The Agricultural Policy & Action Committee (APAC) was formed in 2013 as a result of a direction from Regional Council to amalgamate the Agricultural Sub-Committee and the Regional Chair's Agricultural Task Force. The Agricultural Sub-Committee was established in 1972 for the purposes of creating support programs through the two federations of agriculture to promote the agricultural industry in the Niagara Region and to provide input into planning issues that could have an impact on the agricultural industry. The Regional Chair's Agricultural Task Force was formed in 2002 to identify and take action on major blockades to the long-term viability of agriculture and to influence positive changes in agriculture-related policy at all levels of government. The amalgamation of the two committees into the Agricultural Policy & Action Committee provides the opportunity to recognize and align the work of both committees, and to recognize the critical primacy of agriculture in the Niagara Region in terms of both public policy and demonstrable actions.
The Agricultural Policy & Action Committee (APAC) is an advisory body established by the Niagara Region in accordance with the following Terms of Reference. The Committee has been established to advise Regional Council on issues that impact the agricultural industry and support Regional Council, reporting through the Integrated Community Planning Committee, by initiating, developing, implementing and participating in actions and strategies needed to advance the agricultural industry and preserve the agricultural land base throughout the Niagara Region.
The APAC will report to Regional Council through the Integrated Community Planning Committee.
The APAC will provide guidance to staff in the development of an annual work plan identifying the specific initiatives and activities to be undertaken within each of the areas of focus, inclusive of budget needs, to further guide decision-making and resource management.
Membership for the APAC shall not exceed a maximum of 15 members with the majority of members being from the agricultural sector (primary producers).
Membership for the APAC shall include:
Depending on the priority issues outlined in the APAC's work plan, the remainder of the membership should target membership from across the Niagara Region, throughout the value chain, from a range of commodities and sectors related to the agricultural industry. Membership or participation with either the Niagara North or Niagara South Federation of Agriculture is considered an asset.
The remainder of the membership may target but is not limited to the following commodity/interest groups:
The term of membership shall be four years, concurrent with Regional Council's elected term of office, and the membership shall be approved by Council in accordance with membership requirements in the Terms of Reference. Current Committee members shall indicate their desire to be reappointed to the Committee no later than the December meeting prior to the change in Council.
All attempts will be made to stay within the guideline composition; however, if the applications received or the qualifications of applicants do not fully address the guideline composition criteria, the most capable and qualified applicants will be recommended for appointment to fulfill the membership composition.
The call for membership shall be made by invitation circulated to local agricultural stakeholders
A Chair and Vice Chair will be elected from Committee members on a biannual basis at the first meeting of the New Year to preside over meetings and Committee business. The Chair of the Committee shall be a Regional Councillor. The Vice Chair of the Committee shall be a stakeholder member.
To fulfill its mandate and accomplish its goals, the APAC will establish working groups to deal with specific issues or projects. The working groups will meet, as needed, to review specific issues referred to them by the APAC and otherwise complete their assigned tasks.
Working groups are considered to be time-limited, project specific sub-committees of the APAC in that they are convened to accomplish a specific task (or tasks) in a narrowly defined time period.
Working groups must be comprised of at least two members of the APAC and may include community members and other individuals with relevant knowledge and expertise. Local municipal participation should be sought depending on the nature of the work being undertaken.
Working groups shall be chaired where possible by a voting member of the APAC and shall provide regular updates to the APAC regarding recommendations on assigned projects. Minutes of the meetings of the working group shall be recorded and submitted to the APAC for proper directing through the approval process. Working groups may meet at a time and place as decided by the members of the working group.
Some examples of projects to be undertaken by the APAC Working Group(s) include: raw water for irrigation, review of the Province's Greenbelt Plan, conduct an in-depth review of provincial policy, guide the creation of a Rural Community Improvement Plan, and guide technological studies.
The Integrated Community Planning Department is the designated lead department regarding resource support for the APAC; however, the Committee also has access to the technical expertise of staff from other Regional departments as may be required. It is recognized that staff time and the level of participation will be dependent on other departmental priorities as determined by senior management and/or Regional Council. As required, additional resources may be sought. Additional resourcing may be required for projects with senior levels of government.
The Committee shall receive administrative support from the Office of the Regional Clerk for meeting and agenda management.
A meeting schedule following a quarterly cycle shall be set for the APAC. The schedule will be circulated to the members for approval each year. Â Should a time sensitive matter arise, the APAC may meet at the call of the Chair.
The APAC meetings will be held at Regional Headquarters at a time as determined by the members. Subject to requirements under the Procedural By-law, a meeting may be held in alternate location. All meetings will be open to the public.
Meetings shall be governed by the Region's Procedural By-law, being a by-law to govern the calling, place and proceedings of the meetings of Council and its Committees, as may be amended from time-to-time. This includes rules surrounding quorum.
A schedule setting the due dates for materials to be included on the agenda will be circulated to each member pending adoption of a meeting schedule or the scheduling of a meeting date.
Members, who miss three unauthorized consecutive meetings, shall be deemed to have resigned from the Committee and will be notified of this in writing by the Committee Chair.
Amendments To The Terms Of Reference:
The Terms of Reference should be reviewed and refined at a minimum of every four years to ensure that they remain current and meaningful.
Proposals to amend the Terms of Reference shall require the approval of a majority of the members present. Proposed amendments to the Terms of Reference shall be submitted to Regional Council for approval through the Integrated Community Planning Committee and shall take effect only upon the approval of Council.