Feds deliver on supply management compensation

Canadian producers working in supply-managed sectors received details of federal government plans to compensate them for market access offered in recently signed trade deals.

The announcement comes on the heels of producers calling on federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to follow through on commitments to support supply-managed producers impacted by trade deals.

The egg, chicken and turkey sectors will receive $691 million over the next 10 years to compensate for Ottawa signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Those deals saw Canada negotiate away market access to other countries, many of which view supply management as a protectionist policy.

During the Nov. 28 press conference where the payout was publicized, Bibeau offered further details on compensation announced last year for dairy farmers.

Ottawa is providing dairy producers with direct payments based on quotas as compensation for the CPTPP and CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union.

In 2019, Bibeau announced $1.75 billion would be given to them over eight years. Between December of that year and January 2020, 10,000 farmers received cash payments totalling $345 million, according to Bibeau.

After calling for a schedule outlining how the remaining funds would be paid out, dairy farmers learned they would receive $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23, meaning their full compensation will now be paid out over four years rather than the previously planned eight.

According to the federal government, the recently announced funds for dairy farmers work out to a direct payment of $38,000 in the first year for a farm of 80 cows.

“The level of certainty provided by this announcement enables us to be in a better position in terms of innovations and efficiencies to better compete with increased imports of dairy products made from foreign milk,” said Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a statement.

Dairy Farmers of Canada will now turn its attention to receiving compensation for the new-NAFTA agreement, which came into force earlier this year.

Asked about that compensation payment, Bibeau said she “can’t be precise” on a timeline but reiterated the government’s “firm commitment” to making it.

Funding for the other sectors will be paid out through 10-year programs, with details still being discussed, according to Bibeau.

“It is our intention to find a way, a creative way, with their representatives to make this access to investment programs and support to market development somehow proportional to their quotas. W e are committed to (it being) full and fair compensation, so this is the work we will be doing.”

Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Turkey Farmers of Canada and Egg Farmers of Canada all endorsed the plan in statements following the announcement.

Days prior to announcing the compensation details, Bibeau told a federal committee the “last details” were being put together, and pledged to her fellow MPs they would be made available before March 2021.

The payments, according to Bibeau, are based on calculations estimating the impact of the trade deals on each sector.

Bibeau did not offer any details on compensation for dairy processors other than to say her commitment to doing so is “firm.”

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