The difficulties to get housing for farm workers Aug 4 2023

Anyone thinking of providing housing for farm workers should realize the difficulty of the project in mental anxiety, bureaucracy overload and high financial costs. For many farmers this is far too costly as we are already under tremendous stress trying to cope with the increasing climate change, increasing fossil fuel costs and the various increased costs of farming.

I would think that providing year round farm housing is a very good thing to avoid workers from having to commute long distances and reducing the use of fossil fuels used in transportation but our bureaucracies are not been able to encourage the on farm housing which would have many benefits.

I do agree that we need certain controls on what goes on in each county but the time, cost and complexity is too great for farmers.

Within the Bayham office there are good people and they are following various guidelines given them but it is a slow expensive process.

Getting farm help is very difficult since many involved in farm work only need to work a 6 months seasonal job then go on unemployment for the rest of the year until the spring arrives. Having full time help allows farmers to have help all year and those who decide to work only 6 months cannot continue in the housing unless they work at the farm all year as stipulated by the Bayham office

We also cannot offer anyone a starting wage of $28 per hour if they do not have any experience which is not something that cannot be learned in a matter of a few days or months. Having someone who is interested in learning the oil pressing and being able to earn $16.60 per hour for the first few months gives them a skill that could increase their wages and could create a steady job through tough times which is what I am trying to do on our farm.

There is no overall plan available in bayham to show the prospective farmer how things might actually work in the municipality of Bayham if on farm year round housing was encouraged. One soon discovers the many regulations as you learn about each department and their requirements which seems unending. The cost is unending.

It was a surprise to me the learn the process, or at least to realize some of the many steps one needs to take. First you need to understand the having seasonal workers housing is not the same as year round farm help. So first you need a minor variance with costs about $2000 to allow for all year residence. Then here is the DRAFT DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT which while sounding somewhat sensible only makes you realize that all you undertake will have to be taken back to the original whatever that is. This has to be registered on your land title for a cost of about $500. Once you have signed the DRAFT DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT then there is a building permit which seems to ignore the fact that it was originally a residence and only needs renovation to upgrade insulation, heating and upgraded electrical to today's standard. Putting the electrical system up to today's standard seems sensible except that it was acceptable a number of years ago but now will always need upgrading to the current standard at a cost of about $20,000. Then there is the various upgrades and inspections of the sewage system which is scary as any system over 20 years old may have to be redone.

Then it appears the fire chief needs to inspect everything and this also bothers me as he might not like our oil pressing installation for unknown reasons.

Costs or long wait periods do not seem to enter into any discussion. After all farms are so precarious financially that and extra $20-30,000 in added costs is merely a deduction from the excess profit of farming. For example Long Point Region Conservation Authority sent me an invoice for about $514.15 so they could review the impact of the changes on our property and how it affected Longpoint conservation. The sewage systems have not changed nor has anything else but their review that nothing has changed cost me over$514.15!!!!

  1. It is quite obvious that having full time farm help is only possible for large corporation with thousands of acres and good office staff and a retained lawyer.

In 2018 I thought it would be a good idea to have some farm help after being diagnosed with Leukemia and being 70 years old. While in hospital I arranged for a new addition be added to our house for the purpose of housing farm help. It was a major expense of about $250,000. Unfortunately I took a few years to somewhat recover from the Chemotherapy and Stem cell transplant so it took another 5 years until I was 75 years old that I was able to get the apartment completed.

Luckily a gal that had been riding our draft horses needed place to live with her husband so we agreed to hire her to work with the horses in the fields, drive tractors and care for chickens. I was unaware that I required approval for her to move in and work for us especially after getting the approval for occupation of the unit back a few months. I am still not sure.

I will also needed a very specialized person to run the oil pressing operation who would stay for at least two years since at my age I am not able to work a full day. I advertised for a few years with no takers until I got an excellent application from Ghana which I decided was the right person who understands our method of organic farming and would stay here to learn the process of oil seed pressing which I had developed over many years.

Undertaking this mammoth task of filling out the LMIA application for him to work in Canada has taken many months to comprehend and is still not approved and still causes me a lot of mental anxiety knowing that I am dealing with bureaucrats that are only looking for very specific documents and numbers which are difficult to find. My first rejection was difficult to handle as the process is long and quite difficult for the average person to understand completely. There are thousands of pages to tell you the requirements if you have lots of time on hand after your 12 hours days farming and you need a good internet connection which I certainly do not have.

The building permit was fairly easy to obtain in 2018 but something has changed in the meantime because now we have a DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT which makes life for the farmer a lot more difficult. I now have to sign the development agreement whether I agree or not since I have too much invested in the project. Not agreeing to the DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT would mean many more weeks or months trying to make any changes to the agreement or simply giving up farming.

For the possibility of having a dedicated person on the oil pressing I decided to renovate the apartment that already existed in the north barn that had been used for seasonal farm help. With the help of the current Building inspector we started on renovations planning which included confirming that the septic system was approved and that the electrical upgrade would be done and get a building permit. We carefully followed his directions knowing that we would need a building permit but of course did not realize it would take many weeks to get one since it required the development agreement. I have had three different building inspectors since January 2023 for Bayham county.

I had the septic system looked at by the fellow that does the septic system installations bring his equipment here and he assured me that the system was fine. The second building inspector also said this was fine but now he is no longer with Bayham and I am told that there was no official document given the the Bayham office so now I need to start the process again. Finally we have a building permit but that is only the beginning as there are many requirements to fulfill.

Little did I know that I would also need to sign the development agreement as stated below which really made me aware of the tremendous difficulty I was about to encounter with various unknown regulations from the different departments and different officials and it is at their discretion if they find it acceptable.

I was unaware of the implications of the development agreement as follows and certainly regret having started the process:


THIS DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT made in duplicate this 17th day of August 2023. B E T W E E N: MATTHEW REDSELL AND DOROTHEE ASTBURY Hereinafter called the “OWNER” OF THE FIRST PART - AND – THE CORPORATION OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF BAYHAM Hereinafter called the “MUNICIPALITY” OF THE SECOND PART WHEREAS the Owner is the owner in fee simple of the lands situate in the Municipality of Bayham, in the County of Elgin being South Part Lot 25 Concession South Gore, more particularly described in Attachment “A” attached hereto (and hereafter referred to as the “Lands”); AND WHEREAS the Owner intends to add TWO (2) supplementary farm dwellings (an addition to the primary dwelling and one apartment in an accessory barn) as supplementary farm dwellings in accordance with the Conceptual Site Plan attached hereto, as Attachment “B” (hereafter referred to as the “Plan”) as granted through Minor Variance Application A-06/23 on July 6, 2023; AND WHEREAS the Municipality, as a condition of the location of the supplementary farm dwellings on the Lands, requires the Owner to enter into a Development Agreement under Section 45 of the Planning Act; NOW THEREFORE in consideration of other good and valuable consideration and the sum of Two Dollars ($2.00) of lawful money of Canada by each to the other paid (the receipt whereof is acknowledged by each), the Owner hereby covenants and agrees with the Municipality as follows:

  1. Minor Variance Application A-06/23 - The Owner agrees that TWO (2) supplementary farm dwellings – one being a portion of the existing primary dwelling with maximum floor area of 106 m2 and maximum capacity of two (2) year-round farm workers and a second supplementary farm dwelling unit in a portion of an existing permanent barn (north barn) with floor area maximum of 38 m2 and maximum capacity of two (2) year-round farm workers on the subject property is in general accordance with the area identified on the 3 attached Plan. (subject to SWPH approval)

  2. 2. The Owner shall be permitted to use the supplementary farm dwellings for year-round use for full-time workers.

  3. 3. The Owner agrees to remove the supplementary farm dwellings no more than two (2) years after the cash crop farm operation has ceased and/or additional farm labour is no longer required.

  4. 4. The Owner agrees to restore the property to original condition and maintain the site in accordance with the By-laws of the Municipality of Bayham.

  5. 5. The Owner further agrees: a) To provide written confirmation from the authorizing agency, Southwestern Public Health, and to the satisfaction of the Municipality, that there is sufficient on-site capacity for potable drinking water, and; b) To obtain a septic system permit and provide written confirmation from the authorizing agency, to the satisfaction of the Municipality, that the septic system has sufficient capacity to support the supplementary farm dwelling(s) and is operating properly, and; c) To obtain a building permit for the supplementary farm dwellings and provide written assurance that the dwellings satisfies safety and Ontario Building Code requirements

  6. 6. The Owner further agrees: a) That upon failure by the Owner to do any act identified herein, that the public safety or convenience requires, in accordance with this Agreement, upon seven (7) days written notice, the Municipality, in addition to any other remedy, may go in and do same at the Owner’s expense, and collect the cost in like manner either as municipal taxes or from the Letter of Credit deposited as performance security, and; b) That nothing in this Agreement constitutes waiver of the owner’s duty to comply with any by-law of the Municipality or any other law. c) The Owner shall be responsible for consulting with and obtaining any and all necessary approvals from Southwestern Public Health and providing same to the municipality. d) The Owner shall satisfy all the requirements in relation to the fire protection for the building(s) in compliance with the Fire Code and ensure all facilities are inspected and in compliance to the satisfaction of the Municipality’s Fire Chief. e) The Municipality, through its servants, officers and agents, including its Chief 4 Building Official and Fire Chief, may, from time to time, and at any time, enter on the premises of the Owner to inspect the supplementary farm dwelling(s) for the purposes of ensuring public health and safety; fire protection; the provision of potable water; and the proper treatment and disposal of sewage. f) In the event of any servant, officer or agent of the Municipality, upon inspection, be of the opinion that the state of maintenance is not satisfactory, such servant, officer or agent shall forthwith, forward notice of such opinion, by registered mail, to the Owner, at the last known address, and the Owner shall forthwith correct the deficiency or appeal to the Council of the Municipality of Bayham, as hereinafter provided. g) In the event that the Owner should disagree with the opinion of the servant, officer or agent of the Municipality, as to the state of maintenance, such Owner shall appear before the Council of the Municipality of Bayham, which after hearing the Owner, shall express its opinion as to whether the maintenance is satisfactory, by resolution, which shall constitute a final determination of the matter. h) In the event that an Owner shall fail to correct a deviation or deficiency after notice or after notice of an opinion, which the Council of the Municipality of Bayham determines is correct, the Council of the Municipality of Bayham, may by by-law, direct, on default of the matter or thing being done by the Owner, after two (2) weeks’ notice, to it by registered mail, at the last known address of the Owner, pursuant to the last revised assessment roll, at the expense of the Owner, which expense may be recoverable by action as municipal taxes. i) This Agreement and the provisions thereof, do not give to the Owner or any person acquiring any interest in the said lands any rights against the Municipality with respect to the failure of the Owner to perform or fully perform any of its obligations under this Agreement or any negligence of the Owner in its performance of the said obligations. j) The Owner agrees that it will not call into question, directly or indirectly in any proceeding whatsoever in law or in equity or before any administrative tribunal the right of the Municipality to enter into this Agreement and to enforce each and every term, covenant and condition herein contained and this Agreement may be pleaded as an estoppels against the Owner in any case. k) The Owner agrees on behalf of themselves, their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, to save harmless and indemnify the Municipality, from all losses, damages, costs, charges and expenses which may be claimed or recovered against the Municipality by any person or persons arising either directly or indirectly as a result of any action taken by the Owner, pursuant to this 5 Agreement. l) All facilities and matters required by this Agreement shall be provided and maintained by the Owner at its sole risk and expense to the satisfaction of the Municipality and in accordance with the standards determined by the Municipality and in default thereof, and without limiting other remedies available to the Municipality, the provisions of Section 326 of The Municipal Act, R.S.O. 1990, shall apply. m) This Agreement shall be registered at the expense of the Owner, against the land to which it applies, and the Municipality shall be entitled, subject to the provisions of The Registry Act, to enforce its provisions against the Owner, named herein, and any and all subsequent Owners of the land. A copy of such registration shall be provided to the municipality upon completion. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties hereto have hereupon, affixed their Corporate Seal, duly attested to by their authorized signing officers in that behalf. We have the authority to bind the Corporation.

  7. Witness (signature) Matthew Redsell, Owner Witness (signature) Dorothee Astbury, Owner

  1. THE CORPORATION OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF BAYHAM Ed Ketchabaw, Mayor Meagan Elliott, Clerk ATTACHMENT ‘A’ Assessment Roll # 3401-000-003-12300 Legal Description: Concession South Gore South Part Lot 25 Municipality of Bayham, County of Elgin Municipal Address: 7363 Coyle Road, Municipality of Bayham 1 ATTACHMENT ‘B’ Site Plan To be included from the minor variance application