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Canadian produce industry meets with Members of Parliament

Industry reps and MPs discussed labour and health issues

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Farms.com

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) recently met with Members of Parliament in Ottawa to discuss important issues impacting the country’s fresh fruit and vegetable sector.

CPMA addressed the need for a nationwide fruit and vegetable nutrition policy. According to the organization, Canada is falling behind in that regard.

“As the only G7 country without some form of national fruit and vegetable health/nutrition policy, we believe that it is time the federal government act to ensure that Canadians are consuming the recommended amount of servings as outlined in Canada’s Food Guide,” Sam Silvestro, chair, CPMA, said in a release.

With respect to labour, the organizations highlighted the importance of two programs.

“The focus was on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and their importance to the industry,” Latitia Scarr, manager, government relations, CPMA told Farms.com.

“Currently, the horticulture sector needs an extra 29,000 workers to function properly,” Keith Kuhl, president, CHC, said in the release. “The federal government needs to recognize that Canada’s agricultural industry relies on temporary foreign worker programs to get workers it can’t find in Canada, and that these programs need to improve.”

Attendees said the meetings acted as a way to reinforce the importance of the fruit and vegetable industry to Canadians.

“These meetings were a great way to start and, in some cases, continue conversations with key MPs and their staff,” Stéphanie Levasseur, owner, Au coeur de la pomme, and president, Les Producteurs de pommes du Québec, saod in an email to Farms.com. “They were very receptive to our input and recommendations. We just have to keep pushing forward to maintain this great momentum and hopefully get the policy changes we’re looking for.”

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