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Ontario names new deputy ag minister

The Ontario civil servant soon to become the province’s top bureaucrat for agriculture is already running a review of a program that contracts farmers and others to help feed the hydro grid.

Fareed Amin will replace John Burke as Ontario’s deputy minister for agriculture, food and rural affairs starting Dec. 12, the province said Wednesday.

Burke, who had served on the ag file since September last year, is to provide "transitional advice" until his formal retirement next month.

As the ag deputy, Amin is expected to conclude his review of Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program on behalf of the provincial energy ministry, where he’s been deputy minister since early last year.

FIT allows the provincial power authority to sign long-term power supply contracts for projects of more than 10 kilowatts, driven by renewable energy sources such as biomass, biogas, on-shore wind turbines and landfill gas.

The review, a scheduled checkup of the program’s rules and pricing, includes a public consultation period that’s now underway and runs until Dec. 14.

Amin’s FIT review is also to include "direct consultation with the renewable energy sector."

Amin has previously been deputy minister in portfolios such as municipal affairs, consumer services, economic development and trade, intergovernmental affairs and others. He also served a stint at Toronto city hall as deputy city manager from 2005 to 2007.

He also brings to the post a degree in applied geography and planning from the University of Guyana, and a master’s of public administration from Queen’s University.

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