2018 President's Report
- CCA President -
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) came into effect on December 30, 2018. Canada signed the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) on November 30. Once ratified via the legislative processes of the three countries, CUSMA will update, modernize, and replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Despite some hoops, Canadian beef exports to the EU continued to grow in volume and value as the reciprocal two-way trade envisioned under the Canada – EU Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) began to take shape.
The CCA’s advocacy efforts produced tangible results in these and other areas as well. The CCA was a leading voice for swift ratification of the CPTPP, working with partners to deliver that message to Parliament Hill. The CCA returned to Japan in early December to promote Canadian beef.
We know importers want a consistent supply of Canadian beef and expect that under the CPTPP, Canadian beef exports to Japan could double in 2019, up from the $160 million of beef exported to Japan in 2017 under the old tariffs.
In February 2019, during a meeting with Ambassador of Canada to Japan, CCA noted that while currently 75 per cent of Canada’s beef goes to the U.S., it’s anticipated in five years’ time, 50 per cent of Canadian product could be going to Asia due to the scheduled tariff reductions and improved market access.
CUSMA importantly preserves duty-free trade in live cattle and beef, and leaves key dispute settlement provisions intact; the agreement excludes any reference to country of origin labelling for meat or livestock. There is ongoing commitment to address regulatory matters affecting cattle and beef trade and to continuously improve the competitiveness of the North American beef sector, all outcomes the CCA advocated for. Despite all the uncertainty in the U.S., the CUSMA is still anticipated to come into force eventually.
Many of the provisions in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement will be of benefit to Canada’s beef and agriculture industry. The new $1.1 billion Export Diversification Strategy will maximize opportunities for exporters in new markets through improved infrastructure and export market support, and a commitment of $25 million over the next five years to enhancing federal capacity to address non-tariff and other trade barriers specific to agri-food. This is excellent news as such barriers often prevent exporters from taking advantage of new export opportunities.
The beef industry is in a perpetual state of forward motion and the CCA is working hard to ensure conversations around sustainable beef production and the healthfulness of beef are top of mind with key officials. The CCA was in Poland for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24). Our industry continually strives to partner in dually achieving Canada’s economic and environmental targets. Attending, observing and sharing the Canadian perspective on sustainable agriculture for the future at COP 24 is a big piece of that. Canada’s leadership in this area along with the nutritional benefits of beef to human health were the main themes of a meeting I had with Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor in Ottawa.
CCA staff and I shared our perspective about the Food Guide and Front of Package labelling with the Minister, letting her know that red meat is an important part of a healthy and balanced diet, and of the need for Canadian health and nutritional policy to be based on sound and consistent scientific evidence. The perils of including misguided information in the Food Guide or on warning labels on foods high in saturated fat, like ground beef, could push people away from an affordable nutrient dense protein staple of benefit to human health. The CCA will continue to work closely with the federal government on messaging going forward to ensure Canadians understand the importance of a balanced diet including beef.
The CCA remains in close contact with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as they investigate a case of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in a cow from British Columbia. Although Canada enjoys bTB-free status, isolated cases do occur. The case, detected in late October, shows Canada’s surveillance system is working. The CFIA recognizes the serious impact of bTB on producers and the cattle industry and is working with the producers and provinces to take immediate action to control the disease and maintain Canada’s bTB-free status. We are pleased to see CFIA incorporating lessons learned from the Alberta case in 2016 and subsequent investigation, and working closely with B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. The CCA is communicating with CFIA on a regular basis and will update members of any developments impacting Canada’s trade status.
The CCA expended considerable effort on a number of regulatory matters which will be described in greater detail elsewhere in the annual report. Key among these efforts was asking the Senate to remove a last-minute addition of a greatly expanded definition of fish habitat in the Fisheries Act that will make it nearly impossible for beef and agricultural producers to be compliance with the Act, as part of suite of recommendations regarding Bill C-68.
The CCA ensured cattle producers’ concerns and recommendations on Bill C-68 were raised with lawmakers in Ottawa during the Fall Session, as we await notification from the Senate of a date for presentation.
The CCA submitted comments to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) regarding its decision to remove the registration of Liquid Strychnine use for the control of Richardson ground squirrels. The CCA is asking for continuation of the registered use of the pest management control product until an effective alternative is in place. Liquid Strychnine is already highly regulated and there are no practical and effective alternative controls for Richardson’s ground squirrels. Until such a control is available, the CCA recommends the current pest control remain approved and available to bona fide farmers and ranchers and affected rural municipalities for the control of ground squirrels.
Work continues on some longer term files. The long-awaited revised Transportation of Animals regulations were published in Canada Gazette Part 2 in February 2019. The regulations reduce the maximum time mature and fed cattle will be allowed to be in transit without feed and water to 36 hours from 52 hours, and to 12 hours from 18 hours for ruminants too young to be fed hay or grain. Changes to some definitions, rest stop duration and transfer of responsibility requirements were part of the package.
The CCA anticipates the revisions will likely increase stress to cattle and opportunity for injury. This is mostly due to the changes in regulations requiring more loading and unloading for rest stops. They ignore the Government of Canada’s own research and were released prior to the completion of ongoing research that would inform a decision on how to change the regulations to ensure the best outcomes for animal care. Further, the regulations have disregarded recommendations made by cattle producers drawing from years of practical hands-on expertise in handling and minimizing stress on their animals. These and other recommendations were included in the CCA’s extensive comments, questions and recommendations submitted during the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) review process and to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.
The CCA’s position is that any regulatory change needs to be based on scientific evidence conducted under Canadian conditions and wherever possible, use outcome-based guidelines that focus on the animal. The CCA believes the revised regulations are premature and incomplete. We will be analyzing the revised regulations document in full and will continue to engage the Government of Canada on our concerns about the animal welfare implications of these regulations before they come into effect in February 2020.
The CCA remains committed to working closely with the Government of Canada and other agriculture commodities to address workforce shortages in the sector.
On traceability, the CFIA revised the anticipated date for the publication of draft regulations pertaining to livestock traceability in Part I of the Canada Gazette to spring 2019 from fall 2018.
The CCA will continue to work with CFIA to clarify definitions that may appear in the regulatory text and ensure that movement reporting upholds industry traceability principles and reflects the Cattle Implementation Plan (CIP).
CCA continues to urge livestock operators to ensure they have a valid Premises ID number and record it in the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) well in advance of the final version of the proposed regulation, anticipated to be implemented in 2019.
The Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP) is a five-year, $3 billion-dollar investment designed to bolster competitiveness, growth and innovation in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. In addition to some changes to Business Risk Management (BRM) programming, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Agriculture Ministers have undertaken a comprehensive review of BRM programming to investigate the types of risks producers face, and assess the effectiveness that BRM programming has on growth and innovation in the industry. CCA continues to explore these issues and has identified key areas it intends to advance while engaging in the BRM review in the upcoming year, such as improvements to forage insurance, AgriStability and expanding the availability of price insurance beyond Western Canada.
The CCA itself underwent many changes in 2018. The CCA welcomed Quebec Cattle Producers/Les Producteurs de bovins du Québec as a provincial member. We look forward to their working alongside all our provincial association members in our efforts to represent Canada’s beef industry. On a related note, we continue to receive expressions of interest from industry partners and stakeholders about joining the CCA, and will explore this area going forward.
This interest, along with all of CCA’s activities, dovetail nicely with the intended outcomes of the National Beef Strategy, namely, to position the Canadian beef industry for greater profitability, growth and continued production of a high quality beef product of choice in the world.
An updated National Strategy covering the period 2020-2024 will be released in 2019. As chair of the Canadian Beef Advisors, which provides oversight to the Strategy, I’m confident both the progress captured in the recent status update and direction of the strategy going forward will provide producers with reason for ongoing optimism in the industry.
CCA President David Haywood-Farmer
2018 Executive Vice President’s Report
- Executive Vice President -
At the same time the Canada United States Trade Agreement (CUSTA) came into effect and initiated a period of growth and modernization in Canada’s feeding and processing industries. Canada became the second largest exporter of high quality grain fed beef in the world during this era.
Today, the second and potentially largest wave of opportunity is upon us. China has allowed more market based growth and many other markets in the Asia Pacific region are rapidly growing, increasing the overall demand for high quality protein. Grain fed beef is gaining in preference in these markets in the premium food service and retail trade space. South Korea and Viet Nam are moving to full market liberalization and Japan has dropped its tariffs to 27 per cent from 38.5 per cent, and will eventually phase down to nine per cent. As part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) we will enjoy preferential access in Japan and Viet Nam for a period of time. Similar opportunity exists in Europe, where Canada negotiated preferential access ahead of all of our competitors in the Canada-EU Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).
Canada’s beef industry is much better prepared today for opportunity than 30 years ago, and we are far more involved in influencing the terms of access and competition. The CCA has been at every negotiating session at every round of every significant trade agreement that will benefit our industry. The CCA travelled with Canada’s International Trade and Agriculture Ministers and negotiators to ensure beef and cattle access remained a top priority and to pursue preferential and commercially meaningful access for Canadian beef products and cattle. When necessary, we accompanied the Canadian government to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to defend our interests.
Four years ago, the National Beef Strategy was launched by the national beef industry groups and provincial members to strengthen our competitiveness, to secure improved and where possible preferential market access, and to strengthen beef demand and customer satisfaction.
We set out four goals – increase our animal/beef value by 15 per cent, increase production efficiency by 15 per cent, improve our regulatory environment, and strengthen the connectivity within our industry, with our customers, and with the public.
Funding collected through the National Check-Off was increased to $2.50 per head from $1 per head to pursue these ambitious goals at the direction of the producer groups.
In 2018, Canada’s beef industry is recognized around the world as a leader in sustainable beef production, as well as for our Verified Beef Production Plus and Cattlemen’s Young Leaders programming and industry led research and innovation. Recently, we implemented the Public and Stakeholder Engagement program to engage in a conversation about the questions people have about the beef industry and to discuss the many positive benefits cattle production brings to the environment and to the planet. The CCA is working with numerous conservation groups who recognize that the cattle industry is essential to preserving native grass lands and habitat for the biodiversity that is desired.
As an industry that is heavily dependent on exports – with around half of our production being sold outside Canada – the CCA has worked hard to secure preferential access to all of the high value markets in the world. Indeed, a Free Trade Agreement was established with South Korea, the CETA was approved and implemented with the EU, the CPTPP agreement was negotiated and approved, and incremental improvements for beef access to China was achieved. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was renegotiated preserving the key provisions of the agreement and improving the provisions on good regulatory practices. There is still work to be done on various aspect of these agreements but the reality is you get one opportunity on these trade agreements every 20 to 25 years to get the framework established or you are left on the outside. The CCA will continue to address the technical issues with the EU and to obtain full access for all our beef products to China.
2018 Board of Directors
David Haywood-Farmer, BC
Dan Darling, ON
Bob Lowe, AB
Prince Edward Island