The October timing of the Canadian Pork Council’s Annual General Meeting provides an excellent opportunity to note our 2018 achievements and highlight the important issues that will be addressed in 2019.

In 2018 the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) adjusted its strategic plan and focussed the efforts of the organization on four priorities:

  1. Enhancing Value
  2. Managing Risks
  3. Strengthening Public Trust
  4. Ensuring Organizational Excellence

By addressing the challenges associated with these areas, I believe the Canadian Pork Council will continue to make an important contribution to the success of Canada’s pork sector.


Remaining profitable in the very competitive global market is not a simple matter. An unpredictable trade policy environment and the expansion of African swine fever in Europe and into China exacerbated the normal market volatility. Now, perhaps more than ever, the Canadian Pork Council must be focussed on initiatives designed to improve producer returns. Thus, considerable time was spent addressing the twin pillars of market access and pork demand.

Within the Canadian Pork Excellence platform, considerable progress has been made in enhancing the Canadian Quality Assurance program and its Animal Care Assessment element. Each has been thoroughly updated and streamlined for easier use by producers. Adoption of PigSAFE and PigCARE will begin in 2019.

However, it is not enough to simply launch programs and hope for positive returns. In working closely with Canada Pork International, the Verified Canadian Pork brand has been strengthened to capture the advantages of Canadian Pork Excellence. Producers saw first-hand the importance of their on-farm efforts as part of a March 2018 mission to Japan.

The Council ensured that federal legislators understood the importance of trade to Canada’s pork sector. CPC staff made sure that our message was heard whether directly or working closely with groups such as the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association or the Canadian Meat Council. Progress was made on a number of fronts including the conclusion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the opening of the Chinese market for fresh-chilled Canadian pork.

While progress was made in working to enhance pork demand, there remain a series of
concerns. Foremost among them was the Government of Canada’s proposed “Healthy Eating
Strategy”. The changes to Front of Packaging Labelling and to Canada’s Food Guide were most
concerning as there seemed to be an anti-meat bias to the initiatives. The Council is working to
ensure regulators and politicians have the correct information and understand the risks to
specific groups, such as young women and seniors, of reduced meat consumption.


The CPC is doing its part to help producers manage risk. Among the most important initiatives
are those related to improving animal health. The Council plays a leadership role in a wide
range of animal health organizations including the: National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare
Council; Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network and the Senecavirus A Industry-
Government Working Group.

Animal Health Canada is a significant undertaking that was launched in September 2019. Its
objective is to enhance the partnership between government and the livestock and poultry
industry to better address animal health issues. For example, a much more robust approach is
required if Canada is to respond and recover to the finding of a major foreign animal disease
within its borders. The CPC is actively involved in the process to further develop Animal Health

The CPC’s PigTRACE program underpins the pig traceability system and is a critical tool to help
manage disease outbreaks. The usefulness of the system was again demonstrated during the
recent outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea in south-eastern Manitoba.

Some of the Council’s most effective work is often “behind the scenes”. From simple things
such as managing the flow of funds from producers to groups such as Swine Innovation Porc or
sitting on boards of directors (e.g. Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement), these initiatives
ensure that the risks facing producers are identified and actions are taken to address them.
Notwithstanding this progress, the Council continues to have significant concerns with the
business risk management (BRM) suite of programs offered by the federal, provincial and
territorial governments. While Ministers have agreed to continue the BRM program review that
began in 2017, it is not clear their efforts will result in the meaningful changes required to meet
the needs of pig producers. The CPC continues to advocate on producers’ behalf to improve
the BRM suite. The Council has been working with other groups, such as the AgGrowth
Coalition, to amplify our message.

The establishment of a national checkoff agency and the resulting increase in the availability of
funds for research and promotion would enable increased activity. However, despite two
separate meetings with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and repeated discussions
with the Minister’s staff and departmental officials, the file remains stalled. It is hoped that with
the conclusion of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement that it may finally move forward.


Canadians have great faith in the agri-food system that provides them with ready supplies of
wholesome, affordable food. However, faced with seemingly endless negative information
about their food—often from misinformed individuals—Canadians are demanding to know
more about the food they eat.

Working through the Pork Value Chain Roundtable, which is co-chaired by CPC, measures are
being taken to develop and articulate a sustainability plan. The plan—a Canadian Pork Story—
will be hosted on the Council’s website and will highlight the efforts of Canada’s pork supply
chain to provide ample supplies of high-quality pork. Canadian Pork Excellence will provide the
foundation of the plan supported by a description of the integrity of the food processing system
and the environmental efforts of the entire supply chain.

In October, a national, life cycle assessment of the Canadian pork industry was completed by
the Quebec-based consulting firm, Groupe AGECO. CPC staff will be incorporating the findings
of the assessment into their sustainability messaging.


The Council is fortunate to have driven, passionate staff and a group of engaged producers on
its Board of Directors. Working together, through various board-level committees or
independently on ad hoc projects, these individuals make a difference. As a smaller
organization CPC can only succeed when mindsets and priorities align across our country.
In working together with our provincial members and colleagues at Government of Canada we
not only maximize the impact of our resources, we also develop solutions that are much
stronger and more likely to be implemented.

This collaboration is not limited exclusively to the pork sector. Together with the Canadian
Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Meat Council, the CPC has begun meeting regularly
with Paul Glover, President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and his executive team. March
2018 marked the first time that the senior representatives from the major red meat sectors had
met as a group with the CFIA management team. A follow-up meeting is scheduled for
November 1, 2018.

In 2018 considerable attention was paid to the functioning of the Council itself. Good
governance, sound financial management, openness and transparency are the cornerstones of
an effective, efficient organization. Particular attention was paid to financial reporting including
the implementation of a new Financial Reserve Policy.

Underlying all of our efforts is a very strong communication focus. Producers need to know what
their organization is doing and stakeholders need to know what we think. In 2018 a new social
media approach was implemented. It is anchored by a newly designed website and provided
the tools to reach out to a wider range of stakeholders. A series of customized products,
including board meeting summaries and an activity report ensure the CPC’s members know
about their Council and its activities.


The new year will soon be upon us and with it will come a new series of challenges. The very key
priorities for 2019 include the:

  • on-farm deployment of the PigSAFE ¦ PigCARE programs;
  • development of a “Made-in-Canada” hog price;
  • creation of a promotion and review agency;
  • completion of the 5-year review of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs; and
  • an enhanced advocacy program.

Your Council is well positioned to meet these challenges.

Rick Bergmann
Annual Meeting of Members - October 24, 2018