Geri Kamenz, of Ontario Farm Marketing Commission, is leaving his post as chair

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The controversial head of the powerful Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission is leaving his position.

Geri Kamenz, who has described himself as the hitman for the Ontario agriculture minister and other cabinet ministers, is leaving the job as chair at the end of the year.

Kamenz, who had close ties to the Liberal Party before being appointed to the job, led the charge to strip the London-based Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers Association of its collective bargaining powers.

Kamenz said the move to a free market system was needed in order to stop the decline of the industry. The plan caused an uproar with farmers, who said they needed the certainty of contracts in order to produce for the processing industry.

Kamenz’s plan was halted by the intervention of Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal, who issued orders to the Commission to not proceed with planned changes in regulations and to consult all players in the industry.

In announcing his departure, Leal thanked Kamenz for his leadership.

"We appreciate Geri’s leadership in providing direction and governance and thank him for his commitment in serving our agri-food sector and the people of Ontario over the past eight years. I wish Geri all the best in his future endeavors as he steps down at the end of the year and look forward to working with the OFPMC through this transition period," Leal said in a statement posted on the Ontario Government website.