Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture


TORONTO, January 31, 2003 -- Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Ministers emerged from their meeting today with consensus on many of the elements of new business risk management programming under the Agricultural Policy Framework, and agreed to continue advancing the design through further discussions and consultations with industry, with a view to finalizing details over the next month.

The design consists of an expanded NISA program which offers protection against both smaller losses and income disasters, with governments covering a larger portion of the loss as the farmer’s situation worsens. The program would provide flexibility for a farmer’s individual situation, in that the producer could commit early in the year to a particular level of coverage. Ministers are aiming to design and implement a program that is simpler and affordable for producers, and more effective in stabilizing farmers’ margins.

With respect to production insurance, Ministers agreed to the opportunity to introduce new and innovative products, starting in 2003 and for the next two years. The emphasis will be to provide more insurance products for more commodities, with equitable treatment for producers across Canada in similar risk situations. To ensure producers make the best use of all available risk management tools, Ministers committed that there will be a strong linkage between production insurance and the new NISA.

Ministers agreed the new programs must meet trade obligations. They were presented with an analysis showing that the proposed design of new programs will meet Canada’s WTO domestic support obligations and will minimize countervail risk.

Governments confirmed their intention to finalize the details of transition to new risk management programming for 2003, so as to have federal-provincial implementation agreements which, when signed, will take effect April 1, 2003, and will cover all five elements of the Agricultural Policy Framework.

Ministers noted that programs being delivered this year, for the 2002 stabilization year, will not be affected in any way by changes under the Agricultural Policy Framework. They confirmed that producers will continue to have access to all funds in their current NISA, including the government-funded portion.

The Agricultural Policy Framework is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative to improve the profitability of the agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada, and help Canada to be the world leader in food safety and quality, environmentally responsible production and innovation.

NOTE: Quebec indicated that it cannot endorse this communique.