• Dawn Riley

Government Seeking Agricultural Policy Framework Feedback

Planning for the next Agricultural Policy Framework has begun on both provincial and federal levels, and input and feedback is wanted. This framework is intended to replace the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. The partnership expires in 2023, and policy negotiations will begin at the Ministers of Agriculture conference this fall. Both levels of government are asking for feedback and opinions of those in the sector to use in their planning.

In a press release from Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, it was highlighted that the ‘Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector is a powerhouse of the Canadian economy, spurring job creation and prosperity across the country. The agriculture and agri-food system generates over $139 billion of our gross domestic product and, when combined with seafood, nearly $74 billion of our exports, while employing more Canadians than any other manufacturing industry in the country.

The current Canadian Agricultural Partnership provides key financial support for agriculture programs and services that are tailored to meet regional needs. This includes a number of federal programs, as well as programs that are cost-shared between the federal and provincial/territorial governments on a 60:40 basis.’

Consultations were set in motion on June 3, and will help shape the direction of the Next Agricultural Policy Framework by gathering the experience and ideas from stakeholders on all levels of agriculture. The Government would like to collaborate with its provincial and territorial partners, Canadians, and all stakeholders including agricultural producers and processors, women in agriculture, youth, Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, and small and emerging sub-sectors to not only seek feedback, but also help develop the next Framework. Working together, the priorities and vision of the framework will be developed.

On a provincial level, Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen is seeking out feedback on an online survey that closes July 2, 2021. On the Alberta government website Dreeshen states “Alberta’s agri-food sector is doing well despite the challenges in recent years, but we know that challenges will likely continue to persist. Through CAP and the NPF, we will support Alberta’s Recovery Plan through increased investment attraction and improved market access. We are pushing forward with an aggressive strategy to bring investment to our processing and primary agriculture sectors, while also setting ambitious growth targets.” The province is also collaborating with the other prairie provinces to establish fair and equitable national Agricultural Partnerships programs for all impacted sectors.

To aid stakeholders benefiting from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), the Alberta government has made accessing the grant money available easier than it was in the past. The application process has been streamlined and simplified, promoting the ability to create jobs and drive money into Alberta’s economy. The funding from CAP this year will be highlighting investment into agriculture and food-processing. This program awarded 989 grants during 2020-2021, and aided in the creation of more than 750 jobs in Alberta in those sectors.

To contribute your opinion and feedback on the federal level visit the Next Agricultural Policy Framework website. To complete the provincial survey, which closes July 2, visit https://www.alberta.ca/article-getting-the-best-deal-for-alberta-agriculture.aspx. For more information on the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and the available grants visit the website.

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