Ministry 2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report -- Government of British Columbia.
Printer-friendly versionAdobe Acrobat Reader link page. (PDF)  
Message from the Minister  
Accountability Statement  
Year-at-a-Glance Highlights  
Ministry Role and Services  
Performance Reporting  
2002/03 Resource Summary  
Summary Reports on Other Planning Processes  

Other Links.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Home  
2002/03 Annual Service Plan Reports Home  

2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

Ministry Role and Services

Ministry Vision, Mission and Values


A competitive and profitable industry providing safe, high quality food for consumers and export markets.


Provide the business climate for a competitive market-responsive agri-food and fisheries sector, and safeguard the quality of British Columbia's agri-food products for consumers.


The following values outline the fundamental beliefs of the ministry and describe how the organization and its employees interact with clients and each other. The ministry strives to conduct its business in a manner that is:

1. Fair and equitable — Building and maintaining among ministry personnel an effective spirit of teamwork and cooperation based on trust, integrity, flexibility, innovation, social equity, and equality of opportunity.

2. Responsible and accountable — emphasizing responsible use of government resources and transparency in accounting for the use of those resources.

3. Service-oriented — responding to the needs of the public, agriculture and fisheries sector groups, communities and staff in a timely and courteous manner.

4. Partnership-building — promoting teamwork, good working relationships, and effective partnerships with, and co-operation among, all orders of government, First Nations, agriculture and fisheries sector groups and communities.

Ministry Overview

The ministry's role is to provide a business climate that favors a competitive sector and sustainable economic development. The business climate is influenced by various challenges and opportunities. The ministry performs its role by setting strategies that address these challenges and opportunities through six core business areas identified in the government's Core Services Review undertaken in 2001. These core functions are food safety and quality, environmental sustainability, fisheries and aquaculture management, risk management, industry competitiveness and corporate services. Each of these functions as well as the service details within each core function are discussed later in this report.

Ministry Operating Context

Environmental Scan

Agriculture, food and fisheries — an important part of the overall provincial economy

Place in the provincial economy

The agriculture, food and fish sectors are significant to the provincial economy. In 2002 these sectors contributed about $3.5 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) or roughly 11% of total GDP contributed by the goods sector. These sectors combined were a major employer with over 60,000 persons employed at the primary and manufacturing levels. When food distribution, retailing and food service are added there are over 270,000 persons employed throughout the food chain, or one in seven jobs in the employed labor force.

Agriculture and Food Sectors

Trends in key economic measures

Data over the last five years show a mixed economic performance picture for the sectors as a whole.

Link to Chart. Link to Chart.


Compared to the previous five-year average, 2002 agriculture product sales at $2.2 billion were up 13.7% while food and beverage sales at $5.3 billion were up 8.2%. Exports of agricultural and food products (excluding fish) which totalled $1.5 billion were up 21% from the previous five-year average. Employment in agriculture and food (excluding wild fisheries) at 57,000 was up a modest 2%, while total investment actually fell by 16.6% at the primary level (combined agriculture, aquaculture and wild fisheries) and by 3.4% at the processing level. The investment declines were due to the reduction of smaller farming operations in key commodity sectors (livestock and fruit and vegetable) and the closure or rationalization of production lines in certain food processing industries (meat slaughtering, seafood processing).

Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector

Key Trends

In the last ten years, the seafood industry has been changing and evolving. The value of salmon and herring wild harvest fisheries has declined while the value of shellfish and groundfish has increased. Farmed fish has increased output and is now the most significant Canadian fish export. Total fish exports reached $1 billion in 2002, up 16% over their previous five-year average. The wholesale value of all B.C. seafood production has remained stable at about $1 billion in the last five years.

Link to Chart. Link to Chart.


Challenges, Opportunities and Risk Analysis

There are a number of challenges to the sectors from domestic and global sources, but also opportunities. Both affect overall competitiveness. Government's goal is to help the industry respond effectively to the challenges and available opportunities. The government is focusing on an outcome-based competitiveness strategy of helping firms profitably gain and maintain their market share. Government is doing this by removing obstacles, reducing regulations, promoting environmental best practices and trade.

Challenges internal to B.C.

Barriers to growth — Progress was made this year to reduce the regulatory burden on the agriculture and aquaculture sectors. Yet, regulations and somewhat inflexible labour standards remain challenges to be overcome in enhancing industry competitiveness in the future.

Resource constraints — Loss of rangeland grazing, forest encroachment, impact of weeds, access to water and competition with other land uses limits food production capacity.

Intergovernmental issues — Agriculture is a joint jurisdiction under the Canadian constitution. During 2002, the provincial government worked with the federal government on a major new funding initiative — the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF) to replace an expiring federal/provincial government program that provided funds mainly for agricultural risk management. B.C.'s challenge is to manage provincial government budget pressures against its expected funding contribution (60/40 federal/provincial) to the new program. The jurisdiction over aquaculture and fisheries is also complex and a blend of federal-provincial interests resulting in management and policy challenges.

Diversified production — Agriculture in B.C. is highly diversified. While this is positive in spreading opportunities and reducing risk, it also stretches the capacity of some smaller farm organizations to participate in, and collectively manage, their own development.

Fisheries capacity — Fluctuations in fisheries species abundance, restricted access to fisheries and conflicts over how resources are used continue to affect the fisheries sector. There is also some lack of capacity including high turnover in skilled labour in the processing and harvesting sectors which affects the industry's ability to move into more diversified and higher value-added products.

Challenges externally and globally

Competition from other exporters — The open market for most agriculture, food and fish products makes the B.C. industry vulnerable to significant international competitition, especially from countries with lower production costs beginning to export into some of B.C.'s export markets.

Appreciating Canadian dollar — The agriculture sector exports one-third of its production. The sharp rise in the value of the Canadian dollar since Fall 2002 makes British Columbia's exports more expensive in the United States while competing American imports become less expensive in Canadian markets.

Excessive subsidy payments — Exceptionally generous government subsidy payments to farmers, notably in Europe and the U.S., tend to lower commodity prices in world markets which hurt British Columbia's producers' ability to compete on an equal basis. The international community is currently trying to address trade disparities through multilateral trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as regionally, such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations. Neither of these negotiations is scheduled for completion before 2005.

International trade rules — There are uncertainties and complexities in current international trade rules that may result in marketing challenges for B.C. The recent World Trade Organization ruling on Canadian dairy export subsidies determined that domestic support measures can also be export subsidies. As a result of this, B.C.'s exports of dairy products will decrease. As well, after December 31, 2003, without a new WTO agriculture agreement, there could be an escalation of disputes over the impact of agricultural subsidies in third country markets; i.e., countries in which two other countries export/compete. There are also other trade uncertainties from technical measures taken by other governments, such as mandatory "country of origin" labeling in the U.S. scheduled for September 30, 2004, and new U.S. border measures designed to guard against bioterrorism.

Fisheries challenges — Global markets set food safety standards, and dictate prices and demand for B.C. fisheries and aquaculture products. B.C. producers also have high production costs which affect competitiveness. The public continues to demand safe, high quality and diverse food products while raising environmental and conservation issues. In combination, these lead to shifts in purchasing behavior, lifestyle choices and therefore how fisheries are managed.


While local and global challenges need to be managed effectively, there are a number of opportunities that can enable the sectors to reach their full potential.

Heartlands Economic Strategy — The B.C. government's Heartlands Economic Strategy brings a focus on the contribution of the agriculture, food and fish sectors to developing local community and regional economies.

Agricultural Policy Framework — There are major opportunities arising from B.C. participation in the federal/provincial Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). It could bring more than $200 million of new federal funding to B.C. over the next five years. Implementing the new framework will also enable the B.C. industry to maximize new international market opportunities for high-quality, safe, environment-friendly products.

New trade agreements — There are favorable potential agricultural outcomes from on-going multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as regionally, such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations. These aim to open new market oportunities and level the competitive playing field for efficient producers and processors.

Aquaculture strategic alliance/diversification — Developing a stronger strategic alliance with the federal government on fisheries management in B.C. will be important to diversifying aquaculture products and technologies resulting in a more innovative, market-focused seafood industry.

Niche markets — The broad multicultural population base in B.C. combined with the diverse productive capacity of the sectors can create niche market opportunities.

Internal Risk Analysis

Ministry resources — Effective human resource planning is one of the key strategies to meeting challenges. In addition, examining new opportunities and partnerships for effective service delivery under an environment of budget and staffing constraints is a strategy to meet these challenges. This can be done through financial partnerships and/or coordinated initiatives and action plans with the federal government, with other provincial ministries addressing agricultural and fish issues, and with farm organizations and others within the industry itself as they work to strengthen their own development.

Maximizing such leverage and coordination of activities is already a key part of the ministry's overall strategy. This aspect is likely to grow in emphasis and importance in the years ahead and is a key attribute in effectively managing overall risk.


Strategic Shifts and Significant Changes in Policy Direction

The ministry is on target with making the seven strategic shifts outlined in the core review process. They are:

From To

• Significant government involvement in industry development programming (research and market development).

• Government working with industry to manage and fund its own development.

• Minimum programs to protect the safety of our food, fish, animal and plant production base.

• Regulations that focus on what is required, not how to do it, and a government monitoring and audit (oversight) role in food safety to reflect higher consumer expectations, and higher risk resulting from global trade and travel.

• Prescriptive approaches to sustainable development and protection of the environment.

• Regulations that focus on what is required, not how to do it, to improve production practices, sustainable development and environmental protection.

• Minimal influence over management of fisheries resource.

• Increased influence over the management of, and greater value from, our fisheries resources.

• Government funds major costs of risk management programs.

• Increased level of producer contribution and increased use of private sector risk management tools.

• Government subsidies to business, including direct grant programs to businesses and organizations.

• Eliminate all subsidies to business, including direct grant programs to businesses and organizations.

• Direct technical advisory services to agri-food sectors.

• Partner with industry to deliver technical information via the internet, and then privatize.


Click here to return to the top of this page.

Update on New Era Commitments

Key new era commitments for this ministry were outlined in the Premier's letter of June 25, 2001 to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. Progress on those specific commitments is highlighted below.

Priority Project Action Progress to Date
Develop a strategic plan to renew the fisheries industry.

• Review fisheries and aquaculture governance and service delivery.

• Build a common vision and strategy for industry development.

In progress

• The ministry is working with the B.C. Seafood Alliance to implement priority recommendations related to their Vision for a Modern Seafood Industry in B.C. 2001.

Examine ways to improve the financial viability of aquaculture.

• Improve access to growing sites, particularly in the north and central coast, by streamlining approval processes, standards and the application package for aquaculture at the provincial and local levels.


• Formalized one-window aquaculture licence application procedure through Land and Water B.C.

• Worked with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to streamline the application and approval process.

• Moratorium on finfish aquaculture was lifted.

Examine the potential for growth of the aquaculture sector in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts.

• Expand salmon aquaculture in an environmentally sustainable way by addressing outstanding issues such as:

• Waste and escape management.

• Fish health, farm siting, closed containment and other green technologies.

• Streamline compliance and enforcement for aquaculture at the federal and provincial levels.

• Build and maintain co-operative partnerships to address management and research and development.

Partially achieved and in progress

• New performance-based regulations implemented escape regulations (introduced April 19, 2002); waste control regulations (introduced September 12, 2002) by Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection — WLAP.

• Fish health guidelines are available.

• Salmon farms relocation underway or awaiting federal approval.

• Service agreement on compliance and enforcement was ratified between the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection.

• The B.C. Aquaculture Research and Development Committee comprising representatives from industry, the federal and provincial governments, First Nations, environmental organizations and academia.

Review regulated marketing in the agriculture sector and make recommendations.

• Provide a policy framework for marketing boards to improve market responsiveness, encourage specialty products and further processing in B.C. over a three-year period.


• Framework determining roles and responsibilities of Minister, supervisory boards and commodity boards developed.

• Legislation to combine the British Columbia Marketing Board and Farm Practices Board enacted and implementation plan developed.

Participate actively in supporting the success of the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (MSRM).

• Develop and implement shellfish development plans.

• Establish a process related to aquaculture siting, resource planning and economic development.

• Maintain access to land and water by resolving interagency conflicts over access to land to manage and harvest crops, and access to water for drainage and irrigation.

In progress

• MSRM has completed several coastal plans.

• Agriculture Sector Strategy for Crown Land Access prepared.

• Changes to policies to access Crown land for agriculture make it easier to purchase and develop Crown land for agricultural production.

With the Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations, negotiate to increase provincial influence and represent provincial interests in federal fisheries management decision-making processes.

• Work with the federal government on strategies to renew the fishery and expand aquaculture.

• Represent and incorporate provincial interests in federal fisheries and aquaculture management decision-making processes.

In progress

• Ministers discussed proposal for a new Pacific Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers.

• Continue to work with federal government on:

    – Dispute Resolution's report on improved decision-making.

    – Inshore Rockfish Conservation Initiative.

    – Groundfish Trawl Management Review.

    – Hake Policy Review and negotiations of new harvest sharing arrangement with the United States.

    – Appointing a provincial representative to the Pacific Salmon Commission.

    – Bilateral negotiations with the U.S. over the reciprocal access agreement for Albacore tuna.


Ministry Structure 2002/03

Link to Ministry Structure Chart. Link to Ministry Structure Chart.


Click here to return to the top of this page.


Core Business Areas

The ministry's 2002/03 core business areas are:

1. Food safety and quality (including animal, plant and fish health)

2. Environmental sustainability and resource development

3. Fisheries and aquaculture management

4. Risk management

5. Industry competitiveness

6. Corporate Services

1. Food safety and quality (including animal, plant and fish health)


• There is an increasing concern, both domestic and international, about the safety and quality of food products. Recent outbreaks of mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth disease in Britain had devastating effects on their national economies.

• The ability of the industry and the province to address this issue in British Columbia depends on being able to implement improved systems for food safety and quality and product tracking throughout the food system and being able to maintain systems for the early detection and control of plant and animal diseases and pests.

Key functions

• Encourage the development and implementation of internationally recognized standards for safety and quality in order to ensure access to both domestic and international markets and to maintain public health standards.

• Facilitate market access by shifting government's role from prescribing regulations to establishing outcome-based regulations with government oversight and improving the consistency between federal and provincial standards.

• Promote the use of best management practices on farms including disease and pest management, waste management, weed control, and on-farm food safety and quality systems by working proactively with the agriculture and fish sectors.

• Operate a plant disease diagnostic laboratory and world-class animal health laboratory to monitor and prevent disease events from getting out of control.

• Work with other ministries and the federal government in operating food inspection programs.


• Producers, consumers

2. Environmental sustainability and resource development


• In order to achieve the economic potential of agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, we need to manage growth in an environmentally and socially sound manner.

• Some government regulations constrain development and investment in agriculture.

• While urban dwellers are concerned about some agricultural practices of neighbouring farms, the agriculture sector itself is increasingly concerned about its ability to operate effectively within municipal areas because of the impact of some local government bylaws that could limit operations by type, size or operational methods. We must promote co-operation and understanding among neighbours at the rural/urban interface.

Key functions

• Develop and encourage use of environmentally sound management practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and others already in use.

• Remove constraints to development by working with other government ministries to address obstacles such as agriculture/aquaculture industry's access to Crown land and water, predator management, wildlife management and other issues.

• Develop and deliver programs on best farm practices related to management of soil, waste and water.

• Review local government bylaws to ensure they are supportive of farm operations and therefore encourage investment in local economies.


• Producers, consumers

3. Fisheries and aquaculture management


• B.C. has a significant opportunity to expand both the aquaculture and wild fisheries sectors within the overriding accepted premise of sustainability of the wild fisheries resource.

• Constraints exist in the management of the wild fisheries sector, primarily federal management practices related to conservation, and fluctuations in production.

• Within aquaculture, the constraint has been limitations on expansion of existing farms, the development of additional farms and therefore inability to capture existing markets largely because of public concern on environmental issues.

• The challenge is to manage conflicting expectations among all those involved including the cultural and economic needs of First Nations, the economic needs of commercial fishers, and the access by the general public to sport fisheries.

Key functions

• Develop and encourage use of environmentally sound management practices.

• Implement and monitor new waste and escape regulations, and address barriers to siting.

• Continue discussions with the federal government to increase B.C.'s influence over federal policies and decisions affecting the wild commercial fishery.

• Licencing and monitoring of fish operations.


• Fish producers, consumers

4. Risk management


• Agriculture faces many risks including unpredictable weather, diseases and markets. All of these risks can cause unstable incomes, and often have caused very significant losses.

• The objective of risk management programs is to stabilize these fluctuations and allow farmers to continue operating through downturns and remain competitive. Government is fostering a shared risk management approach that includes improved risk management by farmers themselves.

• Governments in many other provinces and jurisdictions world-wide provide greater levels of income support to farmers. This hurts the competitive position of British Columbia farmers. British Columbia's trade policy objective is the elimination of all trade and production distorting subsidies to establish a level competitive playing field for the province's agri-food industry.

Key functions

• Implement a new long-term agriculture policy agreement with the federal government (Agricultural Policy Framework — APF) that deals with risk management, food safety, environmental sustainability, renewal and science/innovation. [See reporting section for details — Core Business Area 4 — Risk Management]

• Operate the Crop Insurance, Whole Farm Insurance Program (WFIP) and Net Income Stabilization Account (NISA) in conjunction with the federal government up to 2002/03. The APF will provide a new suite of programs for 2003/04 onward.

• Oversee regulated marketing systems and maintain support for national supply management (dairy, poultry and eggs). Implement changes to the regulated marketing system over the next three years to reflect directions of the British Columbia government's core review process.


• Producers

5. Industry competitiveness


• British Columbia's agriculture, food and seafood industries have an opportunity to grow.

• There are a number of barriers to competitiveness including access to markets, trade barriers, and internal government red tape.

Key functions

• Advocacy role to ensure farm, fish and processor interests are considered in government wide programming, services and regulations, industry-led and funded research and market development

• Reduce the regulatory burden (government-imposed costs) on businesses by reducing regulations and shifting to outcome/results-based regulations instead of prescriptive regulations i.e., what results are expected instead of how to do it.

• Influence international and interprovincial trade negotiations and disputes.

• Foster research, development and innovation through industry self-financing programs and incentives.

• Education, training, strategic planning services to encourage self-reliance.


• Producers

6. Corporate Services


• Government has re-emphasized the need to be cost-effective in program and service delivery, to reduce regulation and red tape, and ensure government employees are well-managed and efficient.

• The stated management theme in the government's strategic plan is: "Government is innovative, enterprising, results-oriented and accountable".

Key functions

• Effective policy development.

• Financial management.

• Human resource management.

• Business operations management.


• Internal

Consistency with Government Strategic Plan

Each core business area indicates specific linkages with the Provincial Government's "A New Era for British Columbia". The core business area descriptions also describe linkages to the Premier's letter to the Minister where applicable.

Specifically, the government's broad goals are:

  • A strong and vibrant provincial economy
  • A supportive social infrastructure
  • Safe, healthy communities and a sustainable environment

All of the ministry's core business areas address the first goal of developing a stronger economy. Specific core business areas also address one of the other goals directly e.g., food quality and safety, and environmental sustainability and resource development, would address the last goal. All of the core business areas address each of the government's goals to some degree. [see illustration below]

Ministry core business areas and goals support government Strategic Plan goals

Link to Chart. Link to Chart.


Home -- 2002/03 Annual Service Plan Reports.
Previous. Next.
Feedback. Privacy. Disclaimer. Copyright. Top. Government of British Columbia.