Annual Conference of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture


July  18, 2014 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - FPT Ministers of Agriculture

Today,  Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture  concluded their annual meeting after focused discussions on creating  opportunities for a dynamic agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada.  Ministers continue to plan for long-term success, while taking necessary  actions to further strengthen the sector, which contributed $106.9 billion to  Canada's GDP in 2013.

FPT  Ministers committed to enhancing collaboration between governments, academia  and industry to continue to build a modern and competitive sector that  contributes to Canada’s economy and economic growth. Ministers will maintain  efforts to improve infrastructure, strengthen the regulatory framework, enhance  market access and development, and advance investment in innovation.

Ministers  recognize the federal government’s activities to modernize the existing variety  registration system based on feedback received through industry engagement.  Ministers agreed on the need to ensure a strong system for transporting grains  so that Canadian shippers remain competitive in markets at home and abroad. Ministers  supported the development of a comprehensive and collaborative approach to  emergency management, including the management of plant and animal health risks.  In order to attract new investment and keep Canada’s farmers on the cutting  edge, Ministers discussed Canada’s plan to strengthen plant breeders’ rights,  while ensuring farmers’ privilege for farm-saved seed. Globally, they are  supportive of expanding trade opportunities including working to break down  market access barriers. They will continue reducing unnecessary regulatory  burden, and removing barriers to innovation. Ministers stressed the importance  of the quality of Canadian and imported products (reciprocity of standards),  and the strict controls to which all foods are subject.

The Ministers discussed ongoing  trade negotiations, such as those between Canada and the European Union (EU)  and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They emphasized the importance of signing  trade agreements that benefit the agriculture and agri-food sector, while  recognizing the importance of supply management in Canada. In discussing the  new cheese access that would be provided to the EU under the Canada-EU Free  Trade Agreement, Ministers recognized the importance of the federal  government’s commitment to monitor impacts and provide compensation. Together, federal and provincial governments continue to stand alongside  Canadian and U.S. industry to deliver a unified message of the negative impacts  that U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) is having on both sides of the  border.

Provincial and territorial  ministers highlighted the vital importance of the Temporary Foreign Worker  Program (TFWP) to the agricultural sector, including food processing, and  discussed the importance of addressing workforce challenges in the short and  long-term. They agreed to monitor and report back on the impacts of federal  reforms and work with the federal government to address the ongoing needs of  the sector.

The Ministers also discussed other  key topics such as bee health and social license—the importance of maintaining  public trust in agricultural practices. Ministers reflected on the situation facing farmers in  Saskatchewan and Manitoba as a result of recent flooding.

Quick  Facts

  • Agriculture is shared jurisdiction in  Canada. The federal, provincial and territorial governments work closely together  in the development and delivery of policies and programs.
  • The Canadian agriculture and agri-food  system is a complex and integrated supply chain which includes input and  service suppliers, primary producers, food and beverage processors, food  retailers and wholesalers, and foodservice providers. The activities along this  supply chain generate significant economic benefits at both the federal and  provincial/territorial levels.
  • In 2012, the Canadian agriculture and  agri-food sector employed over 2.1 million people, and provided one in eight  jobs in Canada.
  • Canada is the world's fifth-largest  exporter of agriculture and agri-food products, with 2013 exports of $50.4  billion.


“Federal-provincial-territorial  collaboration and partnership is essential in ensuring the long-term success of  Canadian Agriculture. We continue to work with industry to build a modern,  science-based environment that will make Canada a destination of choice for  R&D and value-added processing investment. By focusing on access to new  growth markets and emerging opportunities, we will ensure that the sector  continues to serve as an engine of economic growth for the Canadian economy.” –  Gerry Ritz, Federal Agriculture Minister.

“Agriculture  is the cornerstone of the economy, built on innovation. We will continue to  work with counterparts across the country to build opportunities close to home  and around the world for producers, processors and the entire value chain  through strategic investment. At the same time, we must continue to focus on  important issues for producers like water management, trade, business risk  management, food safety and transportation.” – Ron Kostyshyn, Manitoba Minister  of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

Additional Links


During the annual conference  of federal, provincial and territorial Ministers and Deputy Ministers of  Agriculture, presentations and discussions focused on the following themes:

In order to meet growing global demand,  Ministers discussed the need to increase agricultural productivity through  adoption of new technologies, improved production and business practices,  increased research and development, and labour investments. Building on the  current five-year Growing Forward 2 (GF2) policy and programs, Ministers  examined longer-term issues, trends and strategies that will guide the future  success of the sector. In this context, Ministers were briefed on the recommendations  in the final report of the Agri-Innovators Committee which provides a  foundation for government and industry action in key areas to support  tomorrow’s globally successful sector.

Regulatory modernization efforts will  further enhance sector competitiveness and maintain a world-class system that  protects the health and safety of Canadians with the appropriate level of  oversight. Ministers recognize the importance of the proposed Canadian Food  Inspection Agency (CFIA) outcomes-based transformation initiatives to reduce  unnecessary regulatory burden, and remove barriers to innovation, while  ensuring alignment of FPT actions.

Crop Variety Registration
Ministers received a progress report on  the modernization of Canada’s variety registration system and industry  engagement results. Federal officials will proceed with plans to transform the  existing system while preserving the current benefits, quality assurance and  Canada's international reputation as a producer of high quality grains, oilseeds  and field crops.

Grain Transportation
The federal  government has taken concrete measures through Bill C-30 to manage the backlog  of grain and help the transportation system respond to future peak demand. This  includes increased supply chain transparency, strengthened contracts between  producers and shippers, and implementation of rail and grain regulations by  August 1st for the start of the crop year. As governments and  industry drive to improve productivity and yields, a strong and expanding logistics  system is essential for Canadian producers and shippers to remain competitive  in domestic, continental and offshore markets.
International Strategy and Trade
With almost half of Canada’s total  agricultural production destined for export, the sector’s growth potential lies  in its ability to expand markets abroad, making this a key priority for both  industry and governments. In 2013, the Canadian agri-food and seafood industry  exported a record $50.4 billion. Ministers continue to support efforts to stimulate  innovation and cultivate a competitive advantage that complements governments’  pro-trade market development initiatives, recognizing the importance of supply  management. Ministers remain supportive of an ambitious international agenda  including trade negotiations, market access and market development activities,  and of ongoing collaboration to maximize the impact of international efforts. The  Canadian wine industry presented an overview of their sector, which stressed  the importance of this agricultural growth area, for both domestic and export  trade markets.

Business Risk Management (BRM)
Just as the vibrant Canadian  agricultural sector continues to transform and grow, so too does the risk  landscape. In order to mitigate the economic costs of adverse events,  Governments significantly bolstered insurance programs under Growing Forward 2 (GF2) to serve as a producer’s first line of defense. This includes  enhancements to crop insurance, as well as the new Western Livestock Price  Insurance Program. In addition, GF2 includes  an extensive suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs to help producers  cope with severe market volatility and natural disasters. FPT governments will  continue to monitor and evaluate BRM programs, and engage industry to ensure they  are meeting producers’ needs, and to inform the next policy framework.

Emergency Management
Ministers endorsed proactive work on an  approach to mitigate risks, focusing on all components of emergency management:  prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Part of this work will  complement FPT governments focus on better collaboration between governments,  academia and industry in exploring avenues to prevent animal and plant health  risks which pose a threat to the sustainable and economic well-being of the  sector. Ministers also noted the significant work undertaken with industry  towards the development of a Livestock Market Interruption Strategy, and  recommitted their support to this project to ensure its completion in 2015.

Key  Issues
Ministers committed to continue work with the bee and  crops industries towards sustaining a healthy bee population. With  respect to the issue of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, Ministers acknowledged  the importance of collaborative efforts used to contain the virus, and encouraged  continued emphasis on the implementation of bio-security measures across the  value chain to further protect the pork industry. In addition, Ministers  discussed the importance of integrated water management practices for sustained  growth and risk mitigation.