Summary of items from the 2018 Annual Meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture
Ministers discussed the status of trade negotiations and market access initiatives in key export markets and reaffirmed their support for supply management. Ministers discussed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) modernization negotiations, and noted that Canada remains optimistic that a good deal will be reached for Canada and Canadian producers. Provinces and territories are working energetically with the federal government to modernize NAFTA in a way that upholds and preserves the best interests of Canadians. Ministers also discussed trade and economic opportunities beyond our borders to help Canadian businesses compete around the world, and diversify our trading markets.
Ministers discussed current short- and longer-term challenges in agricultural labour markets, including the use of temporary foreign workers through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and future labour and skills needs of the sector. Ministers approved a work plan to further develop strategies and engage industry on labour issues. They recognized the opportunity to collaborate under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to address some of these labour challenges. Ministers agreed to continue to monitor the situation.
Business Risk Management review
Ministers discussed the suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. In July 2017, Ministers agreed to undertake a review of BRM programs to assess their effectiveness and impact on growth and innovation. An expert panel consisting of producers, academics and other experts was established to provide feedback and guidance on the review. The panel presented its recommendations to Ministers on July 20, 2018. Ministers directed officials to move forward with additional work required on the panel’s recommendations and to report back on progress to Ministers in 2019.
Ministers acknowledged that the sector is changing rapidly and the need to address regulatory challenges, including the importance of collaboration with other regulatory bodies outside of agriculture, and of federal, provincial and territorial alignment. They highlighted that Canada has world-renowned federal, provincial and territorial regulatory systems in place to ensure public safety and are exploring opportunities to enhance its capacity to drive innovation and increase resilience. Ministers committed to increase FPT collaboration to address the regulatory burden within their respective provincial and territorial authorities. In the short term, significant initiatives will be advanced: establishing a Canadian Plant Health Council under the Plant and Animal Health.
Strategy for Canada, finalizing a national traceability system, and implementing the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Ministers also agreed on the importance of putting measures in place to support the sector in dealing with animal health emergency issues.
Ministers discussed the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018.
Ministers reviewed how cannabis will be treated under federal and cost-shared agricultural programs. 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.
BRM programs are effective tools in managing risk in sectors that are well developed, but they are not meant to support intentional financial risk-taking commonly seen in emerging sectors. Industrial hemp production has been eligible for BRM support for some time, and will continue to be eligible moving forward.
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture
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