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e-2455 (Food and drink)

E-petition
Initiated by Tina Smith Brooks from Rigaud, Quebec

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • By 2050 natural resource consumption of food, water, energy and materials will increase by 40 to 70%, negatively impacting biodiversity and the environment;
  • A transition to innovative, low-input organic agriculture systems is more sustainable and maximizes a positive impact on climate change;
  • Organic production promotes soil health making it more efficient and reversing the deleterious effects of agriculture;
  • Environmental and public health benefits, and economic opportunities are created to fulfill important Government of Canada objectives;
  • A transition to organic farming contributes to a more sustainable food system and naturally allows implementation of sustainable management of other resources, crown lands and waterways;
  • Organic farms, old-growth forests, and grasslands remove carbon from the atmosphere and must be aggressively protected and promoted.
  • Canada is lagging behind our allies, such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, and Switzerland, who've adopted quantitative targets of between 10 and 50% organics by 2050;
  • National organic action plans reduce dependency on broadleaf herbicides, pesticides and surfactants, reversing negative effects on the environment and biodiversity;
  • Converting to organics guarantees Canada access to export markets and opens new ones.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Implement quantifiable targets to transition to organics;
2. Offer education and financial support to Canadians to increase organic agriculture and food processing, giving all Canadians better access; and
3. Require government buildings to purchase organics and protect Canadians health from the dangers of conventional farming processes while healing the environment.

Response by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, PC, MP

The Government of Canada supports a variety of agriculture and food production methods, all of which must meet the stringent food safety and environmental regulatory requirements set out by various federal and provincial departments and agencies, such as Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. This enables Canadian farmers to produce food that meets different consumer demands and utilize various farm production techniques. It also allows Canadian agriculture and agri-food producers to be competitive and economically viable while ensuring food safety, plant and animal health and welfare, and  environmental sustainability.

Organic agriculture aligns with the Government of Canada's strategic priorities of sustainability and economic development. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), in partnership with national industry associations and other government departments, continues to work collaboratively to advance industry and government priorities, which include proactively looking at the following themes:

  • Assess and set organic growth targets to meet growing consumer and market demand and contribute to the Government's sustainable development goals and environmental commitments;
  • Evaluate the true benefit to producers, the environment, and the economy of organic production and practices;
  • Incentivize the use of climate mitigation practices;
  • Effectively manage human capital (e.g., knowledge transfer, education); and
  • Expand Canadian organic sales both domestically and abroad.

AAFC is committed to continue working with other government departments, provinces and territories, the organic industry, and key stakeholders to examine ways of capitalizing on opportunities and removing barriers to growth. AAFC is investing over $7.5 million in three key ongoing initiatives specific to the sector:

  • Connecting Environmental Sustainability with the Science of Organic Production: announced September 10, 2018 - $5,934,533 over five years (ending March 31, 2023);
  • Expanding Canada organic export sales and improving competitiveness that was announced June 14, 2019 - $992,131 over three years (ending March 31, 2021); and
  • Strengthening organic supply chains for domestic and export opportunities: announced September 10, 2020 - $649,822 over three years (ending March 31, 2022).

Through continued indutry engagement, programs, and services, AAFC will continue supporting national industry associations, as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises, to develop systems, standards, and tools that allow them to make credible, meaningful, and verifiable claims about their products. Supporting industry-led efforts to develop assurance systems that validate product claims, above and beyond regulatory requirements, provides greater consumer choice and strengthens confidence in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food supply chain.

The Government of Canada's process for acquisition of goods for Government buildings aims to get the best value for Canadians while enhancing access, competition, and fairness. The majority of contracts awarded to small and medium enterprises are done on a competitive basis, making it the most common process used by the Government. Food suppliers are encouraged to explore the process to become a Government supplier at the following website: https://buyandsell.gc.ca/for-businesses/selling-to-the-government-of-canada/the-procurement-process

Open for signature
April 24, 2020, at 9:55 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
August 22, 2020, at 9:55 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Peter Schiefke (Vaudreuil—Soulanges)
October 5, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00058)
Government response tabled
November 18, 2020
Photo - Peter Schiefke
Vaudreuil—Soulanges
Liberal Caucus
Quebec
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