Fruit and vegetables are perishable crops that are stored under costly, highly managed conditions from harvest until consumption. In the case of many crops (such as apples and potatoes), growers and packers manage the available supply through the winter, spring and summer to provide high quality produce until the next crop is harvested. The predictability of the market ensures that, for example, Canadian potato producers are able to provide a consistent, high quality supply of fresh potatoes throughout the year.
The orderly import and interprovincial trade of potatoes is facilitated by the Canada Agricultural Products Act, through the Ministerial Exemption provision of its Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Regulations. Whereas the regulations restrict provinces from importing large quantities of produce from another province or country, wholesalers can apply for ministerial exemptions that allow interprovincial or international imports when there is a need. The combination of regulations and ministerial exemptions eliminate the risk that a large quantity of produce will suddenly be sent to across a border (i.e. “dumped”), which would seriously destabilize the local market. If the risk of dumping existed, Canadian producers might choose to not incur the high costs associated with storing produce during the off-season, meaning Canadian consumers and processors would have fewer options and pay higher costs for their fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
- The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) urges government to keep ministerial exemptions as part of the Canada Agricultural Products Act.
Current advocacy activities
- With renegotiations of free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, underway, CHC is aware of the important role of ministerial exemptions, and continues to advocate for the exemptions to remain in place.
Previous advocacy activities
- In June 2017, CHC appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and spoke about non-tariff barriers to trade, such as the need for anti-dumping regulations, including ministerial exemptions.
- CHC has advocated for ministerial exemptions, on several occasions, during one-on-one meetings with Members of Parliament and other industry stakeholders.