News Release Article from  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Set the Direction for the Next Agricultural Framework

July 22, 2016 – Calgary, Alberta

Canada's federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture today concluded their annual conference with Ministers issuing the Calgary Statement ― representing a consensus among Ministers regarding the key priorities to develop the next agricultural policy framework, set to launch in April 2018.

This year’s conference was co-chaired by Lawrence MacAulay, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Oneil Carlier, Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. FPT Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work together to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector ― an industry that generates over $108 billion for the Canadian economy and employs one in eight Canadians.

FPT Ministers will continue to collaborate with stakeholders to enhance the sector’s ability to compete, innovate and capture new opportunities. Ministers discussed increasing market access and development, advancing investments in science, innovation and research, the need for a strong science-based regulatory framework, enhancing public trust, the continued importance of Business Risk Management programs and systems such as supply management, and renewed emphasis on environmental sustainability and climate change. Ministers committed to preserve the integrity of the supply management system.

The Calgary Statement was developed by FPT Ministers based on ongoing discussions with stakeholders and will guide the development of the next agricultural framework. The second phase of federal online consultation was also launched to seek comments on the Calgary Statement and help inform the development of future FPT agricultural programs and services.

Ministers 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, and the importance of access to labour, and finding short- and long-term solutions to labour needs. 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.

* Although Quebec is not opposed to the content of this joint communique, it will issue its own communique as it considers this joint communique incomplete and not reflective of a full consensus.

Quick facts

  • The current agriculture framework, Growing Forward 2 (GF2), is a $3 billion investment for strategic initiatives over five years (2013-2018) by FPT governments in programming to support innovation, competitiveness and market development.
  • Canadian farm incomes also continue to hit new records with net cash income expected to close out 2015 at a record $15 billion and remain strong in 2016.
  • The GF2 FPT Business Risk Management suite of programs are demand-driven, and to date, have provided over $4 billion in support to help producers address risks that are beyond their capacity to manage and that threaten the viability of their farms.
  • In 2015, the total value of Canadian agricultural exports reached an all-time high exceeding $60 billion.
  • The agriculture and agri-food sector represents close to seven per cent of Canada’s GDP.

Quotes

"The Calgary Statement sets the direction for future agricultural programs and services that will help the sector continue to innovate, grow the economy, create jobs and help grow the middle class. Along with the provinces and territories, I will continue to work with stakeholders and interested Canadians to chart the way forward for Canadian agriculture"

Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"Agriculture is an enormous contributor to a strong and diversified Canadian economy. As we move forward, we will continue to work closely with industry and my colleagues from across the country, to implement programs that help ensure the agriculture sector is well-positioned for sustainable growth and continues to be a leader in the global marketplace"

Oneil Carlier, Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Backgrounder

On July 20-22, 2016, federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture from across the country met in Calgary, Alberta for their annual Ministers' Conference. Ministers discussed the opportunities and challenges facing the sector:

Next Agricultural Framework:

  • FPT Ministers are currently collaborating on the development of the next agricultural policy framework, set to launch in 2018.
  • Ministers issued the Calgary Statement on July 22, 2016 which outlines the overarching themes and priorities that will guide the development of the next framework.
  • The Calgary Statement recognizes the diversity of the sector and the importance of flexibility in addressing its changing needs.
  • Engagement with stakeholders has been underway since early 2016 and additional consultation activities will be ongoing in the coming months to gather feedback that will help inform future agricultural programs and services.
  • Ministers are committed to a strengthened focus on results and continuous improvement of policies and program delivery.

Business Risk Management (BRM):

  • FPT Ministers agreed that BRM programming must help Canadian producers address risks that are beyond their capacity to manage and that threaten the viability of their farms.
  • FPT Ministers also share the industry's concerns about the level of participation in AgriStability and have tasked officials to consult with industry on options aimed at improving participation in the program, including with young farmers.
  • Ministers will continue to consult with industry on BRM as part of the engagement process on the next policy framework and agreed that BRM will play a key role in the next framework.

Market Access, Market Development and Trade Policy:

  • Ministers reaffirmed continued support for developing new markets for Canadian products and strengthening Canadian competitiveness in the agriculture and agri-food sectors.
  • FPT partners will work collaboratively to ensure effective coordination to support companies in getting their products to market.
  • Ministers discussed their support for implementing the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which will lead to new and expanded opportunities, create jobs and benefit Canadian consumers. Ministers also noted the importance of ongoing consultations on the allocation of the new cheese import tariff rates quotas.
  • Ministers look forward to the conclusion of consultations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Ministers also discussed the potential benefits and implications of the TPP, should it come into force.
  • Ministers noted the importance of free movement of agriculture and agri-food products within the Canadian market.

Science and Innovation:

  • Ministers acknowledged the vital importance of continued investments in science and innovation to drive higher levels of productivity, competitiveness and sustainability in the farming and food processing sector.
  • They discussed the importance for these investments to continue the momentum from previous frameworks, the need for funding to align with industry and government priorities, and the importance of flexibility to enable regional approaches and program options that achieve high impact and unlock further potential from all parts of the sector.
  • Ministers also discussed the importance of knowledge transfer and uptake by producers to maximize the value of agricultural research investments, and the need for governments, producers and academic institutions to work together to strengthen the transformation of research results into practical advice for farmers.

Environment and Climate Change:

  • Ministers discussed the importance of environmental sustainability as a key element in agricultural development.
  • Ministers discussed the need for science-based policies that will facilitate clean growth while achieving progress on environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Ministers agreed on the need for renewed efforts on environmental sustainability and to help address the advancement of agri-environmental priorities to support a competitive, innovative and sustainable sector.

Public Trust:

  • Ministers acknowledge that Canadian consumer preferences about food are changing. Consumers expect transparency from industry and assurance that food is produced in safe, sustainable and responsible ways.
  • Ministers recognize that governments and industry have important roles to play in maintaining trust and confidence in Canadian agriculture and the agri-food system.
  • Ministers agree on the importance of continuing to work with industry to build and maintain public trust, and sharing the story of the importance of the sector and the modern, responsible and sustainable practices it uses.
  • Ministers reaffirmed their support for continued review and modernization of science-based regulations for food safety, animal health and welfare, and plant health.

Food Processing:

  • Ministers reemphasized the strategic importance of the food manufacturing sector in Canada, and recognized the need for FPT governments to work together to assist the sector to improve productivity.
  • Ministers also directed FPT officials to examine the capacity of the processing system in Canada to help it introduce new products and processes to improve competitiveness domestically and internationally.

Food Policy:

  • Ministers discussed the development of a national food policy that includes promotion of healthy living and safe food, and food security. Minister MacAulay encouraged the continued FPT sharing of ideas about food policy.
  • The federal government plans to seek the ideas of Canadians and stakeholders about the scope and directions of a food policy.

Emergency Management:

  • Ministers endorsed the new Emergency Management Framework for Agriculture in Canada (the Framework). Developed in collaboration with FPT officials, the Framework aims to improve FPT integration and collaboration through a focus on prevention, mitigation and improving the capacity of governments and industry to prepare, respond and recover from emergencies.
  • Ministers also endorsed the Livestock Market Interruption Strategy. FPT officials, in partnership with the livestock industry, developed the strategy which includes tools and information to enable all stakeholders to make timely and well informed decisions in case of an emergency, such as foot-and-mouth disease.
  • Ministers also endorsed the development of a plant and animal health strategy, including the initiation of stakeholder consultation.

Regulatory Framework:

  • Ministers reaffirmed their support for a science- and outcome-based Canadian regulatory framework and acknowledged its contribution to food safety, plant and animal health as well as to trade and market competitiveness. Canada is known for having the highest standards of food safety which helps make our agri-food products more attractive in traditional and emerging markets.
  • Ministers agreed to continue to work together across governments and industry to support industry's awareness and understanding of the modernized regulatory requirements e.g. proposed regulations under the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

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