Good afternoon. I appreciate the opportunity to again bring forward the voice of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to this table.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is a member of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and our messages, of course, are aligned on this matter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and what steps are ahead.
First of all, I'll introduce who the OFA includes, to put the remarks in context. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture represents 36,000 farm families across the province of Ontario. We do not do commodity-specific work; we are a general farm organization. We move across commodities on certain subject matters.
On the issue of the TPP, the CFA has been garnering a message from all of its membership from across Canada—that includes various commodity groups and various general farm organizations from across the country—to round out the points for the future.
Among the key messages that came in for us on the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, number one is that we require real and meaningful market access opportunities for our export-oriented sectors—red meats, grains, and oilseeds—because not too many farmers out there are single-entity farmers growing just one thing and one thing only. It's done in a system, and the issue is that we need to be able to find a wide balance of opportunity here.
The second point is to ensure that access gained by trade agreements is not eroded by non-tariff tariff barriers. We've heard from some of the witnesses here already concerning issues of being entitled to work in areas of biotech. I happened to be in Paris, France for the discussions there. The issues around sustainability and some of the manoeuvres that may be undertaken, I can see arising in other sectors of the globe; I do not see the TPP as being exempt from them. We need to be aware of people wishing to manoeuvre around agreements.
The third point is to fully mitigate any potential losses the supply management sectors face as a result of CETA and TPP. I believe this room would be very knowledgeable on that particular matter.
A further point is that with supply management, the issues of leaks and current import controls should be managed to ensure that supply management retains its three pillars of support.
Finally, the fifth point is that, if Canada watches this process proceed and Japan ratifies the TPP, Canada must do so as well. The point has already been made here that Japan is the third-largest market. We're also hearing that in some cases Japan is starting to send out program support to certain parts of its agricultural community possibly to erode some of the same areas that we thought might be the reason for entering into this agreement. If Japan goes for this, Japan is too large a market for Canada to ignore, and we must ratify it with them.
Moving forward and looking at this from an Ontario perspective, the reality for Ontario is that we're roughly 25% of the entire agriculture sector in terms of impact on GDP. I wish to point out that Toronto is actually the home of the second-largest concentration of North American food processing. Some will say that it's Chicago, but I don't live in the U.S. and I'm not Trump, so it's Toronto at number two. California is number one—and for how much longer, with it's water issues.... Los Angeles is number one.
The issue I'm trying to raise here is that we need to be able to get export goods out, whether it is the initial raw product or it is further processed, manufactured, or whatever, because the issue for a farmer today is that it's not just food products that we do. We are such a rich and diverse nation in terms of resources that we are participating in all markets. Even the issue of having agricultural goods in cars is a reality of today's world.
The bottom line is that the TPP must be looked at in the interests of allowing agriculture from this country to expand and reach its potential. We have a premier in the province of Ontario who has asked the Ontario farmers to bring 120,000 new jobs into the system by 2020. TPP could assist in making that a reality.
At the end of the day, this is a very important agreement with broad ramifications. Let's make sure we're addressing and closing loopholes as we move ahead.
In closing, if Japan ratifies it, Canada has to take the same steps.
Thank you. I look forward to your questions.