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Thirty-fourth meeting of the Pork Value Chain Roundtable: Record of decision

May 8 to 9, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Key decision points

  • Sustainability Working Group will meet to discuss next steps (that is, communication, actions to be taken on the Life Cycle Assessment) for the next Pork Value Chain Roundtable (PVCRT).
  • The Industry Co-Chair will write a letter to the Minister Bibeau outlining key priorities and funding requirements to address African Swine Fever (ASF).
  • Discussion between the beef and pork sectors at joint roundtable meetings was positive. Future combined meetings of the beef and pork tables are worth consideration.

A full listing of action items can be found in Annex A.

Introductions

  • The agenda and last meeting action items were reviewed.
  • It was decided that action 33-2 (The PVCRT to formally communicate its support for continued work of the Regulatory Cooperation Council [RCC] and to request that RCC attend the next PVCRT to present its workplan) from the October 11 to 12, 2018 meeting, will be kept on the forward agenda.

Pork Sustainability – Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

  • Key messages from the LCA for the hog/pork sector that was completed by Groupe AGECO in January 2019 were presented to members. Key messages included; Canadian pork production footprint is among the lowest of other pork producing nations and further incremental and transformative improvement has the potential to deliver continued reductions over the next decade.
  • Potential next steps could include defining science-based reduction targets, and developing tools, platforms or programs for evaluating and promoting best management practices.

Action item: Sustainability Working Group will meet to discuss next steps (that is, communication approach, further actions needed) for the next PVCRT.

Action item: Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC) will provide additional information to the PVCRT on the objectives and results from their life cycle assessment of certain feed ingredients.

African Swine Fever (ASF)

  • Participants shared thoughts and perspectives from the ASF Forum held on April 30 and May 1, 2019.
  • Members identified priority action areas using the four pillars from the ASF Framework: Preparedness Planning, Enhanced Biosecurity, Business Continuity and Risk communications.

Action item: The input from the breakout sessions will be compiled and sent to all PVCRT members.

Action item: PVCRT Industry Co-Chair will write a letter to the Minister Bibeau highlighting key priorities and funding requirements for ASF.

The following information covers the joint session between the Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) and the Pork Value Chain Roundtable.

Agri-SubCommitee on Food Safety (ASFS)

The BVCRT Industry Co-chair provided a brief update on the ASFS. This subcommittee is made up of industry representatives and the four federal departments/agencies that have a role in food safety. Their goal is to strengthen relationships among all food safety stakeholders and help contribute to the continuous improvement of food safety policies and standards.

All Chairs Forum Debrief

The All Chairs Forum met on April 16, 2019. Members discussed roundtable revitalization, labour issues and the future vision of the Economic Strategy Tables (EST).

Value Chain Roundtable (VCRT) Revitalization

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) shared an overview of the Value Chain Roundtable revitalization initiatives. Industry stakeholders found value in the joint Beef and Pork session and were open to considering a potential animal protein amalgamation as there are many cross-cutting issues. Issues related to representation and the possible inclusion of the poultry and sheep sectors will require additional information.

There were concerns around how provincial governments will fit in with revitalization and encouraged a discussion at the upcoming Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) meeting.

Both sectors want the new model to include separate meetings that address commodity-specific issues.

Industry members stressed the importance of having federal regulators at the table.

Labour

AAFC is actively engaged with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on the labour file to ensure labour challenges experienced by the agriculture sector are understood. A number of initiatives have begun, or will be launched in summer 2019, and a one-page summary is provided (Labour Backgrounder) in Annex A.

All roundtable members were encouraged to read the What We Heard report from ESDC.

Industry raised concerns about the implication of the cap on processors’ capacity to access workers through the Agri-Food pilot.

Action item: (Beef and Pork)
BVCRT and PVCRT participants will draft a letter to the Ministers of ESDC and IRCC (copying Minister of AAFC) to highlight the impact of the systemic and critical labour shortage facing the Canadian agriculture and ag food sector. In particular, it will focus on solutions to pathways to permanent residency. For example, the success of the new agri-food pilot in overcoming these challenges for processing depends on plants being exempt from ESDC’s cap limits.

Responsibility is Industry Co-chairs for Beef and Pork Roundtables. Timeframe is June 30, 2019

EST – Phase 2

The Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table is moving into Phase 2 of implementation. Both the Fall Economic Statement and the 2019 Federal Budget responded to the EST’s ambitious targets and roundtables can play a leading role in furthering the EST’s recommendations. A regulatory roadmap is being drafted and is planned for release by the end of June 2019.

Linkages between the Agri-Food EST and the National Beef Strategy

National Cattle Feeders’ Association prepared a discussion paper that illustrates numerous synergies between the Agri-Food EST and the National Beef Strategy. It was agreed that BVCRT members will continue to strengthen the Agri-Food EST’s goals and will work to ensure priorities can be effectively advanced.

Trade and market diversification

BVCRT and PVCRT members were provided with updates on trade agreements and negotiations, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the European Union (EU) and China. Highlights included:

  • The Assistant Deputy Minister from the International Affairs Branch (IAB) shared an overview of its trade initiatives. While trade disputes are more complex currently (protectionism, reluctance to adhere to science-based evidence, dispute mechanisms) the IAB structure is advantageous because it can address both trade and regulatory issues at a faster pace than in the past. Industry members agreed that the global trade environment is tense, and they value the collaborative work that is required from both government and industry.
  • Several Asia-Pacific economies, such as Thailand, South Korea and Taiwan, have informally expressed their interest in joining the CPTPP.
  • Trade policy with China continues to be challenging.
  • The EU has very specific market preferences and ongoing issues, such as carcass washes (beef) and vet certifications/drugs, will need to be addressed.

Disease Management

A variety of issues were discussed under disease management. Key elements were:

  • The Animal Health Canada Working Group continues to make progress and there is a plan to present its collaborative approach on animal health governance to the FPT Ministers in July 2019. Its work plan includes an assessment/review of national and international animal health initiatives as well the identification of compensation and insurance options. The Working Group is also reviewing a variety of animal disease models from previous animal health response activities (disease outbreaks) and will apply some lessons learned to the management of African swine fever (ASF). Industry members noted the reality of ASF is challenging without a governance model and stressed the importance of getting Animal Health Canada fully activated. As a result, a high-level government and industry "Champions Steering Committee" will be established. Ongoing outreach to industry stakeholders and FPT governments was also recommended.

Although members of the Pork Value Chain Roundtable are fully engaged in ASF, a summary of issues/lessons learned was provided to both the beef and pork roundtable members. A key recommendation for all stakeholders in the meat sector was to engage cohesively on an emergency management action plan.

  • Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) shared a strategy on the potential merits of a foot and Mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank for Canada. An outbreak of FMD in Canada would result in immediate closure of borders/export markets followed by an extended (for example, 18-month) period prior to border reopening. Recommendations proposed:
    • The Livestock Market Interruption Strategy (LMIS) Steering Committee, continue its work on vaccination and recovery strategies.
    • Continued discussions for an enhanced investment in a vaccine bank through the LMIS Steering Committee.
  • Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) officials shared information on the Humane Transport Regulations, which are scheduled to come into effect in February 2020. Industry members identified a significant number of challenges around these new regulations and saw them as a great burden for industry and negative for animal welfare. While ranchers and pork producers are open to changes to the regulations (clearer language, outcome-based objectives, removal of obsolete requirements), they stated the current regulations are effective. CFIA agreed to participate in a new working group to review the interpretive guidance document with industry in an effort to address industry concerns.

Action item: (Beef and Pork)
In collaboration with CFIA, BVCRT and PVCRT participants will form a time-limited task force to further the discussion on the impact and implementation of the Humane Transport Regulations including enforcement, revision of the interpretive guide and the examination of new science.

Responsibility is members of BVCRT, PVCRT, CFIA, AAFC. Timeframe is fall 2019.

  • CFIA provided information about antimicrobial alternatives, approvals and new feed products. The Pan Canadian Action Plan will be released in summer 2019 but CFIA is also committed to examining options for faster approvals of prebiotic feed additives through an industry-government working group called the Canadian Animal Health Products Regulatory Advisory Committee (CAHPRAC). Industry members were concerned about the lengthy backlog of products that needed approval and recommended increased resources as well as a triage process to help speed up the process through government machinery.

Action item: (Beef and Pork)
CAHPRAC will work with CFIA and Health Canada to identify feed and vet drug priorities that can influence the regulatory process. CAHPRAC will report back to the next roundtable meeting.

Responsibility is CAHPRAC and timeframe is winter 2020.

Protein Demand

The Beef Industry Co-chair led a discussion about the global demand for protein and identified where opportunities exist. Industry members would like Health Canada to address Front of Package labelling and provide direction from the federal government on how cultured proteins will be labelled and regulated.

The CCA outlined how beef and pork stakeholders can harmonize with key sectors in the food chain.

Action item: (Beef and Pork)
With the revised VCRT design, the BVCRT and PVCRT recommends a format that includes a (half day) commodity specific session to be held in conjunction with the proposed animal protein round table.

A cross-cutting group on sustainability that involves both livestock and crops is also recommended recognizing the benefits of a balanced agriculture system in Canada.

Conclusion

  • The next PVCRT meeting will be held in 2020, location to be determined.
  • Refer to Annex B for the list of participants.

Annex A: Action items

Labour Background

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is actively engaged with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on the labour file to ensure that the labour challenges experienced by the agriculture sector is understood. ESDC completed a review of the Primary Ag stream of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in fall 2018. They hosted approximately 14 engagement sessions with agriculture stakeholders and released a What We Hear Report in winter 2019.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), in conjunction with ESDC, created a Service Delivery Working Group (SDWG) in June 2018 following the Minister’s Roundtable in May 2018. The SDWG addresses administrative issues faced by the sector such as Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), processing delays and triaging urgent cases faced by the agriculture sector through dedicated Service Canada offices. The SDWG was also used to showcase the new LMIA on-line pilot that is expected to start to be released in June 2019. It will transition from a paper-based process to an on-line platform thereby speeding up processing and reducing delays caused by incomplete or incorrectly completed forms.

IRCC has launched/announced several immigration pilots to transition and bring in workers as permanent residents to help respond to labour market gaps:

  • The Atlantic pilot continues to work with employers in Atlantic Canada to respond to their specific needs.
  • Rural and Northern Immigration pilot, announced in February 2019, focuses on labour gaps in rural and northern communities with economic development plans.
  • The Agri-food pilot, announced in Budget 2019, will bring in full-time, non-seasonal agriculture workers.

IRCC also announced an additional 2,000 spaces under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which increases the opportunity to transition intermediate skilled workers to permanent residency. AAFC has been working with provincial counterparts to connect the agriculture reps with the respective immigration reps so that the PNP can be leveraged to address the needs of the agriculture sector.

ESDC is also working on proposed program improvements based on the consultations, and are looking at such things as simplifying the TFWP, examining the National Commodities list, and outlining a recognized employer model. ESDC has also committed to re-consult with industry on the proposed changes prior to implementing them, which is a change from how program changes were made in 2014.

Annex B: Participants

Co-chairs

  • John Ross, Industry Co-Chair, Canadian Pork Council
  • Marco Valicenti, Co-Chair, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Industry members

  • Tony Millington, Conestoga Meat Packers (by teleconference)
  • Neil Ketilson, Saskatchewan Pork Development Board
  • Sylvain Fournaise, Olymel
  • Martin Waldner, Alberta Pork
  • Rory McAlpine, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
  • Brian Sullivan, Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement
  • Jorge Correa, Canadian Meat Council
  • Chris White, Canadian Meat Council
  • Melissa Dumont, Animal Nutrition Association of Canada
  • Martin Lavoie, Canada Pork International
  • Vincent Cloutier, Les éleveurs de porcs du Québec
  • René Roy, Les éleveurs de porcs du Québec
  • Eric Schwindt, Ontario Pork
  • Ben Woolley, Sunterra Farms
  • Rick Bergmann, Canadian Pork Council
  • Stewart Cressman, Swine Innovation Porc
  • Tim Faveri, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
  • Darcy Fitzgerald, Alberta Pork

Provincial government members

  • Carlyle Bennett, Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiative (by phone)

Federal government members

  • Patti Negrave, AAFC
  • Geoff Adams, Global Affairs Canada

Guests/Speakers

  • Frederic Seppey, AAFC
  • Christoph Wand, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Fred Gorrell, International Affairs Branch, AAFC
  • Evan Lewis, AAFC
  • Axel Ndayisaba, AAFC
  • Rob McNabb
  • Aline Dimitri, CFIA
  • Michelle Illing, CFIA
  • Manisha Mehrotra, Health Canada
  • Mary Ann Binnie, Canadian Pork Council

Federal support

  • Shane Campbell, AAFC
  • Claudine Routhier, AAFC
  • Sylvie Brûlé, AAFC

Provincial government observers

  • Scott Stothers, Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiative
  • Ron Bazylo, Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiative
  • Leloni Scott, Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiative

Industry observers

  • Gabriela Guigou, Canadian Pork Council
  • Mark Chambers, Sunterra Farms
  • Megan Bergman, National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council
  • Pablo Otero Mendez, Retail Ready Foods Inc.
  • Phyllis MacCallum, Canadian Pork Council

Federal government observers

  • Marty Seymour, Farm Credit Canada
  • Darlene McBain
  • Francois Bédard, AAFC
  • Cathy Hao, AAFC
  • Sylvie Thévenin, AAFC
  • Eric Van Bochove, AAFC
  • Andrea Ellis, AAFC
  • Debbie Barr, CFIA
  • Lisa Wellman-Patterson, AAFC
  • Julie Acheson, AAFC
  • Dr. Mohit Baxi, CFIA
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