Dates set for twice-delayed agriculture ministers’ meeting

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau speaks to reporters in March 2019.

The dates have finally been announced for the twice-delayed federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) agriculture ministers’ meeting that was originally scheduled to be held in Guelph, Ont. in July.

The ministers will hold their annual FPT meeting over two virtual sessions on November 20 and November 27, with a joint communiqué to be released at the conclusion of the meeting on November 27, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The meeting in July was originally rescheduled to October due to COVID-19. The October meeting was subsequently postponed, citing the Saskatchewan election as the official reason.

Farm groups have ramped up pressure on the ministers heading into this year’s FPT meeting to reform existing business risk management programs, particularly AgriStability, but it’s unclear whether the federal and provincial governments will be able to reach an agreement.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, responding to a question from Conservative agriculture critic Lianne Rood in the House of Commons last week, indicated the ministers would also discuss concerns about new fees imposed on suppliers by large grocery store chains.

“This is a very important issue that would fall under the jurisdiction of the provinces, and this is why we will facilitate the discussion while we will be meeting many times in November through our almost weekly FPT meetings,” said Bibeau.

With this year’s meeting being held virtually, the Ontario government is now slated to co-host the next annual FPT meeting in Guelph in July 2021.