Since its inception in 1922, the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) has advocated on hundreds of issues. Among our many successes, certain achievements best exemplify CHC's persistence, forward-looking perspective, and high degree of influence when advocating on behalf of Canada's horticultural sector.
Creation of the Dispute Resolution Corporation
In 1998, CHC co-led an industry-wide consultation with Canada’s Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. The result was the creation of a tri-national dispute resolution body for trade in agricultural commodities under NAFTA. In 1999, CHC’s Assistant Executive Vice President, Stephen Whitney, was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer of the newly formed body. In this way, CHC’s advocacy efforts resulted in the creation of the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC).
For more information, download a report from Cornell University on the history of the DRC.
Creation of CanadaGAP
CanadaGAP was started in 1999 as a CHC-led initiative. Between 2000 and 2008, CHC established eight commodity-specific On-Farm Food Safety Working Groups to complete commodity-specific hazard analyses. Task Groups were set up in 2007 to develop the certification system and audit protocols. All of the work was overseen by the CHC Food Safety Committee. In 2008, CHC launched the CanadaGAP certification program. In 2010 CanadaGAP was successfully benchmarked to the Global Food Safety Initiative and in 2012 became an independently operated program under a not-for-profit corporation called CanAgPlus. The CanadaGAP food safety program is now fully recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
AAFC Pest Management Centre
CHC has always advocated on crop protection issues. By 1998, CHC had developed a close working relationship with the USDA’s IR4 program and wanted to implement a similar program in Canada. In 2001, the IR4 relationship led to the release of CHC’s report entitled “Crop Protection: A better future for Canada”. Because of CHC’s lobbying efforts, Agriculture Canada was aware of how difficult it was to get pesticides registered for minor crops. The report peaked the interest of Agriculture Canada and the government decided to establish an agency to run a similar minor use program in Canada. Key CHC staff were recruited to set it up and so, in 2003, the Pest Management Centre came into being. CHC and the Pest Management Centre continue to work together on minor use meetings and priority setting workshops, including the third Global Minor Use Summit that was held in Montreal, in October 2017.
Tax fairness for small business
In summer 2017, CHC and its members were jolted by a government announcement proposing changes to Canada’s small business tax laws. The government proposed to target income sprinkling, lifetime capital gains exemptions, and passive investments. Although the government’s objective was to make the tax system fairer for all Canadians, these changes would have had serious deleterious effects on Canada’s farming community and small businesses. Because of quick action by CHC and industry associations across the country, Finance Canada revised its proposed legislation. Rarely does government do such a complete policy reversal in such a short time frame. This success was a testament to the collaborative efforts of over 80 organizations, many of whom CHC had not been in contact with before, all working together towards the same goal.