The lobster sector in Canada is regulated and managed by multiple government departments at the municipal, provincial and federal level.
The Lobster Council of Canada (LCC) communicates regularly with elected federal and provincial government officials who support the LCC through financial and in-kind support. As well the Council collaborates with decision-makers and stakeholders at all levels of government. Some of the ways in which the Lobster Council of Canada can lead in government relations duties on behalf of the Canadian lobster sector include:
• Establishing and maintaining positive relationships with various levels of government
• Monitoring issues, public policy, legislation, and regulation
• Interpreting government initiatives and sharing the implications and opportunities with Lobster Council of Canada members in a timely fashion
• Advancing strategies and tactics that have a positive impact on the Canadian lobster sector
• Ensuring the lobster sector’s voice is heard and understood by government offices at the right time.
While these are considerable responsibilities, at times differing opinions or confirmation of a certain priority is more effective when it comes directly from the individuals (or companies and associations) who voted for an elected federal and provincial government official and not the Lobster Council of Canada. At other times, it will be more effective to present a position from the Lobster Council directly. It is the role of the board, executive, and staff to determine an appropriate government relations strategy and implement in the best interests of the lobster sector in Canada. In our Canadian federation system, government relations must be co-ordinated between the provincial and federal governments with a clear understanding of all stakeholders about which level and department is responsible for a given regulation, piece of legislation or activity.
The provincial and federal departments that the LCC collaborates with include, but are not limited to, the following:
Global Affairs Canada (GAC) – formerly Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Global Affairs Canada manages Canada’s diplomatic and consular relations, promotes the country’s international trade and leads Canada’s international development and humanitarian assistance.
The LCC works with key GAC personnel to understand, manage and mitigate international market access issues (such as the recent Swedish EU petition on invasive species) and works to promote Canadian lobster with their team of Trade Commissioners (TC’s in Europe and Asia are active working with many Canadian export focused organizations including the LCC) around the world.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has the lead federal role in managing Canada’s fisheries and safeguarding its waters. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), a Special Operating Agency within DFO, is responsible for services and programs that contribute to the safety, security, and accessibility of Canada’s waterways.
As Resource management issues are the exclusive domain of harvester organizations, the LCC does not generally get involved in matters involving fishing, management or related issues. Given that Canada is a leader in fisheries management around the world, DFO’s External Relations division is an important partner with the LCC on understanding and influencing market access issues that involve our international trading partners. Currently the LCC engages with DFO on issues like the new Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) and enforcement of the Marine Mammal Act in the United States.
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC)
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provides leadership in the growth and development of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.
Under the Growing Forward 2 program, AAFC is the federal department responsible for seafood marketing and promotion program funding. This program employs a matching system where, if approved, GF2 will match funding provided by national industry groups. If the lobster sector can come up with one dollar, GF2 will match for approved marketing initiatives.
As a member of the Canada brand program, the LCC is a partner with AAFC in this generic program that provides brand support for those exporters who want to highlight the Canadian origin of their products.
The LCC works extensively with the Trade Show Promotion team at AAFC on flagship trade shows in Asia and Europe.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada’s people, environment and economy.
The LCC works with the CFIA on matters affecting lobster health including international agreements and regulations.
Health Canada is the federal department responsible for helping the people of Canada maintain and improve their health. Health Canada is committed to improving the lives of all of Canada ‘s people and to making this country’s population among the healthiest in the world as measured by longevity, lifestyle and effective use of the public health care system.
Canadian lobster processors work with Health Canada to understand nutritional labelling requirements for their products.
Transport Canada is responsible for transportation policies and programs. It promotes safe, secure, efficient and environmentally-responsible transportation.
The lobster sector works with Transport Canada on a number of fronts including ship safety and air cargo safety regulations.
The LCC works with the five eastern provincial governments on a wide variety of activities with many unique to each province.
In general, each province supports the fish and seafood sector by being involved in the following activities:
- Regulation and licensing of shore buyers;
- Regulation of harvester organization (mandatory dues legislation);
- Seafood marketing and promotion;
- Landed product quality assurance;
- Fisheries loan boards and financing programs;
Other programs that are specific to each province can be found as follows: