Farm and industry groups are giving mainly thumbs up to Bill C-48, the Modernization of Canada’s Grain Industry Act.
The Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), Canadian Canola Growers Association, Grain Growers of Canada and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association support the bill. However, the Wheat Growers said in a release that CGC inspection on offshore shipments should be optional.
“This is basically what we’ve been asking for,” KAP president Doug Chorney said in an interview Dec. 12.
KAP supports adding feed mills to the payment protection program for farmers. Feed mills and livestock producers might not support the idea, but excluding feed mills “is unacceptable,” Chorney said.
The National Farmers Union is still studying the legislation, but is skeptical about the bill, said president Jan Slomp. According to Slomp, past federal government changes, including ending mandatory inward inspection at grain terminals, have undermined the Canadian Grain Commission’s ability to protect farmers and ensure Canadian grain quality.
“C-48 moves the organization away from its central mandate set 100 years ago of acting in the interest of farmers,” he said.
“I will reserve final judgment on it until we study it further. If we find some positive things we’ll not hesitate to acknowledge them.”
The Western Grain Elevator Association supports the legislation, said association executive director Wade Sobkowich.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
The association, which represents Western Canada’s major grain companies, supports licensing container-loading facilities and extending farmer access to CGC binding determination of grade and dockage to processors and other CGC licensees.
“We’re after equitable treatment in the system so anything that brings that about… is a positive thing,” Sobkowich said.
“Anybody buying farmers’ grain should be treated the same under the Canada Grain Act.”
The WGEA also supports proposed changes to the payment protection program so long as farmers continue to be protected and it costs less than the current program.
“The devil is in the detail,” Sobkowich said. “We don’t know much about it… We’ll need to see how it looks when it’s actually created.”
Introducing variety declarations, and fines for misrepresenting a variety upon delivery, are also welcomed, he said.
The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) supports the proposal to repeal the CGC’s authority to license grain elevators, said GFO chief executive officer Barry Senft. The Ontario government oversees Ontario grain elevators.
Senft said he’s uncertain about licensing container-loading facilities.
“We need to discuss why that process would take place,” he said.