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Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food of Canada

06 March 2023

The Canadian agri-food system generated about 6.8% of the country’s GDP in 2021. Are you confident that the industry will be able to uphold its standing and prove itself sufficiently resilient in the context of climate change?

Climate change is impacting the way Canada and the world can produce food. Increasingly frequent and more extreme weather events associated with climate change are already having a significant impact on agricultural production, including damages to crops, livestock, and infrastructure, and potential multi-year impacts on soil fertility or herd management. This is why Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is developing a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy to provide an integrated and coordinated approach to improving the agriculture sector's environmental performance and supporting its long-term vitality. The Strategy will focus on five priority areas: soil health, climate adaptation and resilience, water, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity. It will also advance the Government of Canada’s target of reducing emissions from fertilizer application by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, as well as Canada’s commitment to the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to reduce methane emissions around the world by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. The strategy will build on the environmental and innovation successes achieved to date in the sector, leverage opportunities related to increased market focus on sustainable food products, and focus resources to support an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable sector. 

Canada's agricultural producers are strongly committed to becoming more resilient and reducing the sector's environmental impact. Farmers work hard to safeguard the environment, knowing it supports their livelihoods and maintains healthy agricultural landscapes for future generations. AAFC is committed to supporting these efforts, and since 2021 the Government of Canada has announced CAD $1.5 billion for initiatives to help farmers and processors reduce their environmental footprint.

Furthermore, in July 2022, federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of agriculture reached an agreement on the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP). This new CAD $3.5 billion, five-year agreement, which takes effect on April 1, 2023 will position our sector for continued success as a world leader in sustainable agriculture. Sustainable CAP includes stronger performance measurement and results reporting, including targets such as a 3 to 5 megatonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

You have recently launched the first-ever Food Policy for Canada. How could this initiative address the expected 70% surge in global demand for food by 2050?

The Food Policy for Canada set a foundation for increased integration and coordination of food-related policies and programs. This enables greater long-term planning, enhanced coordination by the Government, and improved accountability through regular reporting to Canadians on progress and achievements. The Food Policy also brings diverse actors and stakeholders from across the food system together through the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council and is supported by research and analysis to inform collaborative food system decision-making. It has been launched as a platform that can be built upon over time as the Government of Canada continues to work collaboratively across all orders of government and with a broad range of organizations. 

As an example, under the Food Policy for Canada, AAFC is delivering the Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFIF), a $60-million, five-year program aimed at community-based, not-for-profit organizations. LFIF’s objective is to strengthen local food systems and to facilitate access to safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food for at-risk populations. Additionally, AAFC is delivering the CAD $20 million Food Waste Reduction Challenge, launched as part of the Food Policy, which stimulates high-impact solutions to food loss and waste throughout the supply chain and sparked new thinking, perspectives, and ideas from Canadian innovators to deliver game-changing solutions that prevent or divert food waste, advance technologies that extend the life of food or transform food waste. With these new solutions, the Government of Canada aims to increase food availability, save consumers and businesses money, increase farmers' revenue and strengthen our food systems, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The next decades can prove to be very challenging for Canadian farmers, but the difficulties can also foster a new agricultural revolution. How is your government cooperating with Canadian businesses to keep a competitive edge on the global market?


Canada is a global leader in agricultural innovation and technological development. However, to meet the enormous challenges facing our sector we must continue to keep breaking new ground and accelerate the pace of innovation.


New technologies such as genome editing, robotics/automation and artificial intelligence offer a potential solution and will help the sector produce more food sustainably while addressing key challenges, such as labor shortages, supply chain resilience and climate change. Supporting continued innovation is pivotal to revolutionizing modern agriculture and finding solutions to agricultural challenges. The Government of Canada is committed to helping producers further adopt practices and technologies that protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions without compromising production.

Funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AAFC's AgriScience program aims to accelerate the pace of innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector and Canadians, while the AgriInnovate Program supports projects that aim to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase agri-sector competitiveness and sustainability. Additionally, the recently expanded CAD $495.7 million Agricultural Clean Technology Program provides farmers and agri-businesses across Canada with access to funding to help develop and adopt the latest clean technologies to reduce emissions and enhance their competitiveness.

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