Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture reach a new partnership agreement and inject new funds to support the sector

SASKATOON, SK, July 22, 2022 /CNW/ – This 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.

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.

For more information about other items discussed, please see the Backgrounder: Annual Meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture.

Quotes

“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.”

–       The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“As the provincial-territorial co-chair, we are pleased with the increased funding all parties have committed to today. I believe we have found the proper balance between economic and environmental objectives to ensure our industry remains globally competitive. This balance will be vital as Canada’s producers seek to provide the food the world needs. The improvements made to our Business Risk Management suite demonstrate our continued commitment to making programs more timely, equitable and easier to understand. We look forward to the benefits this partnership will achieve for our industry.”

–       The Honourable David Marit, Minister of Agriculture, Saskatchewan.

Quick facts
  • 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.

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Backgrounder: Annual Meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture

This week, the federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture reached an agreement in principle for the new, five-year, Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership at their Annual Meeting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They also advanced discussions on a number of priority areas for producers, processors and other stakeholders in the sector.

SUSTAINABLE CANADIAN AGRICULTURAL PARTNERSHIP

The Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership is the next five-year agricultural policy agreement, which will take effect April 1, 2023, replacing the current Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Ministers will continue to provide strong support for science, research, and innovation to address challenges and seize opportunities, to continue to open new markets to Canadian agricultural products, and undertake efforts to strengthen the resiliency of the food system. The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership will also focus on encouraging greater diversity and inclusion and strengthening relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

Increased Funding and Achieving Results

The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership will provide $500 million representing a 25% increase in new funding for cost-shared activities, over the $2 billion currently provided under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

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.  

To better demonstrate the impact of our investments, Ministers agreed on the need for a more robust results strategy for the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. This includes improved data sharing, results reporting, and a commitment to contribute to common, measurable outcomes, over the lifespan of the Framework, in particular contributing to:

  • 3-5 MT reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions.
  • $250B in sector revenues and $95B in sector export revenues by 2028 and
  • increase in funded recipients that are Indigenous Peoples, women and youth over the five years of the partnership.

Quebec is already implementing policies and strategies to provide targets, indicators and accountability processes that meet the priorities and objectives set out in this agreement. Quebec will contribute to collective results* by pursuing its own targets and will not be subject to commitments in the agreement directly related to the framework targets. The sharing of information and data includes only the information that Quebec will provide according to its indicators and accountability processes and the relevant means that will be defined in the Bilateral Agreement mutually agreed to by Canada and Quebec.

*Improved environmental performance, climate change adaptation and reduction of GHG emissions in the sector; increased capacity and growth of the sector across the agri-food value chain; strengthening sector resilience, diversity, equity and inclusion, and increasing public trust. 

Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program

Ministers agreed to a new Resilient Agricultural Landscapes Program (RALP), to be established based on nationally consistent principles, tailored to regional needs and conditions, to be cost-shared and administered by provinces and territories. Jurisdictions with existing programs that respect the guidelines, such as Prince Edward Island’s Alternate Land Use Services program, Quebec’s Programme de Rétribution des pratiques agroenvironnementales, and Manitoba’s Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) will be able to benefit from the new federal funding.

Business Risk Management

The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership represents a shared commitment to enhance sector resiliency so producers can better anticipate, mitigate and respond to risks, through a robust suite of BRM programs.

To enhance economic sustainability, Ministers reached an agreement to raise the AgriStability compensation rate from 70% to 80% bringing up to an additional $72 million per year to better support farmers in times of need. Furthermore, Ministers agreed to continue to work, and consult with industry, on a new AgriStability model that will be faster, simpler and more predictable. AgriStability provides support when producers experience a large decline in farming income for reasons such as production loss, increased costs and market conditions. FPT governments have identified key changes to improve the timeliness and predictability of AgriStability, and will be working together in consultation with producers to further analyze and implement this new model while ensuring a smooth transition.

Ministers agreed to conduct a one-year review on how to integrate climate risk and readiness in BRM programs. Provinces will identify potential incentives, and then launch a pilot for producers who adopt environmental practices that also reduce production risks. In addition, Ministers agreed that in order to receive an Agri-Invest government contribution, producers with allowable net sales (ANS) of at least $1 million will need an agri-environmental risk assessment (e.g. Environmental Farm Plan) by 2025. BRM programs will continue to focus on production risk.

FERTILIZER

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. Also mentioned was the ongoing consultations undertaken by the Government of Canada to develop voluntary approaches to achieve Canada’s target to reduce absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with fertilizers by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. It was reiterated that this target applies to emissions and not fertilizer use.

LABOUR

As a skilled and reliable workforce is a key priority for the sector, Ministers discussed progress towards a federal National Agricultural Labour Strategy, the need to promote careers in the agri-food sector and the importance of making Canada a destination of choice for International Agri-food workers. The Government of Canada launched online consultations for the strategy in late June, which will remain open until September 28. This strategy will complement existing policies and programs currently underway by provincial and territorial governments.

The agriculture and agri-food sector faces obstacles that distinguish it from other economic sectors currently facing labour shortages. Ministers focused on opportunities most relevant to the sector, considering provincial and territorial nuances.

A number of areas were discussed including the use of automation and technology, targeted skills development and training, employment incentives and best practices, improved working conditions and benefits, and initiatives to recruit and retain workers.

The discussion also noted government and industry efforts to address labour needs are already underway as well as the importance of prioritizing ongoing collaboration, at all levels, to tackle this challenge.

RETAIL FEES

At this week’s meeting, Ministers received a presentation on concrete elements of a grocery code of conduct from the industry steering committee, and thanked them for their significant work in building consensus. Ministers reiterated the importance of transparency, predictability, and respect for the principles of fair dealing in supply chain relationships, emphasized the need for timely completion and encouraged industry to continue to work diligently on the Grocery Code of Conduct to ensure its completion. Ministers will continue to monitor progress closely. They expect industry to conduct broader consultation with the full supply chain on the proposed code in the early fall in order to present a completed code by the end of November 2022.

REGULATORY PRIORITIES / INTERPROVINCIAL TRADE

Competitiveness is key to promoting recovery, resilience and growth of the sector. In November 2021, FPT Agriculture Ministers agreed that interprovincial trade solutions should be priorities under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Framework. At today’s conference, FPT Ministers discussed progress on interprovincial trade, including on four pilot projects to address unique situations in rural border towns, such as OntarioQuebec and OntarioManitoba border regions, Lloydminster, and Ontario’s “Ready to Grow” meat plants.

Ministers agreed that as conversations towards solutions through pilot projects progress, it will be important to continue maintaining Canada’s high food safety standards and reputation abroad to minimize international trade risks. They were supportive of the guiding principles underpinning this work. It was agreed that the pilot projects would have lessons learned applicable to other interested provinces facing similar challenges and to reduce future interprovincial trade barriers. Ministers supported the approach underway for these pilots and look forward to seeing results that contribute to advancing internal trade.

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER AND ANIMAL HEALTH CANADA

Ministers discussed enhanced efforts to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from entering Canada and to prepare for its potential arrival, including applying lessons learned from the recent Avian Influenza outbreak response. Governments agreed to continue to collaborate to advance readiness in order to respond quickly in the event of an outbreak. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to developing a timely, coordinated, cost-shared approach that will support Canada’s hog sector to address anticipated market challenges caused by market closures, the halting of exports, and a domestic surplus of hogs should ASF arrive in Canada. Ministers also discussed the latest status on the development of Animal Health Canada and next steps.  

TRADE AND MARKET ACCESS

Recognizing the evolving trading environment, which is creating new challenges and opportunities for Canada, Ministers discussed current trade and market access issues, including latest developments on the Ukraine situation and impacts to Canadian and global food security. Ministers discussed the importance of balancing the interest in maintaining and growing trade with increasingly challenging markets and pursuing diversification opportunities for the sector. Ministers also discussed impacts on agriculture, and challenges on accessing inputs for certain producers, resulting from the situation in Ukraine.

INDUSTRY ROUNDTABLES AND PANELIST DISCUSSIONS

Ministers welcomed panelists representing primary agriculture, value added processing and research for a discussion about sustainable agriculture, specifically what it means to them, and what they are doing to promote it.

In addition, a roundtable was held hosted by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, featuring national commodity groups, on the theme of investing in green productivity and growth.

SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture reach a new partnership agreement and inject new funds to support the sector WeeklyReviewer

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