I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 40 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.
I have a couple of reminders.
I'm sure our witnesses have been through this before, but in case they have not, today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. Just so that you are aware, the webcast will always show the person speaking, rather than the entirety of the committee. Screenshots or photos of your screen are not permitted.
For the benefit of the witnesses, members and witnesses may speak in the official language of their choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting. If interpretation is lost, I will ask you to pause, I will stop the clock and then we will resume once we have interpretation back for the proceedings.
Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you. For those of you who are in the room, you know your microphone will automatically come on. For those on Zoom, specifically, wait until I recognize you to unmute. When speaking, please speak slowly and clearly for the benefit of translation. I would remind the members and witnesses to put their comments through the chair.
In accordance with the committee's routine motion concerning connections and tests for the witnesses, one of the witnesses did not complete the required connection test. That was Kathleen Donohue.
I want to thank the witnesses for coming to the committee on relatively short notice for this study on the Ukraine goods remission order.
Welcome to panel number one.
I welcome our witnesses here today. From the Department of Finance, we have Michèle Govier, director general of the international trade policy division, as well as Yannick Mondy, director of trade and tariff policy at the international trade policy division. From the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, we have Doug Forsyth, director general of market access, as well as Blair Hynes, deputy director of the supply-managed trade controls division.
Each department will be given five minutes for opening remarks to, hopefully, shed a bit of light on this issue for our committee members.
I will raise my hand when you have one minute left, as a one-minute warning. You can carry on with the last minute and then we will move on to questions from our committee members.
Thank you very much, again, for being with us today.
I will now invite Ms. Mondy and Ms. Govier to begin. Your time starts—
Thanks for the invitation to speak before this committee today.
My name is Michèle Govier. I am the director general of the international trade policy division at the Department of Finance. I'm joined by Yannick Mondy, the director of trade and tariff policy.
Our division is responsible for Canada's import policy, including measures related to the customs tariff and the Special Import Measures Act.
I am here to speak about the Ukraine goods remission order and will provide some context as to the rationale, process and key features of the order, as well as the results of our close and regular import monitoring, including on the imports of supply-managed goods.
The Ukraine goods remission order was introduced in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has caused widespread human suffering and destruction.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with support from Belarus, has had untold impacts on Ukraine and its people, including a significant effect on its economy and its ability to export its goods to other countries.
In response, Canada has worked in close coordination with our allies to impose severe sanctions and continue to provide humanitarian and financial support to Ukraine. Canada has committed more than $5 billion in financial, military, and other aid to Ukraine.
That includes $2 billion in direct financial support for the Ukrainian government. This is money that has already been disbursed and is helping the government continue to operate.
As part of its response, the Government has also temporarily waived tariffs and trade remedy duties on imports originating from Ukraine. This was done by way of a temporary remission order, which came into force on June 9, 2022, and will expire after one year.
This measure was part of a concerted effort with Canada's allies who have taken similar measures. Notably, the European Union implemented comprehensive tariff relief for goods not already covered by its free trade agreement with Ukraine. The United Kingdom reduced all tariffs on goods imported from Ukraine to zero, and removed all quotas. The U.S. has also taken the step of removing Ukraine from its 25% section 232 tariffs applied to steel.
Canada's remission order temporarily lifts remaining customs duties on Ukrainian imports—for example, supply-managed agricultural goods, passenger vehicles and sugar—and makes it easier for importers to meet the rules of origin and shipping requirements when importing into Canada.
Canada and Ukraine enjoy a positive and growing trade relationship. The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, or CUFTA, came into force in 2017, and is the ongoing subject of modernization negotiations. Canada's two-way trade with Ukraine expanded by 17%, from 2017 to 2021, to $446 million annually.
While the remission complements these important steps, the remission is temporary. There are no plans to consider any permanent changes under the FTA.
We are also mindful of the importance of tariffs as a key pillar in Canada's supply management system, and that providing such temporary duty-free access to supply-managed goods is unprecedented.
In considering this measure, we assessed the potential for exports from Ukraine. ln general, it was assessed that the scope for Ukrainian businesses to start exporting meaningful quantities of supply-managed goods to Canada could be hindered by the current conflict situation, the short time frame for the remission of one year, and the lack of recent exports to Canada and associated business ties.
Over the period from June 9, when the order came into force, to November 23, imports of supply-managed goods have been limited to one importation of supply-managed products—ice cream—with a value for duty of $6,000.
We are aware of concerns over the prospect that imports could increase, particularly related to chicken. The department is working closely with other departments to track the level of imports, including in the over-access supply-managed goods, and to promptly identify imports that could have an impact on domestic producers. If imports in meaningful quantities are detected, we will ensure that any risks and impacts to domestic producers are assessed and considered in a timely way, while being mindful of the intended purpose of the measure. Further, we would reinforce that in light of the exceptional nature of the current conflict and situation in Ukraine, the precedential risk of this order is very low.
In sum, the remission order was part of a broader Canadian response to the invasion of Ukraine, intended to support its economy, and was undertaken as part of a concerted effort with allies. We are closely monitoring its impacts.
I'd be happy to answer your questions.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
It's a pleasure to be here this afternoon to discuss the Ukraine goods remission order. As noted, I am the director general for the market access bureau at Global Affairs Canada.
I would like to acknowledge that my team and I are joining you today on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
I would like to focus my opening remarks on the role that Global Affairs Canada plays in Canada’s system of supply management and how we assist in imports of supply-managed goods.
Canada's supply-managed system operates on three separate pillars—production controls, pricing controls and imports controls. Global Affairs Canada administers the import controls. Most importantly, we administer Canada's various tariff rate quotas for supply-managed goods, or TRQs. A TRQ is a quota, implemented as a result of Canada's commitment within various free trade agreements, that establishes a quantity of a product that may be imported at a lower or within-access rate of duty.
Controls for supply-managed goods and their associated TRQs are implemented and administered under the Export and Import Permits Act, which requires that imports of supply-managed goods be authorized through the use of a permit.
For imports of supply-managed goods, there are two types of permits. The first is an individual import permit, which applies to a specific shipment of goods and allows the importer to claim the within-access rate of duty. This type of permit is issued to allocation holders under Canada's various TRQs.
Entities apply directly to Global Affairs Canada for an individual import permit for supply-managed goods. Upon approval, all pertinent information associated with the permits issuance is shared, via our integrated electronic systems, with the Canada Border Services Agency, who is the responsible authority for the enforcement of import controls for supply-managed goods at the border.
The second type of permit is called a general import permit, which is a regulation issued under the authority of the Export and Import Permits Act that allows a resident of Canada to import control goods subject to the terms and conditions of the regulation. These regulations allow for the import of supply-managed goods at the higher over-access rate of duty and, in certain cases, limited volumes of imports for personal use at the lower within-access rate of duty. From an administrative standpoint, the key difference between these two permits is how an applicant obtains and uses the permit and the volume of goods that can be imported.
As stated, for individual import permits, there is an application, which in turn requires a decision by Global Affairs Canada and, if approved, information is shared between Global Affairs Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency to ensure the efficient completion of the clearance process. Additionally, under shipment specific permits there is a limit on the quantity of goods that can be imported under the permit and the TRQ itself.
With general import permits for supply-managed goods, there is no application to, or decision by, Global Affairs Canada. An entity importing under the authority of a general import permit must simply cite its use on their import documentation. Furthermore, there is no limitation on the volume of goods that can be imported at the over-access rate of duty under a GIP—general import permit.
Mr. Chair, in closing, I would like to state that while the issuance of the remission order temporarily alters the long-standing environment under which import controls for certain supply-managed goods functions, Global Affairs Canada, along with governmental partners, remain committed to ensuring the long-term health of our supply management system.
My question is very simple and is for the representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
There is much talk in the House of Commons, for example, about environmental footprints and food insecurity, two factors we have heard a lot about in the last six months.
Here, some products are under supply management and there are rules governing them. When it comes to imports, could Canada not have supported countries close to Ukraine? Those countries could have benefited from our aid. We would have reduced the environmental footprint and we would have tackled food insecurity.
I would like to thank the witnesses for being with us today. I am very grateful to them.
To begin, I would like to say, as Mr. Drouin did, that everyone agrees we must help Ukraine. That is not the question; the question is how to do it, since we must not damage ourselves at the same time. There might be other ways of doing things, and that is what my questions will be about. If they happen to be meant more for the other witnesses who will be coming shortly, tell me and we will move on to something else.
Ms. Govier, I will start with you. There have not really been any imports. However, you said in your presentation, and you then reiterated it, that if there was a large quantity of imports, you would assess the situation.
First, I would like to know what you are going to consider to be the threshold for a large quantity. Mr. Drouin was just saying that supply-managed producers need predictability in order to plan their business. Otherwise, the system doesn't work. That is a fundamental issue.
Perhaps you've answered this before, but there have been a lot of numbers and things coming at me. I know it was a very rapid decision to bring in the remission order.
Mr. Forsyth might be best to answer this.
Was there any analysis done before, or has there been some analysis done, on how much chicken imports would increase into Canada, for instance? What's the effect on other markets? Has there been an increase in the EU market?
We're all trying to help Ukraine, but is this the best way? Has there been some analysis on how this might have helped Ukraine, overall—our efforts and, say, the EU's?
Perhaps you could follow up with us on the economic impact of the chicken market in Canada.
I ask because this is a big issue for a lot of farmers in a lot of communities across our country. When they see—even if it's just a crack, even if it's just one aspect being opened up in the supply management situation....
I would point out as well that you mentioned that as of this point, you're unsure of how much chicken may be imported in the future. There's nothing in this that would prevent a back-end loading of this situation, where a large amount is imported into Canada late in the period of the time immediately leading up to June 2023. That chicken will come into Canada, sit in freezers for a long time and have an impact on our domestic market.
I get the impression that you're relying on your partners in government and Agriculture and Agri-Food in particular. At the end of the day, this is a decision that is made by Finance. If you're making a decision with a relatively limited amount of information, I think it's concerning to a lot of farmers who may be paying attention.
I'll leave my time there. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to all of the witnesses. I really appreciate your being here for this conversation.
We are challenged, in that the data is coming in and it's still early stages for us to be having these conversations. You can feel people straining to answer the questions.
The way I see it, we're boiling it down to about three factors. First, Canada and other countries are supporting Ukraine with these remission orders. Secondly, we want to make sure that the economic impact on our supply management sector is minimal. From what I've heard so far, it appears to be. Thirdly, we want to make sure that the food that's being imported is safe.
Maybe I could ask both the Department of Finance and Foreign Affairs, within your jurisdiction—the food safety thing would be for the next panel—do you think that the agreement strikes that balance? Are the measures in place to monitor the data and to continue assessing?
Maybe Foreign Affairs and Trade could answer this.
For my knowledge, and with some good questions from my colleagues, on the ice cream, for example, it's my understanding that in the initial remission order, supply-managed goods like poultry weren't included, but there's going to be or will potentially be an export certificate signed that will include that.
We haven't had supply-managed imports from June 9 until now because they weren't included, but now there's a potential decision to include supply-managed goods with that export certificate, if signed. Is that correct? Or am I incorrect on that?
Okay, colleagues, we will bring the meeting back into session.
I will try to condense the preamble here just so that we can get going as quickly as possible. We only have about 45 minutes or so left. I want to make sure the colleagues get as many questions in as possible.
There are just a few reminders for our witnesses. We have all of them on hybrid, on Zoom today. No screenshots are permitted—not that I expect you would take any. Please speak in the official language of your choice. We do have translation. If there is an issue with translation, I will just put my hand up and ask you to stop. We will recommence once the translation is resolved.
We do have one witness, Mr. Band, who does not have an official headset. If we have some issues, we may have to address that. Ms. Donohue has changed her headset. She has passed her test. We're good to go.
With us today as our witnesses, we have from the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Tom Rosser, assistant deputy minister, market and industry services branch; and Marie-Noëlle Desrochers, acting chief agriculture negotiator and director general, market and industry services branch.
From the Canada Border Services Agency we have Mr. Band, director general, trade and anti-dumping programs directorate.
I believe we also have from the Canada Food Inspection Agency, Kathleen Donohue, the assistant deputy minister and vice-president, international affairs; and Kanwal Kochhar, senior director, food import and export division.
Each department will have five minutes for their presentation. Then we will commence with questions from my colleagues.
Maybe we will start with the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Mr. Rosser, I'll pass that over to you for five minutes, please.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
There had been an issue with my headset earlier. I've changed it. I trust that you can hear me okay.
I welcome the opportunity to appear before this committee.
My remarks will focus on the impact of the Remission Order on Ukrainian goods, specifically with respect to the duty-free and quota-free importation of supply-managed goods into Canada.
But before I start, let me share a few quick facts on Canada’s supply-managed sectors.
Supply management is the production and marketing system under which dairy, eggs, hatching eggs, chicken, and turkey are produced in Canada.
Through the three pillars of the supply management system—planned domestic production, administered pricing, and import control—Canadian producers are ensured a reasonable return for their labour and investments, while consumers receive a continuous and reliable supply of products.
The supply-managed sectors are important within Canada’s agricultural sector. They generated $13 billion in farm-gate sales in 2021 and created over 100,000 direct jobs in Canada in production and processing activities.
In addition, dairy and poultry processing activities contributed $24.8 billion to Canada's manufacturing shipments, equivalent to 19.5% of Canada’s total manufactured shipments of food and beverage products in 2021.
The actions taken by Russia have had a significant effect on Ukraine's economy, including its ability to export goods to other countries. That's why the government decided to temporarily waive tariffs and trade remedy duties on imports originating from Ukraine, including for supply-managed products. The measure came into effect on June 9 and will expire after one year. This means that supply-managed products from Ukraine are eligible to enter Canada duty free and quota free until June of next year.
As I highlighted before, supply management is based on planned domestic production, administered pricing and controlled imports. Domestic requirements are established taking into account anticipated imports. Unpredicted imports may impact production planning, which is a pillar of the Canadian supply management system. We understand the consequences of this measure may be a source of concern for supply-managed sectors.
Due to a lack of a finalized official meat inspection certificate, Ukraine has not exported any poultry products to Canada in the past. Since the implementation of the remission order, imports of supply-managed goods have been limited to one shipment of ice cream. There were no Canadian imports of dairy products from Ukraine in the past five years. Given the low volume of supply-managed products that have been imported from Ukraine into Canada to date, and considering the various logistical challenges facing Ukraine, it's difficult to estimate the potential volume of imports during the term of the remission order. However, the Government of Canada monitors the situation closely and will continue to engage with industry on potential or observed impacts throughout the duration of the remission order.
In conclusion, it will be important for the government to continue to work collaboratively with the industry to ensure that the potential impact and challenges associated with the remission order are identified in a timely manner and understood. In that regard, AAFC will continue to engage directly with dairy, poultry and egg sector representatives to help address their concerns.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be brief.
As was mentioned already, my name is Doug Band. I am the Director General of the Trade and Anti-dumping Programs Directorate at the CBSA.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before the committee to discuss the Ukrainian Goods Remission Order.
If I may, I would like to give you an overview of the role the CBSA plays in administering the remission order.
As has been mentioned, while most goods from Ukraine already enter Canada duty-free as a result of the free trade agreement, tariffs still apply on certain goods that are being phased out under the agreement or that are excluded from it.
CBSA is responsible for administering this remission order in accordance with the parameters and eligibility requirements outlined in the order. To assist importers with claiming relief under the order, CBSA in June published Customs Notice 22-12 on its website. That notice lays out what goods imported into Canada are eligible for remission, what types of duties can be remitted and the time period within which remission is granted—one year. It also reiterates the requirement that goods originate from Ukraine.
For all goods originating in Ukraine and imported into Canada, the order remits customs duties paid or payable under the customs tariff as well as duties paid or payable under the Special Import Measures Act. The Special Import Measures Act, as members know, is the anti-dumping regime that governs CBSA's anti-dumping investigations to protect Canadian companies. Importers can claim remission of duties under these two acts for a period of one year, from June 9, 2022 to June 9, 2023.
As with the tax regime, Canada's customs duty regime is a voluntary, self-assessment regime, backstopped by CBSA monitoring and risk-based compliance verification after the goods have been imported. Importers of commercial goods may apply for relief of customs duties at the time of import simply by entering a special authorization code on their Canada customs code form B3. In the case of importers having overpaid or not having claimed remission when they were eligible, they can also seek a refund for remission under the order by filling out a form B2.
Thank you. I look forward to answering the committee's questions.
Good afternoon and thank you everyone.
Mr. Chair and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to appear before this committee.
I am here on behalf of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the CFIA. I am the Vice-President of the International Affairs Branch. With me is my colleague Kanwal Kochhar, who is the Senior Director of the Food Import and Export Division.
My remarks will relate to granting access to the Canadian market for the import of dairy, eggs and raw and cooked poultry products from Ukraine and the process that was undertaken by the CFIA.
I would like to start by saying that all food sold in Canada, whether it is manufactured in Canada or imported under a tariff or tariff-rate quota or duty free, must comply with Canada’s federal regulations. When a non-compliance is identified, the CFIA takes immediate action regardless of country of origin.
Licensed importers are responsible for ensuring that the food they import is safe and that it meets Canadian requirements. Under the safe good for Canadians regulations—SFCR—importers are required to source from foreign suppliers who manufacture, prepare, store, package and label the food under conditions that provide at least the same level of protection as those in Canada.
Meat, or poultry in this case, and animal by-products, such as eggs and dairy products, are regulated by the safe food for Canadians regulations and the health of animal regulations. To import these products, food safety requirements, as well as the animal health requirements outlined in the regulations must be met.
CFIA has followed its rigorous process to approve imports of poultry from Ukraine. This included CFIA's successful on-site audit of three Ukrainian poultry facilities, CFIA's approval of the Ukrainian poultry inspection system and successful negotiations of the import requirements.
In 2017, the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement came into force, and in 2019, the CFIA audited Ukraine’s meat inspection system and animal health controls.
Audits are conducted to verify that the food safety controls in another country, in this case Ukraine, are effectively applied to the production and export of implicated products and to confirm that these controls meet Canadian import requirements.
Since 2019 CFIA has been working with Ukrainian officials to allow for the export of raw and cooked poultry products from Ukraine to Canada. However, the completion of this work was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other competing priorities.
Given the current situation in Ukraine, the CFIA has sought additional assurances regarding the food safety as well as the animal health controls in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have assured us that food safety and animal health standards and controls are still at the same level as they were at the time of the audit, and that Ukraine can inspect and certify exports as per the certificate conditions. Ukrainian exports continue into such third countries as the European Union, which maintains strict food import requirements that are similar to Canada's.
New imports of any meat products from a newly approved establishment undergo full inspection by the CFIA for the first 10 shipments. Imports from Ukraine would also follow this process. Only compliant shipments will be released to the importer. Subsequent to that, the CFIA will continue ongoing monitoring of imports of poultry from Ukraine on a risk-based inspection approach, including sampling as well as testing.
The CFIA has met with the Chicken Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council to discuss the impacts of the imports of poultry products from Ukraine under the remission order.
There have been no previous imports of poultry from Ukraine. As such, Canada has requested pre-export certification data for type and volume of product on export shipments of poultry from Ukraine in an effort to help the Canadian industry better plan their domestic production.
Ukraine officials have confirmed to the CFIA that they will share, twice a week, requested pre-export information with the CFIA, and that it will be provided for every export certificate that is issued.
In August 2021, CFIA also received a request from Ukraine for the export permit to allow for milk and dairy products. This certificate was finalized and approved back in July 2022. This negotiated certificate means that Ukraine is able to export milk and dairy products to Canada.
I would note, just quickly, that certain products, such as cheese, ice cream and yogourt, are not recognized as milk products under the health of animals regulations. They have always been permitted from Ukraine without a certificate.
Under the SFCR, the import of shell eggs and processed eggs into Canada also requires certificates. In May 2022 the CFIA received a request from Ukraine to negotiate a certificate for the export of these products. That is something that we are looking into.
I'm sorry, Ms. Donohue—
Ms. Kathleen Donohue: That concludes my remarks.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Thank you. If not, I'm sure you'll have a chance to finish it up during the questions. I apologize for that, but we have a limited amount of time.
Ms. Kathleen Donohue: No worries.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We'll now go to questions from our colleagues.
Ms. Rood, you have six minutes, please.
In 2019 the CFIA conducted its on-site evaluation and audit of Ukraine's poultry system, leading to Canada's recognizing Ukraine as being free of highly pathogenic avian influenza. As part of that poultry meat evaluation, the CFIA requested to receive formal notification of avian influenza disease outbreaks in Ukraine.
Canada did receive notifications of outbreaks of AI directly from the Ukrainian competent authority in 2020, as well as in 2021. The last notification of an AI outbreak in poultry was received back in February of 2021. A notification regarding wild birds was received back in March of 2021. Since then, there have been no further communications by Ukraine regarding any additional AI outbreaks.
I would add that, in addition, Ukraine is also a member of the World Organisation for Animal Health, also known as WOAH, and is obligated, therefore, to notify this international organization of any outbreaks of AI, as well as its trading partners. No AI outbreaks have been reported by Ukraine to this organization, nor to any other trading partners, such as the EU, for example—
Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate it.
When we are doing risking of goods—in this case we're referring to chicken—we do that jointly with the lead department, in this case the CFIA, from an animal and human health standpoint. Up front there's the assurance, as you mentioned, that all of the appropriate certifications and documentation to confirm eligibility and admissibility have been met, including for origin.
If there are identified risk changes in the risk environment from CFIA, then we would identify shipments that would pose high risk or higher risk for intervention at the border.
I think from the standpoint of where we are today, we're in a good place in terms of resource availability. As you've heard, the environment has not altered significantly from a CFIA human and animal health standpoint, so where we are is where we've been and that is sufficient.
We have focused principally up until now in the marine area of shipments coming into Canada, and those monitoring efforts continue and will expand to other areas as the risk environment adapts.
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for the question.
As Kathleen mentioned, for any new imports from a new country or a new establishment, CFIA conducts full inspections on at least 10 consignments from that particular establishment, in this case, Ukraine.
When the certificate is approved, full inspection will be conducted. When I say “full inspection”, it basically means visual inspection as well as organoleptic inspection.
At that time, CFIA inspectors also take samples for microbiological contamination, chemical residue contamination and species identification. At that time, only when CFIA confirms that the inspection is satisfactory will the consignment be released to the importer. Should there be a problem with any of the consignments, CFIA, of course, works for the competent authority and takes actions as necessary.
I would like to thank the witnesses for making themselves available for us today.
I have a lot of things to address in a short time, and I would like you to give me brief answers, if you are able to.
I would like to begin with you, Mr. Rosser.
In the last round of questions, you said you estimated the damage caused to supply-managed sectors to be negligible. Of course, we are talking about damage caused so far. It is important that committee members understand that, since import authorizations are currently being validated. In fact, that is the reason why we are doing this study.
There are fears that there will be a major impact on supply-managed sectors. Other witnesses have said they were monitoring the situation very closely and they were going to take the industry into account in responding. I was happy to hear, in your opening remarks, that you have been in contact with industry people.
What will the reaction time be if it is found that large quantities of goods from Ukraine are getting ready to enter Canada?
I would like to address the representatives of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Is it usual for an audit that was done in 2019 to not yet be approved to allow imports three years later, in 2022?
Is it always like that?
Is that audit still valid, three years later?
From what I understood from your answers to the earlier questions from my colleagues, there have been no new inspections in the field. You are really relying on the word of the people over there.
Have they given you reports, analyses and audits from the field?
Are you satisfied that the people in Ukraine have the necessary resources at this moment?
Let's be clear. Everyone wants to help the Ukrainians. We need to do it properly without hurting ourselves. We have concerns about bird flu. We know there are numerous cases in Poland, for example, and in several neighbouring countries, and yet there are none in Ukraine, a country being bombed that often has no electricity or water in some of the big cities. It is to be expected that people here will wonder about the Ukrainians' ability to access disinfectants, for example, and about whether there are enough veterinarians.
Do we have any data on that? My question is very broad, but I appreciate your reassuring us.
I had a lot of questions—but Monsieur Perron asked a lot of them—about how confident we are, considering the state of affairs in Ukraine now. How can we be confident in the state of those production facilities and, in particular, the avian influenza situation?
I'm a bird ecologist by training. I know that birds fly. If we have reports coming in from around Ukraine and from Poland regularly.... I'm a bit skeptical. A lack of reporting might say more to what Ukraine is capable of doing, given the horrific situation they're in.
I'll go back to Mr. Rosser, because I tried to ask this of a previous panel and they said to ask you. It is more about the volume of poultry product that would have to come into Canada before it would impact our supply management system. I think you partly answered that by saying there is such a small amount that's expected.
How much would have to come in before that system would be impacted and before there would be, for instance, a change in price to consumers or producers? How would that price system change?
I would like to thank the witnesses for being with us this afternoon.
My first question is for one of the representatives of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-food.
Mr. Rosser, why would Canada authorize the importation of poultry products from Ukraine?
Regarding that question, I will repeat: I want to help Ukraine, but I don't want us to be robbing Peter to pay Paul, or vice versa.
Why are the Americans not accepting Ukrainian poultry products when Canada would accept them? What is the reason?
As Kathleen mentioned in her opening remarks, CFIA has audited the three establishments that will be approved to export to Canada. We have negotiated the official meat inspection certificate of Ukraine, and every shipment from Ukraine to Canada will need to be certified as per the certificate conditions, which include Public Health attestations as per the last animal health attestations. On arrival at the border, CFIA will conduct full inspections of those certificates.
I also want to highlight that, under the safe food for Canadians regulations, the importers must have a safe food for Canadians licence prior to import, and they need to have preventative control plans that include traceability. If there is any issue of food safety, CFIA can recall the product, and if at any time during the inspection at the border or after, there is an issue noted of non-compliance, CFIA does take action, which includes recalls, or it could mean returning the product or even suspension of the foreign establishments, dependent on the outcome of the inspection.
We have controls prior to import, at import as well as post-import.
Thanks to our witnesses. We are past the time, but I just have one quick question for Ms. Desrochers.
I want to pick up on what you said during your answer. You had mentioned that although our trade agreement with Ukraine does allow imports on supply management, there haven't been any to date. One reason was that there is a sanitary concern with Ukraine, so no certificate was provided previously.
Is that no longer a concern then? Has the sanitation issue been addressed, which would pave the road to now sign an export certificate for Ukrainian poultry?
Maybe you can say what that sanitary concern was previously and whether it been addressed.