Today, the National Farmers Union (NFU) provided detailed input to the federal government’s review of the Canada Grain Act (CGA) and the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). The NFU submission considers the future of grain production in Canada and makes fifteen major recommendations to strengthen and equip the Act and the Commission for expected challenges and opportunities.
“The climate crisis and international measures to deal with it, increasing digitization and data-driven technology, ongoing mergers and acquisitions in the grain trade, and international trade agreements will have big impacts on farmers,” said NFU President, Katie Ward. “We will need a strong and effective CGC to regulate the grain handling system in the interest of farmers, and ensure that Canada will continue to be recognized for the quality of our grain.”
The CGC’s mandate is to “in the interests of the grain producers, establish and maintain standards of quality for Canadian grain and regulate grain handling in Canada, to ensure a dependable commodity for domestic and export markets.” The NFU’s first and foremost point is that this mandate must not be changed.
“The CGC has proved its worth as Canada’s grain system regulator for over a century. The global corporations that dominate the grain trade constantly seek to cut costs and unfairly lower prices paid to farmers in ways that not only remove wealth from our economy, but also compromise the quality of Canadian grain,” said Stewart Wells, NFU 2nd Vice President. “Changes in the grain handling system since the last major review of the Act have resulted in gaps where CGC lacks the authority to fully safeguard farmers’ interests. The need for a strong regulator has not gone away.”
The Act is the solid foundation of our grain economy, our farmers’ livelihoods and our domestic and international customers’ confidence. The NFU is pleased to offer recommendations for making the CGA and the CGC even stronger.
Summary of NFU Recommendations
- Keep the CGC Mandate: “the Commission shall, in the interests of the grain producers, establish and maintain standards of quality for Canadian grain and regulate grain handling in Canada, to ensure a dependable commodity for domestic and export markets.”
- Maintain the CGC governance structure headed by three Commissioners, and reinstate the Assistant Commissioner role.
- Repeal all Bill C-4 amendments to the CGA not required to implement CUSMA, including clauses enabling the CGC to assign Canadian grades and dockage to wheat imported from countries other than the USA.
- Secure CGC’s full authority over grades, classes of grain and variety designation.
- Retain the bond security system for producer payment protection and enable more frequent mandatory reporting.
- Maintain mandatory CGC Outward Inspection, reinstate mandatory Incremental Loading, and require Certificate Final be provided to the export customer as well as to the shipper.
- Re-establish mandatory CGC Inward Inspection.
- Implement mandatory daily grain sale price reporting with reported prices available online and posted at country elevators.
- Expand access to binding CGC determination to include all licensees, and all specifications included in farmers contracts, with no fee charged for binding determination; contracts must be prohibited from implying any other assessment supersede the CGC’s determination.
- Require grain cash ticket to include and itemize freight, elevation costs, and all other deductions.
- Add a class of license to cover container shipper loading facilities other than producer car loading facilities.
- End the exemption from licensing for commercial feed mills other than co-operative feed mills owned and operated by the farmers who deliver to the mill.
- Establish and operate a CGC Producer Car Receiver to receive producer cars at the West Coast and Thunder Bay to ensure producer cars remain an effective element in the grain handling system.
- Ensure the CGC’s research capacity and scope is fully supported as a core regulatory function.
- Explore the possibility of extending the CGC’s authority to cover Eastern Canada.