Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO)

Mission Statement

"ARIO, as appointed representatives of the agri-food sector, are dedicated to the strategic use of science and innovation to enhance the sustainability and profitability of Ontario's agri-food and rural sectors"

On this page

What is ARIO

The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario is a corporate body which reports directly to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. It was created in 1962 by the ARIO Act to:

  • advocate areas of research for the betterment of agriculture, veterinary medicine and consumer studies
  • increase the production efficiency and marketing of agricultural products by stimulating interest in research.

What does ARIO do

Provides strategic advice, advocacy and leadership:

The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario provides advice to the Minister on strategic directions for research activities that contribute to prosperous, competitive and sustainable agricultural and food sectors and rural communities in Ontario. ARIO is also an advocate for the future of OMAFRA's research system.

Research property management:

Research stations and infrastructure are an important platform for conducting agri-food research. ARIO owns 17 research properties located across Ontario. These facilities provide the capacity for research on a wide variety of agri-food issues. An ARIO-led reinvestment strategy is currently being implemented to revitalize research infrastructure to support demand-driven research. More about the properties.

Who is on ARIO


The ARIO Director of Research administers the business and affairs of ARIO and is appointed to the position by the minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Appointed members

ARIO is comprised of up to 15 members who reflect the broad based nature of Ontario's agri-tech industry such as:

  • farmers
  • agribusiness and rural partners
  • researchers

The Institute members are committed to:

  • excellence and innovation in agri-food and rural research
  • relevance of research to needs of industry and society
  • efficient, well informed decision making
  • ethical research practices


A director from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada serves as ex-officio to ARIO. He or she gives ARIO a federal perspective about research activities across Canada.

2018-2019 Members

ARIO Member Timeframes
Member Appointment Date Expiry Date
Mr. Lorne Hepworth (Chair) January 18, 2019 January 18, 2022
Ms. Rose Gage (Vice Chair) September 10, 2014 March 8, 2024
Dr. Gord Surgeoner June 2, 2005 January 17, 2022
Mr. Evert Veldhuizen January 2, 2019 January 1, 2022
Mr. David Jenkins November 30, 2020 November 29, 2023
Mr. David McInnes November 30, 2020 November 29, 2023
Mr. Nevin McDougall November 30, 2020 November 29, 2023
Mr. Ken Wall December 7, 2020 December 6, 2023
Dr. Youbin Zheng January 21, 2021 January 20, 2024
Ms. Jennifer Doelman March 8, 2021 March 7, 2024
Dr. Della Johnston -Ex-officio -

Who provides secretariat services to ARIO?

The Research and Innovation Branch of the ministry provides secretariat support to ARIO and administers research programs on behalf of ARIO. The following staff play a key role:

Staff, their roles and conact numbers
Role Name Phone Number
ARIO Director of Research LeeAnn Walker 519-841-3587
Director, Research and Innovation Branch Jen Liptrot 519-826-4172

Governance documents


Expense claims

Ontario's Open Data Directive

Under Ontario's Open Data Directive, provincial agencies are required to post a public data inventory of the data sets they create, collect and/or manage:

Recommended for you

For more information: