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.