Working Together to Help the Agri-Food Sector Grow
Inaugural Ontario-Saskatchewan Annual Ministerial Partnership Forum on Agriculture Strengthens Efforts to Support Agri-Food Sector
QUÉBEC CITY - Today, Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, met with David Marit, Saskatchewan's Minister of Agriculture, to discuss common priorities to support the growth of their respective agri-food sectors. This meeting is one of several initiatives happening under the Memorandum of Understanding for Ontario-Saskatchewan Free Trade that is reducing regulatory burden and creating more opportunities for businesses.
The Ministers held a one-on-one meeting at the Annual Conference of Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Agriculture Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture, where they discussed shared priorities including trade, market access and development, animal health, labour, and the need for the federal government to cut red tape for our agri-businesses.
"As provincial ministers, we need to work together to ensure agri-food sector concerns are addressed by the federal government," said Hardeman. "There are huge opportunities for our industries to grow - however, I have heard too often about the difficulties farmers face with red tape and excessive regulation. It is more urgent than ever to lighten the regulatory burden so the agri-food sector can grow and thrive. In Ontario, we are committed to reducing regulatory burden and costs so farmers can concentrate on what they do best: feeding families."
"I look forward to exploring more opportunities for joint initiatives and sharing best practices across all sectors with the Government of Ontario," said Marit. "It is important for agriculture's resiliency and growth to develop beneficial relationships with other provinces and keep our industry strong."
The Ministers discussed recent restrictions on Canadian agri-food products including beef, pork, and canola by China and agreed to strongly encourage the federal government to continue working with Chinese authorities on a resolution to this issue. The Ministers are also jointly advocating to the federal government for provinces to be involved as changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program are implemented.
The Ministers recognized the importance of shared responsibility for animal health emergency management, including African Swine Fever, and agreed to press the federal government for a coordinated national emergency response to further protect Canada's agri-food sector from animal health emergencies.
- Premier Doug Ford and Saskatchewan’s Premier Scott Moe signed the Ontario-Saskatchewan Free Trade Memorandum of Understanding on October 29, 2018.
- Ontario and Saskatchewan represent 42 percent of Canada’s population with 15.5 million Canadians.
- Together, Ontario and Saskatchewan account for 45 per cent of Canada's farm cash receipts (gross farm income) from primary agricultural production and more than 40 percent of food and beverage processing revenues in Canada.