A new report suggests that facilitating the movement of produce between provinces could boost Canada’s agricultural sector.
While 70 percent of Alberta’s pork products are exported internationally under federal requirements, Alberta Pork CEO Darcy Fitzgerald says the red table involved when moving between provinces can cause some headaches.
“The problem that many people have raised in the past is that (they) cannot move product from one provincial plant in one province to another,” Fitzgerald said.
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The report’s author, Jared Carlberg, says that barriers such as different regulations for transportation and meat processing between provinces hinder trade, cost producers money and increase prices for consumers.
“What we are doing, in a way, is curbing what we could call the free or unlimited flow of goods and services between provinces,” Carlberg said.
“All of these things add to the loss of economic opportunity.
“I think everyone, if we gave them the benefit of the doubt, would say that they are doing their part to keep people safe … but there needs to be more harmonization.”
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Carlberg says that greater collaboration at the provincial level, such as the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) between Canada’s four western provinces, could go a long way toward loosening restrictions.
“It would be nice to see a bigger picture work among a greater number of provinces regarding those interprovincial trade agreements, which have proven successful in helping things move a little bit better,” Carlberg said.
The NWPTA came into effect in 2010 and has been fully implemented since 2013.
Canadian Ranchers Association Executive Vice President Dennis Laycraft says that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more people are aware of where their food comes from.
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He says the improved facilities could help people looking to buy locally and, in turn, help growers.
“As long as a stronger connection can be developed, between the people who enjoy the product and the growers who grow it, we see it as beneficial,” Laycraft said.
“We just want to see a good and fair system in which we are not unduly restricting the flow of goods and services between provinces because we see that this has a real and tangible economic cost,” Carlberg said.
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