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Fourteenth Value Chain Roundtable All Chairs Forum meeting: Record of decision

April 27, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

The 2018 annual Value Chain Roundtable (VCRT) All Chairs meeting took place on April 27, 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario. Participants included the industry and government co-chairs of the 14 VCRTs, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Deputy Minister, and senior officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), and Transport Canada.

Public Trust Steering Committee

  • Participants received an update about the direction and work of the Public Trust Steering Committee (PTSC) to date as well as the proposed future strategic direction, including supporting VCRT efforts to build public trust in the agriculture and food sector.
  • VCRT co-chairs continue to support the work of the PTSC. Additional follow up with VCRTs will be needed for the PTSC to clarify specific next steps and seek continued buy-in.

Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table

  • An interactive discussion was held between the All Chairs and Murad Al-Katib, chair of the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table. Input from the VCRTs was shared in advance with Mr. Al-Katib and formed the basis of the discussion.
  • The VCRTs’ input aligned well with the themes identified by the Agri-Food Table. Discussion focused on regulations, innovation, and in particular on labour.
  • Mr. Al-Katib was very impressed with the input received from the VCRTs. He noted that there may be an opportunity for additional interaction with the All Chairs before the Economic Strategy Table process wraps up in the fall.

Deputy Head discussion

  • Senior representatives from six other government departments engaged with the industry co-chairs to address four priority areas identified by industry: labour, regulations, market access, and innovation.
  • Background documents were created by industry and shared in advance to shape the discussion.
  • Participants discussed the need for industry and government to find new ways to work together to address challenges. Across all four topics, industry chairs highlighted their concerns and possible options for action. In the ensuing discussion, there was a joint recognition of the need to work more collaboratively, both in setting objectives and in working toward implementing them.
    • ESDC emphasized the need for a partnership approach and agreed to regular meetings with industry to engage further on labour challenges.
    • CFIA highlighted the recently created International Affairs Branch, a joint initiative with AAFC, which is intended to improve the focus and coordination on international market access, market development, and regulatory trade issues. CFIA will also be focusing on implementation of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.
    • TBS has started work to help the Government of Canada implement regulatory modernization in a way that facilitates innovation and trade, without diminishing the protective aspects of regulations. TBS intends to engage with industry on this as the process unfolds.

Canada’s trade agenda

  • The All Chairs received an update on AAFC and CFIA’s strategic approach to international trade, market access, market development and regulatory issues.
  • Discussion focused on the available levers for advancing Canada’s trade agenda (for example, free trade agreements, regulatory cooperation, dispute settlement), and how best to employ them, including through the new joint AAFC-CFIA International Affairs Branch.
  • Participants also discussed how to work together to maximize government and industry resources in the most effective way.
  • Industry chairs supported the creation of the IAB and there was a commitment from IAB to continue working closely with industry.

Other business

  • The cross-sectoral working group that was formed after last year’s All Chairs meeting, to examine the issue of the United States creating a national requirement to disclose the presence of bioengineered ingredients on product labels, continues to await release of a draft US rule, at which time they will reconvene to analyze the impact on Canadian exporters.
  • It was confirmed that the champions from the deputy head discussion were invited to present the same four priority issues at the May 24, 2018 meeting of federal/provincial/territorial deputy ministers of agriculture in Montreal.
  • AAFC noted the success of the VCRTs since they were created 15 years ago and invited ideas on how to modernize the model to make it even more effective in the future.

Participants:

Senior Officials:

  • Chris Forbes, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • Frédéric Seppey, AAFC
  • France Pégeot, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • Colleen Barnes, CFIA
  • Neil Bouwer, Treasury Board Secretariat
  • Leslie MacLean, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) & Service Canada
  • Elisha Ram, ESDC
  • Kevin Stringer, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
  • David McNabb, Transport Canada
  • Sheryl Groeneweg, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)
  • Fred Gorrell, AAFC
  • Brian Gray, AAFC
  • Jane Taylor, AAFC
  • Tom Rosser, AAFC
  • Gilles Saindon, AAFC

Industry Co-Chairs

  • Alison Robertson (Horticulture)
  • Jack Greydanus for Benoît Fontaine (Poultry)
  • Carey Bonnell (Seafood)
  • Daniel Vielfaure (Food Processors)
  • Dennis Laycraft (Beef; Agri-SubCommittee on Food Safety)
  • Jeff Reid (Seed)
  • John Ross (Pork)
  • Kelly Dobson (Special Crops)
  • Lee Moats (Pulses)
  • Murray McLaughlin (Industrial Bioproducts)
  • Paddy Doherty (Organic)
  • Rick White (Grains)
  • Rod Scarlett (Bee Health)

Government Co-Chairs

  • Christiane Deslauriers, AAFC (Industrial Bioproducts)
  • Della Johnston, AAFC (Horticulture)
  • Francesco Del Bianco, AAFC (Beef)
  • Katherine MacDonald, AAFC (Sheep)
  • Kathleen Donohue, AAFC (Bee Health)
  • Doug Forsyth, AAFC (Pork)
  • Marco Valicenti, AAFC (Grains; Poultry)
  • Nadia Bouffard, DFO (Seafood)
  • Ray Edwards, AAFC (Special Crops)

Guest Speakers

  • Kim McConnell, AdFarm (by phone)
  • Murad Al-Katib, Agri-Food EST (by phone)

Sector Leads

  • Donald Boucher, AAFC
  • Glenda Taylor, AAFC
  • Jarrett Goodwin for Steve Lavergne, AAFC
  • Sylvie Millette LeDuc, AAFC

Federal Support

  • Ron Gerold, AAFC
  • Michael Ash, AFFC
  • Shane Campbell, AAFC
  • Inge Vander Horst, AAFC
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