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Fifteenth meeting of the Grains Roundtable: Record of decision

March 29, 2018 – Toronto, Ontario

Key decision points

  • Grains Roundtable (GRT) members endorsed the "Grain Sector Input to the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table" submission.
  • GRT industry members will prepare and send a letter to the Government of Canada highlighting the urgency for leadership on value creation in cereals breeding.
  • GRT members endorsed a letter to be sent to Minister MacAulay, signed by the industry co-chairs of the GRT and the Seed Sector Value Chain Roundtable, on the subject of driving innovation in plant breeding innovations.
  • GRT members endorsed the Terms of Reference for the re-instituted Food and Feed Safety Working Group.

A full listing of action items / decisions may be found in Annex A.

Introductions

  • The Co-Chairs welcomed the approximately 60 industry participants, six provincial government representatives and 18 federal government representatives participating in person and by WebEx.
  • The meeting agenda was approved as circulated and an update was provided on the action items from the GRT meeting held on November 1, 2017.

Federal Government Updates

  • An update was provided on the federal government initiatives with a focus on the Federal Budget 2018, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), Science Clusters, and the next Value Chain Roundtable (VCRT) All Chairs meeting taking place on April 27, 2018 in Ottawa.
  • In relation to the Federal Budget 2018, industry requested (i) more information on the three year process of modernizing the regulatory framework for agri-food and aquaculture as it becomes available and (ii) the proposal for a stronger diplomatic presence and trade promotion in China / Asia.

Value Creation Models for Cereals Breeding

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) presented analysis on the two value creation for cereals breeding model options as recommended by the GRT Value Creation Working Group and endorsed by the GRT members in November 2017.
  • Industry was pleased with the analysis completed to date.
  • Industry encouraged the federal government to provide leadership on this initiative and to clearly communicate the process and the timelines going forward.
  • The GRT agreed to prepare and send a letter to Minister MacAulay highlighting the urgency for leadership on value creation.

Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table

  • Industry input was sought on bold and actionable ideas that industry and governments can undertake to remove barriers to innovation and improve competitiveness as input to the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table (EST).
  • The Canada Grains Council led a Roundtable discussion on the GRT draft input and members endorsed the submission.
  • Input into this process will be very important as Canada’s grain sector will be a key driver in meeting the target of $75 billion in agri-food exports by 2025.
  • GRT members noted appreciation for the efforts of the Canada Grains Council.
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) will inquire into the possibility of sharing all VCRT input into the Agri-Food EST with GRT members prior to the VCRT All Chairs meeting being held on April 27, 2018 and will coordinate a conference call to discuss the outcomes of the All Chairs meeting.

Maximum Residue Limits and Pesticide Approval

  • This session was a follow-up to the panel discussion on Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) and pesticide re-evaluation at the GRT meeting held in November 2017.
  • Updates were provided on pesticide re-evaluation in Canada and the European Union (EU) and AAFC provided an overview on the industry-government collaboration to mitigate trade risks related to pesticide MRLs.
  • Industry expressed concern that with increased trade protectionism by some farm groups and governments in the EU, the policy on MRLs and pesticide re-evaluation, could put Canadian producers at risk of losing access to key crop protection products (as a result of decisions that are non-science based) that are currently widely used in Canada.
  • As a result, these decisions could also negatively impact investment in new crop protection products and technology in Canada.
  • AAFC will provide GRT members with a link to the documents on key regulatory issues currently facing the EU as referenced in the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) presentation.
  • GRT industry members endorsed the Re-Evaluation Concerns White Paper as presented and will use the paper in support of renewed advocacy efforts.
  • GRT industry members supported the efforts being made towards the development of a specific advocacy strategy to build momentum internationally to improve countries recognition of international standards for pesticide MRLs and viewed this as a priority.
  • Industry expressed appreciation to AAFC, Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for the development of this whole of government approach.

Public Trust

  • The GRT Public Trust Working Group (PTWG) presented a template developed to analyze public trust issues affecting the grains sector.
  • It is expected that this analysis will become a roadmap or action plan to be shared with amplifier groups and other VCRTs for broader actions across sub-sectors to build public trust from an overall Canada food system perspective.
  • The National Manager of the Public Trust Steering Committee presented on the work of the committee, making linkages to the work of the VCRT’s working groups as well as national amplifier groups such as Agriculture in the Classroom, Agriculture More Than Ever, and Farm and Food Care Canada.
  • The GRT endorsed the proposed template to analyze key public trust issues affecting the grains sector and the suggested process going forward.
  • The PTWG will return to the GRT with suggested actions for review and comment.

Plant Breeding Innovations

  • CFIA’s Plant Biosafety Office provided an update on changes to Directive 94-08, assessment criteria for determining environmental safety of plants with novel traits (PNTs). Revisions include: streamlined text and reduced redundancy; stewardship plans for disease resistant plants; and modernized information requirements for similar PNTs. The revised directive is posted online and changes will take effect in June 2018.
  • The Canada Grains Council provided an update on their policy position on Plant Breeding Innovation, noting the regulatory and policy environment must deliver on the dual goals of driving innovation in the crop sector while maintaining market access abroad.
  • Industry noted appreciation for government efforts to seek pathways through the regulatory system and for demonstrating leadership to pursue mutual recognition to reduce asynchronous approvals. Industry also suggested it will be important to undertake proactive engagement both domestically and internationally in this area.
  • Industry members endorsed a draft letter on driving investment in plant breeding innovation to be co-signed by industry chairs of the Grains Roundtable and the Seed Sector Value Chain Roundtable, and submitted to Minister MacAulay.

Trade Negotiations

  • AAFC provided an update on key issues of trade negotiations as well as non-tariff trade barriers and how Canada enforces commitments made in trade agreements.
  • AAFC spoke to North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Brexit, Mercosur, the Pacific Alliance and exploratory trade talks with China.
  • Members expressed the need to be aggressive in addressing trade issues with bi-lateral and multi-lateral trading partners and expressed thanks for the work being done to keep markets open and remove trade barriers.
  • Industry urged Canada to be one of the first six countries to be a signatory to ratify the CPTPP and press to have legislation presented at this spring 2018 Parliamentary session.
  • Industry members were also strongly supportive of the Government of Canada aggressively dealing with the European Union and the Italian governments with regard to actions on Canadian durum.

Food and Feed Safety Working Group

  • A draft Terms of Reference for a re-instituted Food and Feed Safety Working Group (FFSWG) was endorsed by GRT members. About 30 industry members have expressed their interest to participate.
  • Industry noted the need to get this working group off the ground and suggested that they need to be prepared to talk about the working group at the fall meeting.
  • It was suggested that for the fall GRT meeting, one hour should be dedicated for a discussion on food and feed safety. Industry advocated for two government co-chairs, one from CFIA and one from the Canadian Grain Commission, to ensure there is the necessary technical knowledge and insights into the regulatory processes.
  • AAFC will work with the CFIA and the Canadian Grain Commission to confirm federal leadership on the FFSWG.

Climate Change and Environment Working Group

  • The Climate Change and Environment Working Group (CCEWG) spoke to its efforts since the last GRT in November 2017 noting little progress towards the development and implementation of an action plan.
  • There is a view within the industry that given exemptions identified for primary agriculture in recent environmental policy, as well as stronger pressures in other areas such as food and feed safety, public trust and transportation, priority for this effort has diminished.
  • The CCEWG proposed that the working group become dormant for the time being and replaced by four information sessions to take place prior to the fall GRT meeting. These information sessions would include presentations by topic experts and be open to all GRT members/observers.
  • The GRT endorsed this proposal.

Conclusion

  • The next meeting of the GRT is proposed to take place in Ottawa on October 25, 2018.

Annex A: Action items and recommendations

Meeting / Item Number Action Items Responsibility Timelines
15-1 Federal budget 2018:
AAFC to provide more information on details regarding the three-year process of modernizing the regulatory framework for agri-food and aquaculture as it becomes available.
AAFC - SPB October 2018
15-2 Federal budget 2018:
Additional information to be provided on the Budget 2018 proposal for a stronger diplomatic presence and trade promotion in China / Asia as it becomes available.
AAFC – IAB (MAS)
GAC
October 2018
15-3 Value creation in cereals breeding:
GRT industry co-chair to send a letter to the Government of Canada highlighting the urgency of the need for leadership on value creation in cereals breeding.
GRT industry co-chair October 2018
15-4 Agri-food economic strategy table:
The GRT to hold a conference call to receive a debrief on the outcomes of the Value Chain Roundtable All Chairs meeting being held on April 27, 2018.
GRT - IED May 2018
15-5 Agri-food economic strategy table:
The input of individual Value Chain Roundtables to the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table be provided to GRT members.
AAFC - IED May 2018
15-6 Agri-food economic strategy table:
The GRT endorses the amended grain sector input to the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table and requested the submission be made by March 31, 2018.
AAFC-IED March 2018
15-7 Agri-food economic strategy table:
The GRT committed to providing industry input to implement or to further develop recommendations from the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table.
GRT industry members December 2018
15-8 MRLs & pesticide approvals:
AAFC will provide the web link to documents on key regulatory issues currently facing the EU as referenced in the European Crop Protection Agency presentation.
AAFC - GAOD April 2018
15-9 MRLs & pesticide approvals:
GRT industry members endorsed the Re-Evaluation Concerns White Paper which will be used for renewed advocacy with senior federal government officials and at the political level.
GRT industry members Ongoing
15-10

Public trust:
The GRT endorsed the proposed template to analyze key public trust issues affecting the grains sector and the suggested process going forward.

The GRT provided the following direction to the working group:

  • continue to analyze priorities affecting the grain sector and identify root causes, cross-cutting linkages, and prioritize actions on key public trust issues.
  • the working group will return to the GRT with suggested actions for review and comment (completed templates by December 2018 and proposed actions by March 2019).

Next steps could include a proposal on the subject of Public Trust be considered for application under CAP programs.

Public Trust WG

October 2018

Spring 2019

15-11 Plant breeding innovations:
The GRT industry members support sending a letter to the Minister of Agriculture on the subject of driving investment in plant breeding innovation in Canada. This letter to be co-signed by the industry co-chairs of the Seed Sector VCRT and GRT.
GRT and Seed Sector VCRT April 2018
15-12 Food and feed safety working group:
The GRT will dedicate one hour for a discussion on food and feed safety at the fall GRT meeting.
AAFC - GAOD October 2018
15-13 Food and feed safety working group:
AAFC will work with the CFIA and the Canadian Grain Commission to confirm federal leadership on the Food and Feed Safety Working Group.
AAFC - SDAD October 2018
15-14

Climate change & the environment WG:
GRT endorsed the recommendation that the Climate Change and Environment Working Group be wound down with information sessions offered on subjects such as:

  • AAFC analysis of carbon pricing on primary agriculture
  • Update on the Clean Fuel Standard
  • Update on the federal backstop elements and provincial carbon pricing plans

Update on federal and provincial carbon offset programs

Climate Change & the Environment WG December 2018
15-15 Trade relations:
The GRT requests that Canada respond publicly and aggressively against measures being taken by international trading partners [for example, the Italy pasta Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) measure] that is leading to increased protectionism and is harmful to trade relations.
Industry members of GRT October 2018
15-16 Trade negotiations:
The GRT recommends that Canada be one of the first six countries to be a signatory to ratify the CPTPP and press to have legislation presented at this spring 2018 Parliamentary session.
Industry members of GRT October 2018
15-17 Trade negotiations:
GRT members interested in the AAFC regularly scheduled trade updates are invited to participate (please follow the instructions provided in the GRT materials on steps to enroll).
GRT members October 2018

Annex B: Participants

Co-chairs

  • Rick White, Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA)
  • Marco Valicenti, AAFC

Industry members

  • Art Enns, Prairie Oat Growers Association
  • Brian Innes, Canola Council of Canada
  • Cam Dahl, Cereals Canada
  • Carl Potts, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (by phone)
  • Catherine Scovil, Canadian Canola Growers Association
  • Doug Robertson, Western Barley Growers Association
  • Erin Armstrong, Canterra Seeds
  • Glyn Chancey, Canadian Seed Growers Association
  • Gordon Bacon, Pulse Canada
  • Gordon Harrison, Canadian National Millers Association
  • Hannah Konschuh, Alberta Wheat Commission
  • Harvey Brooks, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
  • Ian Affleck, CropLife Canada
  • Janice Tranberg, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission
  • Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley
  • Jeff Nielsen, Grain Growers of Canada
  • Jillian MacDonald, Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission
  • Jim Everson, Canola Council of Canada
  • Jim Smolik, Cargill
  • Kevin Hursh, Inland Terminal Association of Canada
  • Lynn Jacobson, Alberta Federation of Agriculture
  • Marion McBride, Farmer Direct Co-op Ltd. (by phone)
  • Markus Haerle, Grain Farmers of Ontario
  • Michael Delaney, Atlantic Grains Council
  • Mickey Palfy, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan
  • Pam de Rocquigny, Manitoba Corn Growers Association and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association
  • Paul Hetherington, Baking Association of Canada
  • Phil de Kemp, Malting Industry Association of Canada
  • Richard Wansbutter, Viterra (by phone)
  • Ron Davidson, Soy Canada
  • Roy VanWyk, Canadian Seed Institute (by phone)
  • Susan Abel, Food and Consumer Products of Canada
  • Todd Lewis, Canadian Federation of Agriculture
  • Tyler Bjornson, Canada Grains Council
  • Wayne Thompson, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
  • William van Tassel, Producteurs de grains du Québec

Provincial government members

  • Djiby Bocar Sall, Ministère de l'Agriculture des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (by phone)
  • Hugh Berges, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • James Street, Ministry of Agriculture, Province of British Columbia (by phone)
  • Linda Roy, Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec (by phone)
  • Neil Blue, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (by phone)
  • Penny McCall, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Federal government members

  • Jocelyn Beaudette, Canadian Grain Commission (by phone)
  • Steve Lavergne, AAFC (by phone)

Guests / Speakers

  • Carla St-Croix, AAFC
  • Darcie Doan, AAFC (by phone)
  • Denis Landreville, AAFC (by phone)
  • Heather Shearer, CFIA (by phone)
  • Kevin Bosc, Coceral EU (by phone)
  • Krista Thomas, Canada Grains Council
  • Mark Walker, CCGA
  • Myrna Grahn, Public Trust Steering Committee
  • Peter Day, European Crop Protection Agency (by phone)
  • Pierre Petelle, CropLife

Federal support

  • Erin Bureau, AAFC
  • Sylvie Brulé, AAFC
  • Tony McDougall, AAFC
  • Verna Mitura, AAFC

Industry observers

  • Alan Schlachter, CropLife
  • Barry Senft, Grain Farmers of Ontario
  • Brian Treacy, Monsanto
  • Chris Davison, Syngenta
  • Claudio Feulner, Canadian Seed Trade Association
  • Dean Dias, Canadian International Grains Institute (by phone)
  • Doug Miller, Canadian Seed Growers Association
  • Doyle Wiebe, SaskCanola
  • Fraser Gilbert, SGS – Agriculture and Food
  • Garth Patterson, Western Grains Research Foundation
  • Jordan Hillier, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
  • Justin Jenner, Keystone Agricultural Producers
  • Laura Reiter, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
  • Lauren Benoit, Young Farmer
  • Mark Huston, Soy Canada
  • Michelle McMullen, Bayer CropScience Inc.
  • Shannon Sereda, Alberta Barley
  • Sharla Pearce, BC Grain Producers Association (by phone)
  • Sonya Jenkins, Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (by phone)
  • Tom Steve, Alberta Wheat Commission
  • Tyler McCann, Grain Growers of Canada

Federal government observers

  • Anthony Parker, CFIA (by phone)
  • Jon Friesen, Canadian Grain Commission (by phone)
  • Brian Rattray, AAFC
  • Emily Silk, AAFC
  • Felicitas Katepa-Mupondwa, AAFC
  • Giuliano Tolusso, AAFC (by phone)
  • Holly Mayer, AAFC (by phone)
  • Jason Baillargeon, AAFC (by phone)
  • Jason Fradette, AAFC (by phone)
  • Justin Sugawara, AAFC
  • Lynn Fortin, AAFC Brussels (by phone)
  • Maguessa Morel-Laforce, Canadian Grain Commission
  • Patricia Korosi, AAFC
  • Peter Neufeld, AAFC
  • Simone Gobeil, AAFC (by phone)
  • Sonya Agbessi, Health Canada (by phone)
  • Stephen Smith, AAFC
  • Shane Campbell (by phone)
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