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Roger Pelissero in the Hill Times: “Raise an egg to thank the Canadians who produce our food”

Our Chair, Roger Pelissero, recently penned an op-ed in the Hill Times encouraging Parliament to demonstrate support for egg farmers by implementing programs and initiatives for supply-managed farmers as they absorb the impact of recent trade deals.

Raise an egg to thank the Canadians who produce our food

By Roger Pelissero, Chair of Egg Farmers of Canada

This year has been one for the books, one where we have faced challenges the likes of which we haven’t seen in generations. While Canadians have been forced to make hard decisions, recent events emphasized the importance of doing what we can to support our friends, neighbours, and the community. Canadians are supporting each other, and egg farmers are proud to play their part.

The egg was one of the comfort foods Canadians turned to in lockdown, and consumers were able to count on a steady supply of eggs on grocery store shelves. Egg prices stayed stable and donations to food banks increased, ensuring the availability of a healthy, versatile protein.

It’s moments like these that we truly come to appreciate the forethought that the generations before us had to put certain systems in place. We’ve seen our public health-care system rise to the moment, ensuring that Canadians from coast to coast to coast have had access to the medical care and help they’ve needed during this public health crisis. The same can be said of our system of supply management. The very genius of the system is how remarkably resilient and effective it is, today and ever since its inception in the early 1970s.

Despite the additional pressures the pandemic placed on the food system, egg farmers persevered and ensured that Canadians continued to have access to a secure supply of fresh food. This was an incredible accomplishment, made possible by supply management and by our industry’s willingness to work collaboratively. Our sector has been a consistent and reassuring presence for our country during these unsettled times. While many small and family businesses across Canada struggled to cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic, supply management helped bring economic stability to communities across our country.

Now, as our economy starts the process to recover, communities across Canada, small and large, rural and urban, will continue to depend on the delicious, inexpensive eggs that farmers produce every day—and our family farm will continue to support thousands of jobs and contribute to our economy.

As we prepare to celebrate World Egg Day—an occasion that recognizes the importance of eggs around the world—on Oct. 9, we’re expressing our gratitude not only for made-in-Canada eggs, but also for the people and system that makes this possible. We’ve known for a long time that supply management offers many benefits; we now have demonstrated that we have the ability to manage production in a crisis like no other.

On Oct. 9, we invite you to raise an egg to thank the people dedicated to our food system for the role that they’ve played, and will continue to play, in serving Canadians. Thank an egg farmer for continuing to do what they always do: provide a stable supply of high-quality eggs for us all.

Parliament can demonstrate its support for egg farmers by ensuring the implementation of programs and initiatives for supply-managed farmers as they absorb the impact of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement —a commitment that was made in last month’s Speech from the Throne and many times before.

This is a concrete, tangible way to show Canada’s 1,100 egg farmers that their government supports them and the system that has shown its importance this year. In doing so they will ensure their service has been recognized, and that egg farmers will continue to be there as we fight through this pandemic. Egg farmers stepped up when we needed it, and now it’s time for this government to step up and support them.

Roger Pelissero is a third-generation egg farmer from St. Ann’s, Ont. He is also the Chair of Egg Farmers of Canada.