While harvest for many Canadian farmers is wrapping up, Canada's Parliamentarians (Members of Parliament and Senators) are just getting back to work in Ottawa. With the September 23 Speech from the Throne, Canadians were introduced to a new session of Parliament and a renewed direction from the Trudeau government that focuses on responding to the pandemic and our country's economic recovery.
With the chaos that surrounds minority governments, coupled with the complexities that the pandemic has added to setting government policy, Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) has needed to be nimble and creative in getting the priorities of canola farmers heard in Ottawa. We have branched out our advocacy efforts beyond agriculture, meeting with non-ag cabinet members and their staff, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Deputy Prime Minister's Office, Environment and Climate Change, Natural Resources, International Trade, and Rural Affairs.
For the current session of Parliament, CCGA's advocacy priorities focus on bringing attention to the policy and regulatory issues affecting the competitiveness of Canada's canola farmers. We're focused on advancing solutions that can bring stability and prosperity to farms and the Canadian economy, including:
Fixing Business Risk Management Programs by restoring AgriStability to 85% of historical reference margins with no Reference Margin Limits. CCGA, in partnership with other agriculture groups, is calling on governments to commit to this BRM change at the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Ministers meeting taking place in November.
Enabling more efficient, science-based decision making on crop inputs, including pest control products and seed varieties. Canola is an innovation success story and farmers need continued access to leading edge technologies to remain globally competitive and economically and environmentally sustainable. CCGA is advocating for proper mandates and resources that support efficient, science-based decision making within government bodies that evaluate and approve crop varieties and crop protection products.
Creating a stable domestic market for Canadian canola with biodiesel. Expanding Canada's usage of biofuels means a stable domestic market for canola farmers and reduced GHGs for Canadians. The Clean Fuel Standard, currently being developed by the federal government, has potential to drive significant increased demand for canola-based biofuels in Canada, but more work is required to ensure canola farmer issues are addressed. Where possible, CCGA is advocating with government to achieve the most benefit for farmers.
Solving market access issues and opening new international markets for canola. Over 90% of Canadian-grown canola is exported, so maintaining access to existing markets and creating new ones are imperative to the growth and stability of canola farms. CCGA consistently shares our trade priorities with government including: a) full reinstatement of the Chinese market, b) additional on-the-ground government resources in other countries to help understand evolving regulatory trade requirements, c) modernization of the World Trade Organization, and d) expansion and diversification of export market opportunities where possible.
By participating in meetings, consultations and attending committee hearings, CCGA will ensure the voice of canola farmers is heard by Parliamentarians from all parties. We will focus on solutions and opportunities that will help farmers succeed and, in turn, support Canada's post-pandemic economic recovery.
For more information on CCGA's advocacy priorities, read Canola: Growing Canadian Prosperity.