Farm Products Council of Canada seeks industry feedback on Industrial Hemp Promotion-Research Agency

| David Brown

The Farm Products Council of Canada is seeking industry feedback on its regulatory impact analysis statement (RIAS) for the creation of the Canadian Industrial Hemp Promotion-Research Agency.

People in the industry can provide feedback on this proposal until 11:59 pm EST on May 20.

The proposal has been in the works for nearly seven years and was first submitted to the Farm Products Council of Canada (FPCC) in October 2017. On August 6, 2021, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food then approved FPCC’s recommendation to establish a Promotion-Research Agency under Part III of the Farm Products Agencies Act.

“Developing industries like hemp require research and standards development that is very difficult to fund.”

Ted Haney, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance

As the Canadian hemp industry is still being established, the Farm Products Council (FPC) argues that there is a need for a “coordinated national approach to funding research and marketing activities on projects that are priorities for the hemp value chain actors and build on current Canadian expertise and resources.”

The Canadian Industrial Hemp Promotion-Research Agency Proclamation will, if created, provide the PRA with the authority to:

  • develop a levies order;
  • establish and collect a levy on interprovincial, imported and exported farm products;
  • research and improve production methods and product quality; and
  • advertise and promote consumption of farm products in both domestic and international markets.

A 0.5% levy would fund the PRA. The Hemp Producers Committee estimates that the projected PRA revenue would be primarily generated from domestic levies, with the initial levy revenue forecasted to be around $200,000. This could increase to around $400,000 as the industry grows. 

Ted Haney, the president and CEO of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, says this is nearing the final stage of a process that started some twelve years ago when Canada’s nascent cannabis industry sought to address the challenges of researching and developing new products and marketing them to other industries and consumers alike. 

“Hemp producers began this process because they wanted to create and resource a fund that would allow producers to participate fully in the development of the industry,” he explains. ”Developing industries like hemp require research and standards development that is very difficult to fund. 

“It’s research, standards development, and promotion and market development. That’s what this will support in future years, at a level much higher than the industry has been able to generate in the past.”

As the hemp industry in Canada continues to mature, the ability to make it viable for more farmers and processors in Canada offers a chance to see the market expand several times over. 

“The fundamental value of hemp producers being able to participate in the development of their own industries cannot be overstated. It’s how we’re going to open the building materials market, it’s how we’re going to advance health claims, it’s how we’re going to penetrate the global processed foods ingredients markets, it’s how we’re going to expand into international markets. All of these are central to how an industry grows and develops. And all of that in turn will remove real and perceived obstacles to growth, and that in turn will bring more investment to our industry.” 

Haney says he expects the changes to be finalized and posted in the Gazette II later this year, and that the new board could be selected with the new group getting started by 2026. 

The recent expert panel report on the Cannabis Act, which also encompasses hemp regulations, included a recommendation that Health Canada, in consultation with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, establish and support an expert advisory body to conduct a timely review of the regulation of industrial hemp and make recommendations about the most appropriate regulatory framework. 

The Canadian Hemp Farmers Alliance and Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance both engaged with the expert panel on the issue.

Some facts about hemp in Canada

  • The seeded area of hemp in Canada in 2023 was 55,400 acres
  • Over 90% of the current industry is based in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and production has been increasing in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. 
  • The number of Canadian industrial hemp licences grew from 542 in 2018 to over 900 in 2022
  • Early Birds of hemp in Canada were estimated at $525 million in 2022, with $84.2 million in exports (over 90% went to the United States) and $2.9 million in imports (mostly seed and oil from the United States).
  • As of March 2022, there were 33 Indigenous-owned or affiliated hemp licence holders across Canada

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