Ms. Jennifer Hayes
Canadian Dairy Commission
960 Carling Avenue, 1st Floor
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0Z2
Dear Ms. Hayes:
From day one, the Government has recognized the importance of a vibrant and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector to Canada's economy and food security. The Government also recognizes the dairy supply management system as a social contract that contributes significantly to the vitality of many rural communities and family farms across the country.
Despite many recent challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian dairy producers and processors have shown exemplary resilience and continue providing high-quality products in a particularly difficult context. I would like to thank the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) for supporting the dairy sector in responding to these challenges and I am pleased that the Government was able to help by quickly increasing your credit limit.
Looking ahead, I expect that the CDC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) will continue to work closely with industry partners as they pursue their future vision for an innovative and sustainable sector. Reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change remain urgent priorities for the Government, and the agriculture sector must be a front line partner. I am grateful that the Dairy Farmers of Canada is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050, and the CDC should support this endeavour.
In keeping with the ambitious environmental commitments outlined in the Government's climate plan, it is increasingly important for government organizations to collaborate with partners across the dairy value chain in reducing the environmental footprint of the dairy sector. The CDC has a collaborative role to play in supporting broad climate resiliency, as well as supporting industry in making dairy supply chains more efficient through eliminating food waste and finding innovative ways to add value.
Additionally, I am asking you to provide the leadership necessary to ensure that the CDC, in accordance with its mandate, delivers on the following priorities:
- Review the approach used by the CDC on milk pricing decisions and ensure clearer and more transparent communication to Canadian consumers and dairy stakeholders;
- Help the dairy sector adapt to a changing market and encourage innovation;
- Continue to administer the Dairy Direct Payment Program, which provides full and fair compensation to dairy producers following recent trade agreements;
- Work closely with AAFC and engage with stakeholders across the value chain to ensure the regulations under the Canadian Dairy Commission Act continue to support the CDC mandate and meet the needs of the dairy industry;
- Continue working with AAFC and other federal departments to support Canada in fulfilling its international trade obligations. This includes early stakeholder engagement in industry decision-making processes related to the dairy supply management system;
- In accordance with the Budget 2021 corresponding commitment, begin to report on climate-related financial risks. I also encourage the CDC to work with other Crown corporations to share best practices;
- Promote an inclusive vision for the future of the dairy sector that fosters opportunities for women, youth, Indigenous Peoples and other underrepresented groups. Take action to improve diversity within the CDC through inclusive recruitment, retention and promotion practices; and
- Implement the recommendations outlined in the 2021 Special Examination Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the CDC's board of directors.
As AAFC works to advance sector-specific priorities outlined in my mandate letter, I ask that you continue to support the Deputy Minister in his role as my principal source of public service support and policy advice for the entire Agriculture and Agri-Food portfolio, and in ensuring a coordinated portfolio. I know that I can count on you and the CDC to fulfil these priorities over the course of the Government's mandate and that your organization will commit to tracking and reporting on its progress toward results for Canadians.
I assure you of my full cooperation. Together, we can continue to build an innovative, sustainable and prosperous future for dairy producers and processors and protect the sector's reputation for providing a predictable supply of high-quality dairy products to Canadians.
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, PC, MP