Canada’s current agricultural policy framework, Growing Forward 2, is set to expire in just over a year’s time. This five-year CAD$3 billion investment in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector saw the administration of three federal programs—AgriInnovation, AgriCompetitiveness and AgriMarketing—as well as a number of cost-shared programs delivered across the provinces and territories. With this plan on its way out, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is in the process of developing the next agricultural policy framework.
COTA has been present, representing the organic industry at every step in consultations underway for the next framework—participating in each government consultation session to date, and hosting its own session in Ottawa to collect member feedback. We also reached out to members through our Next Policy Framework survey to evaluate the top barriers to successfully advancing their organic businesses and the policy actions members would like to see in place to remove them.
What we’ve heard has come in loud and clear:
- Additional organic data are needed across the value chain to properly navigate the industry and capitalize on opportunities.
- Additional programming and funds are needed to help develop domestic supply of organic and local market opportunities in Canada as well as abroad.
- Stronger linkages are needed between organic farming and policy work on the environment, climate change, health and employment. Organic bridges each of these departments and contributes to their policy objectives, requiring a collaborative approach to programming to reflect this.
These and several other key priorities were highlighted in COTA’s formal letter to AAFC along with recommendations on how these can be addressed to advance the needs of our sector. This is a critical route for COTA to influence the policy platform for organic in the coming years, and we appreciate the contributions of all those who have provided input.
The next policy framework is set to be launched April 1, 2018. For more information, visit www.agr.gc.ca. //