Federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture helping the sector grow, innovate and prosper
July 20, 2018 – Vancouver, British Columbia
Canadian farmers, ranchers and processors across the country work hard every day to ensure that Canadians and consumers around the world have access to high-quality and healthy food. Canada’s agriculture and agri-food system contributes over $110 billion of our gross domestic product, and last year our agriculture, food and seafood exports hit an all-time record of $64.6 billion.
Topics critical to the growth and continued prosperity of the sector were the focus of discussion at the annual meeting of federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers of agriculture, co-chaired by Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture for British Columbia.
Ministers discussed how they can collaborate to create more jobs and support economic growth in the agriculture and agri-food sector. Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector was recently identified in the Barton Report as one of six sectors with high potential for economic growth. An Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table was created as part of the federal Innovation Skills Plan and serves as a forum for industry leaders to explore opportunities and challenges facing the sector. The Table engaged FPT ministers on their views to drive growth in the sector. Ministers noted the significant work that the Table has undertaken and committed to work collaboratively with industry.
Ministers acknowledged the importance of trade. They discussed on-going trade negotiations to maintain and grow market access for Canada, and the importance of working together to help the agricultural sector expand their businesses in key global markets. Ministers also reiterated their strong support for supply management. Ministers agreed that an appropriately skilled and increased labour supply in the short and long term is critical to future growth, and also agreed on the importance of ensuring the effectiveness of temporary foreign workers programs.
FPT Ministers noted the successful launch in April 2018 of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3-billion investment to help the sector grow, innovate and prosper. The Partnership provides ongoing investments to support leading edge discovery and applied science, spur innovation, and promote international trade, while ensuring that producers continue to have access to business risk management (BRM) programs.
The Government of Canada provided an update on progress toward legalization of cannabis. The cannabis industry is eligible to apply for federal programs under the Partnership. Provinces and territories have the discretion to determine eligibility for cannabis production for cost-shared programs.
For BRM programs, income from cannabis (including both medicinal and recreational) are not eligible for support under AgriStability and AgriInvest. Governments agree to monitor this over the coming years as the cannabis industry matures and stabilizes.
After significant effort over the past year, the external panel of experts presented its recommendations on BRM programming. Ministers thanked the panel on concluding their work and directed officials to move forward with additional work required on the recommendations and to report back on progress to Ministers in 2019. Ministers remain committed to continued engagement with industry, external experts and other stakeholders.
Topics at the meeting also included identifying areas for increased collaboration to streamline regulations, reduce regulatory burden and continue to uphold the safety and high quality of agricultural products. In addition, Ministers had the opportunity to hear about Indigenous agriculture activities currently underway in British Columbia and received an update from the federal government on the continued development of A Food Policy for Canada.
The next annual meeting of FPT Ministers will be held in Quebec City in July 2019.
"Canada’s farmers, ranchers and food processors provide safe, nutritious and sustainable food for the world, while creating well-paying jobs for our middle class. Federal, provincial and territorial governments are gathered here to focus on the overall competitiveness of the sector, and to create better opportunities for farmers and Canadians."
- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“It was wonderful to host my counterparts from around Canada here in Vancouver. As Agriculture ministers, we’re always looking at ways to make sure our programs and policies are working for farmers, producers and processors across the country. The discussions we had together on supporting research, trade and development, and on the next steps in business risk management programs bring the voices, ideas and concerns of Canadian farmers to the table, and ensure they are part of the conversation. I look forward to continuing to build strong relationships across Canada and working together for Canadian food production and security.”
- The Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture for British Columbia
Canadian farm incomes are forecast to reach a record $16.2 billion in 2017.
The food processing industry provides employment for a quarter of a million Canadians and is a major buyer of Canadian primary agriculture production.
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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