A massive sigh of relief has been expressed by wineries across Canada as the Federal Government’s proposed $101 million support plan was included as part of its 2021 budget announcement on April 19th.
The money is to be provided over a two-year period, starting in 2022-23, to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, implementing a program for the wine sector that will support wineries in adapting to ongoing and emerging challenges, in line with Canada’s trade obligations.
Wine Growers Canada (WGC), the national voice of the Canadian wine industry, welcomes the winery support in the 2021 Federal Budget and will continue to work with Agriculture Canada on the execution and extension of the support program.
WGC has recommended that the Federal Government implement its Wine Grower Quality Enhancement Program to provide foundational sustainability to invest in the industry’s future and compete on a fair equitable basis with other wine regions globally. The WGC program is designed to create thousands of jobs and a positive return on investment for the Canadian economy, and it has the support of all wine growers across Canada.
“I am thankful that the federal government listened to the concerns of the industry and delivered on a program that will help us grow back better following years of uncertainty.” – Kelly Brown, WGC Chair.
WGC worked with wineries from across Canada; together with senior federal officials in developing this trade legal program to support efficiency, productivity and competitiveness. This will support wine growers across Canada as they deal with the impacts of the pandemic and the pending repeal of the excise duty exemption program, which was successful in supporting investment in more than 400 grape wineries, stimulating 40 million litres of new wine production, and contributing almost $5 billion annually to the national economy.
“The Budget announcement is a welcomed investment in the future success of the Canadian wine industry and Canada’s highest value-added agri-food beverage,” said Dan Paszkowski, President and CEO of Wine Growers Canada. “The new program will support every winery across Canada.”
“Over the past year, WGC has worked tirelessly with federal officials, wine riding MPs, Agriculture Minister Bibeau and International Trade Minister Ng to develop a program that is not only trade legal but will support regional jobs and growth for the benefit of every winery in Canada,” added Paszkowski.
Meanwhile, The Grape Growers of Ontario issued a statement of their own courtesy of Debbie Zimmerman, the organization’s CEO. It reads as follows:
The Grape Growers of Ontario are encouraged by the Government of Canada’s decision in Budget 2021 to take steps to protect producers of 100 percent Canadian wine. We appreciate that the government has listened to the voices of local wineries, grapes growers and winemakers, and recognized the value of our world-class, homegrown Canadian wines. We welcome the opportunity to participate in industry consultations to ensure the proper competitive balance in our highly regulated domestic sector is maintained.
The Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) was created by growers in 1947, and is the official organization representing over 500 grape growers and 17,000 acres of vineyards in Ontario that produce grapes for processing.
GGO supports grape growers across Ontario and plays a key role in fostering high-quality domestic wines and encouraging the growth of our Canadian industry. The sector’s growth over the last 73 years is a testament to the dedication, hard work and vision of grape growers all across Canada.
-Photo courtesy of Wines of British Columbia