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Canadian produce industry urges parliamentarians to consider important labour and health issues

On November 22 and 23, industry leaders representing the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) met with over 50 Parliamentarians and civil servants in Ottawa to discuss key issues currently affecting the Canadian fresh fruit and vegetable sector.

Notably, CPMA and CHC representatives addressed the need for a national fruit and vegetable nutrition policy, as well as chronic labour shortages in the agricultural sector. Both issues are critical for the industry and have severe implications on the cost and quality of produce for the Canadian consumer. Following these intensive meetings, the CPMA and CHC also hosted a well-attended reception where representatives of the produce industry were able to cement relationships with MPs and their staff in a more informal environment.

“As the only G7 country without some form of national fruit and vegetable health/nutrition policy, we believe that it is time the federal government act to ensure that Canadians are consuming the recommended amount of servings as outlined in Canada’s Food Guide,” stated Sam Silvestro, Chair, Canadian Produce Marketing Association. “A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a cornerstone of good health and an important line of defense against chronic disease and excess weight.”

“Currently, the horticulture sector needs an extra 29,000 workers to function properly,” added Keith Kuhl, President, Canadian Horticultural Council. “The federal government needs to recognize that Canada’s agricultural industry relies on temporary foreign worker programs to get workers it can’t find in Canada, and that these programs need to improve.”

In addition to providing a diverse supply of healthy food for Canadian consumers, Canada’s fresh fruit and vegetable sector makes an important contribution to national economic output and employment. In 2013, the fresh fruit and vegetable sector supported 147,900 jobs and created $11.4 billion in real GDP.

For more information:
Sue Lewis
Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Tel: 613-226-4187 ext. 226
slewis@cpma.ca
www.cpma.ca

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