Québec and Ontario Agriculture Ministers Partner on Building Food Production
Jeff Leal, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Pierre Paradis, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Québec, met today to discuss ways to enhance collaboration to help build up the economies of both provinces and reinforce regional partnership on shared priorities.
Ministers Leal and Paradis discussed opportunities to create an action plan for growing domestic and export markets. This includes cooperative efforts at the SIAL international food trade show annually in Toronto and Montreal. In future, Ministers agreed to enhance their focus on exports including potentially attending the Private Label Manufacturers Association trade show in Chicago in 2015, and potential international joint trade missions.
The ministers also committed to continue to press the federal government to fulfil its commitment to compensate the dairy sector as agreed under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Ministers Paradis and Leal also called on the federal government to clarify its intention regarding allocation of new cheese import quotas, with priority provided to parties that are impacted, while enhancing the growth of the cheese sector. They reiterated their support of Canada's supply management system, and asked the federal government to include the reciprocity of standards in trade negotiations. Ministers also pledged to continue discussions with their federal partners on details of cheese import quota implementation.
The ministers also discussed the need to work toward a better understanding of how consumer preferences and concerns affect the agriculture and food sector. This includes demonstrating government and industry leadership in responding to expectations around consumers' right to know, food safety, climate change, animal welfare, and bee health.
Ministers discussed opportunities to address slaughter capacity in the north.
The two provinces form the largest economic region in Canada, with 21.8 million residents. They are major contributors to Canada's GDP for food and beverage processing, accounting for 68 per cent or $18.7 billion, and 36 per cent of the primary agriculture GDP in Canada, at $8.1 billion.
Closer collaboration in agriculture and food builds on the foundation set by the Premiers of both provinces to grow the economies of Ontario and Québec, and benefit Canada's economy.
- Québec and Ontario form the largest economic region of Canada, with 21.8 million Canadians. Together, the two provinces are responsible for approximately 56 per cent of Canada's total GDP.
- In 2013, the total value of Canadian exports was $471.9 billion. Ontario exported $189.9 billion of goods, and Québec $66.1 billion.
- In 2013, the total value of Canadian agri-food exports was $50.8 billion. Ontario’s agri-food exports were $11.9 billion, while Québec agri-food exports were $6.1 billion.
- Together, Ontario and Québec account for nearly 38 per cent of Canada’s farm cash receipts from primary agricultural production and close to two thirds of food processing revenues in Canada.
- The supply managed sectors in Ontario and Québec account for approximately two-thirds (65.1 per cent) of Canada’s supply managed farm gate receipts.
“I am pleased to be working with our partners in Québec to grow our economies, create jobs and prosper together. By strengthening our relationship, we will be able to make real progress on issues that matter to people in their everyday lives.”
“Working closely together with our partners in Ontario will strengthen our common position. We are both committed to continuing to support supply management in the provinces.”