Despite its benefits, supply management has been weakened by recent trade deals, giving foreign nations greater access to Canadian markets and making us more vulnerable to changes in the global economy, as well as natural disasters and conflicts abroad.

One of the lasting effects of the pandemic is that Canadians are now more sensitized to the importance of a steady supply of domestically produced foods. Prior to the pandemic, few among us paid any attention to the intricacies of global supply chains. Yet in the wake of the pandemic, our eyes were opened to just how easily these links can be disrupted.

Under supply management, farmers in Canada’s dairy, chicken, turkey, egg, and hatching egg sectors work collaboratively within their respective verticals to anticipate the country’s demand for those products, and balance production to meet the needs of the market.

Fifty years ago, this system was developed in response to fluctuating global prices that had essentially put domestic agricultural production in jeopardy.

That system has endured the test of time and continues to make certain that Canadians have access to high-quality, locally produced dairy, poultry, and egg products. Farmers are provided a fair price for their production, with their returns being derived directly from the market, with no direct government subsidies for their production.

That is something worth defending. Canada’s dairy, poultry and egg producers support more than 365,000 Canadian jobs, not just in farming, but in a variety of supporting capacities as well. Together, we contribute more than $31-billion to the gross domestic product, and deliver more than $6.5-billion in tax revenues.

A farmer’s work is continuously evolving to reflect the latest best-practices rooted in science. The system of supply management provides farmers the stability they require to reinvest in their operations, which drives further innovation and domestic economic activity.

Across the country, our farmers continue to adopt and implement world-class responsible farming practices that benefit all Canadians, while ensuring we meet the highest standards in the world in areas like food safety, animal care and sustainability. Supply management and environmental stewardship go hand-in-hand, since the system aims to avoid surplus production and lowers our food’s transportation footprint as domestic food products generally travel a shorter distance from farm to table.

Despite its many benefits, supply management has been weakened by recent trade deals, which provide foreign countries greater access to Canadian markets. That means we are more vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of the global economy, as well as natural disasters and conflicts in other nations.

Bill C-282 would support supply management by preventing further access concessions to our markets in future trade agreements.

Like all Canadians, farmers in the nation’s supply-managed sectors believe that all individuals and families should have a reliable source of safe and nutritious food. Supply management ensures that Canadians have access to a steady and reliable supply of high-quality, locally produced dairy, poultry and egg products, produced right here within our borders, by Canadian farmers that follow the highest standards of animal welfare and food safety. That’s good for consumers, and good for our economy.

Pierre Lampron is a dairy farmer and president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada. Roger Pelissero is an egg farmer and chair of the Egg Farmers of Canada. Tim Klompmaker is a chicken farmer and chair of the Chicken Farmers of Canada. Darren Ference is a turkey farmer and chair of the Turkey Farmers of Canada. Brian Bilkes is a hatching egg farmer and chair of the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers.