Producers could receive payments through the Safeguards for Grain Farmers Program
By Diego Flammini
The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) is helping farmers ensure they receive payments for grain delivered to ILTA Grain Inc.
To ensure producers receive compensation for their grain deliveries, the CGC and ILTA Grain have negotiated to create an escrow account. The fund, held by PricewaterhouseCoopers, will store money related to unpaid grain deliveries.
The CGC mandates that licensed grain companies provide security “to cover money owed to producers for grain deliveries,” its website says.
When a company doesn’t pay for its grain, the Safeguards for Grain Farmers Program uses that grain handler’s security to pay farmers.
Producers must meet certain criteria to qualify for payments but, under the Canada Grain Act, full payments aren’t guaranteed.
The CGC suspended the Surrey, B.C.-based company’s licenses in July after it failed to pay farmers for their grain. The same month, B.C.’s Supreme Court placed the grain handler under creditor protection.
ILTA Grain also has elevators in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The company handles lentils, peas, beans, flax seed and other crops.
As part of the negotiation, ILTA Grain can handle grain again but under certain restrictions.
“One of the key conditions of reinstating ILTA Grain Inc.’s licences is that ILTA is not allowed to purchase grain from producers,” Patti Miller, chief commissioner and deputy head of the CGC, said in a statement yesterday.
The handler can still sell, remove or transfer grain it has in storage.
ILTA cited trade challenges as a reason for its financial hardship, reports indicate.
Exporting pulse crops to Asian markets has been difficult, the company said.
“For instance, over the past few years, several countries, such as India, China and Saudi Arabia, which represented a significant portion of ILTA’s export market, have decided to limit and, in certain cases, entirely discontinue their Canadian imports, which has significantly affected ILTA’s business model and profitability,” a court submission said in July, the Prairie Post reported.
Farms.com has reached out to ILTA and pulse producers for comment.