Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started off his second day in Winnipeg at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, and it wasn't long before he was fielding questions about China.

Tuesday China blocked a second Canadian company’s shipments of Canola saying pests were found in the grain. Both companies have operations in Manitoba.

Trudeau said there are challenges with the Canada-China relationship and he wants to see a resolution.

China and Canada have been at odds since the December arrest of Huawei senior Executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver who is wanted in the United States.

Trudeau says the canola situation is being taken seriously and the government is looking at sending a delegation to China.

“We have heard clearly that there is significant interest in sending a high level delegation to China to talk about the extraordinary work that we do in terms of oversight, inspection and the science around ensuring safety and quality of everything Canada exports,” he said.

The prime minister along with Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr met Tuesday with CEO and president of James Richardson & Sons, Ltd. Hartley Richardson and CEO and president of Richardson International Ltd. Curt Vossen.

This meeting was closed to the media.


Richardson International is based in Winnipeg.

It is a worldwide manufacturer of canola-based products and has over 2,900 employees across Canada, the United States and the U.K.

Earlier this month, China revoked the company’s licence to ship canola to China, citing quality concerns with the company. 

Richardson International told CTV News it’s not doing interviews or commenting Tuesday. 


The Manitoba Canola Growers Association represents 7,500 growers in Manitoba.

Last year canola was produced on 3.2 million acres of land, making it one of the most significant crops in the province in terms of the size of land canola occupies. 

The association tells CTV News it’s watching the bans from China closely and working with its federal and provincial counterparts.


On Tuesday, Beijing stepped up the pressure on Canada, blocking imports of canola seed from a second major exporter, Regina-based Viterra.

The Canola Council of Canada has also reported that Chinese companies have stopped buying canola seed from Canadian producers. 

“We can confirm that China has expanded its ban on Canadian canola imports to include shipments from Viterra. We are working closely with the federal government and the Canola Council of Canada to gather more information on the situation. All of our export products are tested to ensure they meet specific import standards. We take quality concerns seriously and support a sound, science based approach in the testing of our exports. Market access issues such as this one hurt our industry and Canadian farmers. We are hopeful for a quick resolution to this matter,” said the company in a statement emailed to CTV News. 

China accounts for about 40 per cent of Canada’s exports of canola seed, oil and meal. 


A spokesperson for Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, said in an email to CTV News that the government is working through all available channels in China and here in Canada to find a science-based solution.

“Canadian and Chinese officials are actively engaging and will continue to exchange technical information in an effort to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We also continue to work closely with industry stakeholders on this matter, including discussions with the two Canadian companies that have been delisted from shipping canola seed to China. We continue to monitor the situation closely with industry and provinces.

“We stand by our robust inspection system and will continue to stand-up for Canada’s canola industry, the email read.

“We know that China needs Manitoba canola, which is the best canola in the world. This is not a science based decision, and we believe action needs to be taken to give our producers peace of mind for the coming growing season. The federal government needs to work to rebuild the relationship with the Chinese government and meet with them face to face. We are optimistic that this matter will be resolved soon,” said Manitoba’s agriculture minister Ralph Eichler.

-With files from the Canadian Press