as a result of Canada joining the Hague Apostille Convention in January 2024. Once the Convention comes into effect, the province will be solely responsible for authenticating Ontario-issued public documents.
- Customers can use the online document authentication portal to check if their document is eligible for authentication at any in-person location or by mail before proceeding.
- Between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, the Official Documents Services office processed nearly 67,000 document authentications and served more than 29,000 in-person clients.
Ontario Expanding Self-Serve Online Vehicle Registration
Used car dealerships can now register vehicles and issue licence plates right from the showroom.
The Ontario government is making it easier and more convenient to buy and sell vehicles. The province is expanding the online Digital Dealership Registration (DDR) system to include used cars. Now, new and used vehicle sales can be registered online by dealerships participating in DDR.
Launched in March 2022, DDR was first made available for new car registrations, then for trade-ins and now, DDR enables registrations for used cars. Participating dealerships complete online registration of passenger vehicles with ServiceOntario and issue permits and licence plates immediately to the purchaser. The system provides more accurate and error-free registrations with reduced paperwork and protects the security and safety of data. No visit to a ServiceOntario centre is required, but in-person registration is still available for dealerships who choose this option.
- Since the launch of the online Digital Dealership Registration system, more than 4,200 transactions have been completed through DDR and more than 380 dealerships are registered currently, with more onboarding daily.
- More than 7,000 Ontario dealerships selling new and used passenger vehicles now have access to DDR.
- Dealership transactions account for 4.7 million of ServiceOntario’s total 58 million annual interactions.
- To participate in DDR, dealerships must be registered with Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) and meet regulatory and other criteria.
Governments Strengthening Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability
Through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), the governments of Canada and Ontario are committing more than $68 million in the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Initiative (OASI) to fund three programs designed to support farmers in making their agricultural lands more productive and resilient.
This Initiative includes the Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program (RALP) a $56.7 million, five-year program that will make funds available to eligible farmers to complete projects such as reducing tillage, creating water retention ponds and other projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.
The Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (ASI) will complement the RALP program by providing a supplemental $5 million, this year, for farmers to modify and adapt their equipment and operating practices.
In addition, the On-Farm Applied Research and Monitoring (ONFARM) program will be expanded and enhanced by an additional $7 million over five years. This program is a continuation from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and will help farmers understand and communicate best on-farm practices to address and improve their soil health and water quality.
All three programs (RALP, ASI, and ONFARM) will be delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Note that program details for the land-use RALP categories will be made available this summer and applications will be accepted later this fall.
Sustainable CAP is a five-year (2023-2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal‐provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by the provinces and territories.
- Applications under the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Initiative will be considered until funding has been allocated or the closing date for the application period has concluded. More information on support for specific best management practices will be available via the OSCIA.
- Additional intake periods and details about eligible projects for those intake periods, under the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Initiative, will be communicated when they are finalized.
- A verified, complete, fourth edition Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) will be an eligibility requirement for funding under this initiative. Information on options to complete the EFP is available through the OSCIA.
- ONFARM is supported by various organizations including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, multiple conservation authorities, specialized service providers and a network of farmer cooperators. Activities led through the initiative include soil health and water quality monitoring and examining the effectiveness of different farming best management practices and how this translates to productivity.
- Sustainable CAP will help enable the goals outlined in Ontario’s Grow Ontario Strategy, which include increasing the amount of food grown in Ontario by 30 per cent over the next 10 years.
- Tackling climate change and environmental protection to support greenhouse gas emission reductions and the long-term vitality of the agri-food sector were among priorities set for Sustainable CAP by the federal-provincial-territorial agricultural ministers in The Guelph Statement. The new Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program was designed to help achieve these goals.
My office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. If you require assistance on any matter, please contact me at any time. My staff and I will be happy to assist. Even if it’s not a provincial issue, I’ll make sure to connect you with the proper office.
Your voice at Queen’s Park