BC Food & Beverage provides Assessment of the BC Food Hub Network
Earlier this year, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food engaged BC Food & Beverage to conduct a survey and needs assessment to the current design of the BC Food Hub Network. BCFB has concluded the project and communicated a list of eleven key recommendations that we believe will serve to optimize the benefit the BC Food Hub Network project provides to industry.
Calls for a Canadian Food Industry Code of Practice
A number of food associations, including FBC, have formed the Canadian Food Industry Collaborative Alliance to declare their collective support for a mandatory Food Industry Code of Practice. The Alliance – FBC, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Quebec Food Processing Council (CTAQ), Quebec Food Retailers Association, and Retail Council of Canada – has proposed a transparent, consultative, and collaborative process for food industry leaders to work together to develop that code. The Alliance members believe that any Code of Practice must be developed in Canada for Canada and by industry for industry. The Canadian Food Industry Collaborative Alliance is asking Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers to support the proposal, which can be found here.
Food and Beverage Canada Announces Board of Directors for 2021-2022
In May, FBC held its Annual General Meeting and released its 2020/2021 Annual Report. Since forming in 2018, FBC has established itself as a unique industry association providing national policy and advocacy leadership through strategic problem-solving and unparalleled member engagement. Over the coming year, FBC will continue its mission to advance a competitive business environment that enables growth and sustainability through knowledge sharing, consultation, business-led solutions and proactive advocacy. FBC is pleased to announce the appointment of its new and returning Board of Directors for 2021-02. FBC is also pleased to announce the appointment of James Donaldson, CEO of BC Food & Beverage, as the association’s new Vice-Chair.
BCFB and FBC welcomes the House Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee’s Report on Processing Capacity
On May 4, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food released a report entitled “Room to Grow: Strengthening Food Processing Capacity in Canada for Food Security and Exports”. The report was a result of a months-long study of Canada’s food processing sector, which FBC CEO Kathleen Sullivan, and a number of FBC’s Members participated in. Recognizing that food and beverage processing is Canada’s second-largest manufacturing sector and largest manufacturing employer, the Committee made 18 recommendations to help the sector reach its full potential. You can read our response here.
New Pathway to Permanent Residency for Food Processing Workers
In April, the federal government announced a pathway to permanent residence for TFW’s employed in health care and other essential services. Starting May 6, 2021, 30,000 applications will be accepted for temporary workers in essential occupations – including skilled trades, transport truck drivers, machine operators and related workers in food and beverage processing.
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada launches Policy Framework Consultations
Federal Agriculture and Agri-food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau have launched consultations on the Next Policy Framework for agriculture, the successor to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Consultations will include a series of national engagement sessions held throughout June and July 2021.
BCFB has been engaged in these consultations on a regional level with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and will continue to convey the needs of our members.
Minister Bibeau launches the second half of $20M Food Waste Reduction Challenge
In November, the federal government launched the $20M Food Waste Reduction Challenge, calling for innovators to deliver game-changing solutions to this long-standing and complex issue. The Challenge’s novel technology streams are now open for concept with a closing date of August 31, 2021. It is worth noting that the Challenge is open to commercial and non-commercial organizations, and businesses of any size. Further details can be found here.
Government of Canada Announces Details of the New Canada Recovery Hiring Program
On June 2, the Minister of Finance announced that the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program would be available retroactively to June 6, 2021. The program will provide a subsidy of up to 50 percent of eligible salary or wages, and will be eligible to employers who have experienced qualifying revenue declines so they can hire more workers, increase workers’ hours, or increase wages. Further details can be found here.
What We’re Watching in Parliament
The House of Commons is scheduled to sit until it recesses for the summer break, with the earliest possible recess date being June 10th and June 23rd at the latest. The Senate is scheduled to sit until June 25. FBC has been monitoring progress on Senate Bill S-216, An Act to enact the Modern Slavery Act and to amend the Customs Act, which seeks to, among other things, require companies doing business in Canada to report annually on their efforts to prevent or reduce the risk of forced and child labour in their supply chains. While this Bill remains having been sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, and unlikely will not move forward in the House before the end of the spring session, a recent The Hill Times article (found here, subscription only) urged the government to expedite the passage of the Bill.