FPT Ministers of Agriculture
July 18, 2014: Today, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial (FPT)
Ministers of Agriculture concluded their annual meeting after focused discussions
on creating opportunities for a dynamic agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada.
Ministers continue to plan for long-term success, while taking necessary actions
to further strengthen the sector, which contributed $106.9 billion to Canada's GDP
FPT Ministers committed to enhancing collaboration between governments, academia
and industry to continue to build a modern and competitive sector that contributes
to Canada's economy and economic growth. Ministers will maintain efforts to improve
infrastructure, strengthen the regulatory framework, enhance market access and development,
and advance investment in innovation.
Ministers recognize the federal government's activities to modernize the existing
variety registration system based on feedback received through industry engagement.
Ministers agreed on the need to ensure a strong system for transporting grains so
that Canadian shippers remain competitive in markets at home and abroad. Ministers
supported the development of a comprehensive and collaborative approach to emergency
management, including the management of plant and animal health risks. In order
to attract new investment and keep Canada's farmers on the cutting edge, Ministers
discussed Canada's plan to strengthen plant breeders' rights, while ensuring farmers'
privilege for farm-saved seed. Globally, they are supportive of expanding trade
opportunities including working to break down market access barriers. They will
continue reducing unnecessary regulatory burden, and removing barriers to innovation.
Ministers stressed the importance of the quality of Canadian and imported products
(reciprocity of standards), and the strict controls to which all foods are subject.
The Ministers discussed ongoing trade negotiations, such as those between Canada
and the European Union (EU) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They emphasized the
importance of signing trade agreements that benefit the agriculture and agri-food
sector, while recognizing the importance of supply management in Canada. In discussing
the new cheese access that would be provided to the EU under the Canada-EU Free
Trade Agreement, Ministers recognized the importance of the federal government's
commitment to monitor impacts and provide compensation. Together, federal and provincial
governments continue to stand alongside Canadian and U.S. industry to deliver a
unified message of the negative impacts that U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL)
is having on both sides of the border.
Provincial and territorial ministers highlighted the vital importance of the Temporary
Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to the agricultural sector, including food processing,
and discussed the importance of addressing workforce challenges in the short and
long-term. They agreed to monitor and report back on the impacts of federal reforms
and work with the federal government to address the ongoing needs of the sector.
The Ministers also discussed other key topics such as bee health and social license—the
importance of maintaining public trust in agricultural practices. Ministers reflected
on the situation facing farmers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba as a result of recent
* Agriculture is shared jurisdiction in Canada. The federal, provincial and
territorial governments work closely together in the development and delivery of
policies and programs.
* The Canadian agriculture and agri-food system is a complex and integrated
supply chain which includes input and service suppliers, primary producers, food
and beverage processors, food retailers and wholesalers, and foodservice providers.
The activities along this supply chain generate significant economic benefits at
both the federal and provincial/territorial levels.
* In 2012, the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector employed over 2.1
million people, and provided one in eight jobs in Canada.
* Canada is the world's fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food
products, with 2013 exports of $50.4 billion.
"Federal-provincial-territorial collaboration and partnership is essential in ensuring
the long-term success of Canadian Agriculture. We continue to work with industry
to build a modern, science-based environment that will make Canada a destination
of choice for R&D and value-added processing investment. By focusing on access to
new growth markets and emerging opportunities, we will ensure that the sector continues
to serve as an engine of economic growth for the Canadian economy." - Gerry Ritz,
Federal Agriculture Minister.
"Agriculture is the cornerstone of the economy, built on innovation. We will continue
to work with counterparts across the country to build opportunities close to home
and around the world for producers, processors and the entire value chain through
strategic investment. At the same time, we must continue to focus on important issues
for producers like water management, trade, business risk management, food safety
and transportation." - Ron Kostyshyn, Manitoba Minister of Agriculture, Food and
During the annual conference of federal, provincial and territorial Ministers and
Deputy Ministers of Agriculture, presentations and discussions focused on the following
In order to meet growing global demand, Ministers discussed the need to increase
agricultural productivity through adoption of new technologies, improved production
and business practices, increased research and development, and labour investments.
Building on the current five-year Growing Forward 2 (GF2) policy and programs, Ministers
examined longer-term issues, trends and strategies that will guide the future success
of the sector. In this context, Ministers were briefed on the recommendations in
the final report of the Agri-Innovators Committee which provides a foundation for
government and industry action in key areas to support tomorrow's globally successful
Regulatory modernization efforts will further enhance sector competitiveness and
maintain a world-class system that protects the health and safety of Canadians with
the appropriate level of oversight. Ministers recognize the importance of the proposed
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) outcomes-based transformation initiatives
to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, and remove barriers to innovation, while
ensuring alignment of FPT actions.
Crop Variety Registration
Ministers received a progress report on the modernization of Canada's variety registration
system and industry engagement results. Federal officials will proceed with plans
to transform the existing system while preserving the current benefits, quality
assurance and Canada's international reputation as a producer of high quality grains,
oilseeds and field crops.
The federal government has taken concrete measures through Bill C-30 to manage the
backlog of grain and help the transportation system respond to future peak demand.
This includes increased supply chain transparency, strengthened contracts between
producers and shippers, and implementation of rail and grain regulations by August
1st for the start of the crop year. As governments and industry drive to improve
productivity and yields, a strong and expanding logistics system is essential for
Canadian producers and shippers to remain competitive in domestic, continental and
International Strategy and Trade
With almost half of Canada's total agricultural production destined for export,
the sector's growth potential lies in its ability to expand markets abroad, making
this a key priority for both industry and governments. In 2013, the Canadian agri-food
and seafood industry exported a record $50.4 billion. Ministers continue to support
efforts to stimulate innovation and cultivate a competitive advantage that complements
governments' pro-trade market development initiatives, recognizing the importance
of supply management. Ministers remain supportive of an ambitious international
agenda including trade negotiations, market access and market development activities,
and of ongoing collaboration to maximize the impact of international efforts. The
Canadian wine industry presented an overview of their sector, which stressed the
importance of this agricultural growth area, for both domestic and export trade
Business Risk Management (BRM)
Just as the vibrant Canadian agricultural sector continues to transform and grow,
so too does the risk landscape. In order to mitigate the economic costs of adverse
events, Governments significantly bolstered insurance programs under Growing Forward
2 (GF2) to serve as a producer's first line of defense. This includes enhancements
to crop insurance, as well as the new Western Livestock Price Insurance Program.
In addition, GF2 includes an extensive suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs
to help producers cope with severe market volatility and natural disasters. FPT
governments will continue to monitor and evaluate BRM programs, and engage industry
to ensure they are meeting producers' needs, and to inform the next policy framework.
Ministers endorsed proactive work on an approach to mitigate risks, focusing on
all components of emergency management: prevention, preparedness, response, and
recovery. Part of this work will complement FPT governments focus on better collaboration
between governments, academia and industry in exploring avenues to prevent animal
and plant health risks which pose a threat to the sustainable and economic well-being
of the sector. Ministers also noted the significant work undertaken with industry
towards the development of a Livestock Market Interruption Strategy, and recommitted
their support to this project to ensure its completion in 2015.
Ministers committed to continue work with the bee and crops industries towards sustaining
a healthy bee population. With respect to the issue of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea
Virus, Ministers acknowledged the importance of collaborative efforts used to contain
the virus, and encouraged continued emphasis on the implementation of bio-security
measures across the value chain to further protect the pork industry. In addition,
Ministers discussed the importance of integrated water management practices for
sustained growth and risk mitigation.