On behalf of Saskatchewan farmers, a coalition of producer organizations are calling on any changes to the Canada Grain Act to incorporate the Canadian Grain Commission’s (CGC) continuation of mandatory outward inspection, maintenance of its current mandate, and governance model, and an emphasis on improved export sales reporting.
The Canada Grain Act authorizes the CGC to create regulations and administer services that protect the commercial interests of grain producers and establish quality standards for grain handling within Canada and export markets.
“The Canadian Grain Commission plays a key role in maintaining the reputation of the Canadian brand and increasing the transparency of market information,” said Sask Wheat Chair Brett Halstead. “Sask Wheat’s objective is to maintain the value of the Canadian brand, improve market efficiency with better information, and have the CGC work in the interest of farmers to protect farmers’ interests from those the CGC is meant to regulate.”
The coalition includes the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) and the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat), who together represent the majority of grain producers in the province.
As Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada considers our producer coalition’s joint submission, we ask that any changes reflect the priorities of Saskatchewan agriculture, which represents approximately:
40% of Canada's total crop production
47% of Canada's total field crop area
50% of all licenses primary and process elevator storage capacity
54% of the total value of the Canadian Grain exports in 2020
“This review is an opportunity to reaffirm the Grain Commission’s mandate to act solely in the interests of farmers,” said SaskBarley chair Matt Enns. “Any changes to the Act must emphasize transparency and accountability to the needs of producers.”
The producer coalition highlights three key areas in its joint submission to the consultation reviewing the Canada Grain Act.
1. Mandate and Governance – The producer coalition strongly supports the mandate of the CGC as it protects the interests of producers in Canada’s grain industry. The purpose of the mandate is still as relevant and essential today as it was when the Canada Grain Act was established more than a century ago. All three organizations also believe the current governance model recognizes the importance of western Canadian crop production and exports. The producer coalition fears a change in the governance structure would limit producer influence and create challenges since the CGC is a regulator.
2. Outward Inspection – The producer coalition believes it is essential that outward inspection remains a function performed by the CGC to protect the Canadian brand and Canada’s quality assurance system. Producers face the most severe financial risks when there are perceived quality concerns in international markets, which is why the coalition does not support moving to a third-party inspection.
3. Export Sales Reporting – The producer coalition sees the review of the Canada Grain Act as an opportunity for the CGC to expand its responsibilities in terms of collecting and disseminating data to improve market transparency. The coalition wants to see improved market transparency. More information for producers will allow them to better assess market dynamics and give them opportunities to improve their profits.
"The mandate of the CGA represents support and protection for Canadian grain farmers, and that must continue," said APAS President Todd Lewis. "The protection provisions are just as relevant today as they were 100 years ago when the Act put in place."