Why the Canadian government needs to implement the Agricultural Workforce Action Plan

Canada’s agriculture sector is struggling with a labour shortage crisis, made more challenging with recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

It is time for the government to step up and make the process simpler and faster for the people who help feed Canadians every day.

In 2012, agriculture and agri-food industries employed 2.1 million people in Canada, accounting for one in eight jobs. Of these, about 39,700 were temporary foreign workers.

There are many reasons why Canada’s farmers find it necessary to supplement their Canadian workforce with temporary foreign workers, including:

  • As rural dwellers migrate to cities, it is increasingly difficult to attract workers for rural jobs.
  • The seasonality of the industry makes it hard for farmers to offer full-time, permanent jobs.
  • Farming is hard work, and many people are not attracted to its strenuous nature and often harsh working conditions.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

The ability to hire foreign workers as farmers need them is invaluable for many Canadian farmers.

Unfortunately, in response to alleged abuse of the program by industries outside agriculture, the federal government made changes in June 2014. Although primary agriculture was exempt from some of the changes, many others have had unintended consequences. It is now a convoluted and lengthy process for farmers to bring in the workers they require.

The challenges experienced by beef producers and other farmers are outlined in ‘Canada’s agriculture sector needs help and foreign workers are part of the solution’.

The Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan

The agriculture industry has collaborated on recommendations for addressing the labour crisis. Goals for meeting the industry’s non-domestic labour requirements include:

    • Short term: Streamline the existing systems and processes within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to help the agriculture and agri-food sector successfully access non-domestic labour and adapt to policy changes.
    • Medium term: A new streamlined program designed for, and dedicated to, the agriculture and agri-food industry.
    • Long term:
      • Improve pathways to permanent residency for agriculture and agri-food workers in alignment with Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and
      • Implement long-term elements of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-food Workforce Action Plan, to ensure a strong domestic labour supply into the future.

Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, executive director of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC), said “The gap between the demand for workers and worker supply has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. Based on increasing demand, both domestically and internationally, for Canada’s food and agriculture products, the gap is expected to double again in the next 10 years, to 114,000 workers by 2025.”

“The council,” she continued, “along with 75 other industry associations, supports the implementation of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-food Workforce Action Plan to address the immediate and pervasive issues of the inadequate supply of workers currently impeding businesses in Canada. The effort is guided by a national labour task force, and includes recommendations that are practical and essential to ensuring the safety, sustainability, and affordability of food for all Canadians and that support Canada’s continued position as a leader and significant contributor to food production for the whole world.”

The role of government in keeping agriculture growing

Agriculture is a unique industry because operators deal with live animals and perishable products. If they don’t have the labour force they require to get their work done, animals could suffer, and crops could spoil. It’s imperative that the federal government streamline the process so that operators can apply for assistance under the TFWP and bring in workers when they need them.

You can read more about the agriculture labour crisis in the following articles:

6 issues cattle feeders will discuss at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference

Beef producers from all over Alberta will convene in Red Deer next week for the Alberta Beef Industry Conference.

This annual event is a chance for industry members to find out what’s new and network with others in the industry. As the event approaches, here’s a look at some of the pressing issues ACFA has been following, and that industry members will likely discuss.

#1 The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP)

The government has allocated $3 billion to invest, over the course of five years, in five areas: innovation and research; environmental sustainability; risk management; product and market development and diversification; and public trust. ACFA will look at devising projects and programs to advance the cattle feeding industry, which could attract funding under CAP.

#2 Labour

The Federal Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is currently reviewing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. This program is a life-saver for cattle feeders when they are unable to find workers from within the Canadian workforce. Past government reviews have accepted ACFA recommendations but there is still room for improvement.  ACFA will continue to be engaged in this file.

#3 Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

Last month the government announced it will sign onto the new CPTPP trade agreement. This is good news for the beef industry and should result in reduced tariffs in a number of export markets, especially Japan. ACFA will continue communicating with government to stress the importance of the agreement for Canada’s beef industry until it is fully approved and ratified by Parliament.

#4 Other trade issues

NAFTA and trade with China are two other pressing trade issues of great importance to cattle feeders. In June 2016, the U.S. secured approval from China for greater access to that market. Canadian producers need the same access. A new pilot program to export fresh and chilled Canadian beef to China is expected in 2018, but ACFA will continue to press for the same access given to the U.S.

#5 Competitiveness

About 10 years ago, ACFA commissioned a study to assess the competitiveness of cattle feeding in Alberta. The industry’s ability to compete effectively in the international market will continue to be a priority and there will be discussions about whether it is time to update this study.

#6 Industry governance and financing

The mandatory levy on beef sales, known as the check-off, is used to fund research and marketing activities on behalf of the entire industry. ACFA and the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) have come together to devise a new governance and funding model for the provincial beef industry, and its use of check-off dollars. A plebiscite may be required later in 2018 for a final decision.

As well as conversation and networking, the conference also features a full program of speakers, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

For anyone interested in Alberta’s beef industry, its challenges and opportunities, this is a must-attend event.

2017: Cattle feeders’ year in review

This past year saw a number of challenges arise that gave cattle feeders cause for concern, such as changing legislation and regulations, taxation, and trade. At each step, the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA) has played an active role in advocating and negotiating for our members.

Here are some of the major projects we worked on in 2017:

Strategic plan

In March, ACFA board members, staff and industry partners met to renew the organization’s vision, mission and strategic plan. Here is a summary of the outcome of those talks:

Vision: Champion a sustainable cattle feeding sector in Alberta.

Mission: Pursue innovative and collaborative solutions for a thriving Alberta beef industry

Strategic priority #1: Build ACFA membership by delivering value to our members.

Strategic priority #2: Engage with the provincial government to strengthen the health of the cattle feeding sector in Alberta.

Strategic priority #3: Collaborate with partners to advance the industry.

Strategic priority #4: Strengthen ACFA governance.

Advocacy

There were many issues affecting cattle feeders in 2017 in which ACFA played an active role in advocating for our members’ interests. These included:

    • The Lethbridge County head tax which would severely impact cattle feeders in that area, resulting in feedlot closures.
    • The provincial carbon levy which could add costs by as much as $6 to $7 per head.
    • Federal income tax changes that will harm the viability of family-owned corporations.
    • Infrastructure needs, which are not receiving adequate provincial or federal funding.
    • Labour shortages, ongoing issues with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and proposed changes to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).
    • Farm safety, employment standards and the Employment Standards Code.
    • Trade, and access to new markets for cattle feeders.

Outreach

ACFA’s communications with stakeholders and the public included:

    • Key provincial government ministers, decision-makers, MLAs and MPs.
    • Members, industry and the media.
    • Feedlot tours for educators, students, and government officials.

Watch for status reports, as we continue to stay on top of these issues throughout the coming year.

The Top 5 blog posts of 2017

Thanks for reading our blog this year. We hope you’ve enjoyed the information we’ve shared about how Alberta’s cattle feeders operate, the innovations they’ve introduced and the challenges they face.

As we head into 2018, we’re looking back at the most popular blog posts from 2017. Here are the posts most read and shared by you, our readers:

New program customizes farm safety for feedlots. Cattle feeding is a unique industry, and the requirements of a feedlot safety program cannot be met by standardized programs. In this post, we explained a safety program that feedlot operators can customize to their own operation.

5 feedlot issues to watch for in 2017. Transportation, traceability, trade, safety and infrastructure were all flagged as important issues for Alberta’s cattle feeders, and which we covered in posts during the year.

Why Lethbridge County cattle feeders could be leaving via new roads. This was one of several posts discussing proposed legislative or tax changes that could impede the profitability of cattle feeders.

Meet the team: Ryan Kasko, vice-chair of the board. In 2017, we introduced Ryan as our vice-chair, and this year we look forward to having him serve as our new Chair. Martin Zuidhof will become the Past Chair. The Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association is fortunate to have such committed and knowledgeable individuals serving on its board.

Canadian beef in demand: feeding the European market and why it matters. The importance of international trade to Canada’s beef industry has been a theme throughout the year. In this post, we introduced one of the few Canadian feedlots that produces beef that meets the requirements of the European market.

We’re glad you enjoyed these posts, and we’re already hard at work planning a great series for 2018. Stay tuned – and in the meantime, Happy New Year!

Pressing cattle feeder issues discussed with politicians during Ottawa trip

Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, General Andrew Leslie addressing attendees at a townhall sponsored by University of Alberta and Global Affairs Canada.
Photo Credit: Casey Vander Ploeg

Last month, representatives of the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association headed to Ottawa to participate in a series of meetings between the National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) and Canadian politicians.

The meetings provided an opportunity to put the issues and challenges facing Canada’s cattle feeders in front of key members of government. The critical issues discussed included:

    • Labour: Changes are needed to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), so cattle feeders and beef processors can access desperately needed workers.  Employers are currently forced to endure a lengthy and convoluted process rife with red tape and changing requirements, which takes many months to complete.
    • Infrastructure: Significant funding is needed to upgrade rural infrastructure, particularly roads and bridges. Current investment is heavily swayed to urban areas, but it is the rural areas where much of the economic activity occurs, including mining, agriculture, oil and gas, and transportation.
    • NAFTA: A successful outcome to the negotiations is needed to encourage and facilitate international trade
    • TPP: Now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – even though the U.S. has now left the partnership, it is important for our industry that Canada signs on and keeps the negotiated market provisions as they were before. 
    • EU trade: EU approval of Canadian food safety practices will enable us to start filling our tariff-free quota under the agreement. 
    • China: Canada needs the same access to China as the U.S. successfully achieved in June 2017. Following a recent agriculture trade mission to China by Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, bone-in beef will hopefully start moving soon and a pilot project will be created to export Canadian fresh-chilled beef.  While not the same access afforded to U.S. beef, it is a step in the right direction.

NCFA board meeting

During the same trip, an NCFA board meeting was held. Several influential officials attended to discuss pressing issues:

To learn more about other ways that ACFA advocates for Alberta’s cattle feeders, visit our Advocacy Page.

Canada’s agriculture sector needs help – and foreign workers are part of the solution

The agriculture sector is in the midst of an acute labour crisis. For Canada’s cattle feeders, temporary foreign workers are a lifeline when they can’t fill vital positions with Canadian candidates. The Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA) is working hard to ensure feedlots have access to skilled labour when Canadians cannot be found. 

In spite of high vacancies in the cattle feeding sector, it’s becomingly increasingly difficult to access temporary foreign workers – applying to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has been a convoluted and time-consuming process since changes were made in 2014.

How applications are made

Feedlot owners use the TFWP’s Agricultural Stream to access workers for year-round, permanent jobs. The current program attempts to fit a variety of industries and sectors into a one-size-fits-all design and does not recognize that a feedlot’s need for year-round, permanent employees differs greatly from seasonal farming requirements. 

In a recent Temporary Foreign Worker Program Primary Ag Review, cattle feeders provided their feedback on the program, with suggestions for improvements. The feedback revealed some common trends and serious frustrations:

  • Paperwork timelines: Bringing foreign workers in under the TFWP Agricultural Stream takes six months or longer for processing of paperwork, including a Service Canada Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Work Permit. This is too long for feedlot employers needing to fill vacancies to care for and feed live cattle. 
  • Housing: To qualify for the TFWP, feedlot employers must provide subsidized accommodation and a positive housing inspection. Most feedlots do not have on-site accommodation so local housing is found for workers. Employers must rent and furnish accommodation before applying — creating a months-long financial burden that feedlot owners must endure with no guarantee of a successful application. Differences between year-round and seasonal accommodation are not currently recognized and no consideration is being given to the unique needs of year-round feedlot workers.
  • National Commodity List (NCL): To apply under the Agricultural Stream, the feedlot operator must select one commodity, or production stream, per application. Workers brought in under the program are then only allowed to work within that one commodity. The rule doesn’t realistically fit with feedlot operations, where workers typically have responsibilities that fall under two or more of these commodities. LMIAs are being refused for this reason. 
  • Changing requirements: Job postings must reference the federally regulated wage rate. When the wage rates are changed, notification is not provided so if the wrong rate is advertised, then LMIA applications are often declined multiple times, at no fault of the feedlot employer. Endless back and forth follow-up with Service Canada can result in the loss of potential candidates because feedlots are unable to indicate to these workers when approval will actually, if ever, take place.
  • A disconnect between federal and provincial rules: Provincial frameworks often don’t align with federal frameworks. In some provinces, formal paperwork has to be submitted to the province in order to begin the TFW application process. When the TFW application ends up being a long, drawn-out process, the provincial paperwork can actually expire, leaving the feedlot to start the entire process over again.
  • Immigration access restrictions for feedlot workers: Under Canada’s merit-based immigration system it is very difficult for feedlot operators and processing plants to keep highly skilled workers in the country – even when they have vital experience and on-the-job training. Federal and provincial governments must recognize farm and food workers as important and prioritize them for immigration.

ACFA works with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Task Force to research and bring these issues forward. It is crucial that the uniqueness of feedlot operations is taken into consideration and that blanket requirements are removed from the program. 

In a recent post we wrote about the Alberta Immigration Nominee program, whereby businesses can apply for permanent resident status for their temporary foreign workers. But changes to that program could also make it harder for feedlot operators to keep certain highly skilled workers in the country.

Will immigration program changes help the agriculture labour crisis?

Photo Credit: GrainsWest magazine
Photographer: Bryce Meyer

 

On the surface, it appears that proposed changes to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) may help alleviate the chronic labour crisis currently affecting our agriculture sector. However, on closer inspection, some of the changes will actually prevent feedlots from nominating certain highly skilled foreign workers.

The good…

The AINP allows foreign nationals to apply for permanent residency while they work in Canada under a temporary foreign worker permit. The program is not new, but until now, applicants have had to select from multiple streams and sub-categories under which eligibility was assessed. The proposed changes, which take effect on January 2, 2018, will simplify the application process and standardize eligibility criteria, making it simpler for applicants and streamlining the review process.

Of particular note, the new AINP will allow applicants from all skill levels to apply. Up until now, lower-skilled workers (such as feedlot labourers) have not had an option to apply for permanent residency in Canada. As of January 2, they will be eligible to apply under the AINP as long as they meet work experience, education, income and language requirements, among other things.

The bad & the ugly…

The federal government’s Express Entry program has grown increasingly more restrictive, forcing many skilled feedlot workers to look for alternative application streams. Further, the English language requirements of the program prevented many from applying. Luckily, the AINP has served as an option to workers who a) could not gain sufficient points under Express Entry due to their education, age, or a variety of other factors, and/or b) could not apply due to an inability to meet minimum language benchmarks.

As of January 2, all AINP applicants will need to provide proof that they have the equivalent of a Canadian High School Diploma. Further, they will need to pass an English language test. This will cover all skill levels; from pen riders to feed truck drivers or labourers, etc.

While it’s true that many feedlots employ highly skilled foreign workers with veterinary-related degrees and excellent English language skills, many more employ high-skilled workers who do not have high school diplomas or do not meet the language requirements. These workers often have decades of related work experience. Many could pass the speaking and listening portion of the exam, but cannot pass the reading/writing portions as they do not exercise these skills on a daily basis. Unfortunately, once the changes come into place these foreign workers will no longer have any option to pursue permanent resident status in Canada.

Why the agriculture sector needs foreign workers

For Canada’s agriculture sector, many factors have contributed to a labour shortage that makes it increasingly difficult for farmers to find help – factors such as harsh working conditions, the seasonality of the work and the steady flow of young people into urban areas.

According to ‘Agriculture 2025,’ the labour market information report from the Canadian Agriculture Human Resources Council, there were 59,200 more agricultural jobs than candidates in 2014. This labour gap is expected to rise to 113,800 – 27 per cent of jobs – by 2025. In other words, Canadian farmers cannot fill their jobs from the available pool of Canadian applicants.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been invaluable in helping alleviate the shortage. It allows employers to bring in foreign workers on a temporary basis to fill jobs that can’t be filled by Canadians. The AINP, on the other hand, allows those workers to apply for permanent residency while they are working in Canada on a temporary permit.

To learn more about the labour crisis, check out ’12 must-know facts about the agricultural labour shortage and why it matters to Canadians’.

Meet the international trade expert who is helping support the Canadian beef industry abroad

John Weekes, an independent business advisor who has worked with the National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) on trade issues, is the subject of this week’s Meet the Team series profile.

John is an expert in international trade policy and a senior business advisor at Bennett Jones in Ottawa. He has been a huge asset to NCFA in developing a strategic approach to negotiating with government and stakeholders.

Supporting Canadian cattle feeders in Ottawa

During his career, John has been chief negotiator for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), chair of the WTO General Council, and ambassador to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) during the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations. His insider’s perspective on governments’ approach to trade matters has been invaluable to NCFA.

Trade files he has worked on include:

Country-of-Origin Labelling (COOL)

In 2002, the U.S. introduced a regulation requiring all beef (and some other agriculture products) to have a label stating where it was from. To be labeled as U.S.-sourced, the animal had to be born, raised and processed in that country. Processing plants in the U.S. were required to keep Canadian born and raised animals separate from those born and raised in the U.S., a requirement that was costly to adhere to. As a result, Canadian exports to the U.S. suffered, and some U.S. plants were forced to close. Many jobs were lost on both sides of the border, and COOL cost the Canadian beef industry billions of dollars. 

Canada appealed to the WTO in 2008 and, in December 2015, won. The U.S. Congress repealed COOL to avoid $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs authorized in the WTO ruling. 

As Canada’s former ambassador to the WTO, John was uniquely positioned to provide advice through the complex web of WTO tribunals and the excruciatingly long appeals process. John worked with NCFA and others on this, including advising federal government officials. His contacts within the U.S. were also helpful in getting NCFA’s messages through in Washington, and he helped us communicate with Canadian importers who might have been harmed if Canada retaliated against U.S. imports into Canada.

Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

This free trade deal between Canada and the EU came into effect on September 21, 2017. It will allow Canada to ship 65,000 metric tonnes of beef into the EU, without duty or tariffs. This could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Canada’s beef industry. John did a great job monitoring developments, needs and the political climate within the EU, and is continuing to contribute while the details are being finalized.   

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) 

Canada was not part of the group that began this trade negotiation, but NCFA urged the Canadian government to become part of the TPP process, which it did. John offered advice on what Canada should secure in this negotiation. Now that the U.S. has chosen not to ratify the deal, John will lend his expertise to a new round of negotiations with other TPP partners, if talks go ahead.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 

As Canada’s former Chief Negotiator for NAFTA, John has an unrivaled understanding of the ins and outs of the agreement, and his opinions are sought by industry and government during the current and ongoing negotiations with NAFTA.

Why international trade matters

Canadian beef is renowned worldwide for its great taste and high quality. A healthy export industry contributes to a healthy Canadian economy. Expertise such as John’s is vital to NCFA in securing the conditions our beef producers need to develop profitable relationships with customers across the globe.

You can read more about international trade issues in ‘Canadian beef trade with China takes a serious blow’, ‘Cattle feeders head to Ottawa to support NAFTA negotiations’, ‘Feeding the world: why the agri-food industry must be an economic priority’ and ‘How people in 58 countries enjoy Canadian beef’.

Why new federal tax changes will hurt Canadian agriculture

Farmers and other small business owners across the country are worried that planned changes to the Income Tax Act pose a direct threat to the viability and profitability of their operations.

Why small businesses are concerned

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the plan to update the act on July 18. The planned changes, however, will subject small businesses to higher taxes and eliminate many of the exemptions that make it possible for them to operate and build their businesses.

As with all small business owners, farmers take on tremendous risks and are subjected to much more income and financial volatility than a typical salaried taxpayer. The risk assumed by the small business owner is not always met with a matching reward.

Small businesses account for 30 per cent of Canada’s GDP. A tax structure that helps them weather financial downturns and survive challenges makes sound sense for individuals and for the Canadian economy.

How the changes will affect farmers

There are four changes – two proposed and two scheduled for introduction. Because agriculture is a unique industry and families are typically so heavily involved in operations, farmers stand to be particularly harmed by the changes.

Income splitting: Starting Jan. 1, 2018, income splitting with relatives is subject to new restrictions and a “reasonableness” test. Even though children often do a significant amount of farm work, the rules will make it harder for them to be paid via a dividend, leaving less cash in the farmer’s pocket, and making it harder to fund their business in a capital-intensive industry.

Lifetime capital gains exemption (LCGE): Starting Jan. 1, 2018, rules regarding this exemption will penalize children under 18, eliminate eligibility for capital gains from a family trust, and introduce a “reasonable” test that will be difficult to follow.

Holding of passive investments: Increases to corporate tax will leave less cash in the farmer’s pocket to fund future business operations and capital investments.

Transferring the business to the next generation: The proposed changes will make it more profitable for farmers to sell their business to a third party than to the next generation.

NCFA Submission to Minister Morneau

Like all agricultural operations, cattle feeders are worried about the impact these changes will have on their operations, on their families, and on their long-term prospects for profitability.

On Oct. 2, The National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) highlighted the negative impacts in a submission to Morneau and the Department of Finance. The changes will leave farmers under undue financial stress, the submission argued, limiting their ability to expand their operations and making it even more difficult to transition farming operations to the next generation. It strongly urged the minister to reconsider the proposed changes and amendments.

You can learn about another taxation issue in Why Lethbridge County cattle feeders could be leaving via new roads.

Canadian beef trade with China takes a serious blow

Recent trade developments between China and the U.S. have some Canadian beef producers seriously worried.

Their concern stems from the disparity between the types of product China will now accept from the U.S. and those accepted from Canada:

    • Currently, Canadian producers are only allowed to ship boneless, Under Thirty Months (UTM) frozen beef and only from individual processing plants that have been audited and approved by Chinese officials and certified for export to China by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
    • China’s trade deal with the U.S. allows American producers to ship boneless beef, bone-in beef, chilled beef, and certain offals from any federally-inspected and approved processor.

Canadian beef producers already suffering the impacts

Producers and industry associations have written letters to Agriculture Minister MacAulay, as well as trade officials, to inform them of the impacts this has on the Canadian beef market. Producers are trading directly into China and have met all the requirements necessary for sale of beef into China – and this is a tremendous opportunity that may fail without similar access to that achieved by the U.S.

Some Canadian producers are selling their product under the branded ‘Farm Gate to Chinese Plate’ program, and have a custom processing contract with a large processing plant here in Alberta. These producers have invested substantial time and capital over the past four years to build a strong relationship with their Chinese partners. In 2016, 10,000 head of Canadian cattle were exported to China. Producers were looking forward to increasing that to 15,000 head in 2017, but their Chinese customers have informed them they may change the order, and want it for a lower price.

Canadian producers are selling product into China for high-end retail and restaurants, but they can only ship frozen, boneless product. The fact that the U.S. is now allowed to ship fresh or chilled bone-in beef puts Canadian producers at a distinct disadvantage in this marketplace. This may end trade with the Chinese for Canadian beef producers as a result.

Canadian trade with China

To date, China has expanded its acceptance of Canadian product in stages, where additional product lines are allowed access over time. For instance, China agreed to accept Canadian bone-in beef back in September 2016, but the agreement has not yet been finalized, so currently, no bone-in product is being shipped. However, the recent agreement with the U.S. shows that China can work on opening many beef product lines at the same time. The hope is that Canadian negotiators can secure the same treatment for Canada.

Canadian beef producers have expressed concerns over the fact that their industry depends on global trade – they need to be competitive for the growth and sustainability of their industry. China is a market where producers need the Canadian government to step up its efforts to gain access similar to that achieved by the U.S.

Learn more about Canada’s beef trade with China from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.