Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

July 17, 2015 10:45 ET

Agriculture Ministers Collaborate on Sector Challenges and Opportunities

CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND--(Marketwired - July 17, 2015) -

Editors' Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) agriculture Ministers wrapped up their annual meeting today with commitments to ongoing coordinated activity to boost the competitiveness of a sector that generates over $100 billion to Canada's economy, representing close to seven percent of GDP and one in eight jobs. Strong industry participation at the meeting underlined the importance of government-industry cooperation to ensure investments and priorities are aligned with the needs of the sector.

Ministers reaffirmed support for developing new markets around the world for Canadian products, including through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while continuing to preserve the integrity of the supply management system. Updates were provided on developments in Canada's ambitious agricultural trade agenda which has resulted in trade agreements covering 38 countries and 44 percent of the world's agriculture and agri-food markets. Recent developments include agreements with the European Union, South Korea and Ukraine.

Ministers also discussed the importance of efficient transportation systems in order for Canada to be a reliable supplier of agriculture and agri-food products to customers around the world. Noting potential taxation implications, Ministers underscored the importance of building markets in Canada and efforts to reduce interprovincial trade barriers, such as direct-to-consumer shipping of wine.

Ministers reaffirmed the importance of innovation, competitiveness and market development, which are areas of focus for Growing Forward 2, the $3 billion FPT agricultural policy framework. Ministers agreed to further discuss the implications of how these areas of focus could be applied to a broader range of food products, such as seafood. Ministers also discussed the importance of continuing to review business risk management programs, and to facilitate the development of new industry-led products available for producers to manage their business risks.

Ministers discussed the significant contributions of the food and beverage processing sector, recognizing it as a strategic industry in Canada, and renewed their support for coordinated action through the FPT Food Processing Industry Development Forum.

Provincial and territorial Ministers restated the vital importance of temporary foreign workers to the agri-food and seafood industries and discussed the implications of the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Provincial and territorial Ministers encouraged the federal government to continue discussions to evaluate the program changes in order to meet labour requirements.

Ministers discussed the fact that a healthy and sustainable agriculture sector depends both on bee health and on controlling pests. They agreed on the need for policies that are based on sound principles of science, which are internationally-recognized and respected.

Ministers agreed on the importance of continuing to work together with consumers and the agri-food sector on maintaining trust in Canada's food system. They discussed social license and public confidence in the products and processes in agriculture and food, noting the extensive efforts throughout the supply chain to adhere to the highest standards of food safety and sustainable production practices. Ministers reaffirmed their support for continued review and modernization of science-based regulations for food safety, animal health and welfare, and plant health and emphasized the importance of an outcome-based framework. Ministers also stressed the importance of the quality of Canadian and imported products (reciprocity of standards) and the strict controls to which all foods are subject.

Ministers discussed their growing concern about recent challenges with food and farm tampering, which is a criminal offense. Provisions under the Safe Food for Canadians Act will provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with explicit authority to take enforcement actions against persons who tamper with or threaten to tamper with food commodities. Ministers will continue to work closely with industry stakeholders on strategies and initiatives to maintain the confidence of consumers, processors, retailers and food service buyers.

Ministers acknowledged the adverse weather conditions faced by Canadian producers and committed to continue to work together to ensure existing programs deliver the needed support.

Quick Facts

  • The agriculture and agri-food sector continued to grow, generating a record $108.2 billion in 2014, accounting for 6.6% of Canada's GDP.
  • In 2014, the agriculture and agri-food sector employed over 2.3 million Canadians, and provided one in eight jobs in Canada.
  • The food and beverage processing sector generated $105 billion in sales and employed 246,000 Canadians in 2014.
  • Canada is the world's fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food products, with 2014 exports of $56.4 billion.

Quotes

"Agriculture continues to be a major driver of Canada's economy. Continued federal-provincial-territorial collaboration is crucial to ensuring that billions in strategic investments translate into real benefits for our producers and processors through more innovation, improved competitiveness and access to new markets."

- Gerry Ritz, Federal Agriculture Minister and Co-Chair

"I'm pleased with the level of discussion among our jurisdictions and the priorities we have outlined moving forward. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and its continued sustainability and profitability relies on the continued collaboration and partnership of our jurisdictions. Working together we will continue to provide effective support to our Canadian agriculture industry so that it can continue to innovate and thrive."

- Alan McIsaac, Prince Edward Island Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Co-Chair

Additional Links

Growing Forward 2 (GF2)

Join the Twitter conversation at #AgFPT15

Related Products

Flickr Album - FPT Agriculture Ministers' Annual Meeting 2015

Video - State of the Sector

BACKGROUNDER

Federal Provincial Territorial Agriculture Ministers' Annual Meeting 2015

In discussing progress in trade and market access and touching on interprovincial trade as an area for ongoing focus, Ministers reaffirmed support for developing new markets around the world for Canadian products, while continuing to preserve the integrity of the supply management system. Ministers were pleased with the World Trade Organization's fourth and final ruling in May reaffirming Canada's position that U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) measures are discriminating against Canadian cattle and hogs, which Canada estimates is causing damages of over $3 billion a year.

Industry leaders of Value Chain Roundtables representing beef, grains, horticulture, special crops, food processing and industrial bioproducts sectors participated in a discussion on priority issues in the sector. Ministers agreed that the food and beverage processing industry is key to growth in the sector. In 2014, it was one of Canada's largest manufacturing sectors (representing 15.9 % of GDP), the leading manufacturing employer and the largest market for Canadian agricultural products. The key to the long-term competitiveness of the food and beverage processing industry is increasing exports to emerging markets and capitalizing on trends in global food consumption. Ministers committed to continuing the FPT Food Processing Industry Development Forum to coordinate government and industry efforts to encourage investment, innovation, trade and market development in this sector.

Ministers reaffirmed a commitment to emergency management, and endorsed continued work on a Strategic Emergency Management Framework for Agriculture. They discussed a set of priority actions including the development of a strategy to modernize and enhance plant pest and animal disease prevention and management, as well as to proactively manage potential risks associated with changes to climate. Ministers recognized that building a more integrated emergency management approach between FPT governments and industry is critical to the continued growth and prosperity of the sector.

Ministers noted that grain is moving well since the implementation of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act and other measures, and underlined the importance of Transport Canada's accelerated review of the Canada Transportation Act later this year, which will offer longer term solutions to structural issues affecting rail transport.

Since the last meeting, there has been significant progress on other issues, including the modernization of Canada's crop variety registration system and the passage of the Agricultural Growth Act, which included updated Plant Breeders' Rights, both of which will spur investment to improve farmers' access to the strongest, best-suited crop varieties.

Growing Forward 2

Agriculture is a shared jurisdiction and federal, provincial and territorial governments work closely together in the development and delivery of policies and programs. Growing Forward 2 (GF2) is a five-year agreement developed in consultation with industry. It was launched in April 2013. It marked a major shift from reactive agricultural programming to proactive programming that supports the economic potential of the sector and provides a foundation for the development of programs and services to position Canadian producers and food processors for growth.

GF2 provides multi-year funding for business risk management programs, and includes an FPT investment of more than $3 billion in strategic initiatives that promote innovation, competitiveness and market development. Of this, $2 billion supports programs that are cost-shared (60:40) by federal and provincial/territorial governments to ensure programs are tailored to regional needs.

For more information, visit Growing Forward [www.agr.gc.ca/GrowingFoward2] .

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20150717-1017685_800.jpg

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972
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