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Twelfth meeting of the Special Crops Value Chain Roundtable: Record of decision

April 6 to 7, 2017 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Opening Remarks

  • Co-chairs welcomed 32 participants, including new member Wayne Thompson, Executive Director from the Saskatchewan Development Flax Commission, and Colin Dutcheshen, from Northern Quinoa Production Corporation, who participated as a youth representative.
  • The Government Co-Chair provided updates on a number of federal initiatives, noting that:
    • Budget 2017 sets an ambitious target to grow Canada's Agri-Food exports to at least $75 billion annually by 2025.
    • To support the agriculture sector growth, the government plans to invest more than one billion in research and innovation over the next five years under the Next Policy Framework (NPF).
    • Federal, provincial, and territorial ministers will meet in July to discuss NPF programming. 

Science Collaboration

  • To launch the discussion on the potential for a special crops science collaboration project, industry co-chair of the Industrial Bioproducts Value Chain Roundtable (BIVCRT), Murray McLaughlin, was invited to share his experience in developing a joint Cluster project for the bio-products sector.  
  • Mr. McLaughlin discussed both lessons learned as well as challenges.  He informed participants that it took more than six years for the project to develop into a Science Cluster and that it was made up of 12 different projects.  He noted that, as an industry, they decided to hire a third party to manage the budget and timelines of the projects.
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)'s Program Branch (PB) provided an overview of the number of projects and the level of funding received by the sector to date under the Agri-Innovation and Cluster programs of "Growing Forward 2" (GF2). It was also noted that lessons learned from GF2 are contributing to the design of the NPF.
  • SCVCRT members agreed to work together to identify sector needs and funding partners with a view to submitting an application for a Science Cluster that could include health, sustainability and  variety development. AAFC supported this idea, but noted that projects related to sustainability are still in discussion under the NPF.  
  • It was agreed that AAFC’s PB will be invited to the next SCVCRT meeting, planned for December 2017, to provide an update on NPF.

Priorities and Key Action

  • A facilitated discussion with members was held to identify key priorities and actions for 2017 to 2018. Members confirmed and updated the 2016 mandate and vision of the roundtable as follows:  
    • New vision statement: A thriving special crops sector that contributes to a sustainable and diverse Canadian agriculture.
    • New mandate: The SCVCRT facilitates engagement, communication and cooperation across the value chain to increase the value proposition of Canadian Special Crops.
  • Focus areas identified for 2017 to 2018 for the SCVCRT include:
  • Information sharing/knowledge transfer: a common need among all SCVCRT members.
  • Research collaborations: variety development, agronomy, functionality use, new uses, and quantify the value of forage and special crops.
    • Human health opportunities: linking to health benefits and sustainability, health claim approval, Health Canada’s involvement in the SCVCRT.
    • Market access issues: Trade barriers, regulations, transportation, access to crop protection products.
    • Value-added and market development: processing development, promotion in new markets, new uses on both domestic and international markets.
  • SCVCRT members were also asked to reflect on what success means for the roundtable:
    • Active engagement of the full value chain including federal and provincial governments.
    • Meeting agendas that provide real value to members with working groups that take action on a few key projects between VCRT meetings.
    • Self-organization of sub-groups to collaborate on common priorities.

International Trade Issues

  • AAFC provided an update on discussions with the United States (US) regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  
  • Updates were provided on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) negotiations including: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, China, Ukraine and Israel.  Of note, consultations on a potential China-Canada FTA started on March 4 and will end on June 2, 2017. SCVCRT members were encouraged to provide input.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Transformation Plan

  • An update was provided on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)’s transformation plan in relation to proposed changes to the User Fee Policy and on the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). The new user fees are expected to help streamline services, and ensure more consistency for fee services across all commodities. CFIA is also looking for having appropriate cost sharing of the new fees between regulated parties and taxpayers.
  • The new SFCR will cover more commodities, and will apply to imports, exports and inter-provincial trade. New regulations on traceability records will require them to be clear, readable and be kept for two years. CFIA’s is developing new guides for exporters and importers that will help them meet these new regulations. 
  • CFIA’s consultations on both new user fees and SFCR will end on April 21, 2017, and the SCVCRT industry members were invited to participate in the consultation process. 
  • SCVCRT members also noted that they are hoping for better harmonization between regulations of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the CFIA.

Food Policy Vision

  • AAFC presented information on the new national food policy vision, a collaborative effort with other federal departments, which aims to develop an integrated approach between food policies, food security and industry stakeholders’ perspectives. Consultations will be held in coming months to ensure all perspectives are taken into consideration.
  • Industry asked that the Government of Canada consider what other countries are doing, particularly Norway, to support the food policy design.  

All Chairs meeting

  • The industry chair provided an overview of the agenda for the All Chairs meeting taking place on April 26 to 27, 2017, and asked members for key messages to bring forward. Industry re-iterated the need for a coordinated approach between the various governments and industry stakeholders to ensure appropriate linkages are made between health, agriculture sustainability, and consumer demand in light of the development of the new food policy vision.
  • Industry members are hopeful that the new food policy will integrate some recommendations of the Barton report. This notion will be raised at the All Chairs meeting.   
  • Members also proposed that a forum be held with all government and industry stakeholders to contribute to the new food policy vision.  This will also be raised at the All Chair meeting.    

Conclusion and next steps

  • The meeting was well attended and included representatives of nine special crops (flax, mustard, pulses, seeds, sunflower, hemp, forage, buckwheat and quinoa). Members were grateful for the resources and time dedicated to discussions on science collaboration, and to key priorities and actions.
  • The next SCVCRT meeting is tentatively scheduled for December 2017.

Annex A: Action items and recommendations

Meeting / Item Number Action Items Responsibility Next Steps / Timelines
12-1 Science Collaboration: Interested SCVCRT industry members to form a Working Group and make a proposal for an Agri-Science Cluster under the Next Policy Framework (NPF). Lead: Industry co-chair/Industry members Next Policy Framework (April 2018)
12-2 Barton Report: Kelly Dobson to pursue discussions with VCRT industry chairs on how the special crops VCRT can contribute to the objectives of the Barton Report. Industry co-chair All Chairs Meeting in April 26-27, 2017
12-3 Market Development and Trade Issues: AAFC to provide information on international trade policy and market access developments, and as well on trade missions so that the special crops sector can assess opportunities to participate. Information on these issues will be included in the next meeting agenda. AAFC On-going/Each SCVCRT meeting
12-4

SCVCRT stakeholders to develop an inventory of processing and value added facilities, including both commercial and food processing research facilities in Canada.

AAFC/provinces/
industry  
To be initiated before the SCVCRT in December 2017
12-5 Special Crops Economic Profile: The next draft of the Economic Sector Update will be distributed by May 1st. Industry members May 1st
12-6 SCVCRT follow-up and planning: Rob Hannam to provide the report on SCVCRT strategic priorities as heard on Day 1 of the meeting. AAFC to circulate the report, and follow-up with members who will review and validate these in light of the Next Policy Framework (NPF) for the next SCVCRT meeting. Rob Hannam/AAFC Report May 1st. AAFC to follow-up for the next SCVCRT meeting in Dec 2017
12-7

AAFC will return to the next meeting of the SCVCRT after the fall launch of the NPF to discuss priorities and parameters.

Program Branch Next SCVCRT in December 2017
12-8

AAFC to invite Health Canada to provide an update on food health policies (more precisely on the development of the food guide) at the next SCVCRT meeting.

Health Canada Next SCVCRT in December 2017
12-9

Pete Desai will provide an update on Public Trust at the next meeting.

Pete Desai Next SCVCRT in December 2017
12-10

Members to submit information requests for future VCRT agenda items to Erin Bureau by September 1, 2017 (for example: food nutrition guidelines, organics, report on trade missions).

SCVCRT members Next SCVCRT in December 2017

Annex B: Participants

Co-chairs

  • Kelly Dobson – Industry Co-Chair, National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC)
  • Ray Edwards – Federal Co-Chair, Director General, AAFC

Industry members

  • Blair Roth – Viterra
  • Gordon Bacon – Pulse Canada
  • Glyn Chancey – Canadian Seed Growers’ Association
  • Pete Desai – Mustard 21
  • Darcelle Graham – National Sunflower Association of Canada
  • Kim Shukla – Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance
  • Cedric MacLeod – Canadian Forage and Grassland Association
  • Dave Macfarlane – Sakai Spice
  • Wayne Thompson – Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
  • Lorne Kyle – Springfield Mills (buckwheat)

Provincial government members

  • Manjula Bandara – Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Craig Linde – Manitoba Agriculture and Food

Federal government members

  • Bill May – AAFC
  • Jarett Goodwin – AAFC

Industry observers

  • Monika Haley – Manitoba Flax Growers
  • Colin Dutcheshen – Youth representative - Northern Quinoa Production Corporation

Federal government observers

  • Johanne Kristjanson – AAFC
  • Pierre Cormier – AAFC
  • Sonya Agbessi – Health Canada
  • Esther Salvano – AAFC
  • Irene Hanuta – AAFC

Support

  • Erin Bureau – AAFC
  • Steve Desroches – AAFC
  • Violette Jacques – AAFC

Guests / speakers

  • Lynne Guerrette – AAFC
  • Murray McLaughlin – Bioindustrial Innovation Canada 
  • Raphael Sauvé – AAFC
  • Rebecca Bew – Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • David Bell – CFIA
  • Rob Hannam – Synthesis - Agri-Food Network
  • Karl Dupuis – AAFC
  • Alessandro Longo – AAFC
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