Speech for Minister MacAulay, Launching Programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership


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The Westin Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario

Canada’s Agriculture Day
February 13, 2018 3:35pm
10 minutes

  • Thank you [MC].

  • Bonjour tout le monde.

  • I’m so pleased to be here with you once again -- for Canada’s Agriculture Day.

  • What a great initiative.

  • A big thanks to the team at Farm Credit Canada and “Agriculture More than Ever”.

  • This year’s event is bigger and better than last year.

  • From Newfoundland to British Columbia, Canadians are celebrating the amazing industry we call agriculture.

  • I want to welcome everyone here who is representing our industry.

  • And it’s great to see so many young people here today.

  • I would like to give a warm welcome to our young friends from:

    • MacDonald College at McGill;

    • 4-H; and

    • Encounters with Canada program.

  • You are the future of Canada, and you are the future of Canadian agriculture.

  • You are here to explore Ottawa.

  • And you are here to explore the path that you will take in your careers and your lives.

  • As you do that – I urge you to consider the agriculture and food industry as an exciting career choice.

  • Right now, over two million Canadians work in the agriculture and food system – and the demand is growing.

  • That makes agriculture the largest employer of all sectors of the economy.

  • So we’re here today to celebrate Canadian agriculture across this great country.

  • My message to you today is that our Government is proud to help Canada’s farmers to innovate, grow, and prosper, and help them build a bright future for our young people.

1. Booming agriculture sector

  • Canadians are very proud of our agricultural sector.

  • And so they should be!

  • Agriculture is a powerful driver of the economy.

  • And it’s a powerful driver of jobs and prosperity for our middle class.

  • Last year, the agriculture and food system contributed over $100 billion to our economy.

  • Our agriculture and food exports are growing by 10 per cent every year.

  • Last year, they hit a new record of $62 billion.

  • And net cash income in the sector has topped $16 billion, a new record.

  • Those are incredible numbers.
  • At the foundation of this economic engine are almost 200,000 producers and thousands of small to medium-sized businesses.

2. Success stories

  • There are so many exciting things happening in this industry.

  • Farmers are always discovering, innovating and breaking new ground.

  • In PEI, a potato farmer has invented a way to sample the soil in his fields –on-the-go. That saves him time and money.

  • In Quebec, a young farm parent has harnessed the Internet to get out the positive word on farming.

  • In Saskatchewan, two farmers have invented a machine that does everything a tractor does – and more – without a driver.

  • And in British Columbia, a farmer is using a robot to check the health of his greenhouse vegetables.

  • I know that we could come up with hundreds of more examples, just in this room.

  • Farmers aren’t standing around waiting around for the future.

  • They’re out there creating it themselves.

  • And that’s a big reason why Canadian agriculture is booming right now.

3. Canadian Agricultural Partnership

  • At the Government of Canada, we want to keep it that way.

  • We want to give our farmers and food processors the tools they need to grow their businesses – and grow our economy.

  • On April 1, ministers of agriculture from across Canada will launch “the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.”

  • The Partnership is our shared vision for the future of this great sector.

  • It will define and drive this great industry towards a bright future.

  • Over the next five years, our governments will invest $3 billion to help Canada’s agriculture and food industry grow, innovate and prosper.

  • We are working with the provinces and territories to reach agreements on the shape of the cost-shared portion of the Partnership.

  • And I’m happy to announce that today -- we have finalized an agreement with the Government of Ontario to provide programs under the Partnership over the next five years.

  • And we are making great progress towards reaching agreements with the other provinces and territories across Canada.


  • Over $1 billion of our $3-billion investment under the Partnership will support federal programs and activities.

  • There are six programs in total.

  • And today, I’m proud to announce that these programs are now open for business.

  • As of this moment, we are going live.

  • Application forms and guidelines are now available on-line.

  • We want to give the industry the time they need to submit their applications.

  • That way, they will have taken the steps so that activities start as soon as possible after April 1.

  • These programs will support three key areas:

    • growing trade and expanding markets;

    • innovation and sustainable growth for the sector; and

    • supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector.

1. Trade

  • Trade is vital for Canadian farmers.

  • We export about half of everything we produce.

  • Our Government knows that trade also drives our jobs and our economy.

  • That’s why we have set a target of $75 billion in agricultural exports by 2025.

  • The programs we are launching today will help us get there.

  • They will help the sector sell more products around the world and at home.

  • They will help the industry showcase Canada’s reputation for high quality and safe food.

  • For example, the AgriMarketing program could help a producer organization or agri-business ppromote Canada’s world-class products on a trade mission to a key market like China.

2. Innovation

  • Strong trade depends on strong innovation.

  • To compete in today’s global market -- you’ve got to innovate.

  • That’s why our programs will have a strong focus on innovation.

  • Our science clusters will bring industry and scientists to the table to ensure our science is hitting the target.

  • The clusters have already done a great job helping farmers boost their bottom line with:

    • higher-yielding crops;

    • better animal health and welfare; and

    • new uses for agricultural crops.

  • Well, the new program will build on that success.

  • Science is a powerful tool to help farmers protect the environment.

  • Farmers have made great strides in reducing their environmental footprint.

  • Our programs will help farmers:

    • adapt to climate change;

    • conserve water and soil; and

    • grow their businesses to feed the world sustainably.

  • Our programs will also help get science from the lab and into the field as quickly as possible.

  • It’s a competitive business. Having the best tools can be the difference between a bottom line that’s black – not red.

  • For example, programs could help a food processor install new high-tech equipment that will grow its business – and boost farmers’ sales.

  • Or, our programs could support new technology for growing vegetables in Northern Canada, to open a new business opportunity, and strengthen food security for the North.

3. Diversity

  • Finally, our programs will have a new and fresh focus on:

    • public trust;

    • diversity; and

    • regional collaboration.

  • Agriculture is an industry that has earned and deserves the trust of Canadians.

  • According to a survey commissioned by my Department last March, 91 per cent said they trust information coming from farmers and ranchers.

  • More than ever, Canadians want to make informed choices about the food they put on their dinner tables.

  • Well, our new programs will help the industry maintain and strengthen that public confidence in the food system.

  • The Partnership will be the first policy framework to explicitly recognize support public trust as a priority in agriculture.

  • We know we’ve got a great story to tell – and there are so many amazing new ways to tell that story.

  • Campaigns like the “Ag More than Ever” are doing a great job of getting the message out through social media.

  • So our programs will help the industry develop tools and resources to support public trust.

  • They will help farmers tell Canadians about the great things they are doing to:

    • grow safe, high-quality food;

    • care for their animals; and

    • safeguard our environment.

  • For example, an organization could receive funding to increase agricultural awareness to the public, or develop agricultural programming for young Canadians.

  • Our programs are also breaking new ground with a strong focus on diversity.

  • Diversity is our strength, for our sector, and for our country.

  • So we will reach out to women, Indigenous communities – and, of course, young people.

  • It’s important that we remove any barriers that are preventing these groups from taking up a leadership role in the sector.

  • For example, funding would be available to help young farmers strengthen their leadership skills to take the industry into the future.

  • Or it could help Indigenous peoples get access to programs.

  • And for the first time, the Partnership includes measures that enable provinces and territories to increase collaboration on regional initiatives to address common challenges and priorities, including environment, climate change and innovation.


  • Friends, I never get tired of saying that the future of our great industry has never been brighter.

  • The global middle class is growing, and they are hungry for our top-quality food.

  • There is a world of opportunity out there for Canadian farmers and food processors.

  • We have the resources – our productive farmland and our fresh, clean water.

  • We have the know-how, right across Canada -- and right here in this room.

  • And with the new programs available today under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, we have the tools we need.

  • That’s a winning combination to keep Canadian agriculture out in front.

  • Thank you for your attention this afternoon.

  • I urge you to go on line and take a look at our new programs, and see where there’s a fit for your business or organization.

  • I look forward to working with you all to build an even brighter future for Canadian agriculture.

  • Thank you. Merci.

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