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Funding for Quebec Living Laboratories Initiative announced


December 7, 2020
By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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On Dec. 1, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, took part in the 96th Congress of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), where she announced investments totalling more than $4.2 million to establish the Living Laboratories Initiative in Quebec’s Saint Pierre Lake region. Carried out in collaboration with the UPA and many partners from the agri-food industry, federal, provincial and municipal governments, and First Nations, this initiative will help the region’s farmers to develop innovative practices that will allow them to:

  • reduce fertilizer and pesticide use and soil compaction;
  • keep vegetative cover on the ground year round to decrease soil erosion and maintain the soil’s physical, chemical and biological health;
  • minimize shoreline erosion and protect the integrity of waterways that travel through the agricultural landscape; and
  • reduce the environmental impact of animal production.

Among the investments announced, more than $1.6 million will go to the UPA and its partners to implement the various activities listed above, and $2.6 million will fund the work of scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada who are supporting the project.

“The Living Labs Initiative 2020-2023 allows us to accelerate the adoption of good agricultural practices in three watersheds located upstream from Saint-Pierre Lake, while highlighting the strong commitment of the producers who have lived and farmed there for decades,” said Marcel Groleau, UPA general president. “Every effort will be made to improve water quality, biodiversity and land management in the targeted watersheds using a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach (agricultural producers, researchers, stakeholders including the Waban-Aki Nation).”

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Bibeau also highlighted the recent announcement of significant investments for supply-managed producers as a result of the Government of Canada’s commitment to provide full and fair compensation for market access concessions negotiated under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Progressive and Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (PTPGC).

Bibeau reiterated her commitment to optimizing business risk management programs so that they better reflect the new realities of the sector. She recalled that the federal government tabled a proposal at the FPT (federal provincial territorial) meeting to make changes that would increase the overall amount paid out by AgriStability to farmers by 50 per cent. This proposal will be examined in more detail by the provinces and territories.

Finally, Bibeau noted that an FPT working group will soon be established and will consult with experts and members of the industry on the concerns of processors, producers and independent grocers regarding the recent increase in fees charged by retailers to suppliers.