The Canadian government will invest up to CA$950m over five years to stimulate business-led innovation in sectors such as agri-food, described as a “supercluster” with potential to accelerate economic growth.
In addition to innovation investment, the budget has set aside CA$80m to build a “world-class” research centre to replace the Sidney Centre for Plant Health, located in Sidney, British Columbia. The plant health research facility is run by government body the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
“We were very pleased with the government’s commitment to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,” said Christopher White, president and CEO of the Canadian Meat Council.
“Food safety and the integrity of the system are paramount and we look for ways to continue to work with CFIA to deliver on their mandate.
“CMC also welcomed the government’s commitment to deliver through Innovation Canada the six Economic Growth Strategy Tables, in particular agri-food, which is of paramount importance to the industry,” White added.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government’s budget is one for jobs. “The next step in our plan for Canada’s economy is making the smart, responsible investments we need to be innovative and competitive.”
Canada’s federal budget 2017 also noted that Canada is the world’s fifth-largest agri-food exporter.
The country’s meat industry exports CA$6.1bn ($4.5bn) worth of animal protein every year and is responsible for over 66,000 jobs. Meat is the largest sector in the country’s food processing market, and the meat processing industry boasts 400 federally inspected sites generating annual sales of $28bn.