FREDERICTON (GNB) – Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Margaret Johnson met virtually this week with her federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to discuss a number of key issues related to Canada’s agriculture sector.

The annual meeting in Guelph, Ont. – which delegates could attend in person or virtually – wrapped up with the release of the Guelph Statement. It is a shared vision for the next agricultural policy framework, meant to position Canada’s agri-food producers and processors and others in the sector as world leaders in sustainable agriculture and enable a globally competitive sector.

“I am pleased we could all agree on an ambitious vision for the next policy framework, which is so important to the agriculture sector right across the country,” said Johnson. “During our discussions I always work hard to make sure the voices of New Brunswick farmers are heard.”

The ministers agreed on the sustainable agriculture approach needed to help shape the next policy framework, which includes environmental, social and economic considerations in all priority areas. The five priority areas are climate change and the environment; science, research and innovation; market development and trade; building sector capacity and growth; and resiliency and public trust.

Progress was made on other key action areas that will help position the sector for sustainable economic recovery and growth, including labour, African Swine Fever, Animal Health Canada, trade and market access, regulatory priorities, retail fees, and mental health.

The ministers also acknowledged the hard work of everyone involved in maintaining the strong food supply chain for Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next agricultural policy framework will follow the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year (2018-23), $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors. The partnership includes both federal programs, as well as those that are cost-shared between the federal (60 per cent) and provincial/territorial (40 per cent) governments.

The Guelph Statement reflects the large amount of input received through stakeholder consultations over the past year. These consultations continue to gather input from a wide range of stakeholders.