While informal engagement has already begun with the dairy sector, the working groups bring together officials from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, representatives from national dairy organizations and associations, as well as regional representatives.
The structure of the working groups has been developed following consultations with Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Dairy Processors Association of Canada.
It consists of a working group that will collaborate to develop mitigation strategies to fully and fairly support farmers and processors to help them adjust to the short-term impacts of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It will also discuss support to reflect the impact of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
There will also be a separate working group to create a path forward to help the dairy sector innovate and remain an important source of jobs and economic growth for future generations.
Supporting expertise to the working group may also include academic leaders, as well as industry and financial experts, as necessary.
The federal government will also engage with provincial and territorial governments on an ongoing basis throughout the process.
MacAulay said, “The Government understands how much hard work goes into building and growing a dairy business, and we also know how important our farmers and farm businesses are to this country's economic prosperity.
“That is why we will make sure the voices of the working group representatives are reflected in the development of a long-term vision for the dairy sector. Together, we will make sure the sector remains strong, stable, and competitive well into the future."
The USMCA preserves tariff-free market access within North America for agricultural trade valued at $119bn, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on that access. Canada's market access for dairy in the USMCA is estimated at approximately 3.59% of Canadian production.
Total market access to foreign competitors for dairy under all trade commitments, including the USMCA, is estimated at approximately 10% of Canada's production. Canadian farmers will continue to supply the vast majority of the Canadian market. Since market access is granted in terms of specific volumes, as the demand for dairy products rises in Canada, the production of milk of Canadian farmers will also rise to meet this market growth.
Canada said it has negotiated reciprocal access to the U.S. dairy market, including tonne-for-tonne access for most dairy products.