A composite photo of Rene Van Acker and Malcolm Campbell
Rene Van Acker and Malcolm Campbell

Two University of Guelph leaders will speak before a House of Commons committee today to discuss how Canada can ensure greater stability in the agri-food sector.

Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), and Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research), will appear before the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food at 3:30 p.m.

The standing committee recently undertook a study to identify policies and measures the Government of Canada can take to increase food processing capacity in order to ensure food security and food safety and increase the value of food exports to $75 billion by 2025.

Van Acker will discuss the need to increase training to address growing labour market demand in Canada’s agri-food sector. He will discuss the need for highly skilled talent across the food value chain so that industry can increase productivity and support innovation and trade.

Campbell will discuss the need for investing in research and development to drive innovation in the sector and increase Canada’s processing capacity and exports.

He will note the need for increased research and development along the value chain and strong connections between primary food producer, processor and market.

Campbell joined U of G as vice-president (research) in 2015. An accomplished plant genome biologist, he has advised scientific and non-scientific advisory boards, and governmental, non-governmental and community organizations.

Van Acker has served as dean of OAC since 2016. A leading expert on weed management and biosafety, he chaired the Department of Plant Agriculture from 2006 to 2009.

Before joining U of G in 2006, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba. He’s been an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University since 2014.

Watch it live here.