The Federal Government's annual budget for 2023 has been unveiled, and while the Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) believe that there's still room for improvement when it comes to prioritizing food and food production, FVGC is encouraged by the inclusion of some key measures that will positively impact fruit and vegetable growers across Canada.
Rebecca Lee, FVGC's Executive Director, said, "We appreciate the government's commitment to supporting food security in Canada and welcome the positive measures announced in Budget 2023. We will continue to work with the government to ensure that they are analyzing all of their policy through a lens of food security. We know that Canadians rely on fruit and vegetable growers across Canada to ensure that they have access to safe and nutritious food all year long. Canada's policymakers must ensure that there is support for our Canadian growers so that they can continue to provide food security for all Canadians."
FVGC is particularly pleased to see several funding initiatives that will benefit growers presented in the recent budget. These include a $34.1 million allocation to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's On-Farm Climate Action Fund, intended to support the adoption of nitrogen management practices by Eastern Canadian farmers, thus optimizing the use and reducing the need for fertilizer. Another initiative is significant funding allocated to the CFIA Market Access and Food Safety programming, as well as the allocation of $13 million to increase the interest-free limit for loans under the Advance Payments Program. FVGC members asked Minister Bibeau for this increase at their AGM this past month and also passed a resolution calling for FVGC to advocate on this issue. Its inclusion in the budget is extremely positive for Canadian growers. Additionally, funding was earmarked to establish the Canada Water Agency. The government also pledged to introduce a right to repair, which will include the interoperability of farming equipment. Lastly, the government allocated $15.3 million to Public Safety Canada to establish a publicly accessible online portal that will allow Canadians to access information on their exposure to flooding.
The budget included a number of the key recommendations that FVGC brought forward through the National Supply Chain Task Force, including:
- Support for Transport Canada to establish a Transportation Supply Chain Office by investing $27.2 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, to work with industry and other orders of government to respond to disruptions and better coordinate action to increase the capacity, efficiency, and reliability of Canada's transportation supply chain infrastructure;
- Additional funds of $25 million to Transport Canada over five years, starting in 2023-24, to work with Statistics Canada to develop transportation supply chain data that will help reduce congestion, make our supply chains more efficient, and inform future infrastructure planning. This measure will be advanced using existing Transport Canada resources; and
- The introduction of amendments to the Canada Transportation Act to provide the Minister of Transport with the authority to compel data sharing by shippers accessing federally regulated transportation services.
FVGC will continue to advocate for increased funding and supports to help keep input costs down, increase our access to our essential workforce, and improve Canada's competitiveness with our trading partners. You can view FVGC's Budget 2023 consultation submission here.
For more information:
Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada
Tel.: +1 (613) 226-4880