Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced in early June that he will be replacing Ernie Hardeman as his agriculture minister with Lisa Thompson as Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Thompson has been serving as the province’s minister of government and consumer services. Thompson has been MPP for the Western Ontario riding of Huron-Bruce since 2011. She previously served as Minister of Education (2018-19) and in opposition critic portfolios such as international trade (2017-18) and environment (2014-17).
She said, “I am humbled to be given this new post and I pledge to Ontario’s agri-food sector and rural communities that I will work hard on their behalf. I’d like to also applaud and acknowledge the great work done by Ernie Hardeman over the years as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. I appreciate everyone’s kind words and congratulations. I am honoured to take on the responsibility of Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. I look forward to working side-by-side with Ontario’s farmers, commodity organizations, processing sector and our rural communities.”
Thompson’s resumé also includes a degree in economics and study in the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program at the University of Guelph, plus certification from the George Morris Centre Executive Development Program at U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College. She also previously chaired the Ontario 4-H Foundation and served as vice chair for Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc.
In a press release Grain Farmers of Ontario, (GFO) chair Brendan Byrne said: Thompson “understands the need of rural communities and farmers, and we know she will look for new ways of supporting and helping grow farm businesses and rural economies,” Grain Farmers of Ontario.
In another media release GFO said: “Ontario grain farmers provide more than $18 billion in economic value and 75,000 jobs to the province, and we look forward to working closely with Minister Thompson to ensure that agriculture in Ontario is as successful as it needs to be.”
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture in a press release showed their support for the new minister. The press release stated: “Minister Thompson has a valuable understanding of farm and rural issues and has a direct connection to those communities,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA president.
“We look forward to working alongside her to grow the industry and continue to focus on the priorities and opportunities that will stimulate economic growth for all Ontarians.”