Lloydminster pilot project aims to solve cross-border regulatory quirk

A two-year pilot project in one of Canada’s only cities that straddles a border hopes to solve a quirk of federal and provincial jurisdiction when it comes to the food trade.

Under federal regulation, food businesses must meet federal requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Act and be licensed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) if their products cross borders.

Interprovincial trade of foods in Canada is a federal responsibility, whereas food produced within a province is primarily a provincial responsibility. 

That’s a problem for Lloydminster, which is split by the Alberta and Saskatchewan border. 

It means, for instance, deli sandwiches made at the Lloydminster and District Co-op grocery stores located on the Saskatchewan side of the city could not be sold at the co-op’s gas bars on the Alberta side.

The pilot project, a joint initiative spearheaded by the chamber of commerce, launched last month has now made interprovincial trade within the city possible. 

“This allows us to operate like any other city across Canada,” said Corrine Kelly-Hyde, vice president of people and culture at the co-op. 

Kelly-Hyde says the pilot has been “extremely helpful”, not only to their business but also the community.

“It just allows us to provide extra support to our gas station teams in terms of what they think we can give our customers, so it’s it’s seamless process,” she said.

Edmonton AM6:04A new pilot program hopes to ease trade barriers in Lloydminster

Lloydminster is one of the only towns in Canada that straddles two provinces. This has made trade across the border tricky. A new two year pilot program aims to change that. To explain, we reach Teri-Lynn MacKie. She is the Executive Director for the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce.

The Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce initiated the pilot with support from the city, the two provincial governments and the federal government.

Teri-Lynn MacKie, executive director for the chamber, praised the pilot.

“It just makes things easier. We’ve always been able to adapt and try to make things work, but it just makes business easier,” she told CBC’s Edmonton AM on Friday. 

“As if it is one whole city.”

It was the co-op that brought up the concern of not being able to sell their products across the border to the chamber at one of their roundtable meetings in 2021. 

“So the chamber made a policy and then started advocating to try and make Lloydminster one city,” MacKie said.

In 2021, the federal, provincial and territory agriculture ministers agreed to pursue interprovincial trade solutions as a priority under the Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Framework. 

“That’s when they came up with this pilot project to address our unique situation in Lloydminster,” she said.

Businesses wanting to participate can fill out an application form on the chamber website and conduct two surveys to sign up for the pilot program after which they can trade freely within the city. 

Although it’s a two-year project for now, MacKie said they are working with CFIA on making regulatory amendments to make it permanent.

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