Prairie Post (West Edition)
Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture reach a new partnership agreement and inject new funds to support the sector
Last week, the federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture reached an agreement in principle for the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership at their Annual Meeting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This new five-year agreement will inject $500 million in new funds, representing a 25% increase in the cost-shared portion of the partnership.
To enhance economic sustainability, Ministers agreed to improve Business Risk Management (BRM) programs, including raising the AgriStability compensation rate from 70% to 80%. Under the cost-shared envelope, they agreed in principle to the $250 million Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program to support ecological goods and services provided by the agriculture sector.
The new agreement includes stronger targets such as a 3-5 MT reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, increasing sector competitiveness, revenue and exports, and increased participation of Indigenous Peoples, women and youth. There will also be a focus on measuring the results of framework investments.
The agreement, which will require appropriate authorities by each jurisdiction, will mark an ambitious path forward to advance the five priorities agreed to in the Guelph Statement. It will position our sector for continued success as a world leader in environmentally, economically and socially sustainable agriculture. It will enable an innovative and productive internationally competitive sector that can continue to feed Canada and a growing global population at a time when rising costs and global food security are significant concerns.
Over the course of the agreement, Ministers agreed to implement new measures to the suite of BRM programs, which will make them more timely, equitable and easy to understand as well as to better protect producers against climate risk. Ministers will continue to collaborate with producers to ensure they have a suite of programs they can rely on when they face extraordinary situations.
“The path forward leverages regional strengths and diversity to rise to the climate change challenge, support Canadian producers, capture new markets and meet the expectations of consumers at home and abroad. Our discussions this week, and plans for the future, will build off the great work farmers and processors already do. Our ambitious vision, collaborative spirit, and future additional investments will help the sector go even further,” explained Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
In addition to the new agreement and BRM improvements, Ministers advanced discussions on other priority areas including the country’s unique opportunity to feed Canadians and the world through global leadership. Ministers discussed market access, food supply chain, and trade issues, and how to help maximize Canada’s contribution to global food supply. Ministers also discussed the importance of reducing barriers to interprovincial trade and welcome four pilot projects focussed on domestic trade in border regions and Ready to Grow plants.
Ministers also discussed the importance of ensuring that efforts to reduce emissions from fertilizer or other agricultural sources do not impede Canada’s ability to contribute to domestic and global food security, now or into the future. Ministers agreed to continue to work together and with the sector’s value chain to build on producer’s efforts to reduce fertilizer-related emissions while maintaining competitiveness and Canada’s reputation as a top producer of quality crops.
Ministers also advanced talks around African Swine Fever prevention and preparedness, including lessons learned from the recent Avian Influenza outbreak response. They discussed labour and ongoing work towards a federal National Agricultural Labour Strategy and regulatory priorities. Ministers discussed progress made on a Code of Conduct for grocery retailers and suppliers, which included a presentation by the industry steering committee on concrete elements of a code. They encouraged industry to present a complete code by November 2022.
Ministers addressed the importance of the health of bee populations, domestic and native, to Canada’s economy and the environment. They agreed to work together to make science-based decisions about the safe import of honeybees. Ministers also noted the ongoing collaboration between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and cattle sectors to perform a risk analysis to potential changes to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) control measures to maintain its negligible status within the World Organization for Animal Health.
It was agreed that Quebec will use its targets and accountability mechanisms to contribute to the collective results of the partnership.
The next Annual FPT Ministers’ meeting will be held in Fredericton, New Brunswick in July 2023.
The Ministers who were not in attendance were represented by other officials.
• The agriculture and agri-food value chain continues to be an economic engine driving Canada’s economy, contributing nearly $135 billion of national GDP, and responsible for more than 2 million jobs (1 in 9 jobs) in Canada.
• Exports of agriculture and agri-food products continue to grow, worth over $82 billion in 2021, compared to $74 billion in 2020.