Farmers overcharged nearly $100 million in CGC user fees

The Canadian Grain Commission has built up a surplus of nearly $100 million since 2013-14 through excess user fees collected from Canadian grain farmers.

That surplus has prompted the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association to call for surplus fees to be immediately returned to grain farmers.

In a Jan. 3 news release, the association called the excess funds a “massive and unnecessary surplus” and invited all western Canadian grain farmers to demand a refund and an immediate reduction in user fees.

The association has also launched an online petition at

“With approximately $100 million of farmers’ hard-earned money having piled up into this enormous surplus, it’s time to immediately give growers a break and reduce these user fees,” said WCWGA president Levi Wood, who farms near Pense, Sask.

“User fees are supposed to help pay for (CGC) operations, but a nine figure surplus in user fees is shocking.”

The association said farmers pay user fees worth roughly $1.80 on every tonne of grain that’s delivered to an elevator.

Those fees are supposed to be used for inspection and weighing certification of grain being sold for export.

According to the wheat growers association, an average farmer who delivers 5,500 tonnes of grain to an elevator typically pays about $10,000 a year in CGC user fees.

The excess funds are partly the result of Canadian grain export volumes significantly exceeding industry expectations over the past four years.

“It’s a fair point that export volumes have been higher in the past few years than first estimated, so the volume of fees has also been much higher, but that’s no reason to now hoard farmers’ money,” said WCWGA director Matt Sawyer, who farms near Acme, Alta.

“However, it is a great reason to now reduce these user fees — which are clearly out of line for their intended purpose of those operations — and it’s time to refund the surplus, giving the money from growers back to the growers.”

Grain commission spokesperson Remi Gosselin confirmed that revenues collected through user fees have exceeded expenditures since the 2013-14 crop year.

He confirmed that a surplus of roughly $100 million has been accumulated over the past three and a half years.

The commission will begin a review of its current fee schedule in early 2017 and will be consulting with stakeholders for ideas on how the accumulated surplus should be managed.

Gosselin said CGC user fees are set every five years.

The current schedule of fees was implemented in 2013-14 and is due to expire at the end of the 2017-18 crop year.

A new fee schedule will be implemented at that time to cover 2018-23.

“We made commitments to our stakeholders that we would review our fees every five years, and we are doing that in relatively short order,” Gosselin said.

“In addition to that, the CGC is examining potential options to use the accumulated surplus and that will include an assessment of stakeholders views on the various possibilities.”

Gosselin said upcoming consultations will include discussions on potential user fee reductions and methods of allocating the current CGC surplus.

He said the surplus is the result of high grain volumes and lower-than-expected expenditures on grain commission programs that are financed through user fees.

“Basically, the grain volumes were higher than expected,” he said.

The wheat growers association said it hopes grain growers will use its online petition to request an immediate reduction in user fees and a refund of the surplus back to farmers.

“It’s been a tough year with the nasty weather we’ve had, and lower commodity prices, so a fee reduction and refund will go a long way to help growers,” said Graeme Manness, an association director who farms near Domain, Man.

“And it is growers’ money, that’s why we’re asking our farming colleagues to join with us in calling for the reduction and refund of our hard-earned dollars back to us at the farmgate.”


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  • ed

    It is extremely rich that a fine upstanding organization like the WCWGA, who were instrumental in helping kill the Western Canadian farmers price positive Canadian Wheat Board single desk collective selling monopoly, (cartel if you will), would bring into the light an injustice such as this. We have a contingency fund sitting with the CGC that is at least in a transparent position that can or could be easily still accessed by farmers with adjusted future rates. These things should not happen, yes, and did not previous to Aug. 1st, 2012. (WCWGA much celebrated “Freedom to Screw Farmers Day”). On the other hand with the loss of the CWB monopoly, the Western farmers according to several peer reviewed economist are annually and permanently lossing the better part of $4 Billion, (that’s $4,000,000,000.00 or approximately $200/acre annually), on their wheat and the WCWGA says nothing. It is nice to see that the farmers have a such a quality voice moving forward. This group will likely soon recommend getting rid of the crooked CGC and move the industry toward inward internal inspections only and we can all receive a #4, frozen, tough, high vomi, high dockage grade for all our bulk commodity export wheat products with no recourse to correct it. It just keeps getting “better and better” doesn’t it guys

    • Western guy

      “Canadian Wheat Board single desk collective selling monopoly”
      The CWB was a monopsony, not a monopoly. A monopoly is a single seller and many buyers which is good for the seller. A monopsony on the other hand is a single buyer and many sellers which is terrible for the seller.
      The CWB wasn’t created for farmers and it never helped farmers. It was created during WWII to keep the price of grain artificially low to support the war effort via a war measures act. This is not to be confused with the prairie pool companies/co-operatives which started much earlier.
      The CWB had several policies that were horrible for farmers and western Canada.
      1. Its freight neutral policy (everybody paid freight to the coast regardless of destination) heavily discouraged investment in secondary processing on the prairies (where would you put your mill on the prairies or down east by the population centers if raw freight was no different?).
      2. Its operating model and bureaucracy was archaic and anti-efficient. Allocating delivery based on permit books? My family had 7 permit books for 1 farm just to be able to deliver in a timely manner. Doesn’t that strike you as broken.
      3. Our farm is somewhat close to the US border so we always kept an eye on Minneapolis prices. There was typically a fairly large differential in Montana prices to what we eventually got that was far more than the freight. Why di did they have to make it illegal to not sell to the CWB if they always offered the best price?
      4. The CWB then got a reasonable chance to compete against the grain companies and it utterly failed. That’s most telling. Farmers voted with their bushels. When there was an alternative they took it even when the CWB started paying up front for grain.
      Good riddance and love live Farmers for Justice (proud member).

      • Harold

        The resolve to the CWB was a 51% takeover by multinationals. Yes. Canadian loss is an improvement? Perhaps if you went further back into history, you may discover that Canada was a land acquisition by the Crown for the Crown’s commerce and profit, and that the “Fight” has always been between the Crown and the Farmer.(commerce) The CWB was a stronger stance (owned by Farmers) against the Crown, but with a “parasite”, it did not stand the test of time, and it was removed by the Crown, without the consent of Canadians. Harper’s first attempt was called Illegal by the Supreme Court of Canada. A few Harper adjustments and *****The most unheard-of and secretive deal. The CWB sale was not a spontaneous request driven by Farmers; It was trespassed upon by the Crown, and taken. For us, this is called theft amongst a host of other legal terms leading to Jail, but for Government, this is called Politics. Perhaps you see that goodwill and honesty prevailed, but I see things differently. Enjoy your 49%.
        Perhaps your neighbor would like to own 51% of your property and contents, and offer you the same freedom from your debt. You won’t mind if he builds another one of his houses on your property and rents it out, will you? A buck is a buck. Make sure you keep your 49% clean, because he has governing authority over you. Perhaps you don’t know who you may be saying “good riddance” to, with a 49% holdings in your hand. In this case, it’s two (2) against one (1) in the board room, and you the one, (1) the previous land title owner.
        “Good riddance” indeed.

      • ed

        Actually the CWB was a Monopoly and as the single seller of your grain you still owned it right up to unload at a foreign nations shores. Farmers like yourself frequently complained about what “your” single desk was doing with “your” grain. This always solidly confirmed that they,(the farmers for just-us types), were quite aware that the CWB was merely handling the sale of your grain at a collective single desk. Wanting your cake and my cake and the right to eat both is somewhat prevalent in society today, but still not the norm. Let’s hope it doesn’t become the norm.
        The grain companies with some help from others won this round hands down and the aggregate debt on farms is clearly demonstrating that now. They have much more of our equity to push the lines of financial division again someday and when we are fully resigned to this latest one, they will. “It’s the way of the future.”

        • Concerned for fellow farmers

          The cwb officially became a reality in 1935 . But actually started in 1931 by farmers not the government . In fact the war did not start until 1939 . So I am not sure where this misinformation is coming from . I’ll informed I imagine . Again some I’ll informed people give the single desk seller labels that don’t fit . The cwb sold all the wheat and barley , as well as oats abroad through the cwb . The farmers did in fact own the grain until the point of sale abroad . Hence neither a true monopoly or a monopsony . See we had something unique . Set up by farmers in the 30’s to take control of their own product . My grandfather amoung many other farmers , sold their grain below the gov’t controlled sales price . To form the beginning of the cwb . It worked . It gave Canadian farmers access to markets around the world , with a reputation of delivering a top quality product on time . As well as premiums and the highest protien values ever to be received by farmers .
          Today the elevators are taking huge profits building new elevators with money that would have gone to farmers under the cwb .
          There were a few underhanded moves under the cwb final years . But that was brought about by the government wanting to get their hands on grain sales they lost in the 1930’s . They brought in the president of the Australian marketing board , who also destroyed what Australia had . He was hand picked by Harpers government . He bought ships and spent money that belonged to farmers . There are rumours , and of course no proof . That the sooner he took down the cwb , the biggar his paycheque would be . So he foolishly spent money to anger farmers . The true final payments were never mailed out .
          We the Canadian farmers , own those ships , many railcars and owned a good portion of the money that became G3 .
          Hence , it was not the cwb you should put down . But the gov’t who dismantled it . To try and take a piece of the pie for themselves . At our expense .
          I want to be paid a fair price for my product . This will never happen . The elevators are as greedy as the gov’t . In fact many farmers are having input loans called by cps , Rabo bank (Jri) if you will . Because these institutions care about the bottom line . Not farmers . If the cwb was here you could have advances in hours to pay off these vultures . But the cwb is gone . My heart goes out to those who are paying 24% and having debt mediation fight for you . While your crop lays under the snow .This would not be the case under the cwb

      • Western farmer as well

        Sorry to burst your bubble western guy . The cwb like the Australia or Awb were unique farmer owned marketing tools . Which defy any actual Economic terms . Your partially right , that it is not a monopoly . Although, in realms of their own terms , neither are they monopsony either . A monopsony is “In economics, a monopsony (from Ancient Greek μόνος (mónos) “single” + ὀψωνία (opsōnía) “purchase”) is a market structure in which only one buyer interacts with many would-be sellers of a particular product. In microeconomic theory of monopsony, a single entity is assumed to have market power over terms of offer to its sellers, as the only purchaser of a good or service, much in the same manner that a monopolist can influence the price for its buyers in a monopoly, in which only one seller faces many buyers. Farmers sold through the Cwb ,to the Cwb . Thus, where the interm and final payments , and no profit taking . Seperate the cwb from even coming close to a monopsony . Since the cwb was not the buyer of your grain , it was your seller looking for your best price , with your best interest in mind . With a reputation second to none around the world . Our wheat , barley and yes oats at one time , were sold around the world at some of the highest values of their time .
        This us the reason , the US , Eu , European and Asian countries complained so much to the WTO , that the Australian and Canadian governments caved under pressure .
        The Us has their own version not specifically named to avoid the same political pressure . Same with Most of the Eu , Russia , China and Japan .
        The AWB was sold off and renamed, but some how is still refered to as the AWb . Just like Canada , the Australian farmers got shafted by Agrium and Cargil . Billions in profits are taken from individual farmers .
        Tell me what your protien payments are for your so called American sales close to the boarder . Nothing compared to what we getting while the Cwb and Awb where around . How do you think these Elevators put terminals and expanded so quickly in the last few years .
        Yes , you live by the boarder . What you are forgetting is that 1000’s of farmers don’t .

  • bufford54

    This sounds like another mismanaged, over bloated government agency, with their hands in the pockets of hard working Canadian farmers. Why do farmers require a government agency to weigh and inspect their grain products being shipped abroad, doesn’t the grain handling and shipping companies do that already? Canadian farmers are already shipping their best quality products overseas, the countries and companies recieving the grain products do their own testing. What the CGC is doing amounts to “skimming”.

    • ed

      $5 to $6/bu. for #4, frozen, tough, high vomi, high dockage grade wheat which is actually your #1 high protein wheat that we have received over $12 in the past with the farmers very own CWB monopoly is skimming too. Under your way of thinking cattle farmers should be longing for another go at BSE. Maybe that would get the prices of cattle back up, right.

      • Unbiased Curiousity

        From an unbiased perspective on the overall issue being debated, I’m just curious as to how many times in your farming career you’ve sold your wheat for $12/bushel or more? It would be helpful to add how many years you’ve grown and sold wheat for us as well.

        • Harold

          If Ed reports $6/bushel and 1 year experience in growing and selling wheat, or even no experience, how does that help you in the “overall issue being debated”? Even a person standing in a check-out line knows the difference between right and wrong, and what 100 million dollars in over-compensation represents.
          Is it your believe that 12/bushel represents something, other than a lack of compensation? How about $24/bushel and no experience?
          You can’t be “from an unbiased perspective” and be “curious” and neither can I.

          • Unbiased Curiousity

            Was pursuing the likelihood that Ed was selling $12 wheat and if it was statistically-significant enough to suggest the CWB impacted the actual price of wheat to get to $12/bushel more often than not

        • ed

          $12.64 actual!! #2 15.5 protein.. $3 per bushel of that was for the bit of higher protein which is more to your point, thanks for bringing it up. Probably the bigger canary in the coal mine on how badly screwed we are getting now without the farmers own price positive Canadian Wheat Board single desk monopoly selling agency, (cartel if you will), is the smaller factors that differentiated those bushels and elevated the price a dollar a bushel here, a couple of dollars there and fifty cents a bushel again somewhere else in the grade. Many times out of my 38 years of my selling wheat off our farm and over 80 years since my grandfather arrived here those increases for protein and grade accounted for more than half of the total price that we received for the wheat. Although the CWB only extracted $12.64 for that stated grade as an average on the pool for that grade only once in a high price year over the 5 years previous to the board ultimately annexed by Saudi Arabia, since then (Aug. 1st, 2012) the next 5 years, prices as you have eluded to being painfully aware of have been tragically stuck in the $5 to $6.37 range and they only move up a little bit from there when the buyers fall down on their homework of finding enough broke or desperate farmers to fill the next train string. A spot price will then go out to only the loyalist farmers who’s grain is in most of the 98 front cars to fill the last two in the hundred car spot. Under that example an extra 75 cents per bushel for the last two cars will elevate the purchase cost of the wheat in the other 98 cars for that company by only 1 and a half cents a bushel. No harm, no foul basically but the responsible buyer/buyers for the screw up do lose commission over it for not meeting or exceeding their steal targets. That is why they call them targets and suggest to you what the number should be. Anyway we will not see prices for our wheat ever again that represented 89-93% of the port price like we did under the CWB single desk and will experience our new normal of 40-60% of the port price, (approx. a $4 Billion annual lose), and economist are predicting that farm gate price to port price to drop as much as another 20% as these companies accelerate the repayment of some massive infrastructure investment. Being able to use farmers money to employ new technologies that can reduce these companies work forces and any and all if possible over time outlays vastly improves their bottom lines. The CWB oversight capped the company’s abilities to graphed off farmers profits and design a state of the art legalized theft system. It is sad to see this happen right in front of your eyes but the more you understand it the clearer it gets. For now a lot of guys are growing beans. It has become a glorified game of Chase the Ace where most will lose and burn off equity, (real-grampa’s farm or perceived-artificial non sustainable short term land price run ups), most of the time, and most will believe that if you do it long enough you or someone at least, (maybe your son), will win. Well, (epiphany moment perhaps now or later drum roll), someone is winning!

  • Let’s be Fair

    Perhaps the government should establish more regulation, and set up another variable cost index that would charge the producer based on the costs that need to be covered. In that regard, if the crop volumes increase dramatically, then the rate per tonne would be reduced accordingly. Called the “VCI” it would be complicated and cloudy….just like all government regulations.

    • ed

      It was more like that previous to Aug.1st, 2012 and it worked nicely. Farmers need to be aware as to how important this agency is and how it functions. Ship loading was stopped instantly with a phone call if the grading of the simultaneous samples to the company did not come in as good of better than the one the CGC person was looking at the same instant. For loading to proceed the company had to find their head from where ever it was and start grading properly and quit stealing. The system works well to reduce the shop lifting element always so prevalent in the grain trade. It is kind of like having a lock on your gas tank.

      • Grain Be Free

        Wondering how the CGC got such a big surplus? Guessing they must have cut services and kept the fees….

        • ed

          Harper changed the way it collected fees. Another win for farmers. Maybe we should get rid of it now. Wouldn’t be surprising.

  • neil

    Paying the surplus back is one option. I wonder how much administration will cost to do that? And will it add up to enough for each farmer to make it worthwhile? The 5500 tonne and $10,000 example used in the story is the entire cost a farmer pays, the rebate would be much less than this, likely less than 25%. Another option is to have the money used for public variety breeding or other research that could benefit farmers more than the rebate itself. Just one idea

    • Deeply concerned

      Maybe you don’t need it , but many farmers I know are cancelling phones , Internet and cutting grocery bills to keep the power on . These are those who have thousands of acres of crop out there . It’s our money , give it back . Whether it be 5 bucks or 500 hundred. Most farmers can decide how to spend their own money much better than those who just take it because someone said they could . Monsanto when they worked with agrifoods Canada , took millions of dollars worth of research for free of tax payers research and calls it plant breeders rights . Guess you , every tax payer and I own some technology . Funny how I still have to pay 600-700 hundred per bag . For so called technology that has little or no more yield potential than opent polinated westar or open polinated clearfield canola bin run , that ran 70 bu . While their hybrid ran 60 at 400 bag . Which had unknown weeds and disease . But was supposedly 99.9 % weed free .
      As for wheat , my father grew park back in the 60’s . Short season , high yeilding and very high protien with no fertilizer . But they say you can export it any more . Who are they anyway ?? But guess which wheat is the no one choice for organic growers . Harvest , teal , oh the new midge resistant wheat ?? Nope , good old park . Because of its’s characteristics I mentioned already . So much for advanced technology . For shits and giggles find a bag of Roblin wheat and seed it . You will be surprised with the yield you get and you will be blown away when you read the protien levels . Compared to what you currently grow . Both Roblin and katepawa are naturally resistant to most common diseases . so in areas where disease pressure is low . Might want to revisit roblin , it has poor lodging resistance , but this year strong straw was no match for rain and snow anyway .Try some , before they add it to the non export list like katepawa and park .
      Thank you get my drift . We should be growing canola like Europe with all these so called high yeilding varieties , yet only a handful of farmers are close to 100 bu for canola . Yet in France , where they refuse to use rr canola get 80-150 bu canola . In Russia , they average 130 bu canola . So quit wasting our money , and give it all back . Wrote ,while plowing snow , so excuse the run on sentences . Lol

  • Frustrated!!

    Farmers continually pay more for everything, be it fuel, fertilizer, feed, or chemical, and companies don’t want us to use our own seed anymore but instead charge us a massive amount to buy theirs; and with our illustrious prime minister shoving a carbon tax on everyone how do we stay sustainable. This grab by the CGC is very unfair, and who are their stakeholders? Probably not the lowly farmer!! My dad sold some grain in 1975, and was paid $6.75 a bushel, received a text today saying “wheat special” $6.50…….SOME SPECIAL!

    • Bruce

      You got that point correct Frustrated! Your dad was selling into a demand market. You are selling into a supply market. Thus the same price over this time period.

      • ed

        93% of the port price under CWB single desk with the demand of 4 billion people with lower meat in their diet back then, and 50% of the port price with the shoe on the other foot free market and the demand of well over 7 billion with much higher grain intense meat in their diet now is the reason that adjusted for inflation wheat is being lifted off the Western Canadian farms for less than 20% of it’s 1975 value. What the hell did people think was going to happen.

  • Dwight St. John

    100 million? There “notanother” income stream that never made the news. I’m surprised the administrators didn’t bury it somewhere it couldn’t be found.


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