Canada easing interprovincial meat-trade barriers

by Bryan Salvage
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OTTAWA, Ontario – The Government of Canada plans to invest up to $3 million for a series of pilot projects that will investigate and help better position provincial meat processors to move their product throughout the country while maintaining Canada's federal food-safety standards.

"Producers and processors...are often unable to sell to customers just kilometers away because of a provincial border," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "We are working with the provinces to inject some common sense into interprovincial trade so that producers and processors can share their world-class product with more Canadian consumers."

As part of the ongoing work by federal and provincial Ministers to create market opportunities for farmers and producers, these pilot projects are part of a roadmap that would expand interprovincial trade in meat. Officials will work with industry to validate new inspection procedures, collect samples and information, and determine what technical procedures could be adapted to better reflect the operating environments of meat processors of all sizes.

"Breaking down interprovincial trade barriers will benefit our producers, processors and packers, who will be able to expand their markets," said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud, who was the co-chair of the Ministers' meetings this year. "Consumers in Saskatchewan and across Canada will benefit from a sound science-based approach to reducing red tape and interprovincial trade barriers."

Facilities interested in participating in the pilot project are invited to submit their application by Jan. 7 to their respective province. Information about this project, including the list of participating provinces/territories, and how to apply, is available at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/meavia/interprov/interprove.shtml.  

This federal investment is being delivered through the Agricultural Flexibility Fund. The Agricultural Flexibility Fund provides up to $500-million to implement new initiatives that will help the agriculture sector adapt to pressures and improve its competitiveness by funding projects that reduce production costs, improve environmental sustainability, promote innovation and respond to market challenges.

Provincial governments and industry will be invited to contribute to those selected pilot projects.
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