Sector Engagement Tables

The Sector Engagement Tables (SETs) are intended to create purposeful dialogue between agriculture and agri-food sector representatives and government officials to collectively advance growth and competitiveness in Canada.

This new engagement model was launched in December 2020 to replace the Value Chain Roundtables that were active since 2003.

Four thematic tables focus on systemic, cross-cutting issues that affect the sector as a whole:

  • agile regulations
  • sustainability
  • consumer demand and market trends
  • skills development

The model also includes Sector Tables looking at implementing solutions to systemic issues in the context of various commodity groupings. The initial work of the Thematic Tables will inform the direction of the Sector Tables. Additional information on the Sector Tables is below.

How the tables work

All tables are led by a pair of co-chairs—one government official and one sector representative. Table membership aims to be focused but diverse, including a balance between sector associations, producers and processors across the value chain, as well as leaders from academia and fields such as technology, sustainability, and consumer research. Specific to each table, there is also participation from other federal government departments, such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, Global Affairs Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada, and/or Employment and Social Development Canada; as well as provincial government representatives.

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada is committed to greater inclusion of underrepresented voices in sector discussions, both through membership on the tables as well as by exploring the creation of specific engagement mechanisms for youth, women, and Indigenous Peoples.

Each table's activities is informed by a strategic planning process, as well as through communication with other tables within the model. They will all align with the following functioning principles:

  • Outcome-driven results: Clear deliverables (such as recommendations, reports or new initiatives) and progress measurement
  • Forward-facing: Actions focused on strategically advancing the sector
  • Collaborative: Focus on sector-government collaboration to advance policies and initiatives
  • Unique: Avoid duplication with other mechanisms and forums

Time-limited and issue-specific working groups will be established to advance the work of the tables—supporting either an individual table or multiple tables—with the ability to bring in additional expertise from outside the membership.

A leadership table includes all SET co-chairs as well as the leads of other forums (for example, Canadian Agricultural Youth Council, Food Policy Advisory Committee), and serves as a focal point to guide the work of all tables in the SET model.

Upcoming meetings

  • Agile Regulations Table

    Table was launched in December 2020

    Mandate

    The agriculture and agri-food regulatory system embraces continuous improvement, striking a balance between meeting regulatory objectives and resolving irritants, while:

    • being more inclusive and sensitive to the needs of all stakeholders and the potential inequalities that may exist by improving stakeholder awareness and knowledge of the agri-food regulatory system
    • having greater and more consistent collaboration between government departments and stakeholders on regulatory development and management as well as on improving stakeholder navigation
    • being market responsive and outcome-based through better understanding cumulative and economic impacts of regulations and providing regulated parties greater flexibility for compliance; and, becoming more forward-looking by leveraging and anticipating opportunities associated with digitization and creating the enabling processes in the regulatory space by setting the conditions for developing, testing and bringing innovative products or processes to market

    Strategic plan key highlights

    The Table identified three key result areas:

    • Exploring ways to make the regulatory system easier to navigate
    • Providing analytical capacity to better understand cumulative and economic impacts of regulations and how they are administered across the sector
    • Contributing to regulatory experimentation and foresight

    Meeting highlights

    December 7, 2022

    October 14, 2022

    • Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat provided updates on their regulatory agendas and initiatives.
    • AAFC provided an update on the drone-based pesticide application experiment and next steps.
    • Protein Industries Canada updated ART members on the four plant protein experiments and next steps.
    • AAFC set the stage on the draft agenda and content of the first annual in-person meeting.

    May 19, 2022

    • TBS provided an update on the second Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill (ARMB) which was introduced in parliament on March 31, 2022.
    • AAFC provided an update on the prioritization exercise results and next steps to address the recommendations of the COVID-19 Lessons Learned Working Group report.
    • The Journey Mapping Working Group presented its new toolkit, and recommendations for next steps. The toolkit will be piloted and socialized with the federal government through the Community of Federal Regulators and CFS Portfolio, as well as with the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) Regulatory ADM Table and other venues as appropriate. Assuming a successful pilot, the toolkit will be integrated into TBS' suite of policy tools.
    • The Regulatory Experimentation Working Group provided an update to the Table on its activities and determined that the drone-based pesticide application experiment has the most potential and is best placed to be pursued.

    March 29, 2022

    • The meeting focused on Cumulative Regulatory Burden, which is the second pillar of the Agile Regulations Table Strategic Plan.
    • As part of the discussion on cumulative burden, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) presented their draft Competitiveness Assessment Tool and Cumulative Burden Competitiveness Initiative. Both were well received by Members.
    • The Journey Mapping working group continued the conversation on addressing cumulative regulatory burden by debriefing on progress achieved in developing a journey mapping toolkit and noted that the toolkit will be shared at the next meeting, which will be held on May 19, 2022.

    Members

    Co-chairs

    • Keith Mussar, External Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness
    • Steven Jurgutis, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

    Sector

    • Aimee Rae, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance
    • Andre Harpe, Grain Growers of Canada
    • Bruce Hardy, Myera Group and Function Four Ltd
    • Catherine Filejski, Canadian Animal Health Institute
    • Christopher Marinangeli, Protein Industries Canada
    • Colleen McElwain, Animal Health Canada
    • Gary Stordy, Canadian Pork Council
    • Ian McFall, Burnbrae Farms
    • Jackie Crichton, Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition
    • Jane Proctor, Canadian Produce Marketing Association
    • John Cranfield, University of Guelph
    • John Ross, Canadian Cattle Association
    • Kate Docking, Fisheries Council of Canada
    • Lauren Martin, Canadian Meat Council
    • Lee Moats, LLAMM Acres
    • Matt Morrison, Dairy farmers of Canada
    • Michi Furuya Chang, Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada
    • Mike Scheffel, Canadian Seed Growers' Association
    • Miles Kliner, Sungold Meat/North American Lamb
    • My-Lien Bosch, Canadian Organic Trade Association
    • Olivier Lavigne-Lacroix, Canadian National Millers Association
    • Rebecca Lee, The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada
    • Sharon Mohammed, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
    • Steve Leech, Chicken Farmers of Canada
    • Stu Porter, Renewable Industries Canada
    • Tyler Bjornson, Canada Grains Council
    • Victor Santacruz, Canadian Nursery Landscape Association

    Federal government

    • Barbara Henry, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    • Brett Maxwell, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • Sylvie Millette LeDuc, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • Luc Rivard, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • William Anderson, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    • Mary-Jane Ireland, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    • Karen McIntyre, Health Canada
    • Marilena Bassi, Health Canada
    • Ruth Rancy, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency
    • James Van Raalte, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
    • Joanne Butler, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

    Provincial government

    • Penny McCall, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
  • Skills Development Table

    Table was launched in July 2021.

    The mandate of this Table applies to all players in the system, including but not limited to:

    • primary agriculture
    • food and beverage processing
    • input and service suppliers (for example, agriculture equipment manufacturing)

    Mandate

    • Gain a shared understanding as to skills requirements in relation to chronic job vacancies as well as priorities for future skills, including building on advancements in technology.
    • Identify potential career paths connecting jobs to alternative training/careers.
    • Identify new, innovative and flexible training options, to educate and train, to re-skill and upskill the workforce.
    • Support renewal by identifying opportunities for young and new entrants, to develop a more diverse work force with greater participation of youth, new Canadians, Indigenous peoples and other under-represented groups.

    Strategic plan key highlights

    The Table identified four key result areas:

    • Career pathways
    • Understanding of Skills Required
    • New Innovative and Flexible Training Options
    • Youth, New Entrants and Underrepresented

    Meeting highlights

    December 8, 2022

    • AAFC provided a refresher of the new Sector Engagement Table model and the progress made to date, as well as an overview of the current status of the Skills Development Table and next steps.
    • The Career Pathways Working Group and the Understanding Skills Required Working Group reported on their activities and next steps. Members were brought together into breakout groups to discuss feedback for both working groups.
    • Agriculture in the Classroom Canada presented its work to date to help students and teachers to have a balanced and informed understanding of agriculture and food.
    • The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council updated members on the progress of the National Workforce Strategic Plan for Agriculture and Food and Beverage Manufacturing.
    • AAFC provided an overview of the Agricultural Labour Strategy online public consultations held during 2022, as well as early thinking on opportunities for the Strategy, including alignment with the CAHRC-led National Workforce Strategic Plan.

    May 26, 2022

    • AAFC updated members on the Federal Budget 2022 highlights relevant to the agriculture and agri-food sector.
    • AAFC announced the imminent launch of the two first working groups, Career Paths and the Understanding Skills Required, which will take place mid-June and explained the next steps.
    • The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) updated members on the National Workforce Strategic Plan for Agriculture and Food and Beverage Manufacturing.
    • AAFC updated members on the AAFC Agricultural Labour Strategy.

    March 28, 2022

    • The purpose of the meeting was to obtain agreement and endorsement of the Strategic Plan.
    • AAFC initiated discussion regarding the working groups membership and sequencing of initiatives.

    Members

    Co-chairs

    • Joanne Allen, J I Allen and Associates
    • Nathalie Gour, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

    Sector

    • Christa Wright, Agriculture in the Classroom Canada
    • Derek Johnstone, United Food and Commercial Workers Union
    • Donna Boyd, Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada
    • Heather Watson, Farm Management Canada
    • Jackie Milne, Northern Farm Training Institute
    • Karine Lévesque, Institut de technologie agroalimentaire
    • Kathleen Sullivan, Food and Beverage Canada
    • Keith Warriner, University of Guelph
    • Kevin Elder, Food Processing Skills Canada
    • Lauren Martin, Canadian Meat Council
    • Laurie Loane, Prince Edward Island - Agriculture Sector Council
    • Mark Chambers, Sunterra Farms
    • Martin Scanlon, Deans Council - Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
    • Phyllis MacCallum, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council
    • Renee Prasad, Canadian Association of Diplomas in Agriculture Programs
    • Robyn McKee, The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada
    • Sara Kate Smith, University of British Columbia
    • Sarah Clements, Tsawwassen Farm School
    • Scott Ross, Canadian Federation of Agriculture
    • Shannon Benner, 4-H Canada
    • Sherry Ann Harrison, The Food Core
    • Stuart Cullum, Olds College Smart Farm
    • Stuart Oke, Canadian Organic Growers
    • Tracy Kittleson, Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture

    Federal government

    • Marlene McBain, Farm Credit Canada

    Provincial government

    • Scott Duff, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Sustainability Table

    Table launched in December 2020.

    Mandate (still in discussion)

    The Sustainability Table will support the resilience of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector over the long term by

    • providing a forum for ongoing and deliberative dialogue between industry, governments and other stakeholders on approaches to address environmental issues facing the sector (such as climate change, biodiversity, water)
    • supporting efforts to improve and demonstrate environmental performance within domestic and global markets, including by leveraging industry-led sustainable sourcing efforts
    • using existing tools and identifying the need for new science-based tools to increase the resilience of the sector to climate change impacts and other environmental issues

    Meeting highlights

    March 9, 2021

    • AAFC updated members on recent federal announcements related to the environment, to highlight initiatives that could have an impact on the agriculture and agri-food sector and the work of this table.
    • AAFC presented comments received on the Food Policy for Canada's definition of "sustainable food systems," as well as a draft mandate for the table.
    • Members identified a number of challenges and opportunities to build the sector's sustainability including performance measurement, education and knowledge transfer, policy coherence, and others.
    • Members participated in breakout groups to discuss the top strategic opportunities for the table. Some topics included the tracking of sustainability data, land use, biodiversity loss, industry-wide education, incentive programs (carbon offsets and clean initiatives) and connecting policy to implementation.
    • Additional clarification on the scope of the table is still required and will be further addressed at future meetings.

    January 26, 2021

    • AAFC updated the table on the recent Federal Initiatives and Announcements: Speech from the Throne (September 2020), Fall Economic Statement (November 2020), Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy (December 2020) and Minister Bibeau's new mandate letter (January 2021).
    • AAFC presented comments received on the definition of sustainability that was shared as part of the survey of members for the strategic planning process.
    • Members identified a number of challenges and opportunities during breakout sessions. Additional clarification on the scope of the table is still required and will be further addressed at subsequent meetings.
    • Ideas gathered on challenges and opportunities facing the agriculture and agri-food sector along the following themes: benchmarking and indexing; measurement; data collection; education and information exchange; and policy coherence.

    December 10, 2020

    • Members were provided with an overview of some thoughts on the table's mandate and work plan.
    • Members raised suggestions and views on potential outcomes of the table, including the importance of building on existing initiatives, using this table to guide or inform the work of the next policy framework, and the potential of a national sustainability science cluster initiative as a successful outcome.

    Members

    Co-chairs

    • Mary Robinson, Canadian Federation of Agriculture
    • Sophie Beecher, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

    Sector

    • Alice Feuillet, Equiterre
    • Andrew Hammermeister, Dalhousie University
    • Blaine McLeod, Dairy Farmers of Canada
    • Carmen Wakeling, Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia
    • Carolyn Callaghan, Canadian Wildlife Federation
    • Casandra Cotton, Fertilizer Canada
    • Cher Mereweather, Provision Coalition
    • Chris Anderson, Protein Industries Canada
    • Dean Dias, Cereals Canada
    • Eric Ritchie, McCain Foods
    • Erin Gowriluk, Grain Growers of Canada
    • Fawn Jackson, Dairy Farmers of Canada
    • Ghalia Chahine, L'union des producteurs agricoles
    • Gord Kurbis, Canada Grains Council
    • Jeffrey Fitzpatrick, Cargill
    • Jennifer Lambert, Loblaws
    • Jennifer O'Donnell, BioNB
    • Monica Hadarits, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
    • Paul Thoroughgood, Ducks Unlimited Canada
    • Rebecca Lee, Canadian Horticultural Council
    • Susie Miller, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops
    • Tim Faveri, Maple Leaf Foods
    • Tim Kennedy, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance

    Federal government

    • Susan Martin, Environment and Climate Change Canada
    • Darlene McBain, Farm Credit Canada

    Provincial government

    • Thom Hagerty, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Consumer Demand and Market Trends Table

    Table launched in April 2021.

    Mandate

    • better understand domestic and international consumer values, preferences, and expectations
    • identify key, value-add domestic and international consumer market trends and growth opportunities
    • identify approaches to building public trust for key consumer concerns

    Meeting highlights

    December 12, 2022

    • Members received updates regarding the AgriCommunications Initiative, including discussions on how the sector can support the AAFC effort.
    • Members received updates on the 2 working groups' work plans. Additional discussions are planned for upcoming meetings in 2023.

    Five meetings were held between June 2021 and May 2022.

    • Members embarked on strategic planning sessions and completed a strategic plan with the following priority themes:
      • Data Collection and Consumer Research
      • Consumer Engagement and Public Trust
    • The following 2 working groups were created for which Work Plans and Terms of Reference will be reviewed by members:
      • Consumer Research Working Group
      • Consumer Engagement Working Group

    Members

    Co-chairs

    • John Jamieson, Canadian Centre for Food Integrity
    • Justine Akman, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

    Sector

    • Andrew Lively, True North Seafood
    • Barry Sneft, Seeds Canada
    • Caleigh Hallink-Irwin, Canadian Horticulture Council
    • Clinton Monchuk, Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan
    • Darlene Stein, National Sheep Network
    • Dave Carey, Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance
    • Don Holdsworth, Clearwater Seafoods
    • Erin O'Hara, CropLife Canada
    • Jana Sobey, Sobeys
    • Larry Johnson, Nuu-cha-nulth Seafood
    • John Cranfield, University of Guelph
    • Kevin Groh, Loblaw
    • Kevin Hachey, McCain Foods
    • Tia Loftsgard, Canada Organic Trade Association
    • Beverly Carker, Chicken Farmers of Canada
    • Mary Ann Binnie, Canada Pork Council/Canada Beef/Canadian Meat Council
    • Ryder Lee, Canadian Cattle Association
    • Sandy Marshall, BioIndustrial Innovation Canada
    • Shelley Revering, Federated Cooperatives Limited
    • Sue Lewis, Canadian Produce Marketing Association
    • Tim Ludwig, Global Cold Chain Alliance

    Federal government

    • Michelle Cooper, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • Warren Goodlet, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • Alec Nicholls, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • Donald Boucher, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • Cindy St-Germain, Statistics Canada

    Provincial government

    • Nicole Lamers, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Public Trust Working Group
    • James Kettel, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
  • Horticulture

    Table launched November 22, 2022

  • Animal Protein Table —  Next meeting is January 17, 2023

    Table launched in October 2022

    Mandate

    Under development, and will be updated soon.

    Meeting highlights

    December 12, 2022

    October 11, 2022

    • The first meeting of the Animal Protein Table was held on October 11, 2022.
    • This meeting concentrated on: reviewing the Sector Engagement Table model; introducing members; starting a discussion on possible priority areas for the Table to focus on; and preparing for the strategic planning session for the in-person/hybrid meeting being planned for late 2022 or early 2023.

    Members

    Co-chairs

    Janice Tranberg, National Cattle Feeders Association
    Nicole Howe, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

    Sector

    Alexandre Fontaine, Montpak
    Carl Flis, Canadian Bison Association
    Colleen McElwain, Animal Health Canada
    Corlena Patterson, Canadian Sheep Federation
    David Anyanwu, Cargill
    Dennis Laycraft, Canadian Cattle Association
    Drew Black, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers
    Fawn Jackson, Dairy Farmers of Canada
    Gary Stordy, Canadian Pork Council
    Jason McLinton, Retail Council of Canada
    Jean-Michel Laurin, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council
    Jeff Kroll, McDonald's Canada
    Kim O'Neil, Canadian Meat Council
    Louis Kwantes, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
    Mathieu Frigon, Dairy Processors Association of Canada
    Mario Goulet, DuBreton
    Melissa Dumont, Animal Nutrition Association Canada
    Michael Laliberté, Chicken Farmers of Canada
    Michael Young, Canadian Beef
    Mike von Massow, University of Guelph
    Olivier Bourbeau, Restaurant Canada
    Phil Boyd, Turkey Farmers of Canada
    Richard Davies, Olymel
    Sameeha Jhetam, University of Saskatchewan
    Tim Lambert, Egg Farmers of Canada
    Trevor Sears, Canada Pork

    Federal government

    Darlene McBain, Farm Credit Canada
    Geoff Adams, Global Affairs Canada
    Luc Marchand, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
    Manisha Mehrotra, Health Canada
    Mary-Jane Ireland, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Sylvie Lapointe, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

    Provincial government

    Kelly McAslan, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
    Venkata Vakulabharanam, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Other forums within the SET model

Contact us

Industry Engagement Division
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1341 Baseline Road, Tower 5, 4th Floor
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0C5
Telephone: 613-759-2115
Email: aafc.roundtable-tableronde.aac@canada.ca