Two Ont. changes in 2023 affect ag and rural communities

Two Ont. changes in 2023 affect ag and rural communities
Jan 03, 2023

One amendment will support ag and horticultural societies

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Multiple legislative changes came into effect in Ontario on Jan. 1, 2023.

Of the 16 that did, two relate to the province’s agricultural sector and rural communities.

The Ontario government made amendments to the Agricultural and Horticultural Act to ensure the province’s 483 agricultural and horticultural societies can receive support.

To offset decreases in memberships because of COVID-19, the government is reducing the number of members a horticultural and agricultural society needs. This will help these organizations continue to receive government grants.

The government proposed this amendment on Oct. 6, 2022.

Agricultural societies can receive up to $5,000 while horticultural societies can receive up to $1,500.

For horticultural societies, each one will only need 25 members instead of 50. Except in territorial districts, where the membership threshold will be reduced to 15 members instead of 25.

And for agricultural societies, 40 members are required instead of 60.

Another regulation taking effect in 2023 could change how farmers and Ontarians pay their electricity bills.

The provincial government is creating a voluntary Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan (ULO) for customers paying Regulated Price Plan (RPP) electricity rates.

Ontario allowed the public to provide feedback on this idea from August to September 2022.

RPP prices are set based on a forecast of how much it will cost to supply electricity to RPP customers for the year, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) says.

The OEB will be required to communicate with local distribution companies to allow RPP customers to switch to the new ULO plan.

The OEB will be required to set ULO rates by May 1 with the rates taking effect around November.

The ULO would “support electrification and decarbonization by incentivizing customers to shift electricity loads to overnight periods when demand is lower and more electricity from non-emitting sources is available,” the government’s decision says.

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