Changes to CGC Role Do Not Pass Inspection, says NFU

(Saskatoon)  - “The Harper government is taking another dangerous step in its shift towards industry self-regulation by ending a number of important functions of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). Bill C-45 will eliminate mandatory inward inspection, end weigh-overs, and change the bonding system for grain companies, to the detriment of Canadian farmers who grow the grain,” said Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union (NFU) President.

The CGC sets standards for grain quality and fairness in Canada’s grain trade. The CGC protects quality by inspecting the grain at various points in the handling system to make sure the grain meets the quality specified. The CGC’s mandate is to act in the interests of the grain producers (farmers) across the country. The impending changes remove key tools that have allowed the CGC to do its job properly.

The end of CGC inward inspection of grain means that an important audit and quality control system for farmers is lost. Currently, when grain travels from country elevators to terminal elevators at port it is inspected to make sure the quality shipped and weighed by grain companies matches what they have purchased from farmers. Inward inspection also catches contamination issues before grain is loaded on ships, before it gets to our customers.

“Before inward inspection was put in place, grain companies were purchasing grain from farmers at a lower grade in the countryside and selling it for a higher grade at the port, cheating farmers out of their just returns,” said Boehm. “By eliminating inward inspection, farmers will again be subject to this kind of unfair grade manipulation.”

The rationale for weigh-overs is the same. The CGC’s requirement for weigh-overs at country elevators makes sure that the volume and the quality of grain bought from farmers matches what the elevator has in store. This prevents false weights being used when a farmer delivers grain, which could result in huge gains for the buyers at the farmers’ expense.

“That the federal government is introducing these changes through another omnibus bill that encompasses huge amounts of legislative territory is particularly offensive. The Harper government is once again bypassing the democratic process of debate and the opportunity for amendment by relevant House of Commons Committees, wrapping hundreds of pages of changes into one take-it-or-leave-it package,” Boehm emphasized.

“The CGC has been working well for farmers, our customers and for Canada’s international reputation for over 100 years, but with the changes to the CGC in Bill C-45 we will move backwards in time to when the grain companies had far too much power and control over the livelihoods of farmers,” concluded Boehm.

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For more information:

Terry Boehm, NFU President: (306) 255-2880 or (306) 257-3689

See also Response to Proposed Amendments to the Canada Grain Act in regard to the Canadian Grain Commission