Despite what would appear to be pressures for policy convergence in Canada due to growing continental integration and market competitiveness, agro-environmental policies in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario have become increasingly divergent over the past decade. Quebec's policies are comprehensive, coercive in approach and intrusive in the production process; those in Ontario, while comprehensive, rely more on industry self-regulation and shy away from intruding significantly into farming practices. Three institutional factors help explain this policy divergence. First, Quebec's main environmental act enabled the Ministry of the Environment to participate in the agro-environmental policy community's “subgovernment,” while the Ministry of the Environment in Ontario remained in the “attentive public.” Second, the agricultural policy network in Ontario took on many attributes of closed bipartite corporatism during the 1990s, thereby enhancing the power potential of Ontario's farmers. Third, path dependence related to policy feedback predisposed Ontario to self-regulatory approaches, but favoured strong statist policies in Quebec. The combination of these institutional differences creates distinct negotiation settings in the two provinces. Consequently, in Ontario, policy discussions tend to focus on wealth generation to the exclusion of distributive justice, while in contrast, Quebec's institutions focus more on distributive issues, perhaps at the expense of aggregate value creation.