The Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce will administer a pilot project for two years
By Diego Flammini
A pilot project between two prairie provinces will temporarily reduce food trade barriers from a border town.
The governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, along with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, are removing barriers to interprovincial food trade in Lloydminster.
On Jan. 16, the CFIA posted a notice on its website that it is amending the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).
“This would allow such food businesses to prepare food for trade into all of the city of Lloydminster, including the part of the city that is not within their province, without having to hold an Safe Food for Canadians licence and be subject to related requirements,” the notice says.
Lloydminster is the only city in Canada to straddle two provinces.
But the results of this project could provide other interprovincial border towns with similar opportunities, said Nate Horner, Alberta’s minister of agriculture and irrigation.
"Lloydminster food businesses have been asking for a solution for their unique issues for years, and this pilot project is an exciting step toward a solution," he said in a statement. "I look forward to seeing how our efforts to reduce red tape on food trade will make life better in Lloydminster and inspire further reductions to interprovincial trade barriers."
The pilot project will last for two years.
The Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce is administering the project and is asking food businesses who wish to participate in the trade pilot to apply.
At least one producer organization is on board with the two-year food trade pilot.
Allowing food to travel between border towns with fewer restrictions will help increase trade in other communities, said Sheila Hilmer, vice chair of Alberta Beef Producers.
“We are excited to see this pilot, not only as a potential solution for the unique needs of communities close to provincial boundaries, but also as a step towards improvements in interprovincial trade across the prairies,” she said.
A freer trade relationship between Alberta and Saskatchewan is something previous leaders have wanted.
During the 2019 election campaign, then Alberta Premier Jason Kenney spoke of how Lloydminster could benefit from reduced trade barriers.
“We want to be a model for the rest of Canada, in knocking down inter-provincial trade barriers and barriers on labour mobility,” he told MyLloydminsterNow.com in April 2019. “I think that will benefit Lloydminster in particular, where there continues to be unnecessary gaps both on the regulatory and professional sides between the two provinces.”