Grain commission wants reform bill to proceed

The Canadian Grain Commission has unfinished business to discuss with Lawrence MacAulay.

“In the coming weeks, the CGC will request to meet with the incoming minister of agriculture and we intend to discuss the need to modernize the Canada Grain Act, modernize Canada’s wheat classes and our proposal to license feed mills,” said commission spokesperson Remi Gosselin.

Bill C-48, which was legislation designed to modernize the grain commission, died on the order paper Aug. 2 when former prime minister Stephen Harper dropped the writ for the federal election.

It was the third failed attempt to pass modernization legislation.

Bill C-48 would have:

  • Given the commission the ability to reform the producer payment security system.
  • Extended producer access to binding determination of grade and dockage to 131 process elevators and grain dealers, such as canola crush plants and ethanol facilities.
  • Addressed concerns by U.S. wheat growers that their wheat can’t be assigned a grade in Canada even if it is a variety registered for use in Canada.
  • Allowed the commission to track and report containerized movement of grain.

Gosselin said there was cross-party support for Bill C-48, but there was not enough time on the legislative agenda to get it passed.

The commission hopes the new Liberal government will make CGC modernization legislation one of its priorities in the throne speech.

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“We would be pushing for something either identical or similar to the (Bill C-48) legislation that was before Parliament,” he said.

The commission would also like to forge ahead with its initiative to license feed mills. It has conducted one round of consultations with stakeholders and is preparing to hold another round once it has more details on the proposed licensing requirements.

Former agriculture minister Gerry Ritz was on board with licensing feed mills, but Gosselin said he has no idea what MacAulay feels about the plan.

“We need to talk to the minister first, but certainly we’d like to move on (the feed mill proposal) as soon as an opportunity arises.”

The commission has at least one other topic it wants to raise with MacAulay.

“We want to discuss with the minister what our intentions are as it relates to the wheat class review,” said Gosselin.

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The commission has already taken steps down that path.

On Aug. 1 it introduced a new interim wheat class for three U.S. varieties registered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that did not meet the parameters of existing wheat classes.

It has also released a list of 29 Canada Western Red Spring and Canada Prairie Spring Red varieties that will move to another wheat class to address customer concerns about low gluten strength in those varieties.

The commission will be initiating a review next year of other CWRS and CPSR varieties for which more quality data is needed before a decision is made about their class designation.

“At this point we just need to discuss next steps with the minister in terms of what our intentions are as it relates to the wheat classification system,” said Gosselin.

Contact sean.pratt@producer.com

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