Government of Canada welcomes the federal court decision regarding potato wart

Apr 14, 2023

OTTAWA, ON, April 14, 2023 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada accepts the decision rendered by the Federal Court today, resulting from an application for judicial review brought by the Prince Edward Island Potato Board (PEI PB). The PEI PB challenged a series of decisions by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, which includes the Potato Wart Ministerial Order. 

The Government accepts the decision of the Federal Court, which dismissed the application for Judicial Review because the decisions under review were either moot or reasonable.

The Government of Canada is committed to maintaining confidence in Canada's plant health system, both domestically and abroad. Effective management of potato wart requires a concerted effort by everyone involved. As the regulator, it is the role of the CFIA to help contain, control and prevent the spread of potato wart. The CFIA will continue to work with growers, industry, provinces and trading partners to manage this disease while supporting industry activities.

The CFIA will continue to be guided by solid data, science, international standards, legislative authorities and best practices.

 Quick facts

  • Potato wart is an extremely persistent fungus and when present in soil may reduce yield and potato tuber quality on farms. It can spread through the movement of soil, farm equipment and potatoes from fields that have potato wart.
  • As a pest regulated under the Plant Protection Act, its detection triggers measures to help contain and control the disease and prevent its spread. Potato wart poses no threat to human health.
  • According to Statistics Canada, potatoes are the fifth largest primary agriculture crop in Canada (after wheat, canola, soybean, and corn), contributing approximately $1.5 billion in farm cash receipts in 2021 and $2.6 billion in exports of potatoes and potato products in 2021/2022.1
  • In late October 2021, the United States (U.S.) advised the CFIA that it would no longer accept seed potatoes from PEI and that failure to issue a notice of temporary suspension of export certification would result in the U.S. implementing a Federal Order that would prohibit their importation.
    • The U.S. took the same position for table stock and processing potatoes.
    • The U.S. position led to two other CFIA decisions being challenged that informed inspectors that U.S. import requirements could no longer be met.
  • The CFIA may only certify export shipments that meet the import requirements of the jurisdiction receiving the product.
  • The judicial review occurred on March 23, 2023. An appeal may be launched up to 30 days after the decision is rendered
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