Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Agriculture set the direction for the next agricultural framework
Today, Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture wrapped up their annual conference by issuing the “Guelph Statement”. Their shared vision for the next agricultural policy framework will position our agri-food producers, processors and others in the sector for continued success as world leaders in sustainable agriculture, and will enable a globally competitive sector. Ministers also acknowledged and recognized the hard work of everyone involved in maintaining the strong food supply chain for Canadians during COVID-19.
Ministers agreed on the sustainable agriculture approach needed to help shape the next policy framework, which includes environmental, social and economic considerations in all priority areas. Ministers agreed on the following five priority areas for the next framework: (1) climate change and the environment; (2) science, research and innovation; (3) market development and trade; (4) building sector capacity and growth; and (5) resiliency and public trust.
The vision agreed upon by Ministers for the next agricultural policy framework charts an ambitious path for the sector. It states that “Canada is recognized as a world leader in sustainable agriculture and agri-food production and drives forward to 2028 from a solid foundation of regional strengths and diversity, as well as the strong leadership of the Provinces and Territories, in order to rise to the climate change challenge, to expand new markets and trade while meeting the expectations of consumers, and to feed Canadians and a growing global population.”
Ministers also agreed to continue to improve the suite of business risk management (BRM) programs to make them timely, equitable, and easy to understand, while supporting the competitiveness and sustainability of the sector.
During the conference, Ministers made progress on other key action areas that will help position the sector for economic recovery and sustainable growth, including labour, African swine fever, Animal Health Canada, trade and market access, regulatory priorities (including interprovincial trade and the Canadian Plant Health Council), retail fees, and mental health.
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“Today, my provincial and territorial colleagues and I agreed on an ambitious vision that will guide the development of the policy framework to follow the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. We all want to ensure that our agriculture is sustainable and that our farmers and agri-food entrepreneurs succeed. They must be incredibly resilient and innovative in the face of many challenges, including climate change, fluctuations in international trade, and labour shortages. Together, we will invest wisely to grow the sector while protecting our environment, reducing our emissions and safeguarding the well-being of those who ensure our food security.”
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri‑Food
“It’s been an honour to host my FPT colleagues in Guelph, Ontario’s hub for agriculture and food. The discussions over the last few days focused on the need to continue our efforts to build a competitive, sustainable agriculture sector that is well positioned for growth and includes the use of research, technology and innovation to help us meet the challenges of the future, and the Guelph Statement reflects this. Our discussions on strengthening collaboration, improving agri-food labour capacity, supporting innovation, increasing trade and investment, enhancing mental health supports for farmers and their families, and protecting our hog sector from African Swine Fever were extremely productive. I know these discussions will help us continue to build strong relationships across Canada as we build on our shared vision of encouraging and promoting agriculture.”
The Honourable Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for Ontario
This year’s conference was co-chaired by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the Honourable Lisa Thompson, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Canadian farmers have always been good stewards of the land and have a solid track record of sustainable agriculture, with sound management practices, innovation, and new technologies. Over the past two decades, farmers have doubled the value of production while stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions. In that time, the amount of agricultural emissions per dollar of GDP generated by the sector has dropped by half.
The Guelph Statement reflects the large amount of input received so far through stakeholder consultations over the past year. Consultations are continuing, to gather input from a wide range of stakeholders.
The next agricultural policy framework will follow the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors. The Partnership includes both federal programs, as well as those that are cost-shared between the federal (60%) and provincial/territorial (40%) governments.
Despite many challenges over the past year, including the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather events, the Canadian agri-food sector remains resilient and poised for continued growth. Exports of agriculture and agri-food products continue to grow, worth nearly $74 billion in 2020, compared to $67 billion in 2019.
The agriculture and agri-food value chain continues to be an economic engine driving Canada’s economy, contributing nearly $140 billion, or 7.4% of national GDP, and responsible for more than 2 million jobs in Canada.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Ontario)
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