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AIC is pleased with the latest HoC Standing Committee on Ag and AgFood report

AIC is pleased that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food report “Room to Grow: Strengthening Food Processing Capacity in Canada for Food Security and Exports” incorporates two recommendations that align well with the views we shared in our brief and testimony on February 2.

From November 2020 to April 2021, the Committee conducted a study on measures that could be taken to increase Canada’s capacity to process more of the food it produces domestically and to strengthen local food supply chains.

Key recommendations in the report call for the Government of Canada to:

  • encourage the development of private-sector led innovation hubs, such as superclusters, to raise agri-food productivity and connect start-ups with established companies and university research centers; and
  • make the agri-food sector a priority for attracting foreign direct investment and to conduct R&D in Canada while preserving and promoting domestic ownership of food processing enterprises.

Key quotes

  • “In its report on strengthening Canada’s agri-food sector in the aftermath of the pandemic, the Agri-Food Innovation Council (AIC) explains that building a more resilient Canadian food system is largely dependent on expanding and upgrading domestic food processing capacity. This message was echoed by several witnesses who testified to the Committee.”
  • “A number of witnesses pointed out that, in addition to government programs, the private sector has a role to play in helping agri-food businesses modernize and adopt new technologies. (…) Serge Buy, the CEO of the Agri-food Innovation Council, added that government support should focus on taxation and investment promotion in order to help bring agri-food sector innovations to market in Canada.”
  • “The government can also play a role in connecting different players in the agri-food value chain in order to foster innovation. Mr. Buy recommended that the government “collaborate with industry to actively attract private investments in agri-food research and innovation by promoting opportunities, success stories and incentives for investments.”
  • “According to the Agri-Food Innovation Council, business incubators and accelerators can bridge the gap between research and commercialization. This gap often hinders innovative new products and processes from coming to fruition, and these organizations can help early-stage companies by providing “guidance, cross-sectoral connections, mentorship and access to capital and funding.” Mr. Buy argued that the government should also expand access to National Research Council Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program by making the capital costs of small businesses seeking to commercialize their innovations eligible for the program.”

To read our brief to the Committee, click here (cliquez ici pour la version française).

To read the Committee’s full report, click here.

To watch the recording, click here.