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Grain Growers disappointed with plan for User Fee Surplus

Decision is missed opportunity to reduce costs for farmers and modernize the CGC

OTTAWA  - Grain farmers are disappointed that following years of overcharging grain farmers and accumulating over $130 million in surplus user fees, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) has announced a plan to keep the surplus and expand its operations. Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) has previously called for the surplus to be returned to grain farmers through reduced user fees. The framework announced today is also a missed opportunity to modernize the CGC to encourage growth in Canada’s grain sector.

“Grain farmers are the ones that overpaid user fees for years, and the common-sense solution would have been to reduce user fees to draw down the surplus,” said Jeff Nielsen, GGC President. “We welcome the opportunity for further consultation, but fees should have been reduced as a first step.”

GGC submitted a proposal to the CGC consultation calling for user fees to be reduced. GGC has also repeatedly called for modernization of the CGC and supported previous attempts at legislative reform. Some elements of the framework announced today respond to grower concerns, but the announcement has been made without a long-term plan or business case.

“Farmers had welcomed the Government’s commitment to driving growth in the agri-food sector through regulatory reform, and that should have included changes to the CGC,” added Mr. Nielsen. “This is a missed opportunity and now more than ever there needs to be a fulsome plan for modernization of the CGC and the Canada Grain Act.”

The grain value chain has submitted input to the Governments’ Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table calling for regulatory modernization. The Strategy Table’s Interim Report echoed this in a call for “modernizing infrastructure and regulations.” The Government also recently launched consultations on regulatory reform which should lead to changes in the CGC’s operations. The Surplus Investment Framework runs counter to the objectives of these important reviews.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 13 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Source : Grain Growers of Canada