Why is Canada uniquely positioned to seize opportunities and grow its emerging bioeconomy?
Backed by its strong natural resources management, applied innovation, sustainable crop production, diverse biomass sources, and efficient processing, Canada has the knowledge and expertise to meet the high-quality standards of diverse global bioeconomy markets. Using sustainably produced crops, wastes, and residues as the primary input in biofuels and other bioproducts, our agriculture and agri-food sector has the opportunity to help strengthen Canada’s position as a leader in sustainable agriculture. A thriving agro-bioeconomy in Canada can provide meaningful reductions in Canadian greenhouse gas emissions, diversify producer revenue streams, and create new jobs and economic value across the country.
As Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, in what ways do you and your department help to build Canada’s bioeconomy?
Our government has proposed to invest over $1.5 billion to support the sector’s transition to a low-carbon economy, including investments in research and innovation to expand our bioeconomy. This will increase the sector’s competitiveness and sustainability while creating new market opportunities. In addition, ongoing initiatives, including the AgriScience Program, the AgriInnovate Program, and the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, accelerate the development, commercialization, and adoption of new products and processes to contribute to a net-zero economy. The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, announced in July 2022, will also be built around a shared federal-provincial-territorial sustainable vision that prioritizes science, research, and innovation.
How does the agriculture industry contribute to Canada’s goal of achieving a net-zero future?
Today, Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector contributes significant volumes of biomass, such as crops and plant and animal waste material, to produce renewable and sustainable clean energy. To further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has developed Clean Fuel Regulations (CFR) to promote the advancement and use of low-carbon fuels. CFR will allow the agriculture sector to respond to increased demands for biofuel by providing even more of these sustainably produced feedstocks.
The federal government is moving to ban single-use plastics by the end of 2023. How will this ban impact the agricultural and food processing industries?
As part of the Government of Canada’s comprehensive plan to reduce plastic waste and pollution, the government, starting in December 2022, has prohibited the manufacturing, import, and sale of six categories of single-use plastics. No agricultural or food-processing items are included in Canada’s Single-use Plastics Prohibitions Regulations.
We’re working with stakeholders to identify and advance complementary actions across the plastics lifecycle across a range of sources and sectors, such as agriculture. We’re also supporting the development of innovative solutions to help address on-farm plastic use and waste.