2011 Resolutions

Information found here is taken from the 2011 Report Card on the Resolutions

1-11: Agricultural Service Board Funding

2-11: Eradicable Weeds Program Funding

3-11: Mitigating the Effects of Agricultural Disaster Years on Crop Insurance Levels and Premiums

4-11: Monitoring of Groundwater Wells

5-11: Environmental Regulations on Crown Land

6-11: BSE Class Action Lawsuit

7-11: Disposal of Agricultural Plastics

8-11: Enforcement of Clubroot Infestations

9-11: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control – Emergency Registration

10-11: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control – Permanent Registration

E1-11: Bill C-544 – Banning of Importation of Horses for Slaughter

Resolution 1-11: Agricultural Service Board Funding

WHEREAS the Agricultural Service Board budget has been frozen at $10.5 million since 2005;

WHEREAS in the past, there have been significant periods of time between provincial Agricultural Service Board Program budget increases;

WHEREAS large increases in funding at a single time are too disruptive to each Agricultural Service Board’s individual budgeting;

WHEREAS the Agricultural Service Board program expenses steadily increase annually;

WHEREAS during the 2004-2005 program review, it was recommended that another review be completed in 2010;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST an annual prorated increase in budget that will reflect the costs of services and responsibility for programs that are provided by Agricultural Service Boards, determined by review of program expenses between 2005 and 2010.

Status: Provincial

The Agricultural Service Boards’ (ASBs) request to have an annual, prorated increase to reflect the costs of services and responsibilities provided by ASBs is not likely to occur given the current fiscal reality in Alberta. Alberta is currently in the process of trying to balance its budget and it is not likely that the ASB Grant will receive any increases to its budget until the provincial budget is balanced. It is expected that the provincial budget will be balanced in 2014.

The ASB Grant budget is currently $12.2 million and it is expected it will remain static until 2014 which will be the last year of the current three year cycle for the ASB Grant. The program staff are planning to start a comprehensive review of the program and budget in 2012-13 to gather information, in addition to program expense information collected between 2005 to 2010, to present a complete picture of the need for additional funding for the ASB Grant. An annual, prorated increase could be part of the information presented to help the ASB Grant obtain funding that is more responsive to the needs of Agricultural Service Boards.

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development recognizes the significant contribution that ASBs make to the rural landscape of Alberta and is grateful for our partnership with the ASBs throughout the province.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

The Committee recommends that the ASB Program be entirely reviewed starting in 2012 with the review to be completed by 2013. The recommended review of the ASB Program for 2010 was delayed when the ASB and Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (AESA) grants were merged as part of the Grant Re-engineering Initiative by Municipal Affairs. The ASBs understood that the new ASB Grant Program would be entirely reviewed one year after the implementation of the new ASB Grant Program and are expecting a complete program review to start in 2012.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) program staff are currently in the process of seeking approval to move forward on a program evaluation for 2012. If approved, the intent is to start consulting with ASBs in early 2012 and have the evaluation completed in early 2013.

Resolution 2-11: Eradicable Weeds Funding

WHEREAS The new Weed Control Act Regulations has a considerable list of new Prohibited Noxious weed species, which Agricultural Service Boards legally are responsible to see eradicated;

WHEREAS An eradication approach of new and emerging weed species provides the best return on investment by municipal weed control authorities;

WHEREAS Municipal Eradication Programs providing landowners with free eradication services of new species is a cost effective and rewarding way of reporting of new infestations for the purposes of rapid response;

WHEREAS It is in the best interest of the province to collaborate with Agricultural Service Boards in their efforts to ensure Weed Control Act compliance and to prevent new invasive plants species, impacting agriculture and the environment, becoming widespread;

WHEREAS A non-regulatory approach to eradication of Prohibited Noxious weeds guarantees a higher level of success;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Agricultural Service Board Grant provide funds for Prohibited Noxious weed eradication on a 100% provincial funding basis outside of existing and current board funding

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development An eradicable weeds fund is a unique approach that could have significant impact on controlling Prohibited Noxious weeds within the province of Alberta, and we are currently investigating the possibility of establishing such a program.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) feels it would be a good fit with the surveillance initiatives that we are trying to establish. This would be a key component in assisting us to determine where prohibited noxious weed species are located and provide for an early detection rapid response program. Consultation has started with members of the Alberta Association of Agricultural Fieldmen to determine what a program would look like and how much funding would be required. One key component of addressing this issue is to determine how much of an infestation of prohibited noxious weeds there currently is in the province. We are requesting that the Agricultural Service Boards (ASB) participate with Chris Neeser in conducting a survey to look at prohibited noxious weed species densities.

The background information you provided from the State of Victoria, Australia, shows a drastic reduction in weed populations with this approach. Potentially this could be a cost effective and preferred strategy for the province and something that is seriously being considered by ARD.

An ASB Grant to provide funds for controlling Prohibited Noxious Weeds will be one of the options for consideration when formulating a strategy. Alternate means of assisting municipalities facing undue hardship with Prohibited Noxious weeds will be investigated in more detail.

The process of collecting data and seeking stakeholders input can take several months to finalize. We do not anticipate funding for this program in 2011 but money may be available for the 2012 season.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

The Committee supports the concept of an eradicable weed fund but stipulates that any money for a fund such as this must be new dollars and not dollars taken from the existing ASB Grant Fund. The Committee is aware that ARD is currently working with municipalities to start a pilot project to prove this concept is viable and is supportive of ARD investigating and moving ahead with this project. ARD has consulted with municipalities impacted by orange and yellow hawkweed to discuss the extent of the infestations and determine how to move forward to manage these infestations. The outcome of this consultation was that a pilot project should be developed for a three year time period to assist municipalities and private landowners to eradicate these species. The recommendation is for ARD to provide $150,000 per year for three years to pay for herbicide that would be provided to private landowners to eradicate these species. Landowners and municipalities would contribute labour and equipment to apply the herbicide to eradicate these species.

The ASB Program is currently working with Pest Surveillance Branch (PSB) to develop this proposal more fully and to request funds for this pilot project. Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) is also interested in working with ARD to expand this project onto Public Lands and may have some funding to commit to a pilot project of this nature.

Resolution 3-11: Mitigating the Effects of Agricultural Disaster Years on Crop Insurance Levels and Premiums

DEFEATED AT THE 2011 ASB PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE

WHEREAS The Peace Region has been in various states of disaster the past three years;

WHEREAS Crop insurance coverage levels are calculated using producer and area averages;

WHEREAS If a producer has a claim, production coverage drops and/or premiums rise;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that in a Provincially declared Agricultural Disaster year, any crop insurance claims will not affect a producer’s coverage level or increase his/her premium.

Resolution 4-11: Monitoring of Groundwater Wells

WHEREAS The NRCB has recently relaxed the requirements of groundwater testing around confined feedlots and liquid manure storage since they feel they pose a low risk of contamination;

WHEREAS Previously, the NRCB required confined feedlots to test groundwater wells annually by an independent qualified firm, they have now changed this process and in most cases since they feel the contamination is so low they now only require a self-monitoring process;

WHEREAS Self-monitoring of groundwater wells at these confined feedlots is not a viable option because the risk of this process not being completed is elevated;

WHEREAS Since 2002, when the NRCB took over control of the approval and regulation process of confined feeding operations there have been numerous concerns with environmental issues from the ratepayers and municipalities;

WHEREAS Contamination of manure into the groundwater can have a detrimental effect to not only the confined feeding operation, but also to many neighboring farms and dwellings with long term consequences;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTRUAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the NRCB require that mandatory annual testing of groundwater wells surrounding confined feeding operations by an independent qualified firm continue to ensure that there is no risk of contamination.

Status: Provincial

Response

Natural Resources Conservation Board

In 2008 the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) collaborated with experts in agriculture and groundwater from Alberta Environment (AENV), Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) and the confined feeding industry to develop an environmental risk screening tool (ERST). The tool is used by NRCB staff to provide science based risk assessments at confined feeding operations. It was developed under the auspices of the risk management framework, which was endorsed in 2007 by the Policy Advisory Group (PAG), a multi-stakeholder advisory group to the NRCB and ARD.

PAG membership includes:

  • Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties
  • Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
  • Representatives from the confined feeding industry
  • Environmental non-government organizations
  • Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Alberta Environment

Between 2008 and 2010 the ERST was employed at the 257 confined feeding operations (CFOs) on the NRCB’s data base that had groundwater monitoring requirements in their permit conditions. The risk screenings were conducted as part of the NRCBs leak detection project. The objectives of the project were to confirm the environmental risk at each site, using a consistent, science-based approach, and to ensure that groundwater monitoring requirements were appropriate for the actual risk at each site. The NRCB extensively consulted and communicated with PAG, municipalities and industry on the design and implementation of the project. Feedback from the consultations was positive and supported using science based risk screening for all operations with groundwater monitoring requirements.

Most of the 257 operations existed before the Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA) came into effect on January 1, 2002, and had development permits issued by municipalities. By conducting the risk screenings the NRCB found that monitoring and reporting requirements for the facilities did not necessarily reflect the risk, and in some cases the requirements were not being followed.

The ERST risk ratings are based on facility construction as well as natural features including soil, bedrock, aquifer levels, and pathways that could move contaminants into groundwater. A low risk rating is given only to facilities where it is clear that groundwater resources are protected from contamination.

The NRCB is amending the permits to ensure that the monitoring frequency is based on the risk posed by the facility. Monitoring requirements of the low risk facilities are being suspended. Moderate and high risk facilities must continue to monitor. Some high risk facilities are being required to increase the frequency of their monitoring and to address the identified risk.

The NRCB is working with the operators and consulting with municipalities on the permit amendments. Operators whose facilities were ranked low risk have the option of applying to have their monitoring condition removed from their permit. This option requires full public notification and allows directly affected parties, including municipalities, to comment on the proposed amendment. A few operators are choosing to apply for the amendment. In most cases, the NRCB is modifying the monitoring conditions so they can be more easily adjusted in the future to reflect any changes in the risk assessment of the site.

Note that the NRCB, under the leak detection program, also implemented a policy change which requires all monitoring to be done by qualified independent contractors.
The act sets out the standards and regulations for environmental protection but does not require groundwater monitoring at all CFOs. The act states:

18(1) Standards and Administration Regulation

“If an approval officer considers that there is risk to the environment, the approval officer may require the owner or operator of a liquid manure storage facility to install and maintain a leakage detection system for the liquid manure storage facility consisting of at least one monitoring well up gradient of the facility and at least 2 monitoring wells down gradient from the facility of a type appropriate to determine whether there are leaks.

(2) “As determined by an approval officers or the Board, the owner or operator of a liquid manure storage facility must monitor the monitoring wells installed under subsection (1) at regular intervals to detect contamination from the facility.”
The act requires the NRCB to ensure that CFOs are in compliance with AOPA requirements and their permit conditions. The NRCB is also obligated to ensure that sections 18(1) and (2) of the standards and regulations are met, as appropriate, when considering applications.

However, the NRCB is not in the position to unilaterally require CFO operators to take actions such as implementing a groundwater monitoring program that are not required by the act. Monitoring requirements need to be justified by evidence that there is a risk to groundwater resources at the site. The NRCBs use of the ERST provides objective and scientific assessments that allow the NRCB to make consistent and appropriate judgements on the need for groundwater monitoring at confined feeding operations.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

The NRCB’s response was graded as Accept in Principle because the response indicated a change in policy and that the leak detection program requires that all monitoring is conducted by qualified independent contractors. The Committee remains concerned about the groundwater monitoring requirements as the response indicates that Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs) do have the ability to amend the groundwater monitoring requirements on their permits, including, in some instances, the removal of the groundwater monitoring conditions from their permits. The Committee understands that the removal or lessening of monitoring conditions is based on an Environmental Risk Screening Tool (ERST) and in consultation with the public but still feels that groundwater monitoring should continue to be a condition on a CFO’s permit to operate.

Resolution 5-11: Environmental Regulations on Crown Land

WHEREAS for generations farmers and ranchers have been the stewards of the land, protecting and when possible enhancing productivity and sustainability;

WHEREAS cross fences, corrals and offsite watering systems are installed with the intention of better utilizing and protecting grass resources;

WHEREAS all of these improvements are normal, accepted farming and ranching practises, used to enhance grazing management;

WHEREAS the costs incurred by farmers and ranchers to meet the requirements of new regulations and standards are adding to the financial burden facing primary agricultural producers;

WHEREAS farmers and ranchers have no method by which to recover any of the money spent on environmental assessments and surveys;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the provincial government exempt farmers and ranchers from the requirement to do environmental assessments before proceeding with projects meant to enhance the productivity and sustainability of Crown Grazing Land, such as installing cross fences, corrals and off site watering systems.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Environment: Sustainable Resource Development

The department recently met with grazing leaseholders and livestock industry representatives to review its requirement for preconstruction wildlife surveys. As a result of this review, surveys are now required only for land in the Grasslands Natural Region/Prairies Area of the province where the majority of species at risk are found. As well, wildlife surveys and/or restricted activity periods are only requested for specific types of development, such as permanent fences and watering systems.

Under the new system, department staff consult with an applicant to assess their application to determine if a survey or timing restriction is required. Grazing leaseholders and livestock industry representatives have agreed to this process, which also allows the applicant to request a review of the requirement for a wildlife survey. Wildlife surveys and restricted activity periods are not required for livestock redistribution, temporary fencing and watering systems, or for routine maintenance of existing structures.

When it is determined that a preconstruction wildlife survey is required, applicants must obtain these services from a qualified biologist and report the survey results to the department. Prior to issuing a disposition, Sustainable Resource Development analyzes the survey results to determine if mitigation strategies are required. For example, the timing of construction may be adjusted to minimize its impact on wildlife. Landholders are responsible for meeting requirements for designated threatened or endangered species under Alberta’s Wildlife Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the federal government’s Species at Risk Act.

Alberta Environment

The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act does not require environmental assessments before proceeding with projects meant to enhance the productivity and sustainability of Crown Grazing Land, as described in Resolution No. 5.
I trust that Alberta Sustainable Resource Development will outline requirements and opportunities under their legislation and regulations for assessments on Crown Grazing Land.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments

The response given by Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) indicates that they have reviewed their process and a new system has been developed regarding requiring preconstruction surveys. The new system only requires surveys to be completed in the Grasslands Natural and Prairies Regions of the Province as these two areas contain the majority of Species at Risk (SAR) in the Province. The Committee felt that SRD was trying to work with producers to accommodate their needs as well as mitigate the impact of development on wildlife with this new process.

Resolution 6-11: BSE Class Action Lawsuit

WHEREAS There has been ongoing hardship caused to the Cattle Farmers of Canada as the result of the BSE crisis;

WHEREAS The immediate closing of borders across the industrialized world to Canadian cattle and beef products, sent cattle prices to spiral downward;

WHEREAS Statistics Canada reported that there are 23,000 fewer farms reporting cattle today than May 20, 2003;

WHEREAS A class action lawsuit on behalf of the cattle producers of Canada was launched in April of 2005, claiming the negligence on the part of Agriculture Canada allowing BSE from imported British cattle to infect Canadian cattle (BSE Class Action). This class action has now been certified and is proceeding to trial;

WHEREAS The Government of Canada settled the Hepatitis C Class Action and the Government of Canada settled the residential schools class actions. The BSE Class Action represents the interest of 135,000 hardworking Canadian Farm Families;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Government of Canada appoint a mediator to facilitate Settlement between the Government of Canada and the cattle farmers.;

Status: Federal

Response

Department of Justice Canada

As you are aware, a national class action has been certified and is currently proceeding before the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. The allegations in this action, including negligence and misfeasance in public office, are serious and have yet to be substantiated. This class action raises legal issues that are important to the Government of Canada not just in this case but in others that involve questions of Crown liability.

I note that the ASBs resolution requests the appointment of a mediator to facilitate settlement of the class action. I am confident that counsel in the Department of Justice Canada will give due consideration to mediation or arbitration at appropriate stages in the litigation process. This decision will be made in consultation with the departments and agencies involved in the litigation.

Under the circumstances, I hope you will understand that it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

As outlined in your letter, Resolution No. 6: BSE Class Action Lawsuit is a matter that falls under the responsibility of my colleague Mr. Myles Kirvan, Deputy Minister of Justice Canada. As such, I will let him respond to this particular issue.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

The Committee felt that this response should receive a grade of Accept in Principle because of the sentence in the response that says: “The allegations in this action, including negligence and misfeasance in public office, are serious and have yet to be substantiated.” The Committee understands that the Department of Justice Canada cannot comment on legal action that has not yet been substantiated and will continue to monitor and follow up with the Department of Justice Canada as this case makes its way through the court system.

Resolution 7-11: Disposal of Agricultural Plastics

WHEREAS The use of plastics for forage and grain storage has increased during the past few years;

WHEREAS This plastic is usually useful for only one year;

WHEREAS Practical options for the responsible disposal of this plastic through incineration or waste management infrastructure are limited;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and Alberta Environment to research and to then implement practical and environmentally responsible options for the disposal of plastics used for forage (twine or bale wrap) and grain (grain bag) storage.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Environment

Alberta Environment, along with a staff representative from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, is a member of the Recycling Council of Alberta’s Agricultural Plastics Working Group. This group also includes participation from the Alberta Plastics Recycling Association, plastic manufacturers and recyclers, retailers and local waste commissions.

An estimated 8,000 tonnes of agricultural plastics (baler twine, bale wrap, silage wrap and feed bags) is used in Alberta each year. This number is expected to grow as the use of grain storage bags expands. Since 2007, the Working Group’s efforts have focused on identifying long-term, environmentally sustainable solutions for recycling agricultural plastics in Alberta.

Through research and pilot programs, the Working Group has made progress on identifying the amount of agricultural plastic materials available to recycle in Alberta, learning more about on-farm material handling options (for example, separating plastics by type, minimizing contamination) and potential end-markets for recycling the materials. From this work, some promising developments have emerged including, identifying a local recycler in southern Alberta that accepts polyethylene sheet plastic and exploring a potential market opportunity for recycling polypropylene baler twine in the United States.

Further information on the progress of the Working Group’s activities can be obtained by contacting Alberta Environment’s Working Group representative, Dave Whitfield at dave.whitfield@gov.ab.ca or 403-297-8255.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

The recycling of agriculture wastes falls under the leadership of Alberta Environment. There currently exists a working group researching options for recycling agricultural plastics. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) supports this initiative and will continue to provide technical support to the associated pilot projects.

Background

In 2007, the Recycling Council of Alberta established a working group with representatives from the Alberta Plastics Recycling Association, the plastic manufacturing sector, retailers, recycling project operators, ARD, Alberta Environment, and recyclers to look at options for agricultural plastic waste. Shipment to China for recycling is done currently with small volumes, however, this should not be seen as a long term solution, as agricultural contaminants like manure or feed can spread plant or animal disease or introduce new species.

As part of its research efforts, the working group established a pilot project on recycling of agricultural plastics. Contact the ASB Program office for copies of the Ag Plastics Pilot report.

Short-term collection programs for baler twine and silage plastic were established in the Lethbridge and St. Paul / Smoky Lake areas, as well as continuation of work already underway in Mountain View County.

The Pilot Project:

A second component of the trial addressed handling and processing of the material in preparation for shipment to a recycler. The product was baled at public or private recycling facilities in the collection area; however this entailed significant manual handling for transport to the central location from collection sites.

Used plastic is a low value substance which recyclers view as a potential resource, but are uncertain of their ability to process and the cost to do so. Washing equipment for processing large volumes of used plastic is not available locally; freight to Vancouver is a cost factor and capacity there is limited. All recyclers wanted the plastic delivered to their sites at no cost to them. Purity of the resin type is also a concern for true recycling as impurities decrease the value significantly. Since the pilot was completed, a potential market for agricultural film has emerged in Southern Alberta. This market currently accepts film at its door with no compensation, and can handle the level of contamination present in this material.

A program to establish an economic incentive for recycling throughout an economic cycle is required. This should cover costs of transport, handling and perhaps some processing at times of low resin value but may create an income stream at times of high resin value. This may take the form of a recycling charge at time of purchase as with other Alberta stewardship programs.

A farm-plastic recycling program is going to be a reality in the near future. The Agricultural Service Boards could play a critical role once the program is operational by providing communications to the producers about the importance of recycling and proper procedures. Not all plastics can be recycled together; farm plastics will have to be sorted by resin type, or will be rejected.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

The Committee was pleased to learn that there were pilot projects already in place to address these concerns. The Committee requested that the findings from the pilot projects be added to this report card. The final report with findings from the pilot projects is attached in the Appendix.

Resolution 8-11: Enforcement of Clubroot Infestations

WHEREAS Clubroot was added to the Agricultural Pest Act as an enforceable disease in 2007;

WHEREAS The Provincial Clubroot Management Plan suggests control measures including crop rotations for the disease;

WHEREAS Municipalities may choose not to enforce the Act and Regulations due to lack of direction from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, implement specific and consistent guidelines across the province of Alberta that outline how municipalities are to enforce the Agricultural Pest Act and Regulation’s in accordance with the Provincial Clubroot management plan.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Should municipalities still be enforcing the 1 in 4 year rotation when a resistant variety is grown? As you are aware, there are many strains of the clubroot pathogen, and no single variety has been documented to be resistant to all strains. The half life of clubroot is four years and in areas where a four year rotation has been implemented, it has reduced the rate of new infestations and canola yield losses. Without the four year rotation, a resistant clubroot strain would dominate the field in a few years. Although arguments can be made for rotation breaks other than four years, we have carefully considered European recommendations that were based on much more experience with this disease. Currently there is no way of finding out which resistance source was bred into the clubroot resistant variety to be planted, and thus we cannot determine how to rotate varieties to prevent the build up of the clubroot disease. Although research underway may provide details of resistance being commercialized in varieties, it will still be prudent to reduce the risk of resistance breakdown by extending the break from canola on infested fields.

How to control infected volunteer canola? Control of volunteer canola in infested fields must be done before 3-4 weeks of growth to prevent production of new resting spores. To control volunteer canola in fields, herbicide rotation needs to be implemented since most canola planted now is one of three herbicide tolerant systems. It is important to keep records of previous canola grown and the herbicide tolerance in the variety. For example, if the previous crop was Roundup Ready, then the next canola variety planted should be Liberty tolerant to enable control of any Roundup Ready volunteers. With a four year rotation and cereal used as an alternate crop, it is relatively easy to control broadleaf weeds such as canola. In the situation where Clearfield tolerant canola was the previous crop, then the herbicide application in the cereal crop should include a phenoxy.

Implementing consistent guidelines: Clubroot is a new disease to Alberta canola producers and was only discovered in 2003 in a field near Edmonton. Since then, the disease has spread to municipalities around the Edmonton area. Other parts of the province are still relatively free of the disease and would like to keep it that way.
As you mentioned in Resolution #8, clubroot was added to the Agricultural Pest Act as a declared pest in 2007. Since then, a management plan and other guidelines have been written to assist municipalities with the control of clubroot. The Management Plan has been recently revised, but the guidelines have become outdated in some aspects and need to be reviewed and updated. As a result, the current guidelines will be revised and distributed to municipalities by April 30, 2011.

Enforcement of the Act has been delegated to the municipalities to control clubroot and other pests. Each municipality has its unique pest problems and often unique ways of dealing with such pests. Government specialists and pathologists have provided good advice to municipalities in the various guidelines, but each municipality may have other considerations that support modifying the control measures. While consistency is highly desired, we also recognize and respect the individual circumstances of each municipality.

Since clubroot is a relatively new pest in Alberta, more research is being carried out to determine the best control methods. ARD, U of A, the Canola Council of Canada and AAFC have been studying clubroot disease on canola since the disease was discovered in Alberta. This Information will become available after researchers have compiled data and may lead to further revisions in the Management Plan and guidelines.

Grade: Unsatisfactory

Comments

The Committee felt that this response did not answer the question posed by this resolution that requested specific and consistent guidelines for municipalities regarding enforcement of the Agricultural Pests Act in regards to clubroot. The Committee felt that the response focused on the biology of the disease and how it can be controlled but not how the Province would unify enforcement of the Act.
The Committee has requested that ARD respond to the resolution again.

ARD Additional Response

The Agricultural Pests Act is enabling legislation with enforcement delegated to the local authority. This provides some leeway to municipalities in how they provide enforcement within their municipality. ARD provides support and guidance to municipalities by providing a Pest Regulatory Officer to assist with interpretations of the legislation. ARD has also made available several documents “Agdex 140/638-2: the Alberta Clubroot Management Plan”, “Agdex 140/638-1: Clubroot Disease of Canola and Mustard”and “Guidelines for ASBs for Clubroot” are all available to assist municipal employees in developing a clubroot policy within their municipal boundaries. Additional help is also available from ARD’s Pest Surveillance Branch if a municipality requests assistance in developing a policy for their municipality.

The Guidelines for ASBs for Clubroot are attached to this report as part of the Appendix.

Resolution 9-11: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control – Emergency Registration

WHEREAS Ready to use Strychnine baits have proven ineffective in ground squirrel control;

WHEREAS Richardson ground squirrels populations continue to be of concern in parts of the province;

WHEREAS 2010 proved to be a poor year due to environmental conditions to successfully poison ground squirrels;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the emergency registration of 2% Liquid Strychnine Concentrate be extended to allow for further control of Richardson Ground Squirrel populations.

Status: Provincial

Response

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

I would like to address Resolution No. 9: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control – Emergency Registration and Resolution No. 10: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control – Permanent Registration. The responsibility for the registration and regulation of pesticides in Canada, including the granting of emergency uses, falls under the jurisdiction of Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act.

Before granting an emergency use request from a provincial agricultural ministry, the PMRA considers the severity of the pest outbreak, the availability of alternative control methods, and whether the proposed use will be effective and pose an acceptable risk to humans and the environment. I understand that PMRA granted both Alberta and Saskatchewan emergency use registrations for 2 per cent liquid concentrate strychnine for the 2011 growing season.

Pest Management Regulatory Agency

Recognizing that there are limited options in the short term, the emergency registration for 2% LSC was granted on 23 February 2011 under strict conditions. The 2% LSC can only be used in highly infested areas of Alberta until end of June 2011.

An integrated pest management solution is needed for long term control of Richardson’s ground squirrel. Since 2002, the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel Integrated Pest Management Steering Committee (RGS Committee) lead by Saskatchewan Agriculture and consisting of experts representing farmers, industry, researchers, both provincial governments, and the PMRA, has been conducting research and is developing an IPM strategy.

A decision on the longer term use of strychnine for Richardson’s ground squirrel control will be made after the completion and review of the data generated under the research project, the implementation of an IPM strategy and after discussions with the provincial Departments of Agriculture and Environment.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments

The Committee felt that because emergency registration was granted for 2011 that the grade should be Accept the Response. The Committee notes that there were some concerns with the emergency registration for 2011, specifically the lateness of granting the emergency registration and the shorter time period for the program. The Committee is grateful to ARD for their efforts in maintaining the emergency registration since 2007 and for obtaining an extension to the program for the 2011 year.

Resolution 10-11: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control – Permanent Registration

WHEREAS The emergency registration of 2% Strychnine has proven effective in managing the large population of Richardson Ground Squirrel since 2008;

WHEREAS The ability for producers to obtain 2% liquid Strychnine on a temporary basis has helped reduce populations of Richardson ground squirrels;

WHEREAS To help maintain a level of Richardson ground squirrel infestation below economic threshold;

WHEREAS There is still no other product available that is as effective as 2% liquid Strychnine;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that 2% Liquid strychnine be made available on a permanent basis to bonafide agricultural producers for the control of Richardson ground squirrels.

Status: Provincial

Response

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

I would like to address Resolution No. 9: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control – Emergency Registration and Resolution No. 10: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control – Permanent Registration. The responsibility for the registration and regulation of pesticides in Canada, including the granting of emergency uses, falls under the jurisdiction of Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act.

Before granting an emergency use request from a provincial agricultural ministry, the PMRA considers the severity of the pest outbreak, the availability of alternative control methods, and whether the proposed use will be effective and pose an acceptable risk to humans and the environment. I understand that PMRA granted both Alberta and Saskatchewan emergency use registrations for 2 per cent liquid concentrate strychnine for the 2011 growing season.

Pest Management Regulatory Agency

Recognizing that there are limited options in the short term, the emergency registration for 2% LSC was granted on 23 February 2011 under strict conditions. The 2% LSC can only be used in highly infested areas of Alberta until end of June 2011.

An integrated pest management solution is needed for long term control of Richardson’s ground squirrel. Since 2002, the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel Integrated Pest Management Steering Committee (RGS Committee) lead by Saskatchewan Agriculture and consisting of experts representing farmers, industry, researchers, both provincial governments, and the PMRA, has been conducting research and is developing an IPM strategy.

A decision on the longer term use of strychnine for Richardson’s ground squirrel control will be made after the completion and review of the data generated under the research project, the implementation of an IPM strategy and after discussions with the provincial Departments of Agriculture and Environment.

Grade: Unsatisfactory

Comments

The Committee is aware that Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is currently considering a permanent registration of strychnine. The decision to grant a permanent registration to strychnine will be made before the end of 2011. The Committee will be monitoring this process and will continue to encourage PMRA to register strychnine permanently.

The Committee was also interested in the final results from the research conducted into Richardson Ground Squirrel Control in Saskatchewan for the past several years as PMRA has indicated that they would not consider permanent registration of 2% liquid strychnine until the research was complete. This research is now complete and the summary results may be reviewed in the Appendix of this report. The full reports may be found online at:

Assessment of the Effectiveness of Rozol, Phostoxin, Strychnine, Exit, Rodenator, and various treatment, to control Richardson’s Ground Squirrel Populations.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/apps/adf/ADFAdminReport/20070224.pdf


Relationships among Predators, Prey, and Habitat Use
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/apps/adf/ADFAdminReport/20070225.pdf


Review of Control Methods and Severity of the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel Problem in Saskatchewan
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/apps/adf/ADFAdminReport/20070226.pdf

Resolution E1-11: Banning of Importation of Horses for Slaughter

WHEREAS Bill C-544, a bill to ban the importation of horses for slaughter in Canada, has been introduced to the House of Commons in the fall sitting of 2010;

WHEREAS Bill C-544 would have a negative impact on the horse slaughter business in Canada;

WHEREAS Bill C-544 would remove the right of Canadians and residents from other countries to eat horse meat;

WHEREAS Bill C-544 does not provide for the management of unwanted horses leaving them to die of starvation versus being processed for food in a world where over one quarter of the earth’s human population struggles to find enough to eat;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Provincial Government lobby the federal government and members of the opposition parties of Canada to withdraw or defeat Bill C-544 as presented by MP Alex Atmanenko

Response

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

I will let my colleague, Ms. Carole Swan, address the concerns raised in Emergent Resolution No. 1: Bill C-544 – Banning of importation of horses for slaughter.
However, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the horse industry is an important contributor to the Canadian economy and agriculture. It is as diverse as it is large, comprising hobby enthusiasts, small family farms, large industry producers, competitive riders, breeding stables, and other related horse producers and service providers who contribute to the well-being of Canadians. This domestic industry includes the Canadian horsemeat producers who provide employment, produce valuable meat for export and for a limited domestic market, and allow horse owners to choose slaughter as a humane end-of-life option for horses.

In 2007, the United States passed the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which banned the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States. As a result, the import of horses for slaughter from the United States to Canada has significantly increased. The Canadian economy has benefited, with horsemeat exports reaching 16,000 tonnes for a value of $84.5 million in 2010. Canada’s largest export markets for horsemeat are France, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Kazakhstan and Japan.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The CFIA considers that the humane slaughter of horses according to all relevant regulatory requirements under the Meat Inspection Act and Regulations is a legitimate business venture. The slaughter to food animals, including horses, is a long-standing Canadian industry.

The CFIA continues to work diligently to enforce the Health of Animals Regulations to verify that farm animals, including horses, are loaded, transported and unloaded in a way that does not cause injury or undue suffering. In addition, regulations and operational policies under the Meat Inspection Regulations, which set standards for the humane handling and slaughter of animals in federally registered abattoirs, are enforced and subject to regular audit to verify compliance.

Thank you for sharing Emergent Resolution #1 with us.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments

The Committee felt that the response was adequate for this resolution and in favour of what the resolution stated. Further investigation into the current status of the bill shows that it was introduced and went through first reading in the House of Commons on May 10, 2011. This bill is on the schedule for the current session of Parliament and is listed as Bill C-322: An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act (slaughter of horses for human consumption). There is currently no timeline on when it will go through second reading in the House of Commons.