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Agriculture producers among key beneficiaries of recent trade agreements

In recent weeks, the Government of Canada has signed two major trade agreements that will benefit Canadians in the form of jobs and economic growth.  Most notably for Saskatchewan, the agreements signed are particularly beneficial to our agricultural sector.

The first agreement was signed with Taiwan in early January and expands market access to include Canadian bone-in beef and other specified beef products from animals under 30 months of age (UTM). The arrangement levels the playing field for Canadian beef producers and generates export opportunities to the lucrative Taiwanese market.

Canada currently ships boneless UTM frozen, fresh and chilled beef to Taiwan. In 2012, Canadian total exports for these beef products were valued at $1.4 million, ranking Taiwan as Canada’s 18th largest beef export market.

Since the BSE outbreak in 2003, government and industry have been working hard to reopen markets and gain full access for Canadian beef, based on science and guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health.  In June 2007, Canada regained access to Taiwan for boneless beef derived from UTM animals. In 2002, the year prior to the BSE ban, Canadian beef exports to Taiwan were valued at $19.8 million, ranking Taiwan as Canada’s 5th largest export market for beef.

To read this column in its entirety, click here. Audio version also available.

Government of Canada Increasing the use of Direct Deposit: Security, Reliability and Efficiency

The Government of Canada will increase the use of direct deposit by slowly phasing out federal government cheques by April 2016.   

This initiative is expected to save the Canadian government approximately $17.4M per year starting in 2014-15. The cost to produce a cheque is approximately 82¢ while a direct deposit payment costs about 13¢.  Cheques will only be issued under exceptional circumstances, for example when Canadians do not have access to a financial institution because they live in a remote location.

The Receiver General issues over 300 million payments annually, of which close to 77% are already made by direct deposit. Citizens and businesses currently receiving Government of Canada cheques have the next four years to register to receive payments by direct deposit. Enrolment forms can be obtained from the Receiver General web site, or from federal departments responsible for the payment to be received by direct deposit.  For any new payment, the first payment method offered will be direct deposit.

For more information about the Receiver General and to enroll for direct deposit, please visit:  http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/recgen/txt/index-eng.html

SSGA Youth Mentorship Program - Application Deadline May 31, 2014

The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association views mentorship as the key to developing young leaders within the beef sector. With the help of the Youth Leadership and Mentorship program, a joint federal-provincial initiative under the umbrella of Growing Forward 2, the SSGA is offering five two-year mentorships for young producers with leadership goals.

“There are a lot of young people out there with energy and ideas,” said SSGA President Harold Martens. “With this opportunity to involve them in the Association and in the beef sector on a wider scale, there’s a greater probability that they’ll go on to be strong voices for our industry.”

The mentorship program will pay the costs of attending industry conferences and other events. Young participants will be paired with experienced mentors to develop their understanding of the industry and their ability to lead.

Young producers who wish to apply to the program must be between 18 and 39 years of age, must have clear leadership goals and directives and must be active producers who show leadership potential.

Application forms are available at www.skstockgrowers.com.

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Recent Columns
  • Column for the week of April 14, 2014 - Government of Canada delivers greater employment opportunities for Veterans and Member of the Canadian Armed Forces . . . click here; audio version
  • Column for the week of April 7, 2014 - Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards: Nominating outstanding volunteers in our communities . . . click here; audio version
  • Column for the week of March 31, 2014 - Canada’s Action Plan on Lyme Disease and Private Members Bill C-442 . . . click here; audio version
  • Column for the week of March 17, 2014 - The Play Exchange: A new program to increase the health of Canadians . . . click here; audio version


- Additional columns

Recent Press Releases
  • News Release: April 7, 2014 - GARRY BREITKREUZ NOT SEEKING 8TH TERM . . . click here
  • News Release: March 31, 2014 - NEW BUILDING CANADA PLAN NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS . . . click here
  • News Release: February 18, 2014 - ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN 2014 DEMONSTRATES COMMITMENT TO JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES . . . click here
  • News Release: February 18, 2014 - YORKTON-MELVILLE TO BENEFIT FROM $53 BILLION NEW BUILDING CANADA PLAN . . . click here

- Additional news releases

Recent News Items
  • SCI News Release: Feb. 10, 2014 - BREITKREUZ NAMED INTERNATIONAL LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR . . . click here
  • News Release: Oct. 9, 2013 - Harper Government and Government of Saskatchewan invest in new cancer treatment technologies . . . click here
  • Sask Ag & Food News Release: May 30, 2013 - CROP REPORT FOR THE PERIOD MAY 21 TO 27, 2013 . . . click here

- Additional news items

Parliamentary Items of Interest
  • Statement: Dec. 3, 2013 - Mr. Speaker, today is Canada's first fur day on the Hill. Fur industry representatives from all over Canada are here in Ottawa to remind parliamentarians of the economic impact of this important sector . . . click here

  • Statement: Oct. 28, 2013 - Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the constituents of Yorkton—Melville, Saskatchewan, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Prime Minister for reaching an agreement in principle on the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union . . . click here; audio version
  • April 23, 2013 - Oral Question by Garry Breitkreuz, MP: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the RCMP announced the arrest of two individuals for a series of terrorism-related charges. RCMP Superintendent Doug Best said, “This is the first known al Qaeda-planned attack that we have experienced in Canada.” . . . click here for more

- Additional items of interest