Glacier FarmMedia – Kody Blois, Liberal MP and chair of the House of Commons’ agriculture committee, recently introduced a bill to make it easier for seed, feed and crop protection products to move into Canada.
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Private member’s Bill C-359 would amend the Seeds Act, Feeds Act and Pest Control Products Act to provide a 90-day provisional registration for products from other countries that have been approved in at least two trusted jurisdictions.
Why it matters: The current regulatory pathway adds delays that can put Canadian farmers at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in other countries.
Blois and stakeholders also called for new feed regulations to be published in the Canada Gazette II by the end of the year.
“There should be no further delay,” said Blois.
Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency already do good work, Blois said during a news conference in Ottawa, but competitiveness matters. New tools have to be made available in a timely manner, he said.
“Now, in some cases it can be a year, two years, three or more. It’s important that we create a legislative pathway where we can be able to move on an expedited manner.
“Right now, the way in Canada that we treat this topic is, whether or not it’s someone coming from their basement that has a great invention or it’s a company that has 10 existing approvals around the world, largely the process is the same.”
Canadian Federation of Agriculture President Keith Currie said improving competitiveness and sustainability is critical for Canadian farmers in all sectors and he echoed Blois’ call for the feed regulations to be published.
“With the completion of this 13-year project we can continue to enhance Canada’s approach to expediting foreign approval recognition for feed registrations through the proposed legislation,” he said.
Currie also said the bill is a no-cost measure that can decrease the regulatory burden without sacrificing transparency or food safety.
Jennifer Babcock, the Canadian Cattle Association’s senior director of government and public affairs, said the legislation would help beef producers reach environmental goals through greater access to cutting edge tools.
“Having quicker access to innovative products that help us achieve these goals are key, whether it’s reducing methane emissions or improving the efficiency of the animal,” she said.
Babcock said all parliamentarians should look at ways they can ease the regulatory burden on farmers.
“At a time when global food security is a major discussion, we should put a food lens on our policies and legislation.”
Representatives from the Canadian Canola Growers Association, Grain Growers of Canada and the Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada were also on hand to support the bill.
Blois said it would not eliminate the full regulatory reviews required by agencies, but it could close the gap by relying on the science used by trusted partners such as the United States, Australia and others.
He also said the government should include the legislative concept of Bill C-359 in either its fall economic update or next year’s budget.
– This article was originally published at The Western Producer.