Agriculture and Critical Infrastructure and Essential Services
- Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions have called on governments for a unified approach to including agriculture as essential services and critical infrastructure.
- Many provinces have enacted emergency measures; defining essential services and critical infrastructure. Most provinces have included the agriculture value chain – but not with any consistency.
- The federal government has stated that they will provide definition guidelines to provinces, in the absence of having provincial consensus to invoke the Emergencies Measures Act which would give “sweeping powers.”
- On March 26, Minister Dreeshen announced that he is working to ensure that supply chains for agricultural producers will not be affected; his government has called on Ottawa to have the entire food supply chain deemed an essential service.
- Premier Kenney of Alberta has stated that they are working on their list of essential services and it will be released early next week
- There has been a strong call on the federal government to offer guidelines or directives to provide clarity and protect the operation of the agri-food supply and value chains.
- As organizations across the country take steps to isolate and quarantine components of the workforce, it is critical that governments indicate those workplaces and activities that represent critical infrastructure and essential services.
- Further, there is the need for specific language around what is included as essential services and what is not in both provincial and federal guidelines and directives so that all imperative links in the value chain are covered.
- Beyond the staff in the country, it needs to encompass the federal services such as vessel inspections, phytosanitary certification and cargo quality certification for the continued flow of food sources. Further, those who ensure the operation of logistics systems need to be highlighted for their importance. These include railway workers, longshore staff, vessel pilots, and grain elevator workers who all need to know the work they do is essential in carrying Canada through these difficult economic times.