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Canadian Plant Health Council launched

Collaboration between Canadian governments, industry, academia and other partners in plant health is essential to protect our resources from new and emerging risks, drive innovation and ensure that Canadian industry remains competitive and sustainable.

Plant health partners in Canada are pleased to announce the establishment of the Canadian Plant Health Council – fulfilling a multi-partner commitment to collaboratively implement the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada.
The Canadian Plant Health Council will address priorities for the plant health sector, working together on preventive approaches and activities to protect forests, agriculture and other plants from pests, diseases and other risks. 

The council consists of 11 members from national industry associations, academia and federal, provincial and territorial governments representing the plant health sector in agriculture and forestry. The council will develop a focused work plan and over the next 2 years, advance key priorities, demonstrating what can be achieved through collaboration between governments, industry, and academia.  

The agriculture and agri-food industry is an important driver in today's economy, contributing over $110 billion annually to Canada's gross domestic product, and has been identified as one of Canada's key growth sectors.

The Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada is an action-oriented strategy focused on risk prevention and collaboration among partners in plant and animal health. It was endorsed in 2017 by all partners, including federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture. A significant first step towards implementation was to establish the 2 separate coordinating councils for plant and animal health. These councils will provide leadership in prioritizing and implementing the potential activities outlined in the strategy.

"Agriculture is vital to Canada's economy. The establishment of the Canadian Plant Health Council is an important step in the prevention of risks to our plant resources, as well as in the protection of our plant health. As a farmer, I understand the value of partnerships. Together we can identify and work to advance key priorities to maximize economic opportunities in agriculture", said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

"It is important for governments, industry and academia to work together to protect Canada's plant resources, including our crops sector, from current and emerging risks. This council will play an important role in enabling collective action on activities like pest and disease surveillance and biosecurity", Bill Greuel, Regulatory and Innovation Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Saskatchewan's Ministry of Agriculture and ADM Champion of the Canadian Plant Health Council, commented.

"Fruits and vegetables are very sensitive to new pests and disease. The Canadian Plant Health Council's ability to coordinate an effective national response to such threats is extremely relevant to our industry, as consumers demand high quality produce", Brian Gilroy, President, Canadian Horticultural Council, said.

"Working in collaboration with national industry sectors as well as provincial and federal governments, the Canada Wood Group is confident that the new Canadian Plant Health Council provides a mechanism to quickly address plant health risks, safeguard our natural resources and ensuring long term economic benefits to all Canadians", added Barry Ford, General Manager and Plant Health Manager, Canada Wood.

"The opportunity to be a part of a platform that prioritizes plant health-related activities to deliver the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada ensures that Canada's faculties of agriculture can deliver the appropriate training for new entrants into the agriculture sector and provide new science to protect our country's plant resource base", Karin Wittenberg PhD, PAg‎, Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba, representing the Deans Council - Agriculture, Food & Veterinary Medicine, added.

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