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The agrologist-fall/06-final

Special Issue:
Internationally Educated
The Ontario
Honourable Mike Colle,
Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration, welcomes
Rebeca Baca-Diaz, A.Ag., to
the Internationally Educated
Agrologist program.

This issue: New program provides win-winfor candidates and the Ontario agri-food This issue of The Ontario AGROLOGISTwas written and coordinated by students, young professionals andagrologists committed to enhancing the understanding of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists andOntario's agri-food industry.
Executive reports Sarah Brown, A.Ag.
Project coordinator, editor Strengthening the roster Sarah is passionate about agriculture and loves communicating about it. She's a public Rigorous schedule ensures competency relations account executive with AdcultureGroup Inc., providing public relations services A well of skills for Ontario's agri-food sector for agricultural clients. Sarah has a Bachelor of Science inAgriculture from the University of Guelph. She is the 12 Effects of international program widespread secretary-treasurer of the Eastern Canada Farm WritersAssociation and is the 2006 OIA-University of Guelph 14 New arrivals address changing industry needs Articling Agrologist in Residence.
15 An unprecedented level of accountability Owen Roberts, P. Ag. (Hon.) Editorial advisor The Ontario
Owen is the director of researchcommunications for the University of Volume 2, Number 2, Fall 2006 Guelph, and teaches agriculturalcommunications in the Ontario Agricultural A professional publication profiling Ontario's Professional Agrologists, College. He is academic coordinator for North America's designed to communicate their commitment to excellence in achieving only graduate-level distance education program in complete public trust in the health and safety of Ontario's agri-food agricultural communications, which starts in September, 2007 ( Owen is the 2006 OIA-University of Guelph Professional Agrologist in Residence.
The Ontario AGROLOGIST is a joint publication of the Ontario Institute ofAgrologists and the University of Guelph. It is produced and written byOntario Professional and Articling Agrologists and the University's Students Jonathan Chambers Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge (SPARK) program.
Editor Carol Tyler, P.Ag.
Jonathan is a recent graduate of the Project Co-ordinator Sarah Brown, A.Ag.
University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Editorial Advisor Owen Roberts, P.Ag. (Hon.)
Science in Agriculture specializing in Copy Editors Sarah Brown, A.Ag., Kim Waalderbos
agricultural economics. At the University he Design Brian Fray
studied and developed an interest in agriculturalcommunications, both print and broadcast. Currently, he Address correspondence to:
works for the Ontario Institute of Agrologists at the head Carol Tyler, P.Ag.
office in Guelph as the deputy registrar, and also on his family farm in Brant County.
Ontario Institute of Agrologists 100 Stone Road West, Suite 105 Guelph, Ontario N1G 5L3 Phone: (519) 826-4226 Fax: (519) 826-4228 Coordinating and writing the inaugural E-mail: [email protected] edition of The Ontario AGROLOGIST leftRebecca Moore with a keen interest in Visit the OIA website:
sustainable agriculture. After completing a Visit the University of Guelph's research website:
degree in history and microbiology at the University of Guelph, the Brantford, Ont., native has traded farm fields Cover and program participant photos by Kyle Rodriguez
for city markets as she starts her Master's at the Universityof Toronto in the history of science.

Kristy Nudds, A.Ag.
Contributor Kristy, editor of Canadian Poultry magazine,manages content and communicatesinformation that's crucial to Canada'spoultry producers and their industry. Kristyfirst found her calling as an agricultural communicatorwhile a student writer with the University of Guelph'sStudents Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge(SPARK) research writing program. She holds a B.Sc. inAnimal Biology and a M.Sc. in Animal Nutrition andMetabolism from the University of Guelph.
Hubert Paulmer, P.Ag.
Contributor Hubert is a project manager at OIA. He hasa Master's degree in Agriculture and a MBAfrom India and a post-graduate diploma inInternational Planning and Developmentfrom the University of Guelph. He has extensiveexperience in business development management andstrategic planning in agri-food, commodities andinternational sector trade in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Corporate and brand communications have been part ofhis work.
Kim is co-ordinator for the University ofGuelph's Students Promoting Awareness ofResearch Knowledge (SPARK) writingprogram, where she oversees variousresearch-related publications and articles, manages studentwriters, edits and writes. A recent Guelph graduate with aB.Sc. in Agriculture, Kim came to Ontario from herfamily's dairy farm near Amherst, Nova Scotia. She is arecent recipient of a Canadian Farm Writers' Federationnational writing award for news releases.
4 THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED AGROLOGIST PROGRAM EXECUTIVE REPORTS OIA program is the first of its kind I am proud to see the steps being taken industry-wide to profession.It allows new practitioners to provide Ontarians with a safe, diverse and global agri-food gain recognition for the skills and industry coming to the fore. The latest example is when on credentials they acquired outside of behalf of Minister Michael Colle, Hon. Leona Dombrowsky, Canada and earn registration as a Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, launched Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.).
the Internationally Educated Agrologist program at the Ontario Ontario currently has 800 registered AgriCentre in Guelph.
P.Ag.s. And, over the next three years this This program is the first of its kind for Canadian agrology. The initiative will qualify an additional 300 new $1.13 million program financed by the Government of new agrologists. It's a big task, but OIA's Ontario will enable new internationally trained agrologists to board of directors are targeting the Dr. Doug Yungblut, P. Ag.
increase their credentials, overcome transitional obstacles and program as a way to further promote the contribute in their area of expertise for the betterment of the profession's obligation to protect public interest and strengthen theagri-food industry.
Now, everything from agri-science, agri-business, farm management, agricultural policy, food development andproduction, business development, research, and agriculturalcommunications will become stronger and bolster the science ofagrology.
OIA is working with the University of Guelph, other training organizations and industry partners to provide the programs andtraining these agricultural experts require to earn a ProfessionalAgrologist registration.
To support the deliverables of this financing from the Government of Ontario and numerous collaborative partnersacross the province, the OIA office has increased its staff. Newmembers of the team include deputy registrar Jonathan Chambers,Internationally Educated Agrologist program leader HubertPaulmer, P.Ag., account technician Verna Miedema and LynnCharlton, executive assistant.
It's an exciting time for the OIA and our profession. I look Doug Yungblut and program candidate, Alex Martynenko, forward to welcoming international candidates into our profession exchange business cards at the program launch.
as Articling Agrologists in the near future.
Boosting public confidence in our sector Muhammad Arif, Internationally Educated Agrologist purchasing a product from the grocery program participant, loves telling the story about getting store, a family eating out at their favourite a personal response from Ontario Premier Dalton restaurant, a farmer seeking production or McGuinty to a letter about problems new Canadians face easing business management advice, a processor into their profession in Ontario.The Premier advised Muhammad using the latest packaging technology, an to consider OIA's professional registration program for agricultural commodity group, a industry internationally educated agrologists…and now, Muhammad is one supplier or a government body.
of 45 candidates from 24 countries who have begun the process of The professional registration brands the registration as a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) in Ontario.
individual's commitment to competence, Carol Tyler, P. Ag.
The expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and drive for excellence continuous learning, ethical conduct and Executive Director/ shown by these candidates in agriculture, agri-food and agri-life capacity to perform at or above industry sciences bode well for Ontario's future and represent one of Ontario's largest economic drivers.
Ontario has a new look in the world of agri-food and the Individuals who hold the P.Ag. or A.Ag. (Articling Agrologist) practice of agrology. And it's people like Muhammad who bring designation are declaring that they hold themselves accountable to that alive.Welcome! We will work together to open opportunity's protect the public interest…whether that means the consumer INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED AGROLOGIST PROGRAM THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 5 Strengthening the roster
New program expected to bring 300 internationally educated agrologists onstream by Kristy Nudds, A.Ag.
Ontario's agrology roster will grow appreciably over the next three years thanks to a first-of-its-kind program aimed at helping qualified professionals trained abroad get a foothold in thisprovince.
The Internationally Educated Agrologist program, officially launched by the Ontario Institute of Agrologists(OIA) September 11, 2006 with support from theprovincial government, will help those bearing agriculturedegrees (or their equivalent) from internationallyrecognized post-secondary institutions becomeProfessional Agrologists (P.Ag.s) in Ontario.
"This program will add more diversity to the province's existing group of highly trained, educated and qualifiedagri-food and life sciences professionals," says Carol Tyler,P.Ag., OIA Executive Director/Registrar.
Tyler says the program will serve Ontario by enabling the province to meet expanding opportunities in theagriculture and life sciences sectors, and replace personnelexiting through retirement.
OIA's program is one of 24 bridge training programs that received funding from the Ontario Ministry ofCitizenship and Immigration to help skilled newcomersput their global experience to work in the province. TheOIA received $1.13 million to build the program andwork with industry partners to facilitate language andcommunication training, skills assessment, preparation and course development for prospectiveagrologists.
Similar opportunities exist for other professions in Canada, such as engineers, physicians, teachers and nurses,but the Internationally Educated Agrologist program is afirst for agrology in Canada. And, it's already building theroster.
"This program will allow me to gain recognition for the skills and credentials I gained abroad and outside ofOntario," says Mexico native Rebeca Baca-Díaz, programmanager with the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC)in Guelph, Ontario. She completed her undergraduatestudies at Iberoamericana University in Mexico, whereshe obtained a B.Sc. in Nutrition and Food Science. She then graduated with an M.Sc. in Food Technology at LavalUniversity in Quebec and has worked with the AAC forthe past six years.
Rebeca Baca-Diaz: Being a Professional Agrologist "validates my qualifications." At the AAC, she and her colleagues are responsible for 6 THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED AGROLOGIST PROGRAM overseeing the dissemination of provincial and federal funding to Agrologists to receive recognition for their skills and the the agricultural and agri-food industries in Ontario and across expertise they provide," says Stiles.
The Internationally Educated Agrologist program will help "For me, becoming a Professional Agrologist is a way to validate accelerate the articling process for candidates such as Baca-Diaz.
my qualifications," she says. "We're accountable to government, This process will take approximately two years and involve industry and ultimately to the public for these funds." rigorous professional development and examination (see Baca-Díaz started the program in late spring with support from her manager Angela Stiles, P.Ag., AAC Executive Director.
When the program concludes, Ontario is expected to have the "Agrologists are integral to Ontario's agri-food sector, and I've highest percentage of registered internationally educated encouraged all of AAC employees to become Professional Professional Agrologists in Canada.
Rigorous schedule ensures competency
by Jonathan Chambers
Internationally educated newcomers come from all over the world with the skills to practice agrology…but howdo they prove they're competent to practice in Ontario as That's a job for the Ontario Institute of Agrologists (OIA).
It's established a professional registration program forinternationally educated agrologists, a rigorous process whichcandidates must go through before they obtain registration asa Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.).
The program is designed to benefit the candidate and assure Ontario citizens that Internationally Educated Agrologistprogram participants have the same stellar competencies asother P.Ag.s working in the province.
Starting with the application phase, a number of steps must be completed by each candidate before becoming an ArticlingAgrologist (A.Ag.) and eventually a P.Ag.
Like Ontario applicants, international participants must formally apply and provide OIA with a resume to ensure theyhave relevant experience and knowledge in the field of agrology. Proof of academic qualifications and an agreement These internationally educated agrologist are some of the to abide by OIA's code of ethics are also needed.
first to enroll in the registration program.
For international candidates, there are two additional steps: credentialing of their foreign degrees and an industry-specific speaking, reading and writing abilities, and places them in categories corresponding to Canadian Language Benchmark The credentialing is carried out by World Education (CLB) standards. If candidates are below CLB level 10, a plan Services, an international credentialing organization based in is established to help them achieve this level of language Toronto. A candidate must apply independently and provide proficiency during their articling period (this level is required OIA with a course-by-course assessment report of all their before they're eligible to qualify as a P.Ag.).
international degrees. This step is important because it proves Following these assessments, candidates are accepted as the candidates' degrees are equivalent to Canadian ones, and A.Ag.s and must participate in an articling program similar to the candidate has comparable knowledge to a Canadian that required of a nationally educated individual.
general and specialty agrologist exams, The industry-specific language assessment ensures professional development courses, creating a professional level candidates have the communicative competencies necessary project, and fostering mentoring relationships with current to function in Ontario's agriculture, agri-food, health and P.Ag.s. are the main articling components. After successfully wellness sectors.The assessment evaluates candidates' listening, articling, candidates are registered as P.Ag.s.
registration offer a well of skills for
by Rebecca Moore and Kim Waalderbos
I nternationally educated agrologists now enrolled in the introduced her to the animal health sector in Ontario,helping to Ontario Institute of Agrologists' professional registration smooth the international transition.
program exemplify the calibre of knowledgeable and "I have a great deal of good work experience, although in a agri-food and agri-science different environment," says Ahmed. "I am set on transforming my practitioners coming to Ontario each year.Their participation knowledge and experience to Ontario and Canada as a whole – theOIA can open doors to help me achieve that." in this program and eventual registration as ProfessionalAgrologists in Ontario, demonstrates their ambition to makea valuable contribution to the success of Ontario's agricultural Muhammad Arif, Ph.D.
and related industries. As well, earning the registrationsignifies their commitment to providing sound knowledge and Letter from Premier inspires plant breeder advice in their area of expertise, and to protecting the interestsof their clients and the public. For Muhammad Arif,a written response to his inquiry about Ontario agricultural organizations from Ontario Premier While the program helps open doors to applicable career Dalton McGuinty (see related story on page 5) was the opportunities for candidates, it also ensures their education encouragement he needed to begin learning about OIA and the and knowledge is par with Ontario's Professional Agrologist opportunities it offers. Now, as a standards. The eight program participants profiled here participant in OIA's Internationally exemplify the depth and breadth of agriculture- and related Educated Agrologist program, Arif expertise held by program participants and future hopes to contribute to Ontario's agricultural research community bysharing his education, unique skill Maisan Ahmed
set and international experience inplant research.
Veterinarian focuses on large animal care Arif 's background in plant agriculture is extensive. He holds his As a trained veterinarian, Maisan plant breeding and genetics Ahmed is focused on establishing a from North-West Frontier Province footprint in Ontario agriculture (NWFP) Agriculture University, and large animal care.
Peshawar, Pakistan. After completing his Ph.D. he worked as a Ahmed, who is experienced in handling research officer at the Department of Agriculture, NWFP and the quarantine and meat inspection issues, has Okinawan Research Station in Japan. During these years he studied enhanced her skill set by completing the genetics and breeding of sugar cane, wheat and canola with an courses in Canada on dairy husbandry and emphasis on breeding wheat to increase resistance to salt stress. He milk processing. She has trained individuals has published numerous papers in scientific journals, and developed on the kinds of diets, medical assistance five new sugar cane varieties and two new sugar beet varieties.
and environment that are best for cattle to produce high-quality With his scientific background and unique global perspective, he meat and milk.
hopes to help shape the scientific advances of Ontario's agricultural Ahmed points to distinct differences between animal diseases in community and in turn, its international market reaches.
Canada and underdeveloped countries in Africa. She says that major "The world is a global village and most of our agriculture in animal health problems, in particular those transmissible to humans, Ontario is being exported," says Arif. "I understand the needs and are more readily contained in Canada.
demands of other nations and I hope that by integrating my To transition into Ontario agriculture and become even more knowledge with researchers here we can maximize our exports." versed on Canadian health care, she turned to the OIA. Ahmed Arif says that everyone needs a window of opportunity when they learned about the organization through Lutherwood Adult enter into a new culture to help become incorporated. OIA has Employment Services, a program designed to assist internationally been an indispensable resource in helping him to achieve his goals, trained individuals tap into the Canadian job market. She says OIA he says, by serving as an information resource for research and has given her exposure to professionals in her own field and opportunities available in the province.
r Ontario's agri-food sector
his degrees he dedicated years to the formation and advancement ofagriculture and food safety in Ukraine.Working as a project manager Hoping to help create new export links and consultant in international research projects, he extended hisknowledge of agricultural policies. Now, having settled in Ontario,he plans to share his international expertise in food safety and Acombination of business savvy and agricultural policy here.
scientific knowledge means Daniel Martynenko gained his experience in food safety and quality Gutierrez is well positioned to through work at the Institute of Food Technologies, Ukraine. In the break into the international agriculture 1990s, he became involved in policy development for Ukraine's market. Fluent in both Spanish and English, Ministry of Food and Agriculture. His efforts resulted in the Gutierrez hopes to help better position development of the National Inventory of Agriculture and Ontario in the international business sector Environment, which he describes as "significantly improving" linking to Latin American and other Ukraine's food safety regulations.
Following his move to Ontario, Martynenko found his way to the Holding a Bachelor's degree in animal University of Guelph where he focused on improving ginseng science from Rafael Urdaneta University,Venezuela and a Master's in drying with Profs.Val Davidson and Ralph Brown. He is currently business administration, from Universidad Rafael Belloso Chacin, working as the director of research and development for Fresh Gutierrez wants to apply his skill set and cultural background to Ginseng International, a fledgling Guelph-based company dedicated Ontario agriculture, particularly the province's export sector. The to offering new export opportunities for Ontario ginseng OIA is helping Gutierrez gain relevant information through professional development programs, such as the interpersonal skills Given his expertise in biological engineering, policy-related course, and connect with the best people to achieve his business research and project development, Martynenko hopes to expand and goals, through the Internationally Educated Agrologist program.
apply his skill set to Ontario agriculture. He believes the connections "This program has helped me meet professionals in the same field he has made at the OIA will help him achieve his career goals.
as my interests," says Gutierrez. "It is a great asset to be connected "I believe the new Internationally Educated Agrologist program with people who have similar ideas and interests." will help me and other participants reach our career objectives," says Gutierrez and other internationally educated professionals see the Martynenko."I know that my international experience is beneficial OIA as opening doors to business in Ontario. Gutierrez says that the for Ontario policy makers who are working on the development of programs offered by the OIA, such as the interpersonal skills course, internationally coherent standards in food safety and quality." have been great resources, providing him with important tools tocommunicate his educational background while connecting him toother business professionals.
Believing in the value of continuing education, Gutierrez is upgrading his skills at Conestoga College by working towards adiploma in general business. He is also enrolled to complete anInternational Business Management Certificate at Mohawk College.
Alex Martynenko, Ph.D.
Developing expertise infood safety and policy From a young age,Alex Martynenko knew he wanted to work inagriculture. His educational path yielded him a degree in engineering, andcompletion of his Ph.D. in agriculturalengineering, at the National AgriculturalUniversity of Ukraine. After completing SUSTAINING OUR ENVIRONMENT THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 9 Amit Mathews
University of Guelph. The program's interdisciplinary nature andpractical applications were a strong attraction, says Membreño.
Setting goals for better resource management While she completed her Master's degree at Guelph, she worked for the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. on Further education drew Amit Mathews to Ontario.Having the Natural Hazards Project.That led her to become a certified completed a Master's degree in plant biotechnology at Assam floodplain manager, which meant she attained the professional Agricultural University, India, he is expanding into designation and experience to assess and mitigate effects from molecular biology and genetics, through another Master's program natural disasters.
at the University of Guelph.
Currently, she has returned to Ontario to apply her education Mathews' experiences in plant breeding and experience on a power generation project being led by a have included extensive work on tomato Waterloo engineering firm. The project helps South American and eggplant. Through his studies at nations, such as Argentina, to generate environmentally friendly Guelph, he is exploring the genetic power in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol.
mechanisms of bacteria and yeast. He Membreño sees the chance to grow as an individual and believes that an in-depth understanding of contribute to the rural community in Ontario. She is convinced bacterial genetics is essential to understand the Ontario Institute of Agrologists and the Internationally the role of nature's own genetic engineer Educated Agrologist program will help her achieve stability in the Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a bacterium that causes tumors in plants by inserting its DNA into the plant "I want to grow in Canada and in Ontario," says Membreño. "I think the OIA can help me build a foundation here by providing His goal is to become a part of Ontario's agri-food scene, so he's me with further credibility in the agriculture sector." broadening his network and knowledge as a participant in OIA'sInternationally Educated Agrologist program.
"I would like to be in touch with Ontario agriculture, and the OIA is a great forum for me to achieve this," says Mathews. "TheOIA gives good insight into what is actually happening in theagriculture system and helps connect like-minded people withsimilar education and aspirations." Mathews is particularly focused on resource management and is drawing from his expertise in plant breeding and his internationalperspective to help the Ontario agricultural community.
"It is important how well we manage our resources," says Mathews. "There is a lot of pressure on our resources right nowand we need to increase the productivity of the land we alreadyhave in a sustainable and non-invasive manner. Plant biotechnologycan help, but it should be synergetic with traditional organicfarming practices." Ana Pamela Membreño
Generating environmentally friendly power
After helping her Honduran community rebuild from adevastating hurricane in 1998, engineer Ana Pamela Membreño wasdriven to pursue studies in ruraldevelopment so she could aid others inthe world.
Trained as a civil engineer, Membreño saw first-hand the devastation thehurricane caused by washing away nearly90 per cent of the nation's bridges, crippling its infrastructure. Sheapplied her engineering background to help rebuild the country –one rural bridge at a time.
She attributes her experience in Honduras as the driving force that led her to the rural planning and development program at the 10 THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED AGROLOGIST PROGRAM Sunday Oghiakhe, P.Ag.
Ag economist interested in Continuing education benefits P.Ag. environmental policy development Anatoliy Oginsky has devoted his Continuing education was a key factor that drew Sunday education and career to the Oghiakhe to the OIA. He became economics of agriculture. Now in a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) in January Ontario, Oginsky plans to draw from his 2005, and has played an active role in the knowledge of European systems to help organization ever since.
formulate policies in his new home Oghiakhe's work as a food processing specialist inspector for the Canadian Food Oginsky honed his agricultural Inspection Agency, as well as an industrial economics savvy at the Institute of product inspector for Agricorp, made him Agriculture and the Ministry of an ideal candidate for the OIA Professional Agrologist registration.
Environment and Natural Resources, Ukraine. At the institute, he He believes the OIA is a superb organization to be involved in – headed the department responsible for the economic analysis of new it signifies a high academic and professional standard and promotes technology and its impacts on industry. At the Ministry of accountability. He believes that the Internationally Educated Environment and Natural Resources, he oversaw land use and Agrologist program is especially important in helping related policy.
internationally trained individuals access opportunities in Canada.
Throughout the years, Oginsky maintained his ties to academia by "Many highly qualified men and women in different areas of completing a bachelor's degree in economics from the Odessa State agriculture immigrate to Canada every year but find it difficult to Economic University in the Ukraine, a Master's degree from the obtain jobs because of a lack of Canadian experience," says Russian Institute of Economics, Labour and Management in Oghiakhe. "The Internationally Educated Agrologist program will Agriculture in Moscow, and a Master's degree in agricultural help bridge this gap and provide an opportunity for internationally economics and business from the University of Guelph.
educated scientists to gain the necessary experience and language With extensive experience in the European system, Oginsky says competence needed to enter into the Canadian labour market." he can help form and implement Canadian policies such as With his own research focusing on the biology and management environmental protection. He hopes to contribute to agriculture – of native elm bark beetles (carriers of Dutch elm disease fungus), and Ontario – in a positive way, using his education and experience.
Oghiakhe plans to one day become a faculty member at a He sees his relationship with the OIA as an ideal way to achieve this Canadian university so he may help ensure the nation maintains a competitive edge in sustainable development of its natural "Ontario's Professional Agrologists and the Internationally Educated Agrologist program will provide me with the Having completed a Master's of science and a Master's of opportunity to more deeply understand the specifics of Ontario philosophy at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, he is now working agriculture so I can best serve the province," says Oginsky. "It will on his Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba in entomology.
also help me meet people in areas that I am interested in, and allowpeople to meet me." INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED AGROLOGIST PROGRAM THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 11 Effects of new program widespread Hon. Leona Dombrowsky explains thesignificance of the Internationally Educated Agrologist program to Guelph Mercurybusiness reporter Vik Kirsch (left) and agri-food columnist Owen Roberts, P. Ag. (Hon).
by Owen Roberts, P.Ag. (Hon.)
sector, but not being quite qualified in the working ways of the An unexplored benefit could arise from the newly minted industry to catch on.
Internationally Educated Agrologist program – that is, help The benefits likely to accrue to the participants are clear – for beleaguered rural communities in Ontario.
training, contacts and jobs. But there's a good chance this program The program was officially launched in Guelph in September by could help rural communities, too.The charm of country life is not the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Leona attracting immigrants even though in Ontario, overall immigration Dombrowsky. "We are committed to supporting the skills and has grown annually from 50,000 newcomers in the early 1990s to education that will advance Ontario's agriculture and food around 125,000 now. It's expected to stay that way for the next 10- industry," she said at the launch. "Our goal is to build a stronger 15 years, and traditionally, about 11 per cent of immigrants settled agricultural sector and a highly skilled labour force. Internationally in rural areas.
educated graduates will help us meet that goal." But that settlement pattern fell off to nine per cent at the turn of Indeed, the Minister's government, through her colleague the century. Now, it's down to a measly, and alarming, two per cent Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Mike Colle put more of recent immigrants.
than $1 million into the program, to help 300 highly skilled That's unfortunate, on many fronts. Besides boosting population newcomers to Ontario assimilate into the province's agri-food numbers (more than 30 per cent of the new arrivals are 20 to 34 sector. The Minister said the program will help these talented folks years old, a prime age to start a family), immigrants lend diversity "fill in the gaps" of their agri-food sector knowledge, between and appeal to a community. Rural areas are losing out to Ontario where they came from, and Ontario.
cities, which are increasingly proving more attractive to She appreciates the frustration they can experience, having all the immigrants, mainly for employment, as well as cultural or ethnic education they need to contribute positively to the agri-food communities of interest.
12 THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED AGROLOGIST PROGRAM Here's another plus immigrants bring. Owing to Canada's immigration policies, these newcomers are extremely well educated – 60 per cent of those who arrive in Ontario have collegeor university education.That's why the Internationally Educated Agrologist program is so timely.
With immigration rising, we've been receiving a growing number of well-educated people. If theyget involved in the agrologist program, serving the agri-food sector, chances are some of themcould locate or re-locate in rural communities, where agriculture lives.
And where opportunity grows, so does what Guelph- based agri-business icon Ginty Jocius, P.Ag., called "theagricultural family," at the opening of the 13th annualOutdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, right after the program was launched. He and others have watched thatfamily grow over the years. Now, with the beginning ofthe Internationally Educated Agrologist program, thefamily has some new cousins.
And with new blood comes renewed vitality. Dr. Mary Buhr, associate dean (academic) for the OntarioAgricultural College, says the people taking part in the Peter Hannam, P. Ag. (Dist.) program will challenge the norm with their new perspectives – in particular, their global perspectives.
That aspect of the program draws praise from Peter Hannam, P.Ag. (Dist.), who along with Buhrspoke at the program's launch.
"Agriculture is global," said Hannam. "This program will help Ontario be competitive." This commentary is based on a column by Owen Roberts (Monday, September 18, 2006, A8, "Immigration patterns show need for rural focus") that appeared in the Guelph Mercury newspaper. INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED AGROLOGIST PROGRAM THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 13 New arrivals address changing industry needs
by Hubert Paulmer, P.Ag.
food and agri-science sectors will have international roots.
Statistics Canada says 44 per cent of Toronto's population in 2001 Ontario's success in continuing to manage the challenges was foreign born.Between 1994 and 2004,more than 1.2 million and opportunities of diversity will have an important immigrants came to Ontario. This represents 55 per cent of all bearing on the social and economic success of the immigrants to Canada in that period, and about 125,000 province, the quality of communities and the success of agri- immigrants are projected to arrive every year in Ontario in the business, especially in the agri-food and agri-life sciences industry.
next 20 years. And, on average 35 per cent of them hold a innovations, collective human They'll be needed.
experiences and advances in population aged 65 and over knowledge give Canada – and will rise significantly after 2011, especially Ontario – the crucial from 1.6 million (12.8 per cent ingredients to have an edge in of the population) in 2004 to global agriculture, agri-food and 3.6 million (22.2 per cent of the agri-life science sectors. A clean population) in 2031, according environment, temperate climate, to a study by the Ontario plentiful natural resources, a Ministry of Finance. On the strong economy, technological same note, the number in innovations and high standards Ontario's 25-44 year age group for food inspection and will decline from 31.5 per cent regulation all contribute to make of the population in 2004 to Ontario a great place to work 25.4 percent of the population Shifting scopes of practice are The changing shape of the already demonstrating Professional domestic market is one of the Agrologists' reaction to diversity drivers for change in the and technology innovations. In the industry. Urbanization, changing family structure, Professional Agrologists have lifestyle changes, diversified from the traditional growing demand for ethnic production, farm input industry, cuisines, functional foods and teaching and government organic foods are influencing occupations to encompass bio- industry changes. For example, consumer demand for processing, packaging, technology organically produced food is transfer, international business growing by up to 20 per cent a year in Canada. And, the increasing demand and support agri-life sciences and wellness for locally produced food in Ontario is opening new doors Having the personnel available for agri-food entrepreneurs, to gain access to new markets and especially at farmers' markets.
develop niche markets with In the ever-changing world of value-added, innovative growth agriculture, agri-food and agri- products would support science, Dr. Dave Sparling, Program participant Maisan Ahmed builds her network at the sustainable growth and higher executive director of the Internationally Educated Agrologist program launch.
income for the agriculture, agri- Institute of Agri-Food Policy food and agri-life sciences industry in Ontario.
Innovation, says internationally educated agrologists will also "We have a wealth of expertise and opportunity from foreign benefit Ontario and Canada in many ways, including domestic trained professionals, and the province and the agri-food sector and international marketing. Says Sparling: "Understanding can gain significantly by tapping into this resource," says Dr. John production and local markets isn't going to be enough to be Kelly, P.Ag., executive director of MaRS Landing in Guelph.
successful in the future. Since market opportunities and It makes demographic sense that new internationally educated competition will increasingly be international, we need people agrologists establishing a footprint in Ontario agriculture, agri- who can interpret and connect to those markets." 14 THE ONTARIO AGROLOGIST Fall 2006 INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED AGROLOGIST PROGRAM Right-to-practice legislation means a new level of accountability by Carol Tyler, P.Ag.
Right-to-practice legislation will further change the face of OIA and how the profession of agrology isregulated. It will vault the reputation, status, credibility and regulation of Professional Agrologists (P.Ag.s) into the samecategory as other Ontario self-regulated professions, such asprofessional engineers.
For individuals working in agriculture, agri-food and agri- science fields, this means earning a P.Ag. registration will bemandatory to practice agrology.
Anyone practicing in these fields that acquires, applies, or provides consultation based on the scientific knowledge ormanagement principles of their field is considered to bepracticing agrology. and under right-to-practice legislation,will be required to have a P.Ag. and/or work under someonewho does.
This will change the industry in Ontario.With only some 800 individuals now registered as Professional Agrologists, right-to-practice legislation will prompt (and require) many more toregister who practice in agri-food, agri-life sciences and relatedfields.
Right-to-practice legislation will also change how the OIA board of directors and staff operate. It will require the OIA to Professional Agrologists practicing in agri-food play a key role in maintain a transparent and balanced system of operational and ensuring the food we eat is safe.
governance infrastructure.The operational body will be responsiblefor everyday administration and due diligence obligations under the practicing agrology. Before being registered as a P.Ag., an individual public statute. The governance body will be responsible for ensuring must be able to prove they hold a Bachelor of Science/Commerce all parties – consumers, industry stakeholders, other professions, and degree and pass qualifying professional exams, regardless of whether the profession of agrology – sit together, arms length and non- they were educated in Ontario, within Canada or from abroad. After partisan on a Board of Directors to influence and make science- acceptance, P.Ag.s must then maintain competencies at or above based decisions on managing risk associated with those registered as industry standards, conduct themselves within a code of ethics and P.Ag.s. and to determine together what requirements are necessary maintain records of their professional development and like practices for P.Ag.s to protect public interest.
to ensure they're at par with or above the requirements of the It's important to note that right-to-practice legislation will not regulate government policy, the industry, its stakeholders or So, what will right-to-practice mean? It means stricter regulations, businesses within the industry. Right-to-practice legislation only rigorous due diligence and expectations of excellence of P.Ag.s and regulates those that hold the P.Ag. designation. The OIA board of A.Ag.s., that lead to compounding benefits. For everyone, whether directors will continue to be responsible for the regulation of P.Ag.s, a consumer, producer or processor, it means greater assurance that but will also be mandated to manage public complaints, they can feel confident in the advice or recommendations a P.Ag.
investigations and disciplinary measures when P.Ags have put the provides. For the P.Ag., it means their employer has a highly health and safety of Ontario citizens at risk.
educated and continuously trained employee. It also means that Once right-to-practice is in place, the process of becoming governing board will stand behind them and take on risk and registered as a P.Ag. will be much the same as it is now. This is as a accountability for the quality of professional development, regular result of recent changes the board of directors has made to ensure audits and re-qualification stipulations, monitoring and management those designated as P.Ag.s are currently regulated with the same of risk, and will provide third-party receipt of public complaints, rigor to which they would be held under the right-to-practice diligent investigation, and enforce required disciplinary action.
legislation, even though the legislation has not yet been changed.
Overall, right-to-practice means Ontario P.Ag.s will continue to In Ontario, the provincial government, under public statute, will provide the level of assurance in their recommendations that they continue to obligate individuals registered as P.Ag.s or Articling have in the past, and they'll have the legislation, regulations and Agrologists (A.Ag.s) to protect the interests of all Ontarians when documentation to prove it.


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