Press Releases

Official Press Releases from OAAS


Thursday, February 25, 2021, 2:00 PM by Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies


For Immediate Release

February 25, 2021 – For 175 years, the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) has been adapting to change, and this past week was no exception. For the first time in the organization's history, their annual Convention has “Gone Virtual,” which ran from Monday, February 15 until Saturday, February 20.

Despite the challenges of the rural Ontario internet, approximately 800 delegates participated in the Virtual Convention. The seminars covered topics as varied as risk management, post-COVID protocols for the safe staging of fairs and events, strategic planning, fundraising, and board governance.

The OAAS Convention offered entertainment, family showcases and the Tradeshow in a virtual format that allowed delegates to view them at their convenience during the week—having it delivered virtually provided an exciting opportunity for increased attendance at the over 30 seminars and allowed for prerecorded “Quick-Tip” videos throughout.

The Convention concluded with the OAAS Annual General Meeting where over 400 delegates representing close to 180 agricultural societies were in attendance. The OAAS is pleased to have been joined by Minister Ernie Hardeman, Minister MacLeod and Senator Rob Black, bringing their greetings, congratulations and continuing support to the OAAS and their Agricultural Societies.

Beth 2021

Beth Howell-Vervaecke

2021 OAAS Executive:

  • Beth Howell-Vervaecke, President 
  • Liz O'Gorman-Smit, 1st Vice President 
  • Glen Syme, 2nd Vice President 
  • Brian Slaughter, Past-President 

2021 Provincial Board of Directors:

  • Valerie Allen, District 1
  • Angie Robinson, District 2
  • Heather Owens, District 3
  • Andrew Iceton, District 4
  • Linda Murray, District 5
  • Heather Dillon, District 6
  • Andrew Taylor, District 7
  • Bart Scherpenzeel, District 8
  • Grace Mullen, District 9
  • Mike Dupuis, District 10
  • Carol Cann, District 11
  • District 12 (vacant)
  • Lauren Armstrong, District 13
  • Leonard Ripel, District 14
  • Randy Creighton, District 15




For more information on the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) and our Ontario Agricultural Societies and their fairs, visit 

Vince Brennan, OAAS Manager
P: 613-395-2465
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




In response to the many questions and concerns from Agricultural Societies on their responsibilities regarding Livestock Traceability Requirements,  Guidelines and forms have been posted on our website - <click here>

These documents are intended to assist your Agricultural Society in negotiating all the numerous websites, documents and information that has been provided regarding Livestock Traceability Requirements.

An email with all the documents was sent on July 19 to all Agricultural Societies, Provincial Directors and District Directors and Secretaries.  We ask you to share them with your Livestock Committees and Board Members.

One of documents was the "Traceability Responsibilities for Owners and Exhibitors showing or displaying their livestock on Fairgrounds".  We suggest you share this document with your Exhibitors, so they are aware of their responsibilities for Livestock Traceability Requirements as it pertains to exhibiting or displaying livestock at our Fairs.

 Our apologies for the lateness of this document, but it has taken a considerable amount of time to verify the information that we have collected from the various CFIA and other agency sites and documents.   

OAAS has worked with CAFE to create the documents to help answer your questions regarding exactly what our Agricultural Societies' responsibilities are to remain compliant under  the CFIA Traceability Requirements.

We strongly encourage you to review the information on our  website <click here> to ensure that your Agricultural Society is compliant with the Livestock Traceability Requirements and would not face possible penalties due to violations of the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XV (Livestock identification and traceability)

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The 174th Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) Annual Convention was held from February 13th  to 15th  in Richmond Hill.  Over 1100 people attended this event.  Young ambassadors, representing fairs across the province, also gathered to build their leadership skills as well as learning of careers in agriculture.

The OAAS Convention organized a special session on governance to meet a growing demand from their membership. Presenters Cathy Redden, Shawn LaPalm, and Tim Carson (from the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies) spoke on the basics, best practices and the roles and responsibilities as Board Members.

Seminars and panel discussions continued over two days.  Over 40 sessions covered topics such as attracting youth to the Board level, being better at meeting with your local politicians, getting your message out into the community and current regulations such as livestock traceability.  At the same time people could view provincial competition winners in posters, quilts, cookies, tarts, and photography.  Entertainment showcases were held every night as well as a busy auction which saw a John Deere pedal steel tractor donated by Huron Tractor in Exeter sell for $825.  There was a heavy competition to see if it could surpass the winning bid on a New Holland tractor,  which it did.

Farmer Tim May and incoming President Brian Slaughter 350Left Farmer Tim May and incoming President Brian Slaughter 350The opening speaker, Farmer Tim (Tim May), addressed a crowd of over 600 on his journey to agvocacy.  He is a dairy farmer near Guelph who has just under 60 000 followers on Facebook.  He shares stories and pictures of the everyday  activities of his family and their animals on their farm and takes a lot of time answering questions and explaining farming practices to his many followers on his Facebook page.  His humor and pictures illustrate the love farmers have for their animals and how they treat them with respect.  Many of his online followers in the audience waited patiently following his message to get their pictures with him.

The Convention closed with the Annual General Meeting.  The Convention Administrator, Kathryn Lambert, and Manager, Vince Brennan, spoke to the delegates about what they have done during the past year.  Outgoing President Doug Yeo from near Bayfield spoke on the things he learned during his year as President  He stressed that Ag Societies need to dream big, that fairs are thriving throughout Ontario and that the Ag Societies need to tell their stories.  The OAAS presented Helen Scutt, a recently retired OMAFRA specialist, with its highest honour – the Meritorious Award during the meeting.  Helen formerly worked with Agricultural Societies assisting with their  needs and questions about  government regulations and programs and was a yearly presenter at the Convention.  She was extremely well respected by the membership and proof of that was receiving two standing ovations during the presentation.  The closing speaker, Jen Puente from the Wisconsin State Fair, stressed the need to drop being around negativity and remember to do the things that actually make you positive.  At one point some in the crowd proved they could make the situations as positive as she could.  The room was filled with smiles and laughter and the challenge was to do that every day.  The incoming President Brian Slaughter from near Forest announced that the OAAS would be celebrating their  175th Anniversary  next year and invited everyone back.

The OAAS is very grateful to their many sponsors that make it possible for us to continue to provide the many programs and services for our member Agricultural Societies.

The OAAS is the umbrella organization representing over 200 Agricultural Societies in Ontario.  These Agricultural Societies organize and manager fairs in many communities ranging in size from small one day events to large multi-day events. The OAAS provides guidance, education and programs to assist the Agricultural Societies host their fairs and promote agriculture and a rural way of life in Ontario.