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Seventeenth meeting of the Grains Roundtable: Record of decision

Montreal, Quebec - March 8, 2019

Key decision points

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), in consultation with the Canada Grains Council, will develop a list of deliverables achievable before the rising of the House of Commons in June 2019, based on recommendations from the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table report. A conference call of the Grains Roundtable (GRT) members will be organized to discuss this topic in April 2019.
  • The Industry Co-chair of the GRT will send a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food seeking further clarification on the timelines concerning the review of the Canada Grain Act and Canadian Grain Commission.
  • The GRT supports continued consultation and sees benefits in introducing a Made in Canada value creation model. GRT industry members suggested that AAFC should proceed with an on-line consultation in spring 2019, with documentation (including economic analysis) informed by a producer panel. Any new models to be considered should be evaluated against the core principles developed by the previous Value Creation Working Group and be backed by the Plant Breeders' Rights Act. The GRT Industry Co-chair will send a letter on behalf of the GRT to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food outlining these recommendations.
  • Based on the GRT's Public Trust Working Group action plan, it was recommended to move forward to develop initiatives in the areas of a Code of Practice for the grains sector, access to pesticide application training resources, and communications.

Introductions

  • The Co-chairs welcomed 79 participants to the meeting, including 56 industry members and observers, three federal government members and provincial government members from Saskatchewan and Quebec. In addition, approximately 30 industry members, observers and government representatives participated via WebEx.
  • The Industry Co-chair welcomed the GRT's Young Farmer representative to the meeting.
  • It was noted that the "rebooted" Food and Feed Safety Working Group held its first conference call in December 2018. The group intends to meet quarterly to address ongoing and emerging food and feed safety issues.
  • The meeting agenda was approved as circulated and an update was provided on the action items from the GRT meeting held in Ottawa on October 25, 2018.

Federal Government Updates

The Federal Co-chair provided the following updates:

  • Noted that the Government of Canada will announce the Federal Budget on March 19, 2019. AAFC will provide GRT members with a "crosswalk" document that identifies linkages from the Budget to the recommendations from the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table report.
  • Thanked everyone for completing the recent Value Chain Roundtables (VCRTs) revitalization survey. The VCRTs were launched over 15 years ago. It is now time to take stock on how governments can continue to engage with industry while ensuring the engagement remains strategic and addresses the needs of both industry and the government. VCRT options will be shared in advance of the All Chairs meeting in April 2019.
  • Provided information on the Canadian Plant Health Council which was formed in October 2018. The Council has been actively preparing its work plan and has identified three priorities: surveillance; biosecurity; and emergency response. Three working groups have been formed for each priority area. AAFC has identified representatives for each of the working groups. The Canada Grains Council and CropLife represent the interests of the grains sector on this Council. The grains industry participation in the working groups was encouraged.
  • Highlighted that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) selected the Protein Innovation Cluster (PIC) as one of the five successful superclusters. PIC's four main pillars include: crop breeding; sustainable crop production; value-added processing; and market development.
  • Identified two key areas that are being addressed as part of the Regulatory Review process: Plant Breeding Innovation (PBI) and the Canada Grain Act and Canadian Grain Commission review.

Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table (EST)

  • The Federal Co-chair provided a presentation on the government progress to date related to the recommendations of the Agri-Food EST report. A target was established by the Agri-food EST that Canada will achieve $85 billion in agri-food exports and $140 billion in domestic sales by 2025.
    • Action Item 17-1: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) will provide an overview of Budget 2019 and how it relates to the recommendations of the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table.
    • Action Item 17-2: GRT members are invited to put forward names of those interested in participating in the Canadian Plant Health Council or its working groups (Biosecurity, Surveillance, and Emergency Response).
    • Action Item 17-3: AAFC will provide a report to the GRT on how investments announced in the Fall Economic Statement around trade commissioner service and supporting exporters will help support the grains sector internationally.
    • Action Item 17-4: AAFC, in consultation with the Canada Grains Council will develop a list of deliverables achievable before the rising of the House of Commons in June 2019, based on recommendations from the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table. This list will be discussed at a conference call with the GRT.

Canada Grain Act and Canadian Grain Commission modernization

  • AAFC was tasked by Minister MacAulay to lead a review of the Canada Grain Act (CGA) and the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). In the presentation to the GRT it was noted:
    • It has been 13 years since the CGA was last comprehensively reviewed.
    • AAFC will assess the work done in past reviews and modernization attempts, identify core areas of interest for further study and consultation, and undertake analysis.
    • Chief Commissioner of the CGC indicated the organization is committed to further modernization and will support AAFC in this work.
  • Discussion focused on the industry wanting to have timelines identified for the CGA/CGC review. The GRT industry members urged AAFC and the CGC to consider the views and needs of producers in the review and modernization process.
    • Action Item 17-5: AAFC will provide a status report of the CGC modernization exercise to the GRT (see action item 17-4).
    • Action Item 17-6: The Industry Co-chair of the GRT will send a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, seeking further clarification on the timelines around the CGC modernization exercise.
    • Action Item 17-7: On the Canada Grain Act and CGC review, GRT members are encouraged to contact Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to provide input on internal analysis currently underway at AAFC.

Value Creation

  • AAFC and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provided an overview on the series of in-person value creation engagement sessions held in late 2018 and early 2019 (Winnipeg, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Charlottetown). AAFC and CFIA officials have also travelled across Canada this winter to engage more than 2,000 producers and other cereal sector stakeholders at farm meetings, agricultural trade shows and other events.
  • An overview of the producer panel and content being developed for the on-line consultations and the economic analysis assumptions and early results was presented.
  • In addition to the two GRT developed value creation models, members from the GRT were given the opportunity to advance and discuss other models for consideration. It was noted in the discussion that newly proposed models should meet the same rigour of analysis against the principles and parameters as defined by the previous Value Creation Working Group.
  • Discussion focused on the timelines of the on-line consultations and that if it is to be completed this spring, in-person industry consultations would need to be completed before seeding season.
    • Action Item 17-8: The GRT supports continued consultation and sees benefits in introducing a Made in Canada value creation model.
    • Action Item 17-9: The GRT makes the following recommendations to AAFC:
      • AAFC should proceed with an online consultation this spring, with documentation (including economic analysis) informed by a producer panel.
      • Any new models to be considered should be evaluated against the core principles developed by the previous Value Creation Working Group, and be backed by the Plant Breeders' Rights Act.
      • Joint GRT/government face-to-face sessions as needed.
    • Action Item 17-10: The GRT Industry Co-chair will send a letter on behalf of the GRT to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food outlining the recommendations endorsed in Action Item 17-9.

Public Trust

  • The Federal Co-chair invited the Public Trust Working Group Co-chairs and Synthesis Agri-Food Network to present on the proposed work plan of the Working Group which has been informed by the research project "Public Trust in the Canadian Grains Value Sector".
  • Synthesis provided a presentation on the research project with the objective of developing a five-year strategic and action plan for the grains value chain with a focus on cereal grains, oilseeds and pulses. The plan is organized into three pillars: "Doing the Right Thing"; Trusted Assurance / Verification Systems; and Communication.
  • The GRT was very supportive of the project and offered recommendations for each pillar making connections to efforts already being undertaken by other organizations or provincial governments.
  • It was noted that the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) and the GRT Public Trust Working Group are working closely together in these efforts.
    • Action Item 17-11: The GRT supports the following elements of the preliminary action plan presented by the Public Trust Working Group, and recommends moving forward to continue to develop these initiatives, including budget, funding and implementation plan:
      • 1.1 Code of Practice
      • 1.2 Access to Pesticide Application Training Resources
      • 3.2 Government role in Communications
    • Action Item 17-12: Other elements of the proposed action plan not included under 17-11 will be further explored with the Public Trust Steering Committee and the Public Trust Working Group.
    • Action Item 17-13: The GRT endorsed the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crop's (CRSC) proposal to have the CRSC lead on the development of a code of practice for the grains sector.

Improvements to Regulations on Pesticides

  • Canada Grains Council provided an update on the significant engagement with their members and partners in the development of the Canada Grains Council policy position on the role of Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in supporting innovation. The main recommendations include: earlier consultation by PMRA with stakeholders; create additional data for re-evaluations; reduce number of automatic, non-risk-based re-evaluations; risk/benefit to be part of re-evaluations; additional consultation on endpoints; increase PMRA resources for international trade; and regulatory cooperation.
  • GRT industry members noted their appreciation and support for the work being undertaken by the Canada Grains Council.
  • PMRA presented on their review of the Re-evaluation Program. PMRA has held 17 face-to-face meetings with approximately 140 organizations providing input in the consultation process. Four themes of the review were the focus: stakeholder engagement and transparency in re-evaluations; initiation and prioritization of re-evaluations; scientific assessment and risk management; and alternative models for the re-evaluation process.
  • PMRA is launching a pilot program with growers and registrants of minor-use crops to enhance agricultural stakeholder engagement in re-evaluation decisions which could be possible models for moving forward.

Plant Breeding Innovation

  • AAFC and the Canada Grains Council presented on the efforts underway to improve regulatory guidance and transparency on plant breeding innovations.
  • The Biotech Working Group (BWG) under the GRT is leading an industry/government dialogue to identify priority challenges to plant breeding innovation and options/solutions that work for both industry and government.
  • A smaller "Technical Group" struck under the BWG is carrying out detailed analysis needed to further refine issue identification and propose options/solutions to be endorsed by the BWG, GRT and the All Chairs Forum.
  • The GRT strongly supported the work done to date by the BWG and Technical Group and asked for specific timelines for when additional process by which innovators can request a novelty opinion can be completed.
    • Action Item 17-14: The GRT requests the Biotech Working Group (BWG) provide the GRT with a draft final process by which innovators can "request a novelty opinion" from regulatory authorities, as outlined in work item #2 of the BWG Technical Group work plan by June 2019.

Conclusion

  • The next meeting of the GRT will be planned for winter 2019 or early in 2020.
  • A conference call of the full GRT will be planned prior to the election to discuss options for the next GRT meeting.

Annex A: Participants

Co-chairs

  • Rick White, Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA)
  • Nathalie Durand, AAFC

Industry members

  • Tyler Bjornson, Canada Grains Council
  • Brian Innes, Canola Council of Canada
  • Cam Dahl, Cereals Canada
  • Carl Potts, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (by phone)
  • Doug Robertson, Western Barley Growers Association (by phone)
  • Dave Carey, Canadian Seed Trade Association
  • Erin Armstrong, Canterra Seeds (by phone)
  • Jim Smolik, Cargill
  • Ian Affleck, CropLife Canada
  • Jeff Nielsen, Grain Growers of Canada
  • Jillian MacDonald, Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission
  • Kevin Hursh, Inland Terminal Association of Canada
  • Lynn Jacobson, Alberta Federation of Agriculture
  • Markus Haerle, Grain Farmers of Ontario
  • Michael Delaney, Atlantic Grains Council
  • Ron Davidson, Soy Canada
  • Pam de Rocquigny, Manitoba Corn Growers Association and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association
  • Roy VanWyk, Canadian Seed Institute
  • Wayne Thompson, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
  • Marion McBride, Farmer Direct Co-op Ltd. (by phone)
  • Steve McCabe, Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada
  • Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley Commission
  • Susan Abel, Food and Consumer Products of Canada
  • Charles Fossay, Manitoba Canola Growers Association
  • Phil de Kemp, Barley Council of Canada
  • Garth Patterson, Western Grains Research Foundation
  • Jeff Reid, Secan
  • Harvey Brooks, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (by phone)
  • William Van Tassel, Producteurs de grains du Québec
  • Bill Prybylski, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan
  • Jan Dyer, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Provincial government members

  • Linda Roy, Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec
  • Jonathan Greuel, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Federal government members

  • Patti Miller, Canadian Grain Commission
  • Jocelyn Beaudette, Canadian Grain Commission

Guests / Speakers

  • Rob Hannam, Synthesis Agri-Food Network
  • Gord Kurbis, Canada Grains Council
  • Krista Thomas, Canada Grains Council
  • Tom Rosser, AAFC
  • Michelle Bielik, AAFC
  • Anthony Parker, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Carla St-Croix, AAFC
  • Jason Flint, Health Canada, PMRA
  • Adam Arsenault, AAFC

Industry observers

  • Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Commission
  • Janell Whitley, Canadian Canola Growers Association
  • Caroline Lafontaine, Canadian Seed Growers Association
  • Todd Hames, Alberta Wheat Commission
  • Jan Dyer, Canadian Canola Growers Association
  • Erin Gowriluk, Grain Growers of Canada
  • Dean Dias, Canadian International Grains Institute
  • Lauren Martin, Seed Innovation
  • Fraser Gilbert, SGS
  • Justin Jenner, Keystone Agricultural Producers
  • Laura Reiter, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
  • Katelyn Duncan, Young Farmer
  • Sharla Pearce, BC Grain Producers Association (by phone)
  • Tom Steve, Alberta Wheat Commission
  • Allison Ammeter, Pulse Canada
  • Alan Schlachter, CropLife
  • Murdock McKay, Cotecna
  • Randy Dennis, Cotecna
  • Susie Miller, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (by phone)
  • Mac Ross, Pulse Canada
  • Darren Highfield, Western Grain Elevator Association
  • Wade Hainstock, Prairie Oat Growers Association
  • Shawna Mathieson, Prairie Oat Growers Association (by phone)
  • Barry Senft, Grain Farmers of Ontario
  • Brent Johnson, Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (by phone)
  • Brian Treacy, Bayer Canada
  • Caroline Lafontaine, Canadian Seed Growers Association
  • Karen Churchill, Cereals Canada (by phone)
  • Kelsey Tollefson, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (by phone)
  • Kofi Agblor, Crop Development Centre
  • Olivier Lavigne-Lacroix, Cargill
  • Syeda Khurram, Alberta Barley
  • Sylvain Legay, Prograin (by phone)
  • Chris Davison, Syngenta (by phone)
  • Donovan Howden, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (by phone)

Federal government observers

  • Glenda Taylor, AAFC
  • Brett Maxwell, AAFC
  • Verna Mitura, AAFC
  • Adam Carley, AAFC
  • Austin Mowat, AAFC
  • Brian Rattray, AAFC (by phone)
  • Lars Juergensen, Health Canada, PMRA
  • Emily Silk, AAFC (by phone)
  • Simone Gobeil, Global Affairs Canada
  • Felicitas Katepa-Mupondwa, AAFC
  • Giuliano Tolusso, AAFC (by phone)
  • Sonya Agbessi, Health Canada (by phone)
  • Jason Fradette, AAFC (by phone)
  • Diane Lambert, AAFC (by phone)
  • Chris Tolton, AAFC (by phone)
  • Joynal Abedin, AAFC (by phone)
  • Kaitlyn Kelly, AAFC (by phone)
  • Nicole Mischuk, AAFC (by phone)
  • Isabelle Depault, AAFC (by phone)
  • Dennis Kean, AAFC (by phone)
  • Rick Kush, AAFC (by phone)
  • Kyrstle Patry, AAFC (by phone)
  • Philip Astles, AAFC (by phone)
  • Sylvie Brule, AAFC
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