Canadian Meat Council
Registering annual sales surpassing $24 billion, exports exceeding $5.5 billion and providing direct employment for some 65,000 people in both rural and urban locations from coast to coast, the meat industry is the largest component of Canada's food processing sector.
Founded in 1919, the Canadian Meat Council represents Canada's federally registered meat packers and processors as well as the industry's numerous suppliers of equipment, technology and services. For more than 96 years the mission of the Council has been to advocate on behalf of the needs of its members to secure and improve Canada's global meat competitiveness. The vision of the member companies of the Canadian Meat Council is that "Canada is trusted as a world leader in the provision of safe and wholesome meat".
As Canada's chief industry advocate on meat-related issues, the Canadian Meat Council analyzes government initiatives and discusses industry perspectives with politicians and government officials as well as with representatives of the media, human health and nutrition professionals and consumers.
The activities of the Canadian Meat Council are directed toward the achievement of four priorities:
- Member Services: A broad and loyal member base fuelled by value-added activities for their collective benefit;
- Regulatory Context: An internationally competitive regulatory framework enabling and encouraging the Canadian meat industry to achieve the highest levels of food safety; and
- International Trade: Competitive access for Canadian meat within Canada and to every country in the world.
- Animal Welfare: Third party animal welfare audits throughout the entire meat supply chain.
The Council interacts with Ministers and officials from a broad spectrum of government departments and agencies, particularly Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Submissions are prepared for House of Commons and Senate Committees when they address policy, legislative, regulatory or budget issues that impact the meat industry.
Each year, the Council sponsors national and regional meetings where members develop industry positions on policy, regulatory and technical issues. A very active educational program includes the Annual Conference, the technical symposium and workshops focused on animal welfare, technical advances in meat processing, food safety enhancements and new regulatory initiatives.
Government and media relations programs maintain contact networks with Parliamentarians and media representatives with whom informed discussions occur on subjects such as animal health and welfare, food safety, nutrition, international trade and the economic and employment parameters of the meat industry.
The Council organizes well attended and highly valued golf tournaments and fishing derbies that facilitate networking between associate members and meat packers and processors.
The meat industry is, by far, Canada's most intensely regulated and inspected food sector. Currently, the industry is experiencing one of the most activist legislative and regulatory change periods in Canadian history. Recent and proposed modifications strengthen the framework for Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and industry cooperation in the assurance of safe, reliable and wholesome meat products while providing a regulatory environment that permits competitiveness and facilitates innovation.
Nevertheless, the currently proposed modifications would not fulfill the Canadian Meat Council call for a single pan-Canadian standard for meat safety, regulation and inspection.
In recent months the Council has:
- testified before House of Commons and Senate Committees on the Canada EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and on interprovincial barriers to trade;
- interacted with Health Canada on amendments to the Food and Drugs Act that permit "Incorporation by Reference" and "Marketing Authorizations" for food additives;
- provided industry perspectives to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Inspection Modernization; and
-submitted comments to regulatory authorities on a plethora of proposed regulatory amendments, including on-farm emergency slaughter, food importer licensing, food safety inspection fees, pre-market approval of packaging materials, pre-market registration of meat labels, "method of production" and "natural" labelling, mandatory container sizes, labelling of mechanically tenderized meats, sodium content of processed meats, and listeria and E. coli control requirements.
Since this country produces more meat than its citizens consume, international trade is crucial to Canada's meat industry.
Trade negotiations and related discussions of particular importance to the meat industry include the:
- Canada-United States Beyond the Border and Regulatory Cooperation Council activities anWork Plans;
- Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement technical agreements;
- Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement;
- Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations; and
- Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
In addition to providing information to government for the negotiation of trade agreements, the Council collaborates actively with government officials in responding to an endless plethora of foreign-imposed food safety, ingredient, method of production, and labelling issues that affect ongoing access to international markets.