Inaction of the Federal Government dismays the Canadian dairy processing community
September 4, 2019 (Ottawa, ON): The Dairy Processors Association of Canada (DPAC), the Conseil des Industriels Laitiers du Québec (CILQ), the Ontario Dairy Council (ODC), and the Western Dairy Council (WDC) are all disappointed with the Government of Canada’s decision to renege on its promise to compensate the dairy processing sector for the economic harm caused by the recent conclusions of negotiations for CETA, CPTPP, and CUSMA.
“The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has repeatedly and publicly stated the Government’s commitment to fully and fairly compensate Canadian dairy processors for the economic harm they continue to experience,” said Mathieu Frigon, President and Chief Executive Officer of DPAC. “It is clear now that the Government does not intend to honour that commitment.”
The lack of a compensation package has left Canadian dairy processors with no clear direction when it comes to this government's plan to mitigate the negative impacts of trade agreements. “This is extremely disappointing. Dairy farmers and dairy processors were equal partners in the Mitigation Working Group established by the Minister, but only the farming sector was heard” explained Charles Langlois, Président-directeur général of CILQ.
Everyone understands that a healthy dairy sector requires both thriving farmers and thriving processors. “It is unclear at this stage if this Government shares this belief” added Christina Lewis, President of the ODC.
Dairy processors are committed to investing in the Canadian dairy sector to generate growth, and they have steadfastly advocated for two key tools to achieve that objective: the allocation of dairy import licenses to dairy processors and financial compensation in the form of investment incentives. “Investment is what the dairy sector clearly needs, and investment-generating government measures are what dairy processors were looking for. We are going to have to work very hard with the next government to get this right when Parliament reconvenes,” continued Dan Wong, President of the WDC.
The processing community calls on the next government to correct this inaction and to deliver on the promise of full and fair compensation to Canada’s dairy processors.
Dairy processing is the second largest food processing industry in Canada, contributing more than $18 billion annually to the national economy. Dairy processors directly employ 24,000 Canadians in over 470 facilities across the country, with an aggregate payroll of $1.2 billion. Dairy processors are major employers in communities across Canada, and especially in rural communities, providing good jobs to middle-class Canadians.
President, Western Dairy Council