Source: Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
The recently released federal Budget 2019 contains several points of interest for the Canadian beef industry. Of note is the proposed investment of $199 million over five years for continuation of funding in safeguarding against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the Canadian cattle herd. This funding will assist the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to maintain world class inspection programs that help maintain access to international markets for Canadian cattle and beef products. Funds are earmarked in Budget 2019 to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports to help prevent illegally imported meat products from entering Canada. The commitment of new funding of up to $31 million, announced earlier in March by Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, is to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports to help in the effort to clamp down on African Swine Fever.
Funding for the CFIA’s Daily Shift Inspection Presence Program was also renewed. This program provides additional food safety inspection resources at all Canadian meat processing facilities that export meat to the U.S.
The CCA applauds the government for announcing a three-year immigration pilot to bring in full-time, non-seasonal agricultural workers that will include a pathway to permanent residency. The pilot, part of the Food Policy for Canada announcement in Budget 2019, is intended to help the agri-food sector meet its export targets and attract and retain needed labour. This is a welcomed development as it aligns with industry’s position on augmenting the Canadian agriculture workforce with foreign workers that have a pathway to permanent residency. The CCA will continue to work with the federal government to ensure a long-term national strategy is put in place to ensure labour supply.
Other areas of interest to Canadian farmers and ranchers include:
- Regulatory reform: Budget 2019 proposes up to $67.8 million over five years for Justice Canada to fund the resources needed to implement regulatory reform. Digitization of export certificates is one example of the type of regulatory reform that is sought. The CCA has long supported regulatory reform across federal departments.
- Regulatory harmonization: Inter-provincial and international regulatory harmonization is identified as a key area for advancement. Starting in 2020 the budget proposed $3.1 million for the Treasury Board Secretariat to support regulatory cooperation that will facilitate both interprovincial and international trade.
- Tax reforms: The government will continue to develop new proposals to better accommodate intergenerational transfers of businesses while protecting the integrity and fairness of the tax system.
- Rural community support: The infrastructure support for rural services will be further investigated to fully understand the implications however clear funding and direction was given regarding broad band internet, 95 per cent of Canadian homes and businesses will have access to internet speeds of at least 50/10 Mbps by 2026 and 100 per cent by 2030.
The CCA has been an active participant in the budgeting processes and will continue to work with the federal government to further understand and bring forward the voice of Canadian cattle producers.