"Agriculture is vital to Canada's economy. The establishment of the Canadian Plant Health Council is an important step in the prevention of risks to our plant resources, as well as in the protection of our plant health. As a farmer, I understand the value of partnerships. Together we can identify and work to advance key priorities to maximize economic opportunities in agriculture," said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
The Canadian Plant Health Council will address priorities for the plant health sector, working together on preventive approaches and activities to protect forests, agriculture and other plants from pests, diseases and other risks.
The council consists of 11 members from national industry associations, academia and federal, provincial and territorial governments representing the plant health sector in agriculture and forestry. The council will develop a focused work plan and over the next two years, advance key priorities, demonstrating what can be achieved through collaboration between governments, industry, and academia.
"Fruits and vegetables are very sensitive to new pests and disease. The Canadian Plant Health Council's ability to co-ordinate an effective national response to such threats is extremely relevant to our industry, as consumers demand high quality produce," said Brian Gilroy, president of the Canadian Horticultural Council.
The agriculture and agri-food industry is an important driver in today's economy, contributing over $110 billion annually to Canada's gross domestic product, and has been identified as one of Canada's key growth sectors.
The Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada is an action-oriented strategy focused on risk prevention and collaboration among partners in plant and animal health. It was endorsed in 2017 by all partners, including federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture. A significant first step towards implementation was to establish the two separate co-ordinating councils for plant and animal health. These councils will provide leadership in prioritizing and implementing the potential activities outlined in the strategy.