The Standing Orders of the House of Commons give all standing committees the mandate to exercise certain general powers. Standing Order 108(2) gives committees the power “to study and report on all matters relating to the mandate, management and operation of the department or departments of government which are assigned to them.” For a more detailed overview of parliamentary committees, please consult the Compendium of House of Commons Procedure.
Generally speaking, the Standing Committee may examine any issue related to Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry. It is a public forum where specific events or initiatives affecting the sector can be addressed.
More specifically, the Committee focuses on bills, expenditures and activities of the organizations that are part of the Agriculture and Agri-Food portfolio:
The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food also examines the activities of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that fall under the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the activities of other organizations that are independent of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, such as the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
An important part of the Committee’s mandate is to study and vote on the items for the various agencies in the Agriculture and Agri-Food portfolio.
 The CFIA was moved to the Health portfolio in October 2013, but the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food continues to be responsible for the CFIA's non-food safety agricultural activities.