Provinces preparing for negotiations on new ag policy framework
Provincial governments across Canada are consulting with farmers and the agriculture industry as they prepare to hammer out a new five-year federal-provincial-territorial agricultural policy framework.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) — the $3 billion 5-year investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments — is set to expire in 2023.
While federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau formally launched federal consultations for the “Next Policy Framework” earlier this month, the provinces are also at different stages in the process of consulting with stakeholders and developing their priorities.
Agriculture ministers from across the country will be presenting their priorities for the next policy framework at the federal-provincial-territorial ministers’ meeting in September, where it’s expected they will develop the priorities and a policy statement for the next five-year agreement.
The Alberta government launched its provincial consultations last week, specifically asking for input on long-term business risk management (BRM) reform.
“Alberta’s agri-food sector is doing well despite the challenges in recent years, but we know that challenges will likely continue to persist. Through CAP and the NPF, we will support Alberta’s Recovery Plan through increased investment attraction and improved market access,” notes Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, in a press release announcing the start of provincial consultations last week.
Alberta says all three Prairie Provinces are working together to make the next suite of national CAP programs “more simple and timely across all sectors with equitable, predictable business risk management programs for producers.” Alberta has previously advocated for a move to a margin insurance program to replace the current AgriStability program.
If you are in Alberta, you can have your say by filling out the online survey by July 2, 2021.
A committee of MLAs held a series of preliminary meetings with industry in March to discuss gaps and opportunities in the current CAP agreement ahead of negotiations on the next policy framework, says a spokesperson for Agriculture Minister David Marit.
“Minister Marit is also preparing for additional discussions with industry stakeholder groups later this month to collect feedback on the draft working priorities for the Policy Statement. This process involves stakeholder groups from both the crop and livestock sectors. This will provide the broad framework around which the next agreement will be negotiated,” says the spokesperson for Minister Marit.
The Saskatchewan government also has plans for Indigenous engagement and stakeholder consultations “on future business risk management tools and the development of programming under the next agreement.”
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen launched provincial consultations regarding the next ag policy framework in early May. The deadline for public feedback through the province’s Engage Manitoba platform was May 27.
Along with Minister Dreeshen in Alberta, Pedersen has often been critical of the current AgriStability program, and is interested in exploring a margin-based insurance program to replace it.
Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman hosted an initial stakeholder engagement session with approximately 40 representatives from across Ontario’s agri-food landscape last month, says a spokesperson from the minister’s office.
“The session started the important discussions that we expect to continue as the framework is developed,” says Hardeman’s spokersperson. “These discussions will help to determine Ontario’s priorities leading up to the federal-provincial-territorial meeting later this year.”