Non-refundable checkoffs a possibility in Alta.

Alberta agricultural commissions could restore mandatory service charges if members agree in a plebiscite.

The Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Act 2017, or Bill 9, was tabled in the Alberta legislature April 11 and gives the producer-run commissions the ability to decide if their checkoffs should be refundable or non-refundable. These levies are collected every time a product is sold or is a base charge to each member of the commission.

However, no changes can be made until commissions take the question to producers in a vote.

“The MAPA was always intended to empower agriculture producers and organizations to set the direction for their own industries,” said Agriculture Minister O’Neil Carlier.

“If a commission chooses to make a change to its service charge model, they must conduct a plebiscite to their members to ensure they are consulted,” he said.

Prior to 2009, commissions had the ability to decide whether to retain the levies, but a government amendment made all checkoffs refundable by request.

The money collected pays for promotion, trade missions, research and marketing.

There are 13 commissions representing livestock and crops collecting checkoffs.

Contact barbara.duckworth@producer.com

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