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ESS RELEASE Fall Harvest 2023: Canadian fresh produce industry engages with Parliamentarians

Ottawa, ON— The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) successfully concluded their annual joint advocacy event, Fall Harvest, which took place in Ottawa from November 20-22. This year's event centered on several key focus areas: 
• Competitiveness and Cumulative Regulatory Burden:
 FVGC and CPMA advocated for the Government to enhance the competitiveness of Canada's fruit and vegetable supply chain by alleviating cumulative regulatory burden and aligning departmental objectives for the sector's betterment. 
• Advancing Bill C-280: Both organizations urged Parliamentarians to prioritize the swift passage of the Financial Protection for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Farmers Act through Royal Assent as a vital mechanism to support the long-term sustainability of Canadian produce businesses.
• Sustainable Packaging Initiatives: FVGC and CPMA raised awareness of the industry’s significant concerns with recent Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) proposals related to packaging, and actively advocated for the adoption of sustainable packaging initiatives that ensure all Canadians have access to safe food, align with international standards for sustainability and competition, and mitigate any unintended environmental impacts from the food supply's packaging needs. 

During Fall Harvest, FVGC and CPMA members were pleased to meet with key representatives from all four major political parties, including MP Francis Drouin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food; MP John Barlow, Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security; MP Alistair MacGregor, NDP Critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food and Food Price Inflation; Senator Rob Black, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, as well as Assistant Deputy Ministers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. As part of the advocacy effort, FVGC and CPMA hosted a reception for Parliamentarians and their staff which attracted approximately 200 attendees. The event was attended by the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, who spoke about the significance of the fresh fruit and vegetable sector. 

Colin Chapdelaine, Chair of CPMA, stated, "The fresh produce supply chain is not only an integral cornerstone of the Canadian economy, but a vital force contributing nearly $15 billion to our GDP and supporting over 185,400 jobs. The discussions held here focus on providing Canadians with nutritious fruits and vegetables, improving overall health, and propelling our nation's economy forward. An all- encompassing examination of policies and regulations with a focus on reducing regulatory burden is not solely an industry necessity, but an absolute national imperative." Jan VanderHout, President of FVGC, added, “As we confront the challenges of rising operational costs and environmental pressures, it's clear that a sustainable fresh fruit and vegetable sector is essential to Canada’s health and food security. 

At Fall Harvest, we've highlighted the importance of regulatory review, financial protection measures, and the critical role that the fresh produce industry must play in shaping new sustainable packaging regulations. Our meetings these past few days have been dedicated to helping Parliamentarians and the Government build a resilient fruit and vegetable sector that can thrive amid challenges, striving to ensure that we can continue to grow and distribute the nourishing produce that Canadians depend upon.”

Source : CPMA

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