2010 Resolutions

Information found here is taken from the 2010 Report Card on the Resolutions

Resolution 1-10: Inquiry into Developing Agricultural Products for Market

DEFEATED Resolution 2-10: Livestock Traceability Regulation

Resolution 3-10: Unconfined Seed Release from Rail Cars

Resolution 4-10: Alberta Transportation Roadside Weed Control

Resolution 5-10: Coyote Predation Management Program

Resolution 6-10: Growing Forward Water Management Programs Exclusion of Crown Land

DEFEATED Resolution 7-10: Environmental Regulations on Crown Land

Resolution 8-10: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control

Resolution 9-10: Cosmetic Pesticide Bans

Resolution E1-10: Agricultural Service Board Act Review Regarding the Impact of Agrology Profession Act

DEFEATED Resolution E2-10: Prevented Plant Insurance

Resolution 1-10: Inquiry into Developing Agricultural Products for Market

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development along with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada investigate the reason for the huge price gap between the farm gate and consumer.

Status: Provincial

Response

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Based on recent discussions between AAFC staff and their Alberta counterparts, it is my understanding that a further analysis of the issue will be led by Ms. Rosalie Cunningham, Competitiveness Branch, AARD. Should specific questions arise during the review process that might be applicable to the federal government, I would encourage her to contact Mr. John Ross, Director, Animal Industry Division, for assistance; he may be reached at john.ross@agr.gc.ca. I wish you good luck with the study.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Policy, Strategy and Intergovernmental Affairs collaborated with Economics and Competitiveness on the following points to be raised in a reply to this resolution.
The kind of food Canadian consumers buy has continued to change. Canadian consumers now spend 50 percent of their food expenditures on food consumed away from home rather than on food bought for preparation at home. Canadian consumers are pressed for time and, for food bought for preparation at home, are buying further processed foods such as frozen french fries rather than raw materials such as potatoes.

These changes mean that there are many more steps in the supply chain that connects the farmer to the consumer. The reality is that each of these steps costs money and that each of these steps features a buyer whose job is to ensure that he gets the lowest possible cost of raw materials for his operation.

ARD is concerned about the increasing degree of separation between the producer in rural Alberta and the consumers in urban Alberta. We have a number of programs designed to enable farmers and consumers to connect directly with each other and to do business with each other.

On February 2, 2010 ARD announced the “Explore Local” initiative. The Explore Local initiative brings together our farm direct marketing initiative, our regional cuisine initiative and our Ag-Tourism initiative as well as the Farmers’ Market program.
ARD takes very seriously the need to facilitate opportunities for Alberta’s producers to make a direct connection with the consumer and to integrate into value chains that increase the return to the primary producer.

In terms of market power and concentration the Competition Bureau of Canada is a federal agency that promotes competitive markets by enforcing laws against anti-
competitive behavior and the abuse of market power. Organizations with concerns about anti-competitive behavior should contact the Competition Bureau.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

The Committee originally gave this resolution an Incomplete grading, but further information had been received by the Committee in the form of two CanFax reports which shed more light on the topic (follows). The Committee amended the grading to ACCEPT IN PRINCIPLE. When speaking to Minister Hayden about this Resolution the Committee broached the idea that perhaps ALMA could help with this issue by focusing on profitability.

Resolution 3-10: Unconfined Seed Release from Rail Cars

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development work with Transport Canada and rail companies towards the elimination of spillage of seed products of agriculture from rail transport carriers.

Status: Provincial

Response

As Canada is a major producer of grain, over 300,000 railcar movements take place each year in the transportation of grain in Canada. Given the magnitude of the undertaking, it is not surprising that spillages of grain may occur. However, the federal government and the Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway continue to take the necessary steps to minimize the impacts of such events.

As you may know, in 2007, the Government of Canada entered into new operating agreements with Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway for the reimbursement, maintenance and operation of the federal fleet of grain hopper cars. Since signing the agreements, both railways have been undertaking an extensive refurbishment of the federal hopper car fleet. This work has included the repair and, as required, the replacement of the gates on the hopper cars. Transport Canada safety inspectors have verified that the work on the majority of the federal cars has been completed. While there are still some cars to be refurbished, the spillage of grain from the Government of Canada hopper cars has been virtually eliminated.

As the railways also operate sizeable hopper car fleets owned by the two companies and others owned by the Canadian Wheat Board and the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, you may wish to also communicate directly with these entities to make them aware of the concerns of the delegates at the Alberta Agricultural Service Board Conference.

Both railways are aware of the economic and environmental impact of spilled grain. Despite the cleaning that grain receives at primary elevators before shipment, there may be a minimal amount of weeds present within bulk shipments which has the potential to introduce noxious weeds into the environment and could present a problem for wildlife. For these reasons, the railways regularly employ vacuum cars to clean up spillages. In addition, the railways routinely remove weeds from the track area as they may hinder the safe train operations.

I am confident that the railway equipment used and the processes followed today have greatly minimized the impact of grain spillages.

Since rail cars need to move to get grain to market, and normally are not expected to be a cause for the spread of weed seeds, unless an inspector can determine that condition before hand, Section 4(1) should be appropriate to address this concern.
If an inspector can determine a concern with a rail car before it moves he/she could issue an Inspector’s Notice under Section 13(1)(b) in respect of personal property, to the owner of the personal property, requiring compliance with the Act. The type of weed/seed would need to be identified, based on the release/concern. Notices issued pursuant to this section outline/direct the method and the time frame to control/prevent the spread of weeds. The owner of the personal property must comply with this notice to be in compliance with the Act.

AARD will be contacting Transport Canada and the rail companies to discuss this issue and make them aware of their responsibilities under the Weed Control Act and the consequences for non-compliance.

Grade: Accept in Principle

The Committee still has concerns of who is responsible for maintenance on the Canadian Wheat Board and Government of Alberta and Saskatchewan cars. Further research into this issue continues.

Resolution 4-10: Alberta Transportation Roadside Weed Control

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Transportation review their current weed control program to ensure the effectiveness of the program and give consideration to an increase in the current width of ditch that is sprayed as well as implementing a monitoring and assessment program to ensure that severe populations are dealt with proactively not reactively.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Transportation

Alberta Transportation delivers its weed control program through private contractors, managed by departmental maintenance contract inspectors. The weed control program involves a series of spring meetings between the local agricultural fieldmen, the maintenance contract inspectors and our private contractors. In these meetings, the agricultural fieldmen identify areas of local concern and the focus for the weed control program for the upcoming year. Areas of special concern, such as “severe populations” referred to in the resolution, can be identified at that time and a strategy to address the issue developed.

The resolution also asks Alberta Transportation to consider expanding the width of its ditch spraying. The meaning is not totally clear. Alberta Transportation is responsible for weed control within its entire right-of-way. It is not restricted to an arbitrary width, although the method of control may vary according to the nature and location of the weed infestation. If there are situations where it is felt that the extent of spraying is inadequate, this should be brought to the department’s attention by the agricultural fieldman.

Alberta Transportation is working with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development to increase the effectiveness of its weed control program and the knowledge of the field staff. The two departments are currently developing a weed workshop tentatively scheduled to be delivered in late May 2010. The intent of this workshop is to emphasize the importance of integrated vegetation management, which includes chemical and mechanical control.

As a member of the Interdepartmental Invasive Alien Species Working Group, Alberta Transportation is establishing standards for a province-wide integrated invasive species management program. The information gathered by the maintenance contract inspectors and other Alberta Transportation staff will be incorporated into Alberta’s Pest Surveillance System as well as Alberta Transportation’s internal tracking systems, which will allow effective herbicide application and rotation.

Grade: Accept the Response

Response

The Committee felt that there was a good working relationship in place with Alberta Transportation staff and contractors and that most concerns were being addressed. Weed notices should be issued in those instances where concerns are not being addressed.

Resolution 6-10: Growing Forward Water Management Programs Exclusion of Crown Land

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARD REQUEST that crown lands be eligible for water development funding in the Growing Forward Program.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

The Growing Forward Water Management Program has had an active first year. Since it’s announcement on April 24, 2009 the program has assisted with the completion and technical approval of over 600 Long Term Water Management Plans, resulting in over 400 applications for financial support to implement elements of these plans.
Following the completion of the first year Growing Forward – Water Management Program, the program was reviewed for potential changes. As a result of this review, projects on a few specific types of Crown Land dispositions will be eligible:

  • Special Areas Act dispositions:
    • Grazing Lease (to an individual or a corporation)
    • Cultivation Lease (to an individual or a corporation)
    • Explicitly excluded – Community pastures and grazing permits
  • Public Lands Act dispositions:
    • Grazing Lease (to an individual or a corporation)
    • Farm Development Lease (to an individual or a corporation)
    • Forest Grazing License (to an individual or a corporation)
    • Explicitly excluded: grazing permits, head tax permits, grazing licenses other than Forest Grazing Licenses, grazing allotments, forest reserve, provincial grazing reserve, cultivation permits, hay permits.

Applicants wishing to develop water supplies on any of the eligible types of Crown Land noted above must comply with the ‘prior approval’ process of the appropriate land management agency (either the Special Area’s Board for Special Areas Act dispositions, or Alberta Sustainable Resource Development for Public Lands Act dispositions)

All other eligibility requirements remain the same, including the requirement of an approved Long Term Water Management Plan (LTWMP) prior to beginning construction. The ability to retroactively develop an LTWMP after project construction ended on March 31, 2010 (the end of the program’s ‘Transition Year’).

Program funding is still on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis.

If a potential applicant has questions regarding the eligibility of a proposed project, they are encouraged to contact their regional ARD Water Specialist prior to commencing construction.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comment

The Committee consensus was that the changes referred to in the response should address the concerns.

Resolution 7-10: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada actively researches a product that is as effective as 2% Liquid Strychnine that could receive permanent registration.

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARD REQUEST that until there is a new product proven to be as effective as 2% Liquid Strychnine, producers have continued access to 2% Liquid Strychnine Concentrate to continue to be proactive in controlling the Richardson Ground Squirrel populations.

Status: Provincial

Response

Pest Management Regulatory Agency

Health Canada is working with stakeholders, including grower groups, provincial extension specialists, researchers, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to address the ground squirrel infestation in western Canada.

Knowledge from past experience, in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where severe infestations are a problem, and research have demonstrated that to sufficiently control the severe infestation an integrated pest management approach is required.
A multi-year research project in Saskatchewan is drawing to a close and this has been aimed at developing sustainable methods of control for Richardson’s ground squirrel infestations. The results of this research effort will be examined before conclusions can be reached regarding sustainable strategies for control. Every effort will be made to ensure that strategies developed through this research project will be available to users as soon as possible.

In the interim, there are products currently registered for control of Richardson’s ground squirrels. These include ready to use baits containing 0.4% strychnine, zinc phosphide or chlorophacinone. In addition the Pest Management Regulatory Agency will continue to consider emergency registration applications for the use of 2% liquid strychnine in areas for which a critical need is identified if such applications are received by the Agency. In Alberta, emergency registrations have been granted for use in areas which have been confirmed to be infested with Richardson’s ground squirrels by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) applied for a temporary emergency registration permit of two per cent liquid strychnine concentrate (LSC) in 2008, 2009 and, most recently, for the 2010 growing season. The LSC should be available to producers by March 1, 2010.

ARD recognizes the effectiveness and the economic benefits of using LSC for both crop and livestock producers in the province. There are currently no other broadly available, safe, effective, or cost efficient alternatives.

While Regulatory Services Division is responsible for ensuring that all emergency permit label requirements are met by the Agricultural Fieldmen and producers, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) regulates the use of LSC.
Resolution 8 requests that PMRA seek an alternative to two percent LSC, or continued use of two percent LSC, until an effective alternative is found. In 2007, the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund contracted Alpha Wildlife Research and Management Ltd. to conduct a three year study on control techniques for Richardson’s Ground Squirrels in the Mankota Region of southern Saskatchewan. ARD supported this research in the fall of 2008 with a grant of $144,955 to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities. This funding requires a final report which is due January 31, 2011.

We appreciated being advised of the position

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

Consensus was that PMRA would continue to approve the emergency registration of 2% liquid strychnine ‘in areas for which a critical need is identified if such applications are received by the Agency’ meant that until another broadly available, safe, effective or cost efficient alternative was registered – that 2% L.S. would continue to be available. A question of whether the research into alternatives is still ongoing needs to be investigated.

The Committee has raised this issue to Minister Hayden, and the Minister is fully aware that this issue has been piquing Albertans for many years. Minister Hayden pledged to work with his Federal and Provincial counterparts to resolve the issue.

Resolution 8-10: Cosmetic Pesticide Bans

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Federal and Provincial governments focus on developing a strategy to promote the legitimate scientific evidence used to approve pesticides as well as the proper use & handling of pesticides.

Status: Provincial

Response

Pest Management Regulatory Agency

Health Canada’s priority is the health and safety of Canadians and their environment. Under the Pest Control Products Act, a pesticide is registered only if it meets our stringent health and environmental safety standards and proves value in its application. When determining if a pesticide can be used in Canada, the Department’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency conducts extensive health and environmental scientific reviews as well as taking into account the available scientific information from governments, academia, industry and the public, including epidemiological and incident reports, both nationally and internationally.

Given the rigor of the evaluation process, we are confident that the pesticides registered for use in Canada can be used safely under the prescribed circumstances indicated on the label. PMRA has been implementing strategies in cooperation with the Federal, Provincial, Territorial Committee on Pest Management and Pesticides that address the registration and use of pesticides. Health Canada provides considerable information on its website and works to raise awareness of the federal regulatory process, the role of the various governments and the importance of safely handling pesticides by, for example, providing representatives and relevant material at information booths at pertinent public events.

Alberta Environment

  • Alberta is not considering a province-wide ban on the sale and use of pesticides
  • Health Canada is responsible for recommendations regarding which pesticides are safe to use. Alberta Environment strongly supports the current national approval system for pesticides
  • Alberta communities have differing pest control needs and differing attitudes on how best to solve pest problems
  • Alberta Environment will continue to regulate the sale and use of pesticides in the province and work with federal and provincial counterparts to evaluate policies and programs to address pesticide issues
  • Alberta Environment will continue to monitor water for pesticide detections and take necessary action to protect water quality. Pesticide detections and possible actions will be reviewed with municipal governments prior to any provincial action
  • The provincial ban on fertilizer/herbicide combination products was enacted following reviews with urban and rural municipalities and resolutions from both the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association supporting the ban that took effect on January 1, 2010
  • If you require further information please contact Mr. Jock McIntosh at 780-427-0031

Grade: Incomplete

Comments

ASBs do understand pesticide testing is taking place, and that the products are safe when used correctly. However the concern raised by the Resolution is that a strategy to promote and inform the general public is needed so that individuals and urban municipalities are aware that these products are safe when used correctly. This strategy would assure concerned public and municipalities looking to enact Cosmetic Pesticide Bans that legitimate scientific evidence is used to approve pesticides, and that regulations and regulators are in place ensuring proper use and handling.

A letter was been sent to PMRA and Alberta Environment expressing our concern that the resolution was not answered.

See additional response letters in the 2010 Report Card on the Resolutions

Resolution E1-10: Agricultural Service Board Act Review Regarding the Impact of Agrology Profession Act

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development ensure that a provision be included in the Agricultural Service Board Act which exempts Municipal staff from mandatory membership in the Alberta Institute of Agrologist’s as stated in the Agrology Profession Act, to ensure that Municipalities can maintain autonomy in hiring qualified persons of their own determination to continue their mandate to protect agricultural resources in their communities as they have done for the past 65 years.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Employment and Immigration

I understand that this resolution seeks to amend the Agricultural Service Board Act by including a provision that would exempt municipal staff from being required to become members of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (AIA), through the mandatory registration provisions of the Agrology Profession Act (APA). I have referred this matter to Adrian Pritchard, Director of our Professions and Occupations office, which is responsible for the administration of a number of non-health professional statutes, including the Agrology Profession Act.

Mr. Pritchard advised that the APA came into force in 2007, and governs the practice of agrology in Alberta. The APA establishes the AIA as the governing body for the province’s agrology profession, and grants title protection rights to Professional Agrologists (P.Ag.) and Registered Technologists in Agrology (R.T.Ag.). The APA also includes mandatory registration provisions, which require persons, who wish to practice as P.Ag.s or R.T.Ag.s, to be AIA members. It should be noted that in 2005, during stakeholder consultations regarding the APA’s formulation, Agriculture and Rural Development were fully supportive of this legislation.

Turning to the issue of mandatory registration, Mr. Pritchard advises that these APA provisions require individuals to be AIA members, if they:
a. provide services which fall within the “practice of agrology” (APA section 1(1)(v));
b. meet academic, professional and experience requirements (APA section 22); and
c. are not exempted from membership by virtue of providing such services under another enactment (APA section 40(4).

All of these requirements must be met in order for the AIA to register persons as members of that organization. Any individual who provides agrological services under another enactment, such as agricultural fieldmen whose responsibilities derive from the Agricultural Services Board Act, would automatically be exempt from AIA membership. Similarly, municipal staff whose employment responsibilities fall under the Weed Control Act, the Agricultural Pests Act, the Soil Conservation Act and the Animal Health Act, would also be exempt from AIA membership.

In light of these findings, the proposed resolution to amend the Agricultural Services Board Act to exempt all municipal employees from AIA membership is, in our view, unnecessary. The Agrology Profession Act already contains provisions that exempt persons, including municipal employees, who provide agrological services under the authority of other legislation from such membership. In addition, this proposed total exemption would significantly hamper the AIA in carrying out their legislated responsibilities, when seeking to register agrology professionals who fall under the APA’s mandatory registration provisions.

In closing, I wish to thank you for providing my department the opportunity to comment on the proposed resolution. Should you require further information on this matter, please contact Mr. Pritchard directly by telephone at 780-422-3740 for by e-mail at adrian.pritchard@gov.ab.ca.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

As you are aware, the Agricultural Service Board Act is currently under review. The Act 8(1) states that the Board “must appoint a qualified person as Agricultural Fieldman” and that “fieldmen shall act as a designated officer of the municipality”.

In consultation with Alberta Employment and Immigration, who is responsible for the Agrology Profession Act, an exemption for municipal employees under the Agricultural Service Board Act is unnecessary. Although this amendment to the Agricultural Service Board Act will not be included, we will continue to work with municipalities to update the Act as required.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

Although the legal opinion received was that inspectors are exempted via appointment under the ASB Act, consensus was that ASBs would like to have the exemption specifically written into the ASB Act.

The Committee made Minister Hayden aware of our wishes and the Minister opined that including the amendment seemed plausible.