Ottawa, Ont. – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is delaying a decision to deregulate container sizes due to complaints from processors and farmers.
This spring the federal government announced plans to repeal regulations covering standardized container sizes. The regulations refer to a select number of foods, including baby food, pre-packaged bacon and ready-to-eat meats, honey, maple syrup, and frozen and canned vegetables and fruit.
Regulations determining standardized container sizes have been criticized as being a barrier to trade, as well as a limit on consumer choice. There has also been criticism that the regulations limit packaging innovation by the industry.
Formal consultation to take place
But the government decision has been met with objections by producers and processors who say the move will force Canadian companies to invest in new equipment and supplies, will favour U.S. imports, and will confuse consumers who rely on standardized sizes to make price comparisons on food products. Critics also say the decision was also taken too quickly, without adequate formal consultation.
In response the government has agreed to consult more widely with industry stakeholders in early 2013 before moving ahead with the proposal. There will also be an economic impact analysis done to study how the move will affect farmers, food processors and their communities.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has said he will work with the industry “to bring forward these changes in a way that works best case by case,” but adds that all regulatory repeals are expected to be finalized by 2017.