Business & Policy

February 15, 2018, Portage La Prairie – The Manitoba government and J.R. Simplot Company recently announced a major investment and expansion in the company’s Manitoba-based operations near Portage la Prairie. “Manitoba delivers in so many ways that will help make this project a success,” said Mark McKellar, food group president for J.R. Simplot. “It has access to quality potatoes, a strong grower community, availability of highly skilled employees and distribution routes that continue to expand our footprint. We are convinced Manitoba’s business-friendly environment made this the right decision for the J.R. Simplot Company.” Simplot confirmed the $460 million construction project is expected to begin this spring and will increase the size of the facility from 180,000 to 460,000 square feet. The expansion will more than double the plant’s need for potatoes from regional growers, while increasing its employment by 87 expected new full-time positions. Current operations are expected to continue during construction, with expanded processing capacity expected in fall 2019. The investment package provided by the Manitoba government includes tax increment financing up to $6.31 million to assist with anticipated capital investments and road improvements. Manitoba will also provide up to $522,000 in employee training contributions, based on the number of new positions. Manitoba Hydro will provide $1 million in Power Smart program funding for electrical and natural gas efficiency projects, based on the plant meeting program guidelines. As part of the expansion, Simplot will incorporate similar industry-leading energy and water efficiency processes which were first established at the company’s plant in Caldwell, Idaho. “Simplot has been an outstanding corporate and community partner since establishing its operations in Manitoba,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “This investment further cements their reputation as a pillar in Manitoba’s agriculture and food processing sector. The plant’s increase in capacity also presents a tremendous opportunity for Manitoba farmers to strengthen their partnership with a reliable local processor and increase potato production in Manitoba.” Founded in 1929, J.R. Simplot Company is headquartered in Boise, Idaho and has operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and China, marketing products to more than 40 countries worldwide. Manitoba growers annually harvest over 65,000 acres of potatoes, representing one-fifth of the Canada's total potato crop and making Manitoba the second-largest producer in the country.
February 12, 2018, Kentville, NS – Perennia, a not-for-profit corporation in Nova Scotia that assists farmers, recently announced that Neslihan Ivit had joined its team as a wine quality specialist for a two-year term. Her position is a unique collaboration between Acadia University and Perennia where she works from both locations directly with the industry to maximize the quality of the wines produced in Nova Scotia.  Neslihan holds an MSc of viticulture and enology from Montpellier SupAgro, Bordeaux Science Agro and Universidad Politecnica de Madrid and a BSc in food engineering from Middle East Technical University. She has international winemaking experience, including California, Chile, France, Spain and Turkey.
February 2, 2018, Summerland, BC – Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.’s third non-browning Arctic apple variety, Arctic Fuji, has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada (HC). The CFIA and HC announced recently that the Arctic Fuji variety “did not pose a greater risk to human health than apples currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that the Arctic Fuji apple would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of the Arctic Fuji apple compared to other traditional apple varieties available for consumption." Arctic Fuji trees will join the growing commercial orchards of Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples in spring 2018. “Canadian approval of the non-browning Arctic Fuji is great news for our company and even more exciting for families looking to add another favorite apple variety to their healthy diets and lifestyles,” said Neal Carter, president of OSF. “There has been very strong interest from retailers as we launched our first product – fresh, preservative-free Arctic Golden slices – and we look forward to introducing additional Arctic non-browning varieties into Canada and U.S. markets soon.” Arctic apples have a unique trait that prevents enzymatic browning even when apples are bitten, sliced, or bruised. Through biotechnology, the enzyme in apples responsible for browning has been turned off. The resulting non-browning advantage benefits every sector of the supply chain, reducing food waste and boosting product appeal. “It’s an exciting time at OSF,” said Carter. “This latest announcement allows us to continue looking ahead toward providing new non-browning varieties and additional value-added fruits and vegetables. Arctic apples are just the beginning for OSF.” The announcement follows approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) of the Arctic Fuji variety, granted September 23, 2016. Arctic apples will be available commercially in select U.S. cities this fall and in additional areas of North America over the coming years as fruit availability increases.
December 12, 2017, Toronto, Ont – Vive Crop Protection and United Potato Growers of America (UPGA) are pleased to announce that Vive Crop Protection is now a United Potato Partner. “We create new possibilities for potato growers that increase yield, quality, and productivity on their farms,” stated Darren Anderson, Vive’s president. “We’re committed to the growth and success of potato growers and are excited to be a United Potato Partner. If you’re a potato grower, we want to meet you and understand how we can help with your operation.” “UPGA is happy to welcome Vive Crop Protection as a potato partner,” said Mark Klompien, president and CEO of United Potato Growers of America. “UPGA’s Potato Partner Program supports offerings of innovative and productivity-enhancing products to our potato grower members, and we look forward to working with Vive toward that end.” Darren Anderson will be introduced at the 2018 Potato Business Summit in Orlando, Florida and Vive staff will be on-hand at the UPGA booth to meet with growers.
November 6, 2017, Charlottetown, PEI – A company involved in shipping seed potatoes from P.E.I. to Venezuela has successfully appealed a court order to pay more than $79,000. In a recent decision, two of three P.E.I. Court of Appeal judges agreed to vacate a summary judgment order for HZPC Americas Corporation to pay Havanlee Farms Inc. READ MORE
October 23, 2017, Florenceville-Bristol, NB – McCain Foods Ltd. has opened its new $65 million potato specialty production line at its flagship facility in Florenceville-Bristol, N.B. The new 35,000-square-foot production line is the company’s largest capacity expansion investment in Canada in nearly 10 years, McCain Foods officials said. READ MORE
The frustration in the room was palpable.
February 7, 2018, Kelowna, BC – There will be two candidates running for president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association when fruit growers gather for their annual general meeting in Kelowna February 15 and 16. North Okanagan orchardist Jeet Dukhia and BCFGA vice-president Pinder Dhaliwal will bid to succeed current president Fred Steele, who has chosen to not seek re-election. READ MORE
February 5, 2018, Ottawa, Ont – As communicated recently, the CanadaGAP manuals have been updated for 2018. Version 7.1 of the Fruit and Vegetable and Greenhouse Manuals can now be found on the CanadaGAP website at http://www.canadagap.ca/manuals/downloads/. Why are manuals updated? To respond to user requests. CanadaGAP receives many requests each year asking us to clarify wording in the manual or the intent of the requirements. Most requests come directly from producers or from those working with producers (consultants, auditors, etc.) who need the expectations explained more clearly or who suggest ways to simplify the wording. To maintain technical rigour of the program as science, industry, buyer, or government requirements change. There are still many unanswered questions in food safety research, and as the science progresses, technical requirements must keep pace. We are also in an environment of fast-paced change in food safety regulations both in Canada and internationally. CanadaGAP is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Most major customers now require certification to a GFSI-recognized program. To maintain recognition, CanadaGAP must implement updates whenever GFSI makes changes to its requirements. The CanadaGAP program has been reviewed for technical soundness by federal and provincial governments. To maintain our government reconition, CFIA requires that CanadaGAP review the manuals regularly and submit changes for approval by government. CanadaGAP's Stakeholder Advisory Committee reviews all proposed changes and often brings forward suggestions of their own. They meet once a year to discuss requests for changes. How do I update my manual?As part of the CanadaGAP program, you are required to go through and update your manual each year to meet the requirements found in Section 24. The release of Version 7.1 is the optimal time to go through your manual to review its currency and to update it with the 2018 changes. CanadaGAP has the following material available on the website to help you: Outline of Main Changes to the CanadaGAP Manuals - an overview of the changes for 2018 Revisions document - shows changes from the previous version Additionally, a PowerPoint Presentation of the Main Changes for 2018 is available on the website at http://www.canadagap.ca/publications/presentations/. There are a number of ways to update your manual for 2018. You do NOT need to reprint the entire manual. Use the Outline of Main changes handout to get an over view of the changes. Determine which changes affect your operation (there may be few or none). When you have identified the changes that affect you, we encourage you to view the revisions document, as it provides the detailed wording. Reprint only the pages that contain changes that affect your operation. Print from the PDF version if you want a formatted, clean copy without the tracking. Insert any new pages into your existing manual, showing you have completed (checked off) any new procedures relevant to your operation. Go through each section, make updates as needed, and initial at the bottom to show that you have reviewed your manual. It is wise to reprint the entire Glossary,or at least print/review any changes to definitions. The terms that have been redefined are listed in the Outline of Main changes handout. Changes (usually clarifications) to terminology are important to understand, as they can impact how program requirements are met. On the title page of your manual, cross out last year's version number/date and write in "Version7.1 2018", or print a new title page. Updating your CanadaGAP Forms for 2018 Find out which record-keeping templates (CanadaGAP Forms) have changed. These are identified on the Outline of Main changes handout. There is a new Form (V) to accompany the new requirement in Section 2. There are a few changes to other forms. Some changes may not be applicable to your operation. Determine whether the changes pertain to you. Start using the new versions of the Forms.
January 18, 2018, Regina, Sask – Canadians are once again gearing up to celebrate their pride and passion for an industry that puts food on tables across this country and around the world every day. Canada’s Agriculture Day will be held on Feb. 13 this year, marking the second annual celebration of the sector of the economy that employs one in eight Canadians – from farmers and their suppliers to food processors and retailers. “It’s a time to showcase all of the amazing things happening in Canadian agriculture and help consumers see the connection to where their food comes from and the people who produce it,” said Candace Hill, manager of Agriculture More Than Ever, one of the driving forces behind Canada’s Agriculture Day. The first-ever Canada’s Agriculture Day on Feb. 16, 2017 inspired hundreds of events across the country, opened doors to food conversations through social media and showcased the industry to young people who attended a day-long, event in Ottawa, alongside industry and political leaders. “Canadian agriculture is an innovative, vibrant and forward-thinking industry, which plays a significant role in our economy,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “As Canadians, we can be proud that we produce among the safest, high-quality food for our country and the world,” MacAulay said. “Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector contributes over $110 billion to our economy and Canada’s Agriculture Day is an excellent opportunity to take stock of our success and celebrate.” This year’s celebration promises even more events, social media conversations and will once again feature a roster of dynamic speakers in Ottawa geared to building a better understanding and appreciation of the industry, as well as inspiring young people to consider the career opportunities in agriculture and agri-food. Bob McDonald, best-selling author and host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, will be one of the Ottawa event’s keynote speakers. He is able to provide meaning behind some of the more complex scientific issues we face on this planet. “The future of agriculture depends on attracting youth, so we especially want to appeal to young people who are not always aware of the wide range of career opportunities in agriculture,” Hill said. “It’s all about celebrating this dynamic and growing industry while engaging in fun, respectful and informative dialogue.” The key to successful Canada’s Agriculture Day starts with the participation of farmers, according to Crystal Mackay, president of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. Their most recent survey showed Canadians consider farmers among the most credible sources of information when it comes to making informed decisions about their food. “Farmers and the entire food system have a great story to tell which helps earn consumer trust and confidence in food,” Mackay said. “Consumers want to know more, and Canada’s Agriculture Day is a great way to start the conversation in person and on social media.” Hill said to watch for events and activities happening in communities across Canada, including those sponsored by industry associations, businesses and Agriculture More Than Ever partners. Individuals can also participate by making a meal for your family with all Canadian foods, snapping a farm or food photo and sharing it on social media using hashtags like #CdnAgDay and #FarmLife, or by giving back to their community by volunteering at the local food bank or soup kitchen. For more ideas on how to celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day or for a list of community events, visit AgDay.ca.
January 5, 2018, Ottawa, Ont – CanadaGAP is excited to announce the launch of its new website, at the same address – www.canadagap.ca. The website has an updated look and feel, with a similar layout and the same comprehensive content that users are accustomed to. While the manuals, audit checklist and certification information can be found in the same places as before, the whole site has been redesigned to simplify navigation and to help visitors find what they need more quickly. The site introduces several new features: The new search function – it will even pull up FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) The FAQs have been reorganized for ease of use For visitors new to the program, the chart on the Certification Options page will help find the certification option that's right for them More "Latest News" links are accessible on each page. The content of CanadaGAP communications, including annual reports, presentations, brochures and communiques, is now more visible, and the repository of documents is easier to explore. External resources on the Food Safety Links page have been organized into more navigable categories so that visitors can see at a glance the many available tools. Members Only – The Members Only page continues to provide program participants with access to restricted documents such as the corporate financial statements. However, for privacy reasons, log-in details have changed. Please contact the CanadaGAP office for updated information on how to sign in. CanadaGAP welcomes feedback on the new website. Please direct any questions, comments or requests for technical support to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
December 15, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – The annual general meeting of CanAgPlus, the corporation that owns and operates the CanadaGAP Program, was held Dec. 6 in Ottawa. CanadaGAP program participants elected four new directors to the CanAgPlus board. They include: Robert Allard, Pommes Philip Cassidy Inc. Keith Kuhl, Southern Potato Company Stephanie Lariviere, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers / Erie James Ltd. Scott Wright, Star Produce Board director Dean Thomson retired after four years of service and was thanked for his contributions to the CanadaGAP program. The new board met subsequent to the AGM and reappointed Jack Bates to the chair and Hugh Bowman as vice-chair. Newly elected board members will serve a two-year term for 2018 and 2019. Biographies of CanAgPlus directors are posted at: http://www.canadagap.ca/history/governance. One resolution was debated and defeated by the membership. Further information about the AGM is available at: http://www.canadagap.ca/events/annual-general-meeting/. The annual report presentation and copies of the report are published at http://www.canadagap.ca/publications/annual-report/. The corporation's financial statements are accessible from the CanadaGAP website or directly from the office. Any member may obtain a copy upon request. Please direct any questions to the CanadaGAP office.
February 7, 2018, Edmonton, Alta – Alberta's government will immediately boycott all imports of wines from British Columbia, Premier Rachel Notley announced Feb. 6, escalating the inter-provincial spat over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. The province's tough stance follows B.C.'s call last week for further review of the oil-spill risk from the pipeline expansion, a move that could delay a project Alberta sees as vital to its economy. READ MORE
February 7, 2018, Victoria, BC – A pilot project that matches new farmers looking to get their start in B.C. agriculture with available fertile farmland in the Metro Vancouver area will kick off in 2018, thanks to a $25,000 investment from the governments of Canada and British Columbia. The project is led by the Young Agrarians, in partnership with Farm Folk City Folk Society. This Metro Vancouver project builds on the success of a two-year pilot in partnership with the City of Surrey, and in collaboration with Quebec’s L’ARTERRE. It addresses a major challenge for new farmers – gaining access to expensive land in Southern B.C. “My mandate includes getting more young people farming, and making sure that they have the land to farm on through projects like the Metro Vancouver land-matching project is an essential first step,” said Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture. “Part of why we established Grow BC was to help young farmers access land. I believe strongly that agriculture has the potential to unlock prosperity throughout our entire province, and we need farmland and farmers to make that happen.” The previous Surrey pilot matched new farmer Roger Woo with David Feldhaus, a local landowner. Woo, a former chef with a passion for local, organically grown and sustainably farmed produce, was just the type of person that Feldhaus was searching for when he was looking to expand agricultural activity on his farmland. “I knew I wanted to farm in B.C., but I saw significant challenges to acquiring the appropriate farmland in the Lower Mainland,” said Woo. “Through the land-matching program, I’ve been able to find a supportive land owner who has agreed to let me farm his land. I came to this process with my farm dream, and have received step-by-step support to make it a reality.” The land-matching project screens owners of underutilized land and farmers ready to start a business, and supports the parties in the development of legal contracts. The goal is to create seven to nine new farm operations in the region in 2018 with secure leasing agreements.  “For years we have wanted to make a positive change with our farm,” said Feldhaus. “In a short time, the Young Agrarians were able to understand our needs and the goals that we had for our farm, and helped guide us through the land-matching process, matching us with a great young farmer. Seeing our fields blooming with row after row of organic vegetables is proof of the value provided by the land-matching program.” “We are excited to see investment at all three levels of government in this program and the future of new and young farmers in B.C.,” said Sara Dent, Young Agrarians B.C. program manager. “Fifty per cent of farmers in Canada under 35 lease land. The prohibitive cost of farmland in southern B.C. means that we have to facilitate solutions to land access if we want to see a future generation farming the land.”
February 7, 2018, Kelowna, BC – Agriculture and food production contribute to the fabric of British Columbia in terms of food supply, economic activity and community strength. The question is clear: How can B.C. continue to build its agriculture industry? For the past two days, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham has been providing her vision to local leaders, and hearing their ideas on ways to ensure British Columbia has secure farmland and secure farmers in the future. “Agriculture has a way of bringing people together and I have been sharing my exciting ideas to Grow BC, Feed BC and Buy BC,” Popham said. “However, when you walk into a room and a local legend like orchardist Fred Steele is there, it is time to listen. I want to thank Fred and all the growers in the Okanagan for their leadership and advice during my visit.” The British Columbia government is building opportunities for the province’s tree-fruit sector with programs that will encourage new growers, and increase production and a higher consumption of B.C. tree-fruit products today and for future generations. The tree-fruit replant program received another successful intake for the 2018 planting season. It is helping growers replace fruit trees with new, high-value and high-quality fruit, such as Ambrosia and Honeycrisp apples, as well as late-season cherries. The replant program has been so popular that the B.C. government has provided an additional $300,000 in funding for fiscal year 2017-18, so even more growers can take part in the tree-fruit replant program. “Whether it’s a freshly picked apple from an orchard in the Similkameen, tasty Oliver cherries, a fruity glass of award-winning Okanagan wine or a jar of local honey, agriculture is for everyone,” Popham said. “The Okanagan is a vital part of our food system and part of B.C.’s heritage, and I look forward to continuing to work with people in this region and building B.C. agriculture.” British Columbia is Canada’s largest fruit producer, with over 296,000 tonnes of fruit valued at $397 million in 2016.
November 22, 2017, Toronto, Ont – Ontario has passed sweeping labour reform legislation, which includes increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Currently at $11.60 an hour, the minimum wage will rise under the legislation to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018, with the increase to $15 coming in 2019. READ MORE
October 16, 2017, Vancouver, BC – Five small B.C. wineries have been granted permission to bring their concerns to the Supreme Court of Canada in the interprovincial shipping of liquor case R. v. Comeau. The Supreme Court will hear the case in early December 2017. R. v. Comeau is the first court case in which any winery in Canada has had an opportunity to address the legal barriers to interprovincial shipping of wine made from Canadian grown grapes. Curtis Krouzel (50th Parallel Estate), Ian MacDonald (Liquidity Wines), Jim D'Andrea (Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery), Christine Coletta (Okanagan Crush Pad Winery), and John Skinner (Painted Rock Estate Winery) each own and operate vineyards and wineries that produce wine exclusively using 100 per cent B.C. grown grapes. These five producers head a coalition of more than 100 small wineries from British Columbia who seek to change the law governing interprovincial shipping of wine and liquor across Canada. As such, the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Comeau will determine the fate of the B.C. wine industry for decades to come. “The Supreme Court of Canada will hear from the two parties to the appeal (the New Brunswick Crown and Mr. Comeau) as well as a couple dozen other ‘interveners’ at the hearing on December 6 and 7, 2017,” explained Shea Coulson, counsel for the five winery owners. “After the hearing, the court could take up to a year to make its decision." Coulson's aim is to inform the court about the alleged negative impact on small B.C. wineries created by interprovincial barriers that prohibit shipment of wine to Canadians across the country. “The court has to balance many complex interests, but my clients will argue that it is possible to incrementally change the law to permit interprovincial shipments of Canadian wine, and why it is of fundamental importance to the future survival of the industry to remove these barriers,” he said. Whichever way the court decides, R. v. Comeau will have a monumental effect on the Canadian liquor industry and addresses questions at the heart of Canada's federalist constitution.
September 5, 2017, Ontario - The popularity of a seven-year-old program designed to give wine grape growers funding for production improvements shows no signs of abating.When the first-come, first-served application process opened in June for the marketing and vineyard improvement program, the program’s administrator, Agricorp, received enough applications for the available funding in just one day.There is $2 million worth of funding for the 2017-2018 program year, and another $2 million for the 2018-2019 program, says Agricorp spokesperson Stephanie Charest. The intake of the 152 applications was for both years, as requested by industry.Government funding for production improvementsThe Grape Growers of Ontario website says the program provides funds to growers to help with the costs of improving their production of wine grapes. Successful applicants can get payments for up to 35 per cent of their project.Chair Matthias Oppenlaender says with the funding taken up so quickly, it clearly shows there’s a need for more money in the program.He’s used the program in the past for his Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyard for wind machines and improved harvesting technology.There are 17,000 acres of grapes vines in south, southwestern and eastern Ontario. In 2016, growers harvested about 70,000 tonnes of wine grapes valued at $95.3 million.Split fundingThe 2017-2018 program will fund 73 to proceed with their proposed projects. Growers then submit claims once they have completed the work.The remaining applicants are placed in sequence for the 2018-2019 program. Agricorp will know how many growers will get funding in that program year once it gives them the go-ahead in the spring of 2018 to proceed with their project.Program popularityGrape Growers of Ontario officials aren’t surprised by the intense grower demand.CEO Debbie Zimmerman says farmers use the money for a variety of items, such as weather mitigation measures and machines to improve vineyard production and sustainability.“It’s an important program,” Zimmerman says. It helps growers mechanize their vineyards and invest in innovation. You get to try some new strategies to help grow grapes in a cold climate.”Bottom LineWine grape growers continue to invest in improvements to their production.
January 9, 2018, Morell, PEI – The federal government is supporting new automated processes at Green Meadow Farms to help increase productivity, allowing employees to focus their skills in other aspects of the business. A repayable contribution of $155,141 – provided through ACOA’s Business Development Program – will help Green Meadows purchase and install new automated sorting and bagging equipment at its Morell farm. The technology upgrades will improve efficiency and productivity at the operation. “At Green Meadow Farms, we are continuously looking for ways to update our operation to compete in the global marketplace,” said Anneke Polstra, one of the founders of Green Meadow Farms Inc. “With this repayable contribution from ACOA, we are able to invest in new packaging technology that will support the work of our staff and help us keep up with growing industry demand.” Green Meadow Farms Inc. was established in 1993 by Anneke and Reitze Polstra, and is now managed by brothers, Terry and Thys Polstra. The 2,000 acre farm has more than 1,000 acres of potatoes and grain in production with up to 14 full-time and part-time employees. “Nearly 25 years ago, the Polstra family moved to the Island and began a successful farm operation,” said Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay. “Hard work and a continued commitment to updating the technology in their processing facility has allowed them to remain competitive and to create employment in rural P.E.I. I applaud their successes and am pleased to show support for this latest investment.”
December 19, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – Canadian farmers help drive the economy but can face risks that threaten the viability of their farms and are beyond their control such as unpredictable weather, crop or animal disease, extreme market volatility and high input costs. Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which will take effect April 1, 2018, producers will continue to have access to a robust suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs to help manage these risks. In July 2017, federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers of agriculture agreed to undertake a review of BRM programs to assess program effectiveness and their impact on growth and innovation. An external expert panel consisting of producers, academics and experts has been established to provide feedback and guidance on the review. The panel members will support the BRM review task team made up of FPT officials who have been working on the review since the summer of 2017. This work will help inform ministers on the continued effectiveness and impact of BRM programs in meeting the future needs of the sector. The panel will meet through the winter and spring of 2018, and their findings will be presented to FPT ministers at their annual meeting next summer in British Columbia.  “This expert panel is a group of diverse and highly capable people who will bring important perspectives to this process,” Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay. “I look forward to seeing the results of their discussions as governments work to ensure these programs continue to help farmers when they need it most, enabling them to create well-paying middle class jobs and keep pace with the world’s growing demand for our high-quality products.”
October 19, 2017, Erinsville, Ont – Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is climbing down from another controversial tax proposal to address the concerns of farmers and fishers. Morneau made the announcement at a farm alongside Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay in Erinsville, Ont., about halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, and three area Liberal MPs. Morneau said the government is abandoning the proposed tax reform that would have restricted the conversion of income into capital gains. READ MORE  
October 4, 2017, Vancouver, BC – As dairy products, Bombardier aircraft and softwood lumber continue to bedevil trade relations between Canada and the U.S., negotiators will have to add wine to their list of issues to resolve. The U.S. has filed a second complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over what it perceives as B.C.’s unfair rules regarding wine sales in the province’s grocery stores, according to a release from the WTO. READ MORE
September 20, 2017, Old Chelsea, QC – The Government of Canada is committed to working with the agricultural industry in developing new risk management assessments and tools that help farmers manage risk. The federal government recently announced a $461,816 investment for the Canadian Organic Growers. This funding will be used to conduct a study of the risks involved in transitioning from conventional production to organic production. This first-of-a-kind study will reach out to organic producers across the country, as well as others in the sector. The data collected will be used to identify techniques that farmers can use to help reduce risk and manage their shift to organic production. “More than ever, Canadians are looking to purchase organic products grown and made in Canada; however supply is not keeping pace at home or abroad,” said Rochelle Eisen, president of Canadian Organic Growers. “There is a growing environmental and economic case for transitioning to organic agriculture in Canada and by enhancing our knowledge on the subject, we can develop effective tools, programs, and policies that can better support a farmer’s journey to sustainable, organic production.”
September 15, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) and the Canada Institute of the Wilson Center are pleased to co-publish a short piece on approaches to food safety cooperation in Canada and the United States. With NAFTA renegotiation talks in full swing, it is a critical time for a conversation on protecting and improving our shared food supply chain. As think tanks and think networks, CAPI and the Wilson Center know the importance of good debate and a robust marketplace for ideas. This short piece, written by Rory McAlpine and Mike Robach, encourages just such debate. "The contents of the piece represent an opportunity for our two organizations to present to our respective stakeholders on the frontlines of Canada-US economic policy some new thinking on important food safety issues", said Don Buckingham, president and CEO of CAPI. "Food safety is not just about consumer protection, it's about enhancing the competitiveness of the Canada-U.S. agri-food supply chain around the world. A well-functioning food safety regime helps to increase global demand for safe and wholesome North American food products." "During a period of trade upheaval and fractured supply chains, it is particularly important to bring practical suggestions to the table that will build trade, increase competitiveness and safeguard the protection of consumers," added Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute of the Wilson Center. The short piece is available here.
November 14, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – Are you a vegetable or fruit grower who needs to up your on-farm food safety game? Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF), with support from Growing Forward 2, are offering Bridging the GAP: Making CanadaGAP Work on Your Farm. This one-day workshop will be offered in two locations – Airdrie on November 29, 2017, and Leduc on December 6th, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CanadaGAP is a food safety program for companies that produce, handle and broker fruits and vegetables. The program is designed to help implement and maintain effective food safety procedures within fresh produce operations “This introductory workshop is targeted at those growers who are looking to sell into retail or food service markets but require certification or to those who are unsure about where to start thinking about food safety,” says Kellie Jackson, development officer, AF. “Facilitators will help you to better understand the benefits of an on-farm food safety system, how CanadaGAP works, and walk you through assessing risk on your farm. A producer will share how CanadaGAP has affected their business and a produce buyer will talk about why they want suppliers to be CanadaGAP certified.” This workshop will be the precursor to two other workshops planned for January and February 2018. The first will be to further CanadaGAP understanding to help participants to become certified once enrolled in the program, while the second workshop focuses on maintaining certification and implementing process improvements that address risk. To register for one of the introductory workshops, call 1-800-387-6030 or register on line at https://eservices.alberta.ca/bridging-the-gap-workshop.html. Cost is $30 plus GST per person and includes coffee and lunch. For more information, contact Kellie Jackson at 403-948-8538.
August 15, 2017 - The Council of Canadians is pressing the provincial government to keep genetically modified potatoes out of P.E.I. soil.Council chair Leo Broderick questions the science behind Innate generation 2 potatoes, and added P.E.I. would be better off staying away from the controversy surrounding genetically modified food. He noted P.E.I. is already attracting attention as a producer of genetically modified salmon. READ MORE
February 8, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – Effective April 1, 2017 CanadaGAP will introduce an unannounced audit program in response to new GFSI benchmarking requirements.What is an unannounced audit? Unannounced audits will not be scheduled in advance with the producer. The certification body will provide two to five business days' notice that the auditor is coming. An unannounced audit will take place instead of a scheduled audit (NOT additional to a scheduled audit). The producer will pay the regular audit fee for the unannounced audit. Only if needed, the certification body or auditor may contact you ahead of time (e.g., early in the season) To confirm the scope of your operation's certification To confirm in general when certain activities are occurring (e.g., harvesting, packing, shipping, etc.) NOT to identify a specific time for the audit. When will unannounced audits occur? Like all CanadaGAP audits, unannounced audits must occur while activities relevant to the scope of your operation's certification are occurring. You cannot block off "busy periods" like harvesting or shipping. Unannounced audits can occur during periods of high activity. Be audit-ready You can refuse the first notification, for valid reasons as determined by the certification body. You cannot refuse the second notification. Not responding to the notification (phone or email) from the certification body or auditor will be considered an ACCEPTED notification.  If you are not prepared to proceed with the audit when the auditor arrives, you will still be charged for the cost of the auditor's time and travel. If possible, the auditor will return for another unannounced audit during the current season. Note that it may be impossible for the auditor to return during the current season due to scheduling demands. In other words, not being prepared for the unannounced audit could put your operation's certification in jeopardy. Who will be chosen for an unannounced audit? The new unannounced audit program will be for those enrolled in CanadaGAP certification Options A1, A2, C and D.  The certification body will choose five per cent of its clients each year. Over time, all individually certified companies will have an unannounced audit. Those enrolled in group certification Option B already have an unannounced component to their option. Option A3 will also see the introduction of an unannounced component in 2017.  What about random audits? If you are enrolled in CanadaGAP certification Option A1 or A2 (four-year audit cycle) 1) there is no change to your four-year audit cycle, and 2) there is no change to the way that random audits work. You would still be informed in advance if you've been randomly selected for an audit. However, you may not be told the exact date of your audit. It could be an unannounced audit. Likewise, if you already expect to be audited this year (because you are due for an audit in your four-year cycle), this audit could be unannounced. "Unannounced" means you won't know more than two to five business days in advance of the date of your audit. You will still know in advance that you are having an audit sometime this year. "Although certification options A1, A2 and A3 are not GFSI-recognized, the CanAgPlus board has chosen to include all certification options in the unannounced audit programme to improve the overall rigour of CanadaGAP certification," explained Heather Gale, executive director for CanadaGAP. Why are unannounced audits being introduced? To meet new GFSI requirements To respond to market signals To ensure that producers are maintaining their program on a continuing basis "We need to be ready to demonstrate to our customers that CanadaGAP-certified companies can meet program requirements at any time," commented Jack Bates, chair of the CanAgPlus board.A presentation outlining the new unannounced audit program is available on the CanadaGAP website at: http://www.canadagap.ca/publications/canadagap-presentations/.
“Vineland is scouting the world for new fresh grape varieties suited to the Canadian climate with consumer appeal.”
November 1, 2016, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian government recently announced it has secured market access for Alberta seed potatoes to Thailand. Effective immediately, Alberta becomes the third province to have an export agreement with Thailand, joining Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, both of which secured export agreements in 2009. Combined, these three provinces form about 76 per cent of Canada’s seed potato exports. Alberta’s seed potato exports to Thailand could be worth up to $2 million annually, according to industry experts, adding to the $5 million on average exported annually to that country. The increased access will advance the competitiveness of, and create new opportunities for, the seed potato sector. “The Potato Growers of Alberta are pleased to have worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to profile our seed industry to Thailand officials and to receive approval to export seed to their country,” said Deb Hart, seed potato coordinator with the Potato Growers of Alberta. “Alberta has a very innovative and progressive seed potato industry and is looking forward to the opportunity to grow low virus, high quality seed varieties requested by the Thai potato industry.”
September 27, 2016, Charlottetown, PEI – Greg Donald is upbeat discussing the upcoming harvest, until talk turns to potato tampering. Donald, the general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, would rather the topic get buried like, well, a needle in a haystack. READ MORE

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