AAFC to establish water authority, plus new development and funding administration

Federal ministers have received their marching orders from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the 43rd Parliament.

For minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Marie-Claude Bibeau, those orders include several initiatives focused on trade, economic development, tax treatment of farm succession, food waste, and water quality.

The mandate letter lays out what Trudeau’s government prioritizes in the coming months. The full list is below, and includes the establishment of a new entity, Farm and Food Development Canada, to serve as a single point of service for the industry and add “additional capital lending capability,” and a national Canada Water Agency. Risk management and diversifying trade are also mentioned as key areas of attention.

Bibeau, along with her department, is expected to:

  • In collaboration with the provinces and territories, undertake a review of risk management programs, with a special focus on AgriStability. Help producers manage environmental and business risks by providing faster and better adapted support. Draw lessons from recent trade disputes and evidence-based research.
  • Work with the Minister of Finance and farmers on tax measures to facilitate the intergenerational transfer of farms.
  • To support farmers as they succeed and grow, lead the consolidation of existing federal financial and advisory services currently scattered among several agencies. A new entity, Farm and Food Development Canada, will serve as a single point of service, delivering products from across government, with an expanded and enhanced mandate and additional capital lending capability.

Farm Credit Canada’s Trevor Sutter says, “In the days and weeks ahead, Minister Bibeau will provide further details and direction on how FCC will support the new mandate of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. This is a very exciting time for FCC and we look forward to learning more, as we work with the Minister’s office, AAFC and other stakeholders in the days ahead. FCC is well set up for any opportunities the new mandate presents, and we look forward taking on a greater role in helping Canada’s producers and food industry become even more competitive.”

Mandate list continued….

  • Continue to protect supply-managed agricultural sectors and work with them to develop a vision of the future. This will include concluding the work related to full and fair compensation for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, following its ratification.
  • Support the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade in identifying additional tools to help Canada’s agricultural and agri-food businesses export their products and diversify into global markets.
  • Draw on lessons from recent trade disputes and evidence-based research to develop additional capacity within the department to respond to export protections against Canadian agriculture, such as were recently faced by canola, beef and pork producers. This should include the ability to provide faster short-term support for industry when required. Continue to work with the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade to diversify Canada’s export markets.
  • Lead work across government to move forward with the new Food Policy for Canada introduced in Budget 2019. This policy has four areas of near-term action, including:
    • Help Canadian communities access healthy food;
    • Make Canadian food the top choice at home and abroad;
    • Support food security in northern and indigenous communities; and
    • Reduce food waste.
  • Support the Minister of Health to ensure that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency is making science-based decisions that lead to the safe and sustainable use of crop protection products in Canada.
  • Work with the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages to create a new fund to help producers and processors close the technology and infrastructure gap in order to develop domestic and international markets. This fund will be administered through Western Economic Diversification Canada to connect farmers, researchers, agribusinesses and energy companies.
  • Support the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to create a new Canada Water Agency to work together with the provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, local authorities, scientists and others to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean and well-managed.

RealAgriculture will be following up to determine what some of this really means for agriculture programs in the future.

You can read the entire mandate letter, here.

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