Response to Freedom of Information Request for FBR Numbers

Updated August 10, 2020

OMAFRA Notice of Decision.

Download (PDF, 69KB)

Sent July 14, 2020

foiaccess.omafra@ontario.ca

To Whom It May Concern:

As an accredited farm organization representing farmers across the province, the NFU-O is concerned about the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) request for Farm Business Registration (FBR) data.

For the following reasons, we are asking the ministry to deny this request due to the harm it will cause farmers.

  1. This information could be used by animal rights activists to target farmers who raise livestock. Despite assurances that may be given by the person or persons requesting the information, there is no way of knowing what may be done with the information once it has been released, and the government does not have the ability to limit the usage of the information.
  2. Unlike other businesses, most farm businesses are also the farmers’ homes. While the NFU-O supports government transparency and acknowledges that in most cases business information is public, due to the commingling of farmers’ private information with business information, it is not advisable to release the FBR data requested.
  3. There is the possibility of fraud if FBR numbers are released. The FBR number qualifies properties for the farm tax rate, allows access to government programming, and validates farm plates for vehicles. There is the potential that the information could be used to falsely apply for agricultural programs by non-farmers.

Given the already stressful farming season with the current drought and the global pandemic, we are worried releasing this information would cause further harm to farmers who are already facing mental health challenges. For this and the above reasons, we are asking the ministry to deny this request.

Sincerely,

Don Ciparis

NFU-O President