2020 has been a year like no other, filled with unforeseen challenges. At AFPA, we are proud to serve Alberta’s food & beverage industry and we wish all of you and yours a safe and joyous holiday season. We look forward to connecting in the 2021! Reach out anytime!
Hot off the Press.......your hard copy should have arrived already but an electronic version is always available. Please share within your organization.

A huge thank you to those members who have already paid their 2021 membership dues, it's been amazing. We need you to continue to address the challenges ahead.
WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY - revised schedule
in person attendance have covid protocols in place & include lunch
OHS Roles & Responsibilities for Managers/Supervisors - Part of supervisory competency requirements. Anyone that directs the work of others by any title.
Lethbridge - March 11
Calgary - March 4

Hazard Assessment
Calgary Feb 4; Edm Mar 3; Leth. Feb 3

Incident & Accident Investigation
Calg Feb 11; Edm Mar 10; Leth. Feb 10

$450/person for all 1 day in person courses.

Program Building - Teaches how to properly build & Implement your HS system.
March 17-18 Edm or March 24-25 Calg
$725/person

Internal Auditor - Dates TBA
Joint HS Committee or Representative - $450 - MANDATORY for HSC co-chairs & HS reps, however any committee members or worker interested in health & safety, would benefit & is part of their 16 hr annual training allotment.
  • Lethbridge - Feb 24
  • Calgary - Feb 25; March 31
  • Edmonton - March 30

VIRTUAL (TRIAL) OPTIONS;
  • Internal Auditor Refresher - TBA soon
  • Roles & Responsibilities - February 17
  • Joint HS Committee/Rep - February 18
$375/person (with electronic manual + $25 for printed)
First Aid Training  - AFPA members save 15% on public pricing with St. John Ambulance - code AFPA21 in order to receive the discount.
A 20% discount will apply to all First Aid Kits. To book training use the preferred clients line: 1-800-989-3787 or ab_clients@stjohn.ab.ca. Lunch and Learns, First Aid Drills and other learning opportunities are also available to AFPA Members and can be booked through Rudy Desmeules.
Pandemic programs

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada updated its very useful document that summarizes the federal government response programs. Found here.  

  • COVID-19 Awareness Toolkit – Public Health Agency of Canada - here

  • Statement by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau on Agricultural Exports in 2020 statement on the strength of agricultural exports for 2020.
 
  • Government of Canada rolling out $100M in added support to food security organizations during COVID-19 pandemic Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada announced details. With this additional funding, a total of $200 million will be made available under the Emergency Food Security Fund.
 
Latest Leger Study (FYI)
COVID & Christmas
  • 3/4 of Canadians (76%) are holiday shopping less in stores this year compared to last. This number is highest in MB/SK at 83% shopping less in-person.
  • In the US, just over half (52%) say they are shopping in stores less compared to previous years
  • Just over half of Canadians (52%) support the somewhat controversial decision to prohibit large Big Box retailers from selling non-essential items. Almost a third (32%) oppose the restriction.
  • Support for the approach is strongest in MB/SK at 62% and weakest in BC at 49%
  • There is better support for lockdown of all non-essential businesses and services over the holiday period with 65% of Canadians supporting this.
COVID Vaccine
  • 66% of Canadians intend on getting vaccinated when it becomes available to them—up 1 point from 2 weeks ago.
  • Rates are fairly consistent across the country. Demographically, vaccination rates are highest among those age 55 and older (80%) and lowest among those age 35 to 54 (57%)
  • In the US, 48% intend to get vaccinated (+2 pts).
  • Most Canadians expect to be able to get vaccinated by Spring/Summer 2021
  • A steady 9% of the Canadian population say vaccines are dangerous. In the US, 20% say vaccines are dangerous.
COVID Tracking
  • The self-assessed mental health of Canadians (Excellent/Very Good) sits at 34% which is the lowest recorded since we began tracking the pandemic in March.
  • Mental Health ratings are particularly low from Manitoba to the West Coast.
  • Fear of contracting the virus remained steady at 60% of the population, with fear levels highest in ON and MB/SK at 65%
  • Over half of Canadians (51%) say we are in the worst of the crisis now. 29% say the worst is still to come, which has been dropping steadily since the beginning of November—perhaps the effect of the arrival of the vaccine.
  • Perceptions of government’s handling of the pandemic situation improved over the past few weeks, perhaps a result of the vaccine news. All three levels of government saw total satisfaction levels tick up by a few points compared to 2 weeks ago.
  • Regionally, total satisfaction levels are highest in BC (75%); PQ (68%) and ON (62%). SK is at 57% and MB and AB continue to bring up the rear at 44% and 30% total satisfaction respectively. All governments listed above improved at least slightly, except for AB and ON which held steady over the past two weeks.
Politics
  • In Canada, the Federal Liberals are opening up a lead on the CPC, 35% vs. 29% of decided voters. NDP support moved up 3 points to 23%, largely at the expense of the Green Party.
  • In the US, the last throes of the Trump administration continues to play out. 62% of Trump voters still believe he won the Presidential election and 85% support his ongoing efforts to overturn the election results.
  • It appears the recent affirmation of Biden by the Electoral College will do little convince Trump voters. 56% still won’t accept Biden as President.
Front of Package Labelling (FOPL)
Health Canada published the results of a study evaluating the efficacy of FOPL as a tool for making food choices that support reduction in the intakes of sugar, sodium, saturated fat. The study found that, overall, FOPL was significantly more effective than current labeling at helping consumers of varying health literacy levels to identify foods high in these nutrients and that, among 4 labelling options being considered by Health Canada, each were equally effective. In Feb 2018 Health Canada released draft regulations on FOPL, however these were never finalized. With COVID-19, it isn’t clear when Health Canada will resurrect this initiative, however publication of the research paper confirms it remains a priority.
New Guidance on lot codes & Labelling Requirements
A new document What to consider when selecting a lot code to meet traceability requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations has been made available on CFIA's Traceability for food web page. Check the traceability interactive tool to help you decide if and how the traceability requirements apply to you.

Temporary Labelling Flexibility expires on December 31, 2020
The CFIA would like to remind you that the temporary enforcement flexibility related to non-food safety labelling and packaging requirements for foodservice packaged products and prepackaged meat products will no longer be in effect after December 31, 2020.

Voluntary Sodium Reduction Targets for Processed Foods 2020-2025
Excess sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke & heart disease, among the leading causes of death in Canada. As part of its Healthy Eating Strategy, Health Canada is committed to ongoing work with industry to gradually and safely reduce sodium in the food supply. 
Voluntary sodium reduction efforts since 2012 have led to lower sodium content in some food categories. However, Canadians, particularly children, teens and males, are still eating too much sodium today. To help Canadians further reduce their sodium intake, Health Canada is releasing the Voluntary Sodium Reduction Targets for Processed Foods 2020-2025. In setting the targets, Health Canada took into consideration the current Canadian and international contexts, feedback, and lessons learned from the 2012 voluntary sodium reduction targets and monitoring initiative. The aim was to set sodium reduction targets that are realistic so that meaningful reductions in sodium in the food supply can be achieved. Health Canada will monitor the progress between now and 2025 and evaluate if additional courses of action may need to be considered. Questions or comments? hc.bns-bsn.sc@canada.ca  
INDUSTRY NEWS
Best Practices for working with a co-packer webinar 2: Industry panel
January 13, 2021 at 9 AM M.S.T. (1.5 hours) Register now!
This webinar focuses on the practical steps and tips from industry experiences in co-packing. The webinar builds on the Best Practices for Working with a Co-packer introduction webinar of Nov 4, 2020. You will hear from a panel of company speakers who have worked with a co-packer to produce their products as well as from a co-packer. This webinar is 90 minutes in length. The panel will provide perspectives from both sides of the co-packing relationship. The company speakers will discuss what steps they took to be ready and how they selected a co-packer. The co-packer will share what a co-packer will require from a company who wishes to co-pack. All will share some of the challenges and tips for how to get the most from a co-packing relationship and work towards a successful outcome. Following the industry panel presentation and questions, participants will have an opportunity to participate in a breakout session on co-packing. The breakout session will further explore emerging trends, considerations and sharing of best practices or tips that enable companies to expand sales through co-packing. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/best-practices-for-working-with-a-co-packer-webinar-2-industry-panel-tickets-131644471157

Preparing for CanadaGAP: webinar series starting the week of January 18, 2021
Registration is free
significant time commitment required
The cost is your time and commitment to complete the sessions.
This series is to reduce the fear factor in pursuing CGAP certification. Participants will NOT be CanadaGAP certified at the end.
For more info or to register, contact Sharon Faye, 780-955-4593 or sharon@leduc-county.com.
Are you a fresh fruit and vegetable business interested in, or already selling into, the retail, wholesale or food service markets? The Preparing for CanadaGAP webinar series will help you understand the process of applying for CanadaGAP and break down its requirements into clear steps. This series, offered province-wide by Leduc County, starts the week of January 18 to 22 and wraps up the week of March 8 to 12, 2021. You will learn how to break down the CanadaGAP requirements into easy-to-understand instructions, identify the steps to prepare for your first certification audit, manage the risks associated with fresh produce and increase your marketing capacity, develop and implement standard operating procedures (SOPs), explore why good record keeping is important and merge program requirements with your existing record keeping system. Registration deadline is January 11, 2011.