The BIA just received this press release from Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo’s office:
DECEMBER 12, 2007: Today MPP of Parkdale-High Park and NDP Small Business Critic, Cheri DiNovo, asked the Minister of Food and Agriculture to amend the 2001 Food and Safety Quality Act to keep hundreds of small businesses like Karl’s Butcher & Grocery in the market.
In October the provincial government decided to enforce a literal interpretation of the 2001 Food and Safety Quality Act on local stores and restaurants.
“Karl’s Butcher has been known in our community for selling exemplary, high quality, fresh sausages and meat products for 46 years,” said DiNovo. “It is outrageous to see Karl’s Butcher and hundreds of shops like them shut down because this province is incapable of distinguishing between a local butcher and a factory slaughter house.”
Karl’s Butcher has passed every inspection by Toronto Public Health since 2001. However, renovations to meet newly enforced provincial standards are estimated at $200,000. Hundreds of small business owners simply cannot afford these costs.
An Environics report released in the same month found that Ontarians are choosing local foods because of added taste and freshness. The majority of poll respondents strongly agreed that locally-produced food supports local farmers, the local economy and preserves farmland.
“Beyond the example of Karl’s Butcher & Grocery, the sudden enforcement of such unreasonable standards contradicts Ontarians’ demand for more local, healthy and sustainable food alternatives,” said DiNovo. “I hope that this government will act immediately to keep these small businesses open.”
Leona Dombrowski, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, is responsible for these regulations. She has not yet responded to questions about the closing of Karl’s. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
SEE EARLIER POSTING (December 7): Province Forces Popular Local Butcher Out of Business After 46 Years
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UPDATE (December 17): The province’s harsh treatment of local butchers has attracted the attention of Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington MPP Randy Hillier, who rose in the Legislature on December 13 to condemn the government’s policy. Most folks will be surprised to learn there is even a square centimetre of common ground between the heartland conservative and someone like Cheri DiNovo, but unfair policies will attract opposition from everywhere.