Minister’s briefing notes: 2022-23 Main Estimates, May 19, 2022

Table of Contents

Speech for Minister Bibeau Agri Committee, Main Estimates, May 19, 2022

5 minutes

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It’s good to be back.

We are here to review AAFC’s main estimates for 2022-2023, which total over $3.2 billion.

These estimates reflect our Government’s significant commitment to the success of our farmers and food processors.

Over half of the estimates — more than $1.8 billion — will support key programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership with provinces and territories, which drive sustainable growth, innovation, and competitiveness of the sector.

That includes our business risk management programs, with over $56 million to help farmers better manage risk through the elimination of the reference margin limit from AgriStability.

For this fiscal year alone, we are also committing

  • over $589 million to support our dairy, poultry and egg producers and processors as they adjust to the impact of European Union and Trans-Pacific trade agreements
  • $137 million to support environmental sustainability of the sector, including:
    • Agricultural Climate Solutions; and
    • the renewed Agricultural Clean Technologies Program.

The Estimates also include support to help potato growers in PEI manage surplus potatoes due to the border closure.

Mr. Chair, thanks to the collaborative efforts of industry and government, on April 1, the U.S. border was reopened to PEI table potatoes.

In the federal Budget, we have committed a new investment of $28 million through ACOA and CFIA — to ensure the long-term sustainability of the potato industry on the Island.

While these estimates reflect the current financial picture — I want to stress that we can still commit to new spending this year, as the need arises — through Supplementary Estimates.

(In fact, earlier this week, we tabled Supplementary Estimates ‘A’. That includes new funding as part of our investment over two years to help Canadian wineries to adapt to ongoing and emerging challenges.)

Food security

Since we last met, the situation in Ukraine has worsened. I met with the Ukrainian minister of agriculture at the G7 meeting in Germany last weekend – and I pledged Canada’s full support to help Ukraine keep producing and exporting.

With one of the world’s leading grain producers in crisis - the world is looking to major producers like Canada to step up.

Our farmers are up for the challenge, but they are facing higher input costs and shortages.

We’re working with our partners and industry leaders to ensure that we have fertilizer available for our farmers — both now and in the future.

To help farmers with cash-flow pressures this spring, we have adjusted the Advance Payments Program so they can get 100% of their advances up-front.

And we have extended the deadline for AgriStability to help more farmers manage the severe challenges they are facing.

Budget 2022-environment

Since we last met, we have continued to roll out new investments to help Canadian farmers reduce emissions and build their resilience to climate change.

In Budget 2022, we have committed over $1 billion in new funding to help our farmers:

  • reduce their carbon emissions; and
  • keep food on people’s plates in a changing climate.

We are tripling our investments in the Agricultural Clean Technology program and expanding the On-Farm Climate Action Fund.

And we are investing $100 million in transformative science into sustainable crops and technologies.

And $150 million to work with provinces and territories on a resilient agricultural landscapes program.


Access to labour continues to be another major challenge for the sector.

Budget 2022 reaffirms our commitment to support the safe and timely arrival and stay of temporary foreign workers.

We will invest over $150 million to

  • increase protections for workers;
  • reduce red tape for trusted repeat employers; and
  • ensure employers can quickly bring in workers to fill short-term labour needs.

We have also announced key improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, allowing agri-food employers will now be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program.

Next Policy Framework

So we are addressing immediate challenges, including avian influenza. It’s a very stressful and emotionally exhausting time for our poultry producers right now.

For the longer term, FPT ministers continue to work with industry to develop the next policy framework for agriculture, to run from 2023 to 2028.

We had a great meeting with ministers earlier this month, leading up to our annual meeting in Saskatchewan in July.

I am confident that by working together - we will be able to realize Canadian agriculture ministers’ vision: to ensure Canada is recognized as a global leader in sustainable food production.

Thank you Mr. Chair, I look forward to our discussion.

Supporting the agriculture sector

Agricultural and agri-food businesses are facing unprecedented challenges. What will you do about this?

Value statement

CAP and BRM Programs form the foundation of our support to the sector.

  • $3 billion for CAP programs.
  • $1.6 billion average per year for BRM programs.

Recent priorities and investments include:

  • $56 million for potato wart in PEI.
  • $1 billion federal-provincial cost-shared funding for drought in the Prairies and flooding in B.C.
  • Prevent and prepare for African Swine Fever.
  • Agricultural Labour Strategy and over $156 million for improvements to the TFW program.
  • COVID-19: increase lending, offset extraordinary costs, health and safety, support for vulnerable Canadians; improve food security.
  • Over $1 billion to support producers adoption of more climate friendly practices and technology.
  • Support sector on trade disruptions and deliver on SM compensation for trade agreements in the fall.
  • Over $600 million to help build more efficient and resilient supply chains in addition to APP changes to support farmers affected by supply chain issues.

Take away

The Government plays a critical role to support farmers and food processors to provide a safe and secure supply of food.

AAFC’s 2022-23 main estimates

AAFC’s 2022-23 Main Estimates are $3 billion. What is that funding for?

Value statement

This funding will help the sector take advantage of market opportunities, strengthen its competitive edge by investing in innovation, anticipate and address business risk, and support sustainable growth. This is the last year of the five year Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), a collaborative federal-provincial-territorial $3-billion investment. The majority of the 2022-23 Main Estimates funding will go to:

  • CAP programs, including BRM ($1.849 billion);
  • Support the Supply-managed dairy, poultry and egg producers and processors ($589 million);
  • Help producers find ways to minimize environmental degradation, reduce emissions and increase sector resilience ($137 million).

Take away

Compared to 2021-22, AAFC’s 2022-23 Main Estimates is $230.6 million higher mostly due to supporting the supply-managed dairy, poultry and egg producers and processors, as they adjust to the impact of recent CETA and TPP trade agreements, the implementation of the Agricultural Climate Solutions and the renewal of the Agricultural Clean Technology program; as well as the removal of a cap on AgriStability program payments.

Budget 2022

Producers and processors are facing challenges, how will the commitments made in Budget 2022 benefit the agriculture and agri-food sector?

Value statement

Budget 2022 announced significant investments to ensure a successful, sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector.

  • $330 million to expand the Agricultural Clean Technology Program.
  • $470 million to expand the On-Farm Climate Action Fund.
  • $150 million for a resilient agricultural landscape program.
  • $100 million to support post-secondary research for net-zero emission agriculture.
  • $12 million for CFIA and $16 million for ACOA to help producers impacted by potato wart in PEI.
  • $156.7 million to increase protection for workers, to reduce administrative burdens for trusted repeat employers, and to ensure employers can quickly bring in workers to fill short-term labour market gaps.
  • $603.2 million to help build more resilient and efficient supply chains.
  • $750 million to support the development of Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters.

Take away

Budget 2022 includes important investments for the environment, growth and innovation and supply chains.

Grocery code of conduct

Why has a Grocery Code of Conduct not being put into place?

Value statement

The Government of Canada shares concerns about fair market practices, and remains committed to ensuring that Canada has the right conditions for all businesses to thrive.

  • Industry leaders have been working to develop a Grocery Code of Conduct and a dispute resolution framework which has support across the food supply chain.
  • To be successful, there are many facets to consider and there are a wide range of stakeholders to consult.
  • I appreciate the ongoing efforts and look forward to industry presenting concrete results to agriculture ministers in July.
  • The government remains committed to supporting industry efforts to improve predictability, transparency, and fair dealing within the supply chain.

Take away

I am encouraged that industry leaders and stakeholders are working together to find a practical and lasting solution for Canada that benefits all supply chain partners.

Addressing labour shortages in the sector

What is the government doing to address labour shortages in the sector?

Value statement

The government recognizes how critical reliable access to labour is for the sector and the economy.

  • Record arrivals of international workers in 2021; 2022 arrivals have been smooth, with most workers arriving fully vaccinated.
  • The recently announced Workforce Solutions Road Map is making the TFW Program more accessible and efficient.
  • Budget 2022 included investments of over $156 million to enhance the TFW Program, increase worker protections, reduce administrative burdens and fill short-term labour gaps.
  • Government continues to work toward a federal housing standard.
  • Working with partners on an Agricultural Labour Strategy to advance longer term labour solutions to address chronic labour shortages in the sector.
  • Mandate commitment to expand pathways for agricultural TFWs will build on the 2021 time-limited temporary to permanent resident pathway, and the three year Agri Food Immigration Pilot launched in 2020.

Take away

The government is strengthening the TFW program, while making progress on the Agricultural Labour Strategy to ensure a sustainable workforce and stable supply chain in the long-term.

Food supply chain challenges

What is the Government doing to ensure a strong and stable food supply chain?

Value statement

Canada’s supply chains are resilient but continue to face many challenges, including COVID-19 and the conflict in Ukraine.

My department monitors these situations and works to identify solutions, including:

  • Bringing in TFWs and working to develop a strategy to address labour shortages across the food supply chain.
  • Supporting the work of the Supply Chain Task force led by the Minister of Transport.
  • Budget 2022 announced $603.2 million to help build more resilient and efficient supply chains.
  • G7 Agriculture Ministers discussed global food security issues and reaffirmed support for the World Food Programme, FAO and other multilateral tools.
  • Canada is doubling its support for the Agricultural Market Information System, to support new information on fertilizers, seeds and other inputs.

Take away

We are committed to ensuring a strong and stable food supply chain by responding to challenges that may arise, including the conflict in Ukraine and its impact to the sector.

Food price increases

Why is there a record increase in the price of food, including dairy, this year and what does the government intend to do to ensure that food remains affordable for Canadians?

Value statement

The Government is focused on supporting producers, businesses and Canadians as they deal with rising costs.

  • The price of food is driven by global and domestic factors, such as input costs, weather, trade, consumer demand, and transportation.
  • We invested $134.4 million in community initiatives to strengthen food systems and improve access to food. We invested $330 million in the Emergency Food Security Fund.
  • We are also making life more affordable for Canadians with historic investments in child care and housing.

Take away

We are focused on ensuring a fair marketplace, addressing supply chain challenges, and ensuring Canadians have access to food at reasonable prices.

Environment and climate change

What is the Government of Canada doing to ensure the agriculture and agri-food sector contributes to climate change mitigation and improves environmental sustainability?

Value statement

We are committed to supporting farmers and ranchers as they are an integral part of the climate change solution.

  • 2021, over $550 million investments over 10 years, enhance sustainability and fight climate change.
  • $185 million 10 years Agricultural Climate Solutions, including Living Labs.
  • $200 million immediate, on-farm climate action: nitrogen management, rotational grazing, and cover cropping.
  • $165.7 million 7 years Agricultural Clean Technology program: help adopt clean technology and reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).
  • National target to reduce fertilizer emissions 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.
  • Emissions Reduction Plan announced with over $1 billion new funding to develop and implement technologies and practices to reduce GHGs and increase sustainability.
  • Programs and initiatives could yield up to 13 megatons of GHG reductions by 2030.
  • Green Agricultural Plan to support action on climate change, other environmental priorities towards 2030 and 2050.
  • Returning portion of proceeds, price on pollution to farmers in backstop jurisdictions, beginning in 2021-22. Estimated at $100 million in first year.

Take away

Farmers are on the frontlines of climate change and we are investing to support the development and adoption of climate-smart practices and technologies that further reduce GHG emissions and protect the land, water and air that farmers depend on for their long-term sustainability.

Impact of floods in B.C. on agriculture

What actions are Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada taking to support the agriculture sector in B.C. that was impacted by the floods in November 2021?

Value statement

B.C. farmers who suffered damages in last year’s floods have access to up to $228 million in federal-provincial government support.

  • Canada-B.C. Flood Recovery Program for Food Security is delivered by B.C. and leverages the AgriRecovery Framework and Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangement.
  • Will cover some of the extraordinary expenses, not covered by other programs or insurance.
  • As of May 10, 244 payments have been made for a value of over $23 million. Applications are processed daily.
  • BRM programs (AgriStability and AgriInsurance), help manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farms.
  • Supply Chain Recovery Working Group, a Federal-Provincial-Industry group that collaborates to stabilize supply chains in B.C. and across Canada.
  • Canada-B.C. Recovery Committee, to collaborate on recovery and rebuilding efforts (providing support to the sectors that have been most impacted by the crisis) within the agriculture sector and across the food supply chain.

Take away

We will continue to work with the Government of B.C. to support our farmers impacted by the flood to help them recover and rebuild a resilient food system in B.C.

Fertilizer emissions reduction target

What will the federal government do to support producers in contributing to the national fertilizer emissions reduction target?

Value statement

Our Government is committed to supporting farmers and ranchers in contributing to Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions targets.

  • Agriculture was responsible for approximately 10% of Canada’s GHG emissions in 2019.
  • Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers have played a critical role in Canada’s agriculture system, but also contribute significantly to agriculture GHG emissions.
  • Working with the sector to develop an approach to meet fertilizer emissions reduction target, and ensure it reflects on-farm realities.
  • Requesting feedback on discussion document.
  • On-Farm Climate Action Fund provides support in adopting nitrogen management practices.
  • Agricultural Climate Solutions Living Labs: co-develops innovative practices on-farm to decrease GHG emissions.
  • Investments in transformative science – critical especially in light of market disruptions from conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Take away

Our government is committed to working with all partners and stakeholders to reduce national fertilizer emissions while maintaining or increasing yields, and encourage feedback from the sector on how best to do so.

Impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on global food security and the agricultural sector

What are the impacts on global food security and the agricultural sector due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Value statement

The Government remains committed to supporting global food security.

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in increasing prices for key commodities such as grains, oilseeds and fertilizers.
  • The Government remains committed to supporting the sector.
  • Made adjustments to the Advanced Payments Program to ensure producers are able to purchase inputs such as fuel, fertilizer and seed to maintain full production this growing season.
  • The Government continues to support supply chains and exports – continues to issue certificates for products to Ukraine.
  • Canadian fertilizer producers are seeking to increase production in 2022.
  • Continue to work to identify humanitarian and food aid needs in specific countries.
  • Continue to participate in existing multilateral efforts to support and advance global food security, such as the G7, G20 and OECD.

Take away

The Government remains committed to contributing to global food security and supporting the sector.

Canola market access

What is the Government of Canada doing to restore full market access for canola to China?

Value statement

Our government continues to work through all available bilateral and multilateral channels to reinstate the two suspended Canadian companies and restore full market access for canola seed exports to China.

  • Committed to restoring full market access for canola seed exports.
  • A WTO dispute panel is now in progress at the request of Canada.
  • Government of Canada officials working, with the canola industry, to put forward the strongest possible case.

Take away

We remain committed to restoring market access for the two suspended Canadian companies that continue to be blocked from exporting canola seed to China.

Canada Water Agency and ongoing freshwater initiatives

How is the Government supporting the agricultural sector to protect and manage water resources in a sustainable manner?

Value statement

Our Government is committed to helping the agriculture sector contribute to protecting water resources and managing them in a sustainable way.

  • Commitments to create a new Canada Water Agency and to sustain the Freshwater Action Plan.
  • Up to $438 million in federal, provincial/territorial cost-shared programs to support locally adapted responses to reduce environmental risks, including to water resources.
  • Collaborative agricultural science, research and innovation including within the Living Laboratories Initiative.
  • Business risk management programs to help producers prepare for, respond to and recover from climate-related risks like floods and droughts.

Take away

The Government’s continued leadership on agricultural science, programming and collaboration, including through creation of a Canada Water Agency, is critical to protecting water resources and enhancing the sector’s resilience to climate change.

Biofuels – land use criteria

What opportunities do the proposed Clean Fuel Regulations offer for the agriculture sector?

Value statement

Canadian agricultural products are the primary input to clean fuels production. Biofuels enable our sector to expand domestic and international markets, based on agricultural practices that are sustainable and support biodiversity.

  • The Clean Fuel Regulations will drive demand for sustainably sourced biofuels based on agricultural products like grains, oilseeds, and manure.
  • By 2030, it is expected that the Clean Fuel Regulations will reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17.5 megatonnes, and biofuels will contribute about 10 megatonnes of this.

Take away

Clean Fuel Regulations will promote the development and use of low-carbon fuels from sustainable agricultural practices while also supporting innovation and furthering the sector’s contribution to clean growth.

We will continue working closely with Environment and Climate Change Canada to ensure the Clean Fuel Regulations are developed to allow for the broad inclusion of the agriculture sector.

Interprovincial food trade

“...You talked about the need to shorten the supply chain and to process more products locally. Are you planning to provide additional support, especially for slaughterhouses, so there would be more small slaughterhouses close by? My… colleague mentioned the beef industry earlier, but I know that the pork and poultry industries have the same need.”

Value statement

Safe food is achieved through an efficient, effective and consistently applied national food safety system that positively impacts the health and well-being of Canadians and supports access to domestic and international markets for producers and food processors.

  • In order to sell meat interprovincially or internationally, a federal licence is required under the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
  • The outcome-based requirements in the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations provide industry flexibility to achieve food safety outcomes.
  • This makes it easier for companies to meet requirements and, if they choose, become federally licensed to expand their markets to trade interprovincially.
  • Interprovincial trade falls under federal jurisdiction
  • Provincial and federal regulations do not always align.
  • Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), both FPT cost-shared and federal-only programs offer funding to assist businesses in accessing and developing markets domestically and internationally.
  • Working collaboratively is important. For nexample, to alleviate the potential for food shortages at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CFIA worked with provinces and territories to develop a Ministerial Exemption to enable the movement of provincially-inspected meat and other food products across provincial and territorial borders.

Take away

The Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to address their concerns related to interprovincial trade.

Food Waste Reduction Challenge

Food waste is an important problem. What are you doing to tackle it?

Value statement

The Food Waste Reduction Challenge is a $20 million initiative to support innovative ways of reducing food loss and waste.

  • Supports solutions that address the economic, environmental and societal problem of food loss and waste across the supply chain.
  • Business Models Streams (Streams A and B): Solutions ready for commercialization that prevent or divert food waste (that is, a new business model) For example, transforming brewers' spent grains into flour or for use in the cultivation of mushrooms. Novel Technologies Streams (Streams C and D): Solutions at the prototyping or testing phase to extend the life of perishable food or transform food waste. For example a solution that is applied to crops to slow the ripening process or that removes ethylene from refrigerated, humid air keeping food fresh longer.

Business Models Streams launched on November 19, 2020. A total of 343 applications were received and 24 semi-finalists were selected. Winners will receive up to $1.5 million. Novel Technologies Streams launched on May 25, 2021. A total of 238 applications were received and 18 semi-finalists were selected. Winners will receive up to $1 million.

Take away

Reducing food waste can help save consumers money, improve food security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthen our food systems.

U.S. country of origin labelling (COOL)

Is the Government of Canada concerned about the United States renewing its mandatory country-of-origin labelling measure?

Value statement

The Government remains concerned about any measures that may cause disruptions to the integrated North American meat and livestock supply chains.

  • Devastating impact of mandatory COOL on Canadian cattle and hog farmers in the past.
  • Firmly oppose proposals to resurrect mandatory COOL for beef and pork.
  • Authorized through WTO to retaliate on nearly $1 billion U.S. exports and Canada retains those rights.
  • Work closely with Embassy and allies in U.S. that any proposed labelling measures do not disrupt supply chains.

Take away

Canada has a strong position and strong allies in the U.S. against mandatory COOL. Canada is also monitoring other labelling measures, such as voluntary “Product of USA”, that may have a detrimental impact on trade.

Local Food Infrastructure Fund

Can you provide an update as to the status of the fund and how the department is measuring success with how those funds have rolled out? Are there future plans to maybe continue it?

Value statement

The Local Food Infrastructure Fund is a $60 million initiative supporting community-based, not-for-profit organizations with a mission to reduce food insecurity by establishing and strengthening local food systems.

  • Initial intake: August 15, 2010 to November 8, 2019. 362 projects approved, with over $6.6 million in funding.
  • 2nd intake: June 9, 2020 to February 12, 2021. 281 projects approved, with over $21 million in funding.
  • 3rd intake: July 12, 2021 to September 3, 2021. 178 projects approved, with over $8.9 million in funding.
  • 4th and final intake was soft launched on March 23, 2022, targeting only Indigenous organizations and organizations in small, rural communities. This phase will fund communities to create, expand and/or complete their food systems, and facilitate access to healthy, nutritious and local foods for at-risk populations in a sustainable manner. Up to $20 million is available over the next two fiscal years for this final intake. Application intake will be from June 1, 2022 to July 15, 2022.

Take away

We remain committed to improving Canada’s food system and ensuring vulnerable Canadians have increased access to healthy, nutritious, and ideally, local foods within their community.

Avian influenza (bird flu) — Canada

What is the Government of Canada doing about the recent cases of avian influenza in Canada?

Value statement

Our government is working to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry while minimizing the impact of the disease on Canadians. This Government’s actions include:

  • Quarantining implicated premises to prevent disease spread.
  • Negotiating with key trading partners to recognize control zones to minimize trade disruptions.
  • Actively engaging with industry, provincial governments, and Indigenous partners on the response and recovery actions.
  • Reminding poultry owners to protect their flocks with biosecurity measures and reporting any signs of illness.
  • Working with affected producers to provide timely compensation.
  • Offering poultry producers additional help to manage risks to their farms through the Business Risk Management (BRM) programs, including AgriStability.
  • Imposing strict requirements on the import of animals and animal products from countries where avian influenza is known to exist.

Take away

Highly pathogenic avian influenza occurs globally and outbreaks are currently occurring in the United States, and countries in Asia and Europe. Our government is working with partners and stakeholders to eliminate the disease, prevent further spread and minimize the impact on trade, and compensate affected producers.

Compensation for processors and producers (dairy and SM4)

When will you announce the details of compensation measures related to the impacts of CUSMA?

Value statement

As we did with CETA and CPTPP, our government will fully and fairly compensate supply-managed sectors for CUSMA.

  • Up to : $2 billion for dairy producers for CETA and CPTPP.
    • $250 million through Dairy Farm Investment Program.
    • $1.75 billion through Dairy Direct Payment Program.
  • Up to $691 million for poultry and egg farmers for CPTPP.
    • $647 million through the Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program
    • $44 million through the Market Development Program for Turkey and Chicken.
  • Up to $392.5 million for processors for CETA and CPTPP
    • $100 million through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund.
    • $292.5 million through the Supply Managed Processing Investment Fund.

Take away

As committed in Budget 2022, the Government will announce CUSMA compensation in the 2022 fall economic and fiscal update.

Meat processing plant inspections

What measures has the CFIA instituted to ensure the consistent application of regulations in meat processing and slaughter facilities?

Value statement

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspectors have the training, supervision, and support needed to apply regulations and associated requirements in a fair and consistent manner across all of Canada.

  • Each inspector is extensively trained
  • Supervisors are an active part of quality assurance
  • Operational Guidance and Expertise Divisions provide national interpretations and guidance documents
  • The Inspector General’s Office assesses inspection activities for consistency and compliance with requirements
  • CFIA meets with stakeholder associations to help businesses better understand the regulations and associated requirements

Take away

In its role as a federal regulator, the CFIA works to ensure that its regulations and enforcement procedures are consistently applied across Canada. This supports the effective delivery of the Agency’s mandate, and adherence to international obligations and expectations of standard-setting bodies.

Ban on export of live horses for slaughter

What is the progress on the Government’s commitment to ban the live export of horses for slaughter?

Value statement

The Government of Canada takes the issue of animal welfare seriously and is conscious of the need for the humane treatment and handling of animals throughout all life stages.

  • The issue of horse slaughter has raised strong and varied opinions for decades in Canada.
  • We are currently reviewing the legal and policy framework to effectively address the Government’s commitment to ban the live export of horses for slaughter.
  • We are committed to hearing all points of view and are consulting with stakeholders, including industry and international trading partners before any changes are made.
  • In the meantime, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continues to enforce the Health of Animals Act and Regulations and to verify that the horses are fit to travel and will be transported humanely.

Take away

I understand this is a complex matter and we are thoroughly analyzing the issue and assessing various means to meet the objectives of this mandate commitment.

Potato wart in Prince Edward Island

What are you doing to support PEI potato growers impacted by trade disruptions due to potato wart?

Value statement

This remains a top priority for the Government. We continue to support and work with PEI potato growers and the U.S. to fully restore market access for PEI fresh potatoes to the U.S..

  • Following the detection of potato wart in October of 2021, and the subsequent closure of the U.S. border to potato shipments from PEI, a Ministerial Order was put in place to mitigate the risk of spread of potato wart to the rest of Canada, to protect our country's potato industry.
  • On December 2021, we announced $28 million in funding to support PEI potato farmers affected by trade disruptions.
  • On February 9, 2022, market access for PEI table stock potatoes to Puerto Rico was restored.
  • On April 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a new Federal Order allowing the importation of table-stock potatoes from PEI to continental U.S markets, but prohibiting the importation of field-grown seed potatoes from PEI into the U.S..
  • Under Budget 2022, we announced an additional $28 million to support the PEI potato sector.

Take away

We continue to monitor the situation closely and are doing everything in our power to support PEI potato growers, both in the short and long-term. Our Government will continue to stand up for PEI seed potato farmers, who are vital to their communities and our economy.

The global threat of African Swine Fever

What is the Government doing to address the threat that the global spread of African Swine Fever poses to the swine industry?

Value statement

We are working with provincial governments and industry to take every necessary precaution to prevent the introduction of African Swine Fever (ASF) and to ensure we are ready should an outbreak occur.

  • Strong import controls in place to prevent the introduction of ASF into Canada.
  • Enhancing biosecurity measures to mitigate the spread.
  • Planning, preparing and testing responses with industry and stakeholders, including provincial governments.
  • Improving rapid ASF detection through surveillance.
  • Negotiating the recognition of zoning approaches with trading partners.
  • Planning for surplus hog management resulting from trade disruptions.
  • Developing communications plans to address prevention, preparedness, response and recovery actions.
  • AAFC invested approximately $3.5 million to date to enhance industry readiness (improved on-farm biosecurity, depopulation planning, and communication plans).
  • CFIA invested over $3.6 million to date to support prevention and preparedness.

Take away

ASF prevention and preparedness is a priority of the Government of Canada.

Pesticide regulation concerns – glyphosate

Last August, increases in Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) determination were postponed, including for glyphosate. When will the government resume MRL increases that are in line with international standards (codex)?

Value statement

The pesticide approval process must meet the expectations of Canadians regarding transparency and sustainability.

  • This pause does not change the government’s support of science-based decision making processes such as ones undertaken by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
  • The pause on MRL increases was announced last August in the context of broader work PMRA is undertaking to modernize its pesticide approval process.
  • Led by PMRA, the Government is currently consulting with stakeholders on its transformation process to ensure Canada’s pesticide regulatory regime is rigorous, effective, and transparent.
  • The Government is also supportive of research to develop options for pest management beyond synthetic pesticides.

Take away

The government continues to support growers’ access to safe, effective products, especially as we look to increase yields while protecting the environment.

CUSMA dairy tariff rate quota dispute

What is the Government doing to address the dispute panel ruling on the administration of its dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under CUSMA?

Value statement

Our government continues to work closely with the dairy industry, provinces and territories, and the U.S. on the way forward in the dispute process, while minimizing the impact on the sector.

  • The Panel report confirmed that Canada has the discretion to manage its TRQ allocation policies under CUSMA in a manner that supports supply management.
  • The government held consultations on its proposed approach to Panel report implementation.
  • The Minister of international Trade and I work closely together on this file.

Take away

Our government will continue to stand up for Canada’s dairy industry and the communities that it supports and will continue to preserve, protect and defend our supply management system.

CPTPP dairy tariff rate quota dispute

What is the Government doing to address New Zealand’s request for dispute settlement consultations on Canada’s dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under CPTPP?

Value statement

Our government is working diligently to prepare for consultations with New Zealand on this matter and to defend Canadian interests in front of a dispute settlement panel, should that be required.

  • We are working closely with dairy industry stakeholders, provinces and territories to prepare.
  • Our government strongly supports the rules-based trading system, the CPTPP and the relationships we have with our partners in that agreement, including New Zealand.

Take away

Our government will continue to stand up for Canada’s dairy industry, farmers and workers and the communities that they support and will continue to preserve, protect and defend our supply management system.

Challenges in importing honey bees

The beekeeping industry in Canada is facing challenging spring conditions. What is the Government doing to help beekeepers continue to have access to imported replacement honey bees?

Value statement

We understand the critical importance honey bees play in Canadian agriculture.

  • This year we are seeing higher than normal overwinter mortality rates and demand for replacement bees is higher than usual.
  • Pandemic-related transportation and, more recently, logistical challenges have reduced access to packaged bees.
  • CFIA makes a science-based determination of whether imports of bees pose a risk for the health of our domestic bee population.
  • AAFC has convened a working group with provinces, regulators and industry representatives to explore actions in the short and longer term that could improve industry resilience in maintaining and growing honey bee colony numbers.

Take away

We continue to work closely with industry and the provinces to increase the quality and quantity of domestic honey bee supplies, and to explore solutions to increase the resiliency of the beekeeping industry.

Neonicotinoids in Canada

Neonicotinoids are critical and controversial chemicals used in the agricultural sector. Do you favour the continued use of those chemicals?

Value statement

The Government continues to work with the sector to protect invaluable pollinators and to address the challenges following decisions restricting the use of neonicotinoids.

  • Support Canadian growers’ access to safe, effective products.
  • Support scientific decisions such as the recent Health Canada decision upholding the use of neonicotinoids on cucurbits.
  • Where the use of neonicotinoids has been restricted as a result of scientific reviews, phase out periods have been permitted to allow farmers to make appropriate on-farm adjustments and acquire alternative pest control products.

Take away

The government supports the rigorous, science-based regulation of pesticides in Canada to ensure they continue to meet modern health, safety and environmental standards.

Canada Grain Act

What is the status of the Government’s commitment to review the Canada Grain Act?

Value statement

Canada needs a legislative regime for grain that is fair, balanced, and responsive to the needs of the sector.

  • Consultations were completed on April 30, 2021.
  • “What We Heard” report was published on AAFC’s website on August 13, 2021.
  • The Government will continue to analyze stakeholder feedback and develop recommendations for modernization.

Take away

Supporting the growth of Canada’s grain sector is a top priority. We will continue to consider stakeholder feedback on Canada Grain Act modernization.

Canadian Organic Agriculture Standard

Will the Government of Canada fund the mandatory revision of the Canadian Organic Agriculture Standard (COS) referenced in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, and the Standards Interpretation Committee of Canada - mandated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to interpret the COS applied under the Canada Organic Regime?

Value statement

Canada maintains rigorous organic production systems standards to:

  • enable organic farmers to promote and adopt climate smart practices, data collection and reporting to further Canada’s commitment to sustainability
  • protect consumers and producers against fraud / unsubstantiated product claims
  • ensure that all stages of production and processing comply with these standards
  • harmonize Canadian provisions with international systems through equivalency arrangements to facilitate access to high-value export markets

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AAFC has invested over $19 million in ongoing organic-specific initiatives to ensure the development and growth of the industry.

Take away

The Government of Canada is actively working with national organic industry organizations to explore options to ensure the long-term sustainability of mechanisms essential to maintaining the Canadian organic regime.

Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act

If the government is already recognizing that there is a need for agricultural sectors to have this protection without requiring a demonstration, why have we not yet seen any action from your government on putting in place a mechanism that would actually provide the same kind of protection to the fresh fruit and vegetable sectors?

Value statement

Our system provides for a single organization to resolve disputes where fresh produce sellers do not receive payment. We continue to engage with industry to support the resolution of disputes.

  • Continued Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act access in the United States
  • Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation ensures adherence
  • Insolvency losses: less than 0.1% of total sales
  • Deemed trust shifts costs and risks to other creditors
  • Broader policy implications on the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act
  • Ongoing dialogue with Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada/Canadian Produce Marketing Association

Take away

We invite the industry to work with the government to explore other options that might help to address financial protection for produce sellers.

National School Food Policy

What steps is the Government taking to develop a National School Food Policy?

Value statement

The Government is committed to further strengthening Canada’s food systems to provide social, health, environmental, and economic benefits in support of vibrant communities across Canada. This includes developing a National School Food Policy and working towards a national school nutritious meal program.

  • The Government of Canada has provided approximately $12 million in funding to support over 800 food projects in schools across the country as part of the first two rounds of the Emergency Food Security Fund with additional projects currently being supported through a third round.
  • I will work with the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development, in collaboration with other Cabinet colleagues, over the next year to engage with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy.

Take away

Budget 2022 has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to work with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners, and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy and to explore how more Canadian children can receive nutritious food at school.

Next Policy Framework

What is the status of the work on the next agricultural policy framework with the provinces and territories and how will it support producers and processors with current challenges and longer-term issues, including achieving stronger outcomes on the environment and climate change?

Value statement

The Next Policy Framework for agriculture will build off the success of the current Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help producers and processors address challenges and seize opportunities.

  • The Guelph Statement shows the ambitious approach we will be taking in the framework.
  • The Statement outlines a vision for the sector being recognized as a world leader in sustainable agriculture and agri-food production, that builds on our regional strengths and diversity to address key challenges and meet the needs of a growing global population.
  • Key focus will be to have a stronger commitment to tackle climate change, protect the environment and support competitiveness.

Take away

The Next Policy Framework will be a five-year investment by FPT governments starting April 2023 focused on positioning our sector as world leaders in sustainable agriculture and agri-food production.

Transition Support Program for Wineries and Cideries (of Canada)

The wine industry would like an update on support that was announced in Budget 2021. Can you speak about the upcoming wine program?

Value statement

As announced in Budget 2021, the Transition Support Program for Wineries and Cideries (of Canada) is a $101.2 million initiative, which will provide short-term financial support to help licensed Canadian wineries transition and adapt to ongoing and emerging challenges that impact financial resiliency and competitiveness of the wine industry.

  • Expected intake: The program will have one application intake period in each of the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 fiscal years (April to March) and will end on March 31, 2024.
  • Available grant funding in 2022-23 is $46.5 million and $46.5 million in 2023-24 (non-repayable).
  • The Program will provide grants to Canadian wine licensees based on their previous years’ production of bulk wine fermented in Canada from domestic and/or imported primary agricultural products. Individual grant payment will be calculated once the application intake period is closed.
  • Wine includes cider, wine coolers, fruit wine, sake and other primary agricultural product-based wines.
  • Primary agricultural products include products such as grapes, berries, apples, other fruit, honey, dandelions, rice and sap.
  • The 2022-23 Program payments are expected to be made late 2022.
  • Further details on the Program are expected to be made available in June 2022.

Take away

We remain committed to providing transition support for licensed Canadian wineries as they adapt to ongoing and emerging challenges that impact financial resiliency and competitiveness of the wine industry.

Business risk management programs

We’ve heard from many stakeholders that the current suite of business risk management (BRM) programs is not working. What will you do to assure Canadian farmers that BRM programs will provide support that is simple and easy to understand to meet their challenges?

Value statement

We are continually working with our partners to ensure that, individually and as a suite, the BRM programs provide the support producers need.

  • BRM programs are demand-driven.
  • In 2021, the FPT Ministers of Agriculture adopted a change to the AgriStability program which simplifies it and provides increased support.
  • Despite this change, industry continues to look for improvements to the BRM suite.
  • In the next policy framework, we are working to further simplify and improve them and integrating climate risk management into BRM programs.

Take away

I am committed to delivering BRM programs that are equitable, simple and timely.

Research and innovation

Can you share with us some of those investments in research and innovation?

Value statement

Our Government is investing in research and innovation that will help increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada.

  • $690 million under CAP, including the AgriScience Program to support pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research, and the Agri-Innovate Program to accelerate the commercialization, adoption, and/or demonstration of innovative products, processes, technologies or services.
  • $185 million for farmers, scientists and other sector partners to co-develop, test and monitor practices that sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Agricultural Climate Solutions – Living Labs program.
  • Budget 2022 proposes to make additional investments, including:
    • $329.4 million in the Agricultural Clean Technology Program to support the development and adoption of technologies such as precision agriculture, green energy and bioeconomy.
    • $100 million in Transformative Science to support developing technologies and crop varieties to move towards a net-zero emission agriculture.
  • The Next Policy Framework that will be built around the shared federal-provincial-territorial vision as expressed in the Guelph Statement, and which includes science, research and innovation as a priority.

Take away

Our investments in research and innovation directly support the resilience, sustainability and growth of the agricultural and agri-food sector, to the benefit of the Canadian economy and every-day lives of Canadians.

Farm financial health for 2021 and 2022

Stakeholders have expressed concerns about the financial health of farms. What is the current farm financial situation in Canada?

Value statement

A financially healthy agriculture sector is important for Canada’s economic well-being.

  • Despite significant challenges from rising farm expenses, severe weather, and market access, Net Cash Income is expected to have hit a significant new record in 2021, following sharp growth in 2020.
  • Average net worth per farm is also forecast to have increased in 2021.
  • Going forward into 2022, there is considerable uncertainty, including lingering effects of the drought on this year’s growing season, destabilization of global agricultural markets due to the Russia-Ukraine war, continued COVID-19-related impacts, and increasing input costs and availability challenges.
  • Despite this uncertainty, at this point we still expect that strong commodity prices will support profitability in 2022.

Take away

Despite several challenges in 2022, it is expected the agriculture sector continue to enjoy a strong financial well-being as a result of high commodity prices. The Government will continue to support producers through the Business Risk Management programs.

Animal welfare and transportation

What is the government doing in the face of concerns from industry around the new humane transportation regulations?

Value statement

We are committed to the humane treatment of animals in Canada and take the issue of animal welfare very seriously. By way of example:

  • Updated animal transport regulations came into force in February 2020 and seek to improve the health and well-being of animals during the entire transportation process
  • These amendments are the result of 10 years of consultations with farm groups, industry, other stakeholders and the Canadian public
  • A two-year compliance promotion period was granted for some parts of the regulations, specifically the feed, water and rest times, to allow industry additional time to work through logistical issues. This compliance promotion period ended on February 20, 2022.
  • CFIA will continue industry outreach with all relevant sectors to ensure understanding and compliance with the updated regulations.
  • CFIA takes enforcement action when needed especially during emergencies such as flooding and traffic accidents, and expects regulated parties to make decisions that are in the best interest of their safety and animal welfare.

Take away

This Government has implemented modernized animal transportations requirements to support the humane treatment and handling of animals throughout all life stages. CFIA continues to work with industry to raise awareness about and promote compliance with the amended animal transport regulations.

Spent fowl (border controls)

What is the government doing to prevent chicken imports mis-declared as spent fowl?

Value statement

Collaboration across government ensures control measures in place remain effective.

  • CBSA is investing on enhancing its risk-based compliance verifications.
  • Between 2017 and 2019, 68 verifications have been conducted, resulting in $178 million in penalties.
  • A second round of verifications, initiated in 2020, is currently ongoing. Until now, 40 cases of the 53 targeted companies have been closed and 9 cases were found to be in error, resulting in $71.4 million in penalties.
  • Since our enhanced compliance activities are in place, spent fowl imports remain below the average level.
  • We have reinforced CFIA traceability and certification requirements.
  • Continue to actively explore additional compliance tools including working with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) counterparts.

Take away

We continue to engage with industry for ongoing improvements while we maintain robust compliance verifications of imports of supply-managed goods in Canada.

PMB C-235, an act respecting the building of a green economy in the prairies

Will you support Bill C-235, and what is the government doing to support farmers and ranchers in the transition to a green economy in the Prairies?

Value statement

Our government is committed to supporting Prairie farmers and ranchers in the transition to a green economy by:

  • Working with provinces and territories to prioritize the environment and long-term vitality of the sector in the Next Policy Framework.
  • Investing over $1 billion in the agriculture sector to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Developing a sector-specific labour strategy, including elements focused on skills, training, education and attracting talent.
  • Enhancing opportunities for agricultural products to be transformed into clean, renewable fuels, to add value, reduce waste and contribute to climate change objectives, both in the agriculture and other economic sectors.

Take away

Our Government is investing in programs and initiatives that will increase the environmental sustainability of the sector and ensure the long-term vitality of the Prairies.

Private members bill C-234, an act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act

Will you support Bill C-234, and provide an exemption for propane and natural gas on farm use from the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act?

Value statement

Our pollution pricing policy is designed to grow a clean economy while limiting impacts on the agriculture sector.

  • Carbon pollution pricing is an important tool in transitioning to a cleaner economy.
  • The majority of agricultural emissions are already exempt from carbon pollution pricing.
  • The Government will return a portion of the proceeds from the price on pollution directly to farmers in backstop jurisdictions once the legislation is approved by Parliament – approximately $100 million in 2021-22.
  • The Government announced an additional $330 million for the Agricultural Clean Technology program to help farmers adopt clean technology, which will reduce the on farm use of fuels such as natural gas and propane.

Take away

Putting a price on carbon pollution is a critical part of Canada’s action plan as it reduces pollution at the lowest cost to businesses and households.

PMB C-252 – an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibition of food and beverage marketing directed at children)

What implications would there be from Bill C-252 for the Canadian agri-food industry? What does this initiative mean for the voluntary Food and Beverage Advertising Code?

Value statement

The Government is committed to protecting children’s health as well as ensuring the growth of the agriculture and agri-food sector.

  • Restricting the marketing of foods to children falls under the mandate of the Minister of Health and is consistent with government priorities.
  • Bill C-252 proposes to amend the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit marketing to children (under 13 years of age) of food and beverages that contribute to excess sugar, saturated fats or sodium in their diets.
  • The government will closely monitor the effectiveness of the voluntary Food and Beverage Advertising Code introduced by an industry coalition. The Code applies to all advertising on any media and should be fully implemented by Summer 2023.

Take away

The Government continues to work to fulfill its mandate to support a viable agri-food sector, which contributes to the health and safety of Canadians.

PMB C-247, an act to prohibit fur farming

What is the Government’s response to efforts to ban cruel farming of fur bearing animals also vectors for transmission of COVID-19 to humans?

Value statement

Provinces and territories have laws with regard to animal welfare, and the recent approach to fur farming has varied across the country.

  • The industry is operating responsibly with respect to farming practices and strict animal welfare codes.
  • Legislative authority and responsibility for management of human health risks such as COVID-19 rest primarily with the respective provinces and territories.
  • The federal government provides national guidance and support, in collaboration with all stakeholders.
  • For greater safety, vaccines have been developed, one of which has already begun to be distributed under a restricted experimental license for use in mink.

Take away

The federal government has not determined that fur bearing animals pose a health risk that cannot be managed prudently.