On December 8, the House of Commons Committee on Finance tabled its recommendations to the Minister of Finance for Budget 2018, which include several recommendations essential to our industry, from labour needs to a financial deemed PACA-like trust to more resources for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). CHC has been advocating on your behalf on these issues, through written communications to the Committee, following up during in-person meetings, and by growing key relationships, including with Member of Parliament Wayne Easter, Chair of the Finance Committee.
Beyond the Finance Committee, CHC has been busy connecting with other influential Members of Parliament to ensure our industry voice is heard. During Fall Harvest, we spoke to many parliamentarians about labour shortages (Recommendations 51 & 52) and creating a PACA-like deemed trust (Recommendation 56). CHC has used every consultation as an opportunity to advocate for the following recommendations, and we will continue to push for these and additional requests for Budget 2018.
We believe the committee’s following recommendations will benefit our industry:
Recommendation 48: Build on the recently concluded Canadian Free Trade Agreement and continue to reduce internal trade barriers by pursuing regulatory modernization among the provinces/territories.
Recommendation 49: Pursue bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements.
Note: These agreements will likely address non-tariff trade barriers, ensure access to new markets for Canadian agricultural products, and ensure science-based regulatory standards.
Recommendation 51: Introduce a trusted employer program that would expedite the hiring process for qualified employers that have maintained good standing with the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).
Note: CHC sent a letter requesting this model for both SAWP and Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) AG Stream, and we will continue to pursue this model for both programs.
Recommendation 52: Help Canadian businesses meet their labour force needs by improving the efficiency of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Recommendation 56: Create a perishable agricultural commodities act (PACA) – like deemed trust in Canada.
Recommendation 78: Revise the mandates of the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to include the promotion of Canadian innovation and the establishment of service standards.
Note: CHC will continue to advocate for additional resources so that these institutions, as well as the Pest Management Centre, are able to carry out their mandates, such as re-evaluations, etc., in addition to this recommendation.
Recommendation 79: Consistent with the Advisory Council on Economic Growth (Barton Report) that identified the agri-food products sector as critically important to the Canadian economy, collaborate with that sector to drive agricultural innovation. Collaboration should include long-term and predictable core investments in agricultural research and innovation, renewal and expansion of Canada’s agricultural innovation infrastructure, and a comprehensive human capital strategy that involves the identification of specific skill requirements, among other elements.
There are further recommendations including trade agreements, infrastructure investments, accelerated capital cost allowances, etc., which may directly impact our industry.
Our work is not done, as Budget 2018 will ultimately be decided by the Minister of Finance. We will continue to advocate on your behalf as we consult with Minister Morneau and Finance Canada to ensure Budget 2018 reflects the needs of our industry.