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Produce industry cultivates government support


December 5, 2012
By Canadian Horticultural Council

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December 4, 2012, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) hosted industry representatives from across the produce supply chain during the recent 2012 Fresh Harvest Event.

Building on momentum from the 2011 initiative, participants engaged in a series of meetings to stimulate collaboration with select Members of Parliament (MPs) from across the country.

Discussions focused on food safety, financial risk mitigation and the impact of the produce industry on the health of Canadians. MPs were engaged and encouraged more frequent interaction with the produce industry in order to foster better understanding and improved cooperation.

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“It is promising to see that our elected officials are genuinely interested in the issues we were able to bring to their attention” said CPMA chair Jim DiMenna. “We can look ahead at working together to support both government and industry mandates to improve the health of Canadians, and as we address other issues of interest.”

The targeted meetings – which also included three separate consultations with Suzanne Vinet, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Cameron Prince, vice-president of inspection modernization for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and at the U.S. Embassy with Jeff Weiss, associate administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from the Office of Management and Budget at The White House – were conducted over several days in November. Fall Harvest Event discussions provided an opportunity to engage in open dialogue and nurture a better understanding among government officials, elected and otherwise, about the produce industry in Canada and its impact on the Canadian marketplace and the overall health of Canadians.

“The time spent with government officials as part of this year’s Fall Harvest Event allowed us to build on relationships forged last year and further emphasize our core issues and message,” said CHC president Murray Porteous “It’s clear that we’re making headway and that our voices are being heard, on behalf of our members and the entire produce industry in Canada.”

Preparations are already underway to build on the momentum next year.

“We’re encouraged by the response we’ve received over the last two years,” added DiMenna. “We’ll continue to build on that momentum on behalf of both associations’ members in 2013.”