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Grain sector meets to discuss the Canada Grain Act

The federal government has yet to name the next chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC).

The replacement will take over for Doug Chorney when he retires at the end of April.

On Tuesday in Saskatoon, Sask. the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) and the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) co-sponsored the Canada Grain Act Summit.

It was an opportunity to meet and discuss concerns with the Grain Act after the federal government launched a review of the document. After getting feedback from producers, legislation has still not been introduced in Parliament.

APAS President Ian Boxall said the Summit was designed to share ideas on a variety of topics including producer protection and modernization of the CGC.

“There was a lot of great discussion and engagement with the groups that were here. I think it just shows how important this issue is and that we need to do a better job educating producers on how important the CGC and their mandate is for the protection of producers,” he said.

Many producers believe grain company contracts are too complicated and are tilted heavily in favor of grain companies. Brett Halstead, the past chair of the Sask Wheat, said the solution could be standardized grain contracts, which are used in Australia by companies like Bunge and Viterra.

“We learned today Australia has standardized contracts for grain purchases and sales and some of the same companies that are in Canada are also in Australia,” Halstead said. “So, this isn’t something foreign to them. It isn’t something that’s not going to allow them to be protected but it’s going to give us something standard and the additional stuff is maybe what we focus on more.”

Boxall said another point of discussion was better export sales reporting. He said the federal government has set up a supply chain office.

“There is no reason the CGC cannot get the data from the supply chain office on what the export numbers are and what all those shipping numbers are and get them back to CGC to give to producers to ensure we have all the information we need to make the best decisions for our businesses,” Boxall said. “It would have a huge economic impact to Canada in the end because we would be more profitable.”

Boxall said he is looking forward to meeting the next CGC Chief Commissioner to discuss these issues.

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