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Minister Bibeau responds to convoy impact on Canada's supply chain

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In 2020, Canada and the United States traded $50 billion CDN dollars of agriculture and food for an average of $137 million per day.

On Monday, Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau released a statement regarding the impacts of border blockades on Canada's livestock, feed and ingredients supply chain, following Canadian agriculture and food industry calls for government action.

"The border blockades across the country are affecting the safe movement of livestock, feed and goods and is adversely impacting Canada's food supply chain. The disruptions have caused a threat to our economy and public safety and they are hurting farmers, small businesses and our communities across the country.

Today I sat down with meat industry representatives from across Canada to discuss the current situation and the impact of the border blockades on the transportation of live animals and beef exports, the movement of feed for livestock and the overall food supply for Canadians.

When I met with industry leaders, they told me that the blockade is having a significant impact on the livelihood of Canadian farm families and businesses who cannot sustain any more delays.

I also heard that shipments of animals are being delayed and cancelled, which is creating serious risks to animal welfare. We must ensure that animals, feed and ingredients can flow smoothly across the border. This is essential to support producers and protect the welfare of animals travelling between Canada and the U.S.

Border delays also heighten the risk of spoilage of perishable goods. Canadians should have confidence that our food supply is able to respond to demands and that our distribution system will continue to operate to meet the needs of Canadians. We need these blockades to end to avoid food loss and waste, as well as added costs for everyone in the supply chain including Canadian consumers. 

This evening, our Government invoked the Emergencies Act to help ensure these illegal blockades and activities come to an end. We are monitoring the situation closely and working with our federal and provincial partners to identify and mitigate disruptions.

I want to thank the vast majority of truckers who are on the job right now and have been doing the essential work of keeping our supply chains moving – each and every day. Canadians have stepped up to do the right thing, to protect the freedoms and the rights of Canadians to get back to the things we love to do.

Over the last two years, our supply chains have faced challenges that impacted all Canadians, including our agricultural producers and agri-food industry. Despite this, our farmers and producers across our country managed to bring healthy, nutritious, high-quality food to our kitchen tables every day.

While we respect the rights of all Canadians to protest, the unlawful occupation of major border crossings must end. Our hardworking truckers are essential to the function of our agriculture and food supply chains and to the efficiency of our economy."

Last week, Canada's agriculture and food industry called for an immediate conclusion of the blockades and for all levels of government to work collaboratively towards action to reinstate integral transport and trade corridors. In a joint statement, the eight organizations said the transport of fruits and vegetables, meat, food packaging, feed supplies, livestock shipments, transport equipment and integral inputs for agriculture and food processing have already been seriously impacted by the blockades — impacting the livelihoods of Canadian farm families, the further businesses they are connected to and the timely supply and delivery of essential goods.

In 2020, Canada and the U.S. traded $50 billion CDN dollars of agriculture and food for an average of $137 million per day with Coutts, Alberta, Emerson, Manitoba and the Ambassador bridge being key trade routes for these goods.

The signatories requested immediate action by all parties to fully reopen Canada's trade corridors, as it is imperative to the livelihoods of Canadian agriculture businesses and key to maintaining Canada's strong reputation as a stable trading nation.

"Maintaining a stable supply chain is critical to Canadian beef production," said Bob Lowe, president, Canadian Cattlemen's Association. "The evolving situation at the U.S.-Canada border and the transportation delays are resulting in major impacts for the entire beef supply chain and it is now time for this to end."

"Pork industry's supply chain operates on a structured, just in time delivery system for animal feed, movement of live animals across Canada and the U.S. and many more critical materials that keep our industry providing food for Canadians," said Rick Bergmann, chair, Canadian Pork Council. "Supply chain delays impact producers' mental health and the potentially the health and welfare of the animals we are entrusted to care for. Our industry cannot sustain any more delays."

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