Québec and Ontario Agriculture Ministers Partner on Building Agri-food Sectors
Jeff Leal, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Pierre Paradis, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Québec, met on November 9, 2015 to discuss ways to enhance their collaboration to help build up the economies of both provinces, and reinforce regional partnership based on shared priorities.
Recent trade agreements remained an important point of discussion. In the spirit of the unanimous position of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Agriculture Ministers took last summer in Charlottetown about the importance of preserving the integrity of the supply management system, Ministers Leal and Paradis reiterated the need of meticulous application of clear border rules, as well as the importance of reciprocity of standards. In light of the impacts that the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have on the agriculture sector, the Ministers agreed to continue to discuss investments and compensation that the federal government can make to preserve future of agriculture.
Following on the 2015 Ontario-Quebec agreement on collaboration on climate change, and in advance of the upcoming United Nations meeting in Paris, the ministers agreed to enhance their collaboration on adaptation and mitigation strategies in agriculture and food processing. Recognizing the need to continue to invest in sustainable agricultural practices, the Ministers agreed that early action could include funding joint research projects related to water and integrated pest management.
The Ministers discussed the concept of a social license and the responsible use of pesticides, including pollinator health. Minister Paradis also updated Minister Leal regarding proposed animal welfare legislative changes in Quebec, which is intended to catch up to changes made by other leading provinces, including Ontario.
Recognizing how important the food processing industry is to the Canadian economy, the ministers agreed to champion the importance of food processing at the Agriculture Minister's FPT table and make it one of the priority areas of Growing Forward 3.
Closer collaboration on agriculture and food processing builds on the foundation set by Premiers Wynne and Couillard to grow regional economies in Ontario and Québec, and contribute to Canada's growth.
- Québec and Ontario form the largest economic region of Canada, with 21.9 million Canadians. Together, the two provinces are responsible for approximately 56 per cent of Canada's total GDP.
- In 2014, the total value of Canadian exports was $492.1 billion. Ontario exported $177.3 billion of goods, and Québec $74.3 billion.
- In 2014, the total value of Canadian agri-food exports was $56.8 billion. Ontario’s agri-food exports were $12.5 billion, while Québec agri-food exports were $7.0 billion.
- Together, Ontario and Québec account for nearly 36 per cent of Canada’s farm cash receipts from primary agricultural production and over 60 per cent of food and beverage 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.
“The close partnership between Ontario and Québec continues to show tremendous benefits to both of our provinces’ agricultural and agri-food sectors, providing opportunities for job creation and prosperity for Ontario, Québec and the rest of Canada. By building on our strong relationship we can ensure our provinces continue to make real progress on issues that matter to people in their everyday lives.”
“Québec’s and Ontario’s agri-food sectors are fairly similar. Therefore the partnership developed between our provinces enables us to grow this sector at its true worth. A study recently published by the Institut du Québec shows that the agri-food industry is the number one job creator in Québec and represents close to 10% of GDP. It’s a powerful lever for economic growth in Québec and it participates actively in the vitality of all of Québec’s regions.”