I am extremely proud, not only as the member of Parliament for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, but also as the NDP's critic for agriculture and agri-food, to introduce this private members' bill.
Healthy soils are the foundation of sustainable food production, enhanced biodiversity and cleaner air and water. Healthy soils are also key to our fight against climate change, as good agricultural practices can unlock soils' huge carbon sequestration potential. The bill I am introducing today sets up a national strategy to promote efforts across Canada to conserve and improve the health of our soils.
The strategy would help maintain, enhance and rebuild the capacity of soils to produce food and fuel for years to come. It would encourage farmers and other land users with research, education, training and knowledge transfer in best practices. The bill would also recommend the establishment of a national advocate for soil health and would formally recognize both World Soil Day on December 5 and National Soil Conservation Week during the third week of April each year.
With the increasing impacts of climate change and global food insecurity, a national strategy will help to maintain, enhance, and rebuild the capacity of soils to produce food and fuel for years to come.
“Healthy soils are the foundation of sustainable food production, enhanced biodiversity and cleaner air and water for present and future generations. Canadians from coast-to-coast- to-coast depend on our ability to produce good food to keep themselves, their families and the environment healthy,” said MacGregor. “Our soil plays in a crucial role in supporting agricultural productivity and in meeting global challenges, including food security and climate change.”
MacGregor’s bill encourages farmers and other land users with research, education, training, and knowledge transfer in best practices and will also establish an office of a National Soil Health Advocate. The bill also requires the Agriculture Minister to consult with representatives of provincial governments, Indigenous governments, and stakeholders in the agriculture and agri-food industry.
Watch MP MacGregor introduce Bill C-203 in the House of Commons
"Soil is a crucial ally when it comes to the fight against climate change, and Alistair gets that,” said Gabrielle Bastien, Founder and Co-Director of Regeneration Canada. “For Canada to achieve its climate commitments, we need more legislative measures like Bill C-203 at the federal level to scale up soil carbon sequestration."
"Farmers are on the front line of the fight against climate change – few feel the impacts of our ever-changing weather systems more than they do, as we have seen with the atmospheric rivers devastating BC in recent weeks. This bill is about ensuring they have the tools they need to keep doing their jobs to the best of their ability. When we support our farmers and food producers, Canadians see the benefits in healthy food and a safer, greener environment.” -MP Alistair MacGregor
Stakeholders from across the country are supporting the NDP bill.