Surrey Board of Trade Urges Canadian Government To Reduce Regulatory Burden on Canada’s Agri-Food Businesses

A new report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Cultivating Competitiveness: Turning Agri-food Regulatory Reform Promises into Action highlights the need for government to act urgently to reduce regulatory burdens on Canada’s agri-food businesses.

“The Surrey Board of Trade supports the recommendations of this position paper especially as 1/3 of Surrey’s land base is agricultural land representing a diverse and innovative agricultural and food-producing sector,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

The federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth and Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table have validated the problems and proposed solutions for many of the regulatory challenges facing the sector.

“There are dozens of studies and reports spanning more than a decade that all arrive at similar conclusions – complex and inconsistent regulations are limiting our agriculture sector’s ability to innovate and reach new markets. It is time for government to turn all of this work into action and modernize Canada’s agri-food regulations,” said Ryan Greer, Senior Director, Transportation and Infrastructure Policy of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and author of the report.

The agri-food sector is important to Canada’s economic prosperity. Canada is the 5th largest agricultural commodity exporter and 11th largest exporter of manufactured food products in the world, but given Canada’s potential, these are a floor, not a ceiling.

“Many of industry’s challenges with these regulatory regimes are not new, nor are pledges to fix them. With a federal election around the corner, the government has a narrow window to show meaningful progress on this key driver of Canadian jobs. It is imperative that the government avoid the temptation to cherry pick from the recommendations of the Economic Strategy Table to address these problems, and instead make all of the systemic changes the sector needs to meet Canada’s agri-food export goal of $85 billion by 2025,” added Greer.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce report outlines measures that the federal government should take in 2019 to demonstrate that it is serious about addressing these regulatory problems:

  1. Commit to implementing all of the recommendations of the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table Report

2. Pass legislation to make regulatory efficiency and economic growth a permanent part of regulators’ mandates, including Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada
3. Make the targeted regulatory review of the agri-food sector a permanent, ongoing-model for regulatory modernization
4. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine the cumulative impacts of all the new regulatory proposals that are currently facing the sector

For more information about the costs of regulatory burden on Canadian businesses, please visit Regulate Smarter.