Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

February 23, 2009 16:32 ET

Government of Canada Proposes Legislation to Help Grain Farmers by Modernizing Industry

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - Today, the Government of Canada introduced amendments to the Canada Grain Act to modernize the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) in order to better reflect the current realities facing grain farmers.

"We are delivering real action for our farmers so that they can continue to fuel our economy and remain competitive both at home and abroad," said Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "We look forward to working with our Parliamentary colleagues to make sure the CGC continues to meet the needs of farmers and the entire industry."

The proposed changes to the Act and CGC are consistent with the goals expressed in the Government's Growing Forward framework for Agriculture. They will contribute to building a lower-cost, more effective and innovative grain sector.

The proposed changes are based on recommendations of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food following a public, comprehensive and independent review of the Act and the CGC in 2006. Stakeholders were consulted extensively and given many opportunities to provide input throughout the review process.

In December 2007, the Government introduced this amendment in the form of Bill C-39. Bill C-39 died on the order paper in September 2008.

BACKGROUNDER

On August 1, 2005, Section 2.1 of Bill C-40 came into force, adding a new section 120.1 to the Canada Grain Act (CGA) requiring a review of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). The consulting firm COMPAS Inc. was selected to lead the review, building on reviews conducted over the previous six years. COMPAS consulted extensively with producers and industry stakeholders online and at public meetings across the country.

The COMPAS report, tabled in the House of Commons and the Senate in September 2006, was referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (SCAAF) for review. SCAAF reported back in December 2006.

This is a re-introduction of the same amendments to the Act that were introduced as Bill C-39 in December 2007, and were in the process of second reading when the September 2008 election was called and all tabled proposed legislative changes died on the order paper.

Canadian Grain Commission Mandate

In keeping with the recommendations of the Standing Committee, the CGC's mandate will be clarified by splitting it into two parts. Part one will set out the CGC's core mandate to establish and maintain quality standards for Canadian grain and to regulate grain handling in Canada to ensure a dependable commodity for domestic and export markets. The second part will make clear the CGC's mandate to protect farmer interests with respect to deliveries to elevators and grain dealers, access to binding CGC determination of the grade and dockage of grain deliveries, and the allocation of producer cars.

Mandatory Inward Inspection

Consistent with the recommendations of the Standing Committee, inward inspection and weighing of grain being delivered to terminal or transfer elevators will no longer be mandatory. However, shippers will have the right to request weighing and inspection. Terminal and transfer elevator operators will be required to allow access to service providers who will do the weighing and inspection. While the CGC will no longer be involved in the delivery of this service, both shippers and elevator operators will have access to binding CGC arbitration in the event of dispute over a grain grade.

The Canadian grain quality assurance system will remain effective, maintaining Canada's reputation as a consistent supplier of quality grain. The CGC will continue to conduct its quality monitoring programs and export shipments will continue to be weighed, inspected and certified by the CGC.

Producer Payment Security

To reduce costs, the current CGC-administered producer payment security program will end. This will bring the Western Canadian grain industry in line with other agricultural sectors and with the grain industry in Eastern Canada where the federal government does not require the industry to participate in similar security programs. Costs of such programs are ultimately borne by producers. Ending the producer payment security program will reduce system costs, and clear the way for producer or industry groups to develop other alternatives to help manage risk in a cost effective way, if they so wish.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary
    613-759-1059