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 (AAFC) 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


    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

    April 27, 2023

    • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) presented the What We Heard Report prepared based on the conversations at the December 7, 2023 meeting. Resulting discussions were mainly on prioritization and where the ART wants to focus efforts next.
    • AAFC, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) presented the Domestic Trade Journey Mapping pilot performed in Fiscal Year 2022-2023. The results of the project were discussed, with positive support from both industry and government members to pursue additional journey mapping projects moving forward.
    • Health Canada (HC), CFIA, and the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) presented their regulatory developments since the October 2022 ART meeting.
    • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) presented next steps on Canada’s Zero Plastic Waste Agenda.
    • The next ART meeting will be held virtually on September 20, 2023.

    December 7, 2022

    • Members participated in breakout sessions to discuss key challenges and opportunities for the agriculture sector.
    • Members received updates on key initiatives, including the launch of supply chain review, overview of the zero plastic waste agenda and an update on regulatory experimentation, with a focus on work underway led by Protein Industries Canada.
    • AAFC facilitated a discussion with members on the table's progress to date and discussion/insights to help guide the table's direction for 2023. A summary of the session will be shared in a What We Heard Report and will be discussed during the next meeting.

    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.



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


    • 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
    • Chloé Belchamber, 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
    • Jared Cohen, 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
    • 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
    • Stéphane Beausoleil, Westfine Meats/ Sungold
    • Stu Porter, Renewable Industries Canada
    • Tim Kennedy, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance
    • 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
    • Luc Rivard, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • William Anderson, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    • Mary-Jane Ireland, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    • Melissa Kardaras, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • 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)


    • 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

    May 12, 2023

    • The ninth meeting of the Skills Development Table was held virtually on May 12, 2023.
    • AAFC provided an overview of the Federal Budget 2023: A Made-In-Canada Plan
    • AAFC provided an update on the Agricultural Labour Strategy.
    • 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 shared a proposal with members that included considerations and next steps for the table.
    • Next meeting will be held virtually on September 26, 2023.

    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.



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


    • Ben Cecil, Olds College Smart Farm
    • Christa Wright, Agriculture in the Classroom Canada
    • Donna Boyd, Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada
    • Heather Watson, Farm Management Canada
    • Kristina Farrell, 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 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.



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


    • 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.


    • 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

    Strategic Plan key highlights

    The table identified 11 initiatives to be supported by 2 working groups:

    • Consumer Research Working Group
      • Consumer Research Library
      • Consumer Research Dissemination
      • Consumer Research Environmental Scan and Gap Analysis
      • Data Collection to Fill Data Gaps
      • Comparison of Consumer Perceptions and Behaviour
      • Consumer Research on Forecasted Innovation and Technology
    • Consumer Engagement Working Group
      • Best Practices for Consumer Engagement
      • Consumer Engagement Plan
      • Consumer Acceptance of Forecasted Innovation and Technology
      • Benchmarking Assurance Systems (paused until completion of National Index on Agri-Food Performance)
      • Advancing Assurance Systems (paused until completion of National Index on Agri-Food Performance)

    Meeting highlights

    March 9, 2023

    • Members will determine the feasibility of using AgEcon Search (a free, web-based agricultural economics library) as a consumer research library rather than creating a new one, including approaches to addressing gaps in its current search records and building the sector's awareness of this existing resource.
    • Members will finalize the description of its best practices for consumer engagement initiative, including explore funding mechanisms to enable related decisions at a future meeting.
    • The sector provided feedback on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) activities, such as: Canada Brand, Taste the Commitment, and the broader AgriCommunications Initiative.

    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.



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


    • Andrew Lively, True North Seafood
    • Andy Olson, Nuu-cha-nulth 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
    • JJ Hochrein, Chicken Farmers of Canada
    • John Cranfield, University of Guelph
    • Kevin Groh, Loblaw
    • Kevin Hachey, McCain Foods
    • Tia Loftsgard, Canada Organic Trade Association
    • Mary Ann Binnie, Canada Pork Council/Canada Beef/Canadian Meat Council
    • Meaghan Seagrave, BioIndustrial Innovation Canada
    • Ryder Lee, Canadian Cattle Association
    • 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

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

    Table launched November 22, 2022

  • Animal Protein Table

    Table launched in October 2022


    Under development and will be updated soon.

    Meeting highlights

    March 29, 2023 and April 11, 2023

    • Members finalized 4 themes in the strategic plan, and then identified outcomes and initiatives for each theme.
    • Members were asked to join 4 new working groups.

    January 17, 2023

    • This meeting focused on the development of the APT strategic plan, and 4 themes were identified:
      • Labour
      • Supply Chain Resiliency
      • Technology
      • Regulations

    December 12, 2022

    • AAFC provided an overview of the Thematic Tables' strategic plans, the key result areas and next steps for the new model.
    • The consultant reviewed the results of the environmental scan, which will set the tone for the strategic planning session.

    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.



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


    • 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
    • Stephen Heckbert, Canadian Pork Council
    • Avery Bruenjes, Retail Council of Canada
    • Jean-Michel Laurin, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council
    • Jeff Kroll, McDonald's Canada
    • Kim O'Neil, Canadian Meat Council
    • Joel Neuheimer, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
    • Mathieu Frigon, Dairy Processors Association of Canada
    • Mario Goulet, DuBreton
    • Sarah Hopkins, 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