The National Farmers Union (NFU) is pleased to provide input to the federal government’s review of the Canada Grain Act and the Canadian Grain Commission.
The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), the Canada Grain Act (CGA) and its regulations are foundational to Canada’s agricultural economy. The value that the CGC brings to the Canadians in general and to farmers in particular cannot be overstated. The CGC was established in 1912 to bring fairness, transparency, confidence, and order to Canada’s grain sector. The mandate of the CGC is “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.”
The CGC’s effective use of its regulatory authority and mandate is the solid foundation upon which the Canadian grain sector’s enviable reputation and excellent trade position has been built. The CGC’s mandate must not be altered.
Canada’s many individual farmers share common interests and they must deal with grain buyers who are fewer, wealthier and much more powerful. The CGC mandate recognizes that the interests of farmers and grain companies are generally in opposition, and that is necessary to balance the lopsided power relationship with effective regulatory authority that safeguards the interests of grain producers.
By growing crops, farmers provide the wealth that supports the whole grain trade and its tens of billions of dollars’ worth of annual spin-off multiplier effects in the Canadian economy. The CGC’s proper role is to ensure that farmers are treated fairly, not only when they make individual transactions with grain companies, but also by preventing corruption of the grain system as a whole. The CGC’s authority to establish and maintain quality ensures that the grain which farmers produce has high value, and retains its integrity and thus its value, through to its purchase by an end user.