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Fourteenth meeting of the Special Crops Value Chain Roundtable (SCVCRT): Record of Decision

December 11, 2018 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Key decision points

  • The meeting focused on work done to date on the proposal put forward by the Value Proposition Working Group of the SCVCRT.
  • Presentations were made by various groups within Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Health Canada on the Economic Strategy Tables, Regulatory Review, the Healthy Eating Strategy and services provided by Market Access Secretariat.
  • Special Crops members agreed to reconvene the Value Proposition Working Group to finalize a proposal for a value proposition scoping exercise for Special Crops for submission to the Industry Engagement Division call for research project proposals

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


  • The federal Co-chair welcomed the new Industry Co-chair to the roundtable.
  • The Co-chairs welcomed approximately 14 industry participants in person and via WebEx. In addition, industry observers, provincial government, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada (HC) representatives also participated.

Federal government updates

  • The Minister of Finance released the Fall Economic Statement (FES) on November 21, 2018. The FES outlined a number of measures that will support agriculture and agri-food sectors. The Co-chair noted that there is strong support for the Economic Strategy Tables (EST) recommendations including removing barriers to trade, regulatory reform, improvements to the tax system, investments in physical infrastructure and data.
  • On November 30, 2018, Canada, the US and Mexico signed the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). The CUSMA includes a number of positive outcomes for Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.
  • AAFC noted that a survey for Value Chain Roundtable modernization had been sent out to all roundtable participants in early November. AAFC is now analyzing the survey results which will be used to modernize the roundtables. AAFC will share the survey results and will come back to the roundtable to discuss possible future roundtable options.

The new Canadian Plant Health Council was launched publically on October 12, 2018. Members were directed to links to the Terms of Reference and the Strategy.

Economic Strategy Tables (EST)

  • AAFC provided an overview of the Final Report of the Economic Strategy Tables. The recommendations focused on labour, innovation and capacity to deliver on the recommendations, as priorities.
  • AAFC stated that there will be a conference call in the first quarter of 2019 to update members on the Economic Strategy Tables 2.0 process. Additional details will be provided.

Economic Sector Profile

  • An overview of the Special Crops Economic Sector Profile 2017 was provided and members provided a brief update of the sectors not listed in the report.
  • The report will be updated with data from 2018.
  • The Federal Co-chair asked if the report could also reflect consumer trends, identify the niche markets and if the members could highlight where there are information gaps.
  • It was noted that the report should give a high level picture of the special crops sector and frame how special crops can help with sustainability.
  • As a result of the discussions during the meeting new crops will be added to the document.

Sector Priorities

  • Each industry member gave a brief presentation of their sectors short-term priorities, opportunities and challenges. Two page presentations from canary seed, the seed sector, hemp, specialty agriculture, mustard, sunflower, and quinoa, plus a verbal update from flax and buckwheat, were reviewed.
  • Common themes will be identified, to clarify areas of common priority for the special crops sector.
  • It was decided that an overarching one to two page document would be drafted capturing the themes and linkages to the Economic Sector Profile.

Market Access/ Market Development Activities

  • AAFC provided an overview of the activities of the Market Access Secretariat within the new International Affairs Branch (IAB). The IAB exists to help the Canadian agriculture industry navigate challenges such as changes and uncertainty of international markets, challenges to the rules-based international system, consumer preferences and competitiveness.
  • Industry members were particularly interested in services they could leverage through the Canada Pavilion Program as well as Canada Brand.
  • The members were encouraged to think about bringing something forward as a group to the Canada Brand program.

Regulatory Readiness

Pre-market assessment and approval of livestock feeds:

  • CFIA gave an summary of the process to assess and approve livestock feed.
  • The purpose of feed assessments is to ensure that feed is efficacious and safe in terms of animal heath, human health and the environment.
  • The current regulations date back to 1983 and are part of the regulatory modernization that is currently underway. Moving forward the focus will be on safety.
  • The presentation included examples of approved feed ingredients (Schedule IV) and flavouring agents (Schedule V).
  • CFIA clarified that pet food is regulated by label only.
  • The Industry Co-chair asked if CFIA had taken on board the recommendation for regulatory agility from the Economic Strategy Tables. CFIA to be asked for a response to this, for the next roundtable meeting.

Regulatory Review of Novel Foods

  • Health Canada provided an overview of the regulatory review process of novel foods.
  • Pre-market assessments are conducted by teams of scientific experts in a number of fields.
  • Industry raised questions about the review process including the official process to change the name of canary seed.
  • The Federal co-chair committed to providing the members with additional information from the First Ministers Meeting on some of the issues that will be discussed in an effort to reduce trade barriers. The co-chair noted the efforts on labeling for Canadian products, trucking standards and organics standards as examples.

Healthy Eating Strategy

  • Health Canada presented the Healthy Eating Strategy which launched in 2016. The update was in response to an action item from the previous Roundtable meeting.
  • The Government of Canada has committed to restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods, eliminate trans fats and reduce salt and improve food labels.
  • Health Canada has committed to collaborate with other federal initiatives such as A Food Policy for Canada.
  • Industry members looked for ways to engage with Health Canada on the strategy and align the Special Crops Value Proposition to the Healthy Eating Strategy.

Regulatory Review

  • AAFC provided the SCVCRT with information on the regulatory review of the agri-food and aquaculture sectors announced as part of Budget 2018. It was noted that this review provides the industry with a valuable opportunity to voice the challenges and opportunities they face when navigating the regulatory system.
  • Industry was very encouraged and asked if hemp, as an ingredient in animal feed, could be used as a test case for the regulatory review. AAFC will follow-up with CFIA on the feasibility of hemp as a test case.

Value Proposition Working Group

  • The members were given an overview of the work done to date by the working group to identify the sector priorities for Special Crops given the shortage of economic data to quantify the economic value, and supplement the economic value with other contributions of the special crops sector to Canadian agriculture.
  • Through the working group, VCRT members were asked to identify and rank the priorities in order of importance (Sustainability, Environmental Benefits, Canada Advantage, Health Benefits, Rural Area Value-jobs).
  • Members were presented with a draft proposal to develop a scoping project on the value proposition priorities for Special Crops.
  • The members agreed to submit a research funding proposal to AAFC to research the indirect benefits of Special Crops.


The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for the spring, 2019.

Annex A: Action items and recommendations

Meeting / Item Number Action Items Responsibility Next Steps / Timelines
14.1 AAFC to circulate Working Group spreadsheet to provide dates of upcoming meetings to facilitate future communication. AAFC Early 2019
14.2 EST 2.0 Teleconference update for all VCRTs. AAFC  1st quarter 2019
14.3 Economic Sector Profile – summary paragraphs from recently added sectors. Industry with facilitation from AAFC Early 2019
14.4 SCVCRT to investigate what market and consumer trend resources are currently available or could be develop with Global Analysis, AAFC.  Industry collaboration with AAFC 1st quarter 2019
14.5 Summary of common themes (1-2 pages) of special crops linking to the sector economic profile. AAFC 2nd quarter 2019
14.6 Investigate opportunities for Canada pavilion and trade show for special crops including both food and fibre opportunities. Industry with input from MISB Prior to next Roundtable

Engage International Affairs Branch (IAB) to identify other global standards certification bodies. For example, the American Society for Testing Material (ASTM).

Identify areas for industry association contribution to FAO and OECD and CODEX.

Industry facilitated by AAFC

Prior to next Roundtable

The Value Proposition Working Group to reconvene to finalize a proposal to develop a scoping project of the value proposition for special crops for submission to the International Affairs Branch (IAB) call for proposals.

Value Proposition Working Group PWG  Mid January 2019
14.9 Tentative
More information on external advisory committee on competitiveness (to all RTs when available).
AAFC 1st Quarter 2019

Follow up items:

  • Confirm with CFIA if hemp grains is approved (grain, fibre, hulls and fractions) for use in companion pet foods.
  • Updated deck and what we heard report from Health Canada (Healthy Eating Strategy) to be distributed to members.
  • Follow up with CFIA on requirements for name labeling, novel foods.
  • Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) submitted an email to AAFC suggesting approval of hemp as a feed ingredient be used as a test case for regulatory review. Follow-up with CFIA is required.
  • Members were encouraged to bring forward potential opportunities forward to the Canada Brand program.

Annex B: Participants


  • Keith Jones, Rowland Farms
  • Marco Valicenti, AAFC

Industry members

  • Ted Haney, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance
  • Cedric MacLeod, Canadian Forage and Grassland Association
  • Connie Kehler, Herb, Spice and Specialty Agriculture
  • Dan Bolton, Northern Quinoa Production Corporation
  • Darcelle Graham, National Sunflower Association of Canada
  • Greg Sundquist, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
  • Kevin Hursh, Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission and Canary Seed Development
  • Gordon Bacon, Pulse Canada
  • Dave Macfarlane, Sakai Spice (by phone)
  • Lorne Kyle, Buckwheat
  • Pete Desai, Mustard 21 (by phone)

Federal government members

  • Simone Gobeil, Global Affairs Canada (by phone)

Provincial government members

  • Holly Dolan, OMAFRA (by phone)

Guests / speakers

  • Monique Rose, AAFC (by phone)
  • Maya Villeneuve, Health Canada (by phone)
  • Matthew Guertin, AAFC (by phone)
  • Sergio Tolusso, CFIA (by phone)
  • Abed Zeibdawi, CFIA (by phone)
  • Neil Strand, Health Canada (by phone)

Federal Support

  • Jarett Goodwin, AAFC
  • Monique Heise, AAFC
  • Adam Carley, AAFC
  • Patricia Korosi, AAFC
  • Glenda Taylor, AAFC

Industry observers

  • Wayne Thompson, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
  • Lauren Martin, Canadian Seed Trade Association (by phone)

Federal government observers

  • Pierre Cormier, AAFC
  • Tami Kowal-Denisenko, AAFC
  • Johanne Kristjanson, AAFC
  • Esther Salvano, AAFC
  • Manjula Bandara, AAFC (by phone)
  • Nicole Mischuk, AAFC (by phone)
  • Sonya Agbessi, Health Canada (by phone)
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