The provincial Agriculture Minister is trying to reassure Albertans they will continue to have access to safe, affordable food during the COVID-19 health crisis. Devin Dreeshen says the government is focused on maintaining a stable food supply system throughout the pandemic.
Dreeshen says the province is also working with federal and provincial partners to maintain functioning rail service, ports, and commercial trucking systems across North America. He notes buying patterns may have changed in recent weeks, but industry partners have responded.
“Typically we wouldn’t be having daily calls with the entire supply chain to see are there any disruptions because it is so fluid. We really want to get a good handle on the entire supply chain, and so that’s why we’re doing the extra added efforts.”
Dreeshen reiterates there is no need to stockpile food and supplies as doing so creates additional unnecessary pressure on the food supply chain. As several grocery store items, especially produce, are imported from the U.S. he adds it’s essential to keep an open trade relationship between the countries.
“And that’s why the truck driver provision is that they don’t have to self-isolate. Because they’re doing daily runs, if they had to wait two weeks every time they cross the border to self-isolate, even though the border would be open, it would essentially crush a lot of our supply chains.”
Dreeshen also says work is being done to address supply pressures for high-demand items and monitoring availability in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.