Cancel OK

Canadian produce industry reps meet with Trudeau

Canadian Produce Marketing Association logo.

It is not entirely clear to me why representatives of the Canadian produce industry should have to meet with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau in San Francisco, but such is what happened during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, which took place on November 11-17.

“The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) BB #:153602, represented by Colin Chapdelaine, CPMA Chair and President of Berry Operations at Star Produce, BB #:134817 spoke for the Canadian fresh fruits and vegetables (produce) industry during Prime Minister Trudeau’s food affordability roundtable,” says a CPMA press release.

“Accompanied by other food industry leaders, including Canadian representation by James Milne, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Categories at Oppy, BB #:116424 the roundtable was a key opportunity for CPMA to highlight the efforts of the Canadian fresh produce industry to keep healthy food affordable and available for Canadians all year-round.”

A major concern among Canadians is food inflation. The rate has fallen recently (5.6 percent year over year in October), but that is on the back of rates around 10 percent at the beginning of the year. Causes include labor challenges, supply chain issues, climate change, and higher fuel and transportation costs.

“Canadians are concerned about growing food prices,” said CPMA president Ron Lemaire. “The Canadian fresh produce industry is aggressively working to make sure healthy food remains affordable and available in all regions of the country—from major urban centers to remote and rural communities. Since 2019, our efforts have included improving global produce supply chains, adopting more sustainable forms of packaging, and collaborating with policymakers and regulators to ensure we move forward in a systems approach that aligns programs and regulations to support a sustainable food system in Canada.”

Packaging remains a major concern—bigger, perhaps, than in the United States, since the Canadian cabinet issued an order banning single-use plastics across the nation on the grounds that they are toxic substances. Regulations issued in June prohibited plastic stir sticks, plastic checkout bags, cutlery, straws, six-pack rings, and some foodservice packaging.

But on November 16, Justice Angela Furlanetto of Canada’s Federal Court overturned the ban, saying that the items “too broad to be listed” as toxic substances. She declared the cabinet order to be “both unreasonable and unconstitutional.”

Steven Guilebeault, Canada’s environment minister, said the agency was “considering an appeal” of the decision.

CPMA commented, “Canada’s fresh produce industry is calling on the Canadian government to take a non-regulatory approach and work hand-in-hand with the industry to leverage its existing sustainable packaging efforts and help support a global approach to accelerate the development of sustainable packaging solution and technologies.”

International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962 president Cathy Burns also met with Trudeau during the summit to emphasize similar messages.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.