Evidence of meeting #121 for Agriculture and Agri-Food in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was you're.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Chris Forbes  Deputy Minister, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Bev Shipley  Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC
Jaspinder Komal  Vice-President, Science Branch, Chief Veterinary Officer and World Organisation for Animal Health Delegate for Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Christine Walker  Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Management Branch, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food

10:20 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Chris Forbes

The Agricultural Growth Act...? I'm not sure I—

10:20 a.m.

Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC

Bev Shipley

You're not sure about the Agricultural Growth Act of Canada. Okay.

Part of it is where the PMRA, the veterinary drugs directorate and the CFIA all came together to say.... It was about how minor use is fine, but we have in Canada a large area and small production. In many areas, particularly in horticulture and others where we can't get the sheep industry, we can't get the registration of products. The idea is that we're in a global market. We also have technology whereby Canada can become part of that registration process. If Australia, Europe or the United States wants to do it.... Is that not being followed through?

10:25 a.m.

Vice-President, Science Branch, Chief Veterinary Officer and World Organisation for Animal Health Delegate for Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

10:25 a.m.

Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC

Bev Shipley

If it is, that takes away from the concerns or comments that are made, because they should very much be able to be part of that solution.

10:25 a.m.

Vice-President, Science Branch, Chief Veterinary Officer and World Organisation for Animal Health Delegate for Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Jaspinder Komal

Thank you for the question.

The Agricultural Growth Act came into being in 2014, and it had many aspects to it. We have incorporated the intent of that act into many of our regulations, and we are continuing to do so.

To your specific questions about looking at harmonizing the pre-market assessments, I think that is happening, too, in the area of veterinary biologics, which is under the authority of CFIA. I don't know for sure, because it's not under our responsibility, but PMRA and Health Canada are looking into that.

For example, in the feed realm—feed for animals—we have almost harmonized our requirements with the USFDA, and we're working with Europe to harmonize with them. This will allow the marketing of feed for exports. Canada is increasing the production of feed for animals, so we should be able to do that.

10:25 a.m.

Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC

Bev Shipley

One of the huge concerns—and I'm going to drop it, because I have other ones—is that we're allowing products to come into Canada that use registered products in the United States or Europe that are illegal here. They sit on the shelf right next to our products that our producers produce, and we lose that competitive advantage to them.

That takes me to a quick question. I asked the minister, and it's going to you now.

With regard to BST hormones in the milk that's coming in, how are you going to deal with that? It is illegal in Canada to have that product here, and now we will be able to import that illegal product into Canada.

How do we get around that?

10:25 a.m.

Vice-President, Science Branch, Chief Veterinary Officer and World Organisation for Animal Health Delegate for Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Jaspinder Komal

My understanding is that BST has been banned in Canada for animal use. Health Canada has looked at it and found no harmful effect for humans.

10:25 a.m.

Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC

Bev Shipley

See, that's the problem. All of us will agree with that.

We're giving the advantage to our competitors. We shaft our producers here, because we don't have access to that product. Under the new NAFTA, as the Prime Minister called it yesterday, we're going to be able to allow milk coming in from the United States with an illegal product. We can't use it in Canada.

That helps, if a producer wants, to improve the production. We chose in Canada, a number of years ago, to make it illegal. That's the problem. I suggest that the ministry and the bureaucrats within our ministry start to push back and support our dairy and our livestock producers against PMRA and Health Canada on these issues.

I want to go to another one, if you don't mind. On front-of-package labelling and Canada's food guide, there is huge impact across agriculture in Canada. Did you put forward an analysis of what it would cost our agriculture industry if those continue to go through as proposed?

10:25 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Chris Forbes

As I had said earlier, we've worked a lot with the sector on this issue.

One of the things we did through the food processing industry round table was that the industry put together an estimate of the cost of implementation of the front-of-package labelling. This was based on input from the industry, after much discussion on their part, and this is material that we shared with colleagues around the—

10:25 a.m.

Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC

Bev Shipley

How about the food guide? That's another one. They took food that was promoted as health food across Canada, and they have now put a label on it saying it's bad to eat.

10:25 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Chris Forbes

Both of these are still policies under development. They're not in place. There are still discussions going on, on both.

10:25 a.m.

Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC

Bev Shipley

I understand that, but our industry is one of the most significant industries in this country. If we don't know what that cost analysis or that hit is going to be to our producers, other than just saying, “Well, you know, we're concerned about it”.... They need to know what the impact is going to be to them on their livelihoods.

When I ask these questions, I guess I'm wondering why there wasn't directive to get some cost analysis for our producers so they know what the hit is going to be of these new regulatory changes.

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

We're out of time, Mr. Shipley, unfortunately.

We have a little bit of time—

10:30 a.m.

Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC

Bev Shipley

I can take some.

10:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

Well, you might have your chance.

I'm going to give each of you a question.

I'll start with Pierre, and I'll go with Mr. MacGregor, and—

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

We don't follow the...?

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

It's just that there are only 15 minutes.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Right.

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

Is everybody okay with one question each?

10:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

Mr. Breton, you have the floor.

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Pierre Breton Liberal Shefford, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would like to thank the witnesses for coming.

I noticed that $745,000, which is not a huge amount, has been earmarked for participation in international organizations. I was happy but surprised to see that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada participates in foreign projects. I am talking about projects, but I'm not sure if that is indeed the right term.

Globally, which organizations benefit from these additional amounts or from the whole amount? Are these Canadian organizations who are involved in foreign projects or foreign organizations that work in other countries?

In my riding, there is an organization that is working on an extremely interesting project. It is highly likely that I will contact you to see about possible involvement.

November 29th, 2018 / 10:30 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Management Branch, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Christine Walker

Thank you for your question.

The $745,000 is for grants to foreign recipients for participation in international organizations.

10:30 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Chris Forbes

They would be international bodies that work to help set global trade standards, as an example—in fact, it links back to our trade objectives—for different aspects of setting up rules that can collectively be agreed to by CFIA and counterparts in other countries. We will provide funds to them to move forward policy issues, organize events and develop policy positions that are global, which would help us set, to the best extent possible, common standards and benchmarks for trading.

Do you want to add something, Jaspinder?