Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture wrapped up their annual conference on November 10, 2021 by issuing the Guelph Statement – their shared vision, priorities and principles for the next agricultural policy framework and the future of the sector.
The Guelph Statement will position our agri-food producers and processors for continued success on the journey towards sustainable agriculture, and will enable a globally competitive sector, according to FPT Ministers.
The Statement was released at the close of the Ministers’ three-day conference in Guelph, Ontario, their first face-to-face meeting in nearly two years. The Statement recognizes regional differences and a commitment to collective outcomes, and it reflects input received through industry and stakeholder consultations over the past year.
In the Statement, Ministers agreed on the sustainable agriculture approach needed to help shape the next policy framework and agreed on five priority areas:
- climate change and environment;
- science, research and innovation;
- market development and trade;
- building sector capacity, growth and competitiveness;
- and resiliency and public trust.
Ministers also agreed to continue to improve the suite of business risk management programs to make them timely, equitable, and easy to understand. The next framework will also work to enhance sector resiliency to anticipate, mitigate and respond to risks, in part through those programs.
The next framework will follow the current Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which expires on March 31, 2023. The Partnership is a five-year $3 billion investment that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors, and includes both federal programs, as well as those that are cost-shared between the federal (60%) and provincial/territorial (40%) governments.
During the conference, Ministers also discussed 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, retail fees and mental health.
This meeting followed what has been a difficult year for many producers, mainly due to extreme weather conditions, resulting in crop losses, poor crop quality, and reduced forage and water supplies for livestock. Despite these challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic, exports of agriculture and agri-food products continue to grow: nearly $74 billion in 2020, compared to $67 billion in 2019.
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