Western Grain Elevator Association

Western Grain Elevator Association

March 04, 2008 18:16 ET

WGEA Applauds Minister for Setting Path Forward on Barley

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - March 4, 2008) - The Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) is pleased with the quick and decisive action taken by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, introducing Bill C-46 to amend the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) Act by clarifying that the Governor in Council has the authority to deregulate barley and by providing an arbitration process to avoid stalemate situations in the future.

"This legislation will set the path forward for the export feed and malting barley industries and opens up a significant opportunity for Canadian barley producers," said Wade Sobkowich, Executive Director of the WGEA. "It also will obligate the CWB to a dispute resolution process in situations where farmers or grain operators disagree with a CWB decision. This should be the right of anyone that does business with the CWB and we view it as a major step toward establishing reasonable standards of commercial behaviour. By introducing this legislation, the Minister has clearly listened to farmers and the industry."

In the past the WGEA has stated it would accommodate whatever future the government and farmers decided upon. On January 3, 2008 the WGEA issued a release calling for complete deregulation of barley as soon as possible, explaining that reaching resolution with the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) on contract terms pertaining to its CashPlus program was not achievable. The WGEA participated in the January 29 Ottawa meeting where the Minister attempted to broker a resolution to this issue between the CWB and farmers/industry, however, it has since become clear that mutually agreeable resolution was not possible.

"The WGEA looks forward to speedy passage of Bill C-46," added Sobkowich. "We are hopeful this bill will receive priority through the parliamentary process to bring some certainty to the industry for August 1, 2008. A well planned, well thought out transition process will be required and we look forward to immediately beginning work with the Minister's office to develop and implement a workable transition plan."

The Western Grain Elevator Association is an association of seven farmer-owned, public and private grain businesses operating in Canada, which collectively handle in excess of 90% of western Canada's bulk grain exports. WGEA members own grain handling facilities throughout the country and at the ports of Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Thunder Bay.

Contact Information

  • Western Grain Elevator Association
    Wade Sobkowich
    Executive Director
    (204) 942-6835
    (204) 943-4328 (FAX)
    Email: wgea@wgea.ca