CWB Responds to Privacy Allegations

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Over the weekend, a story broke about the  privacy leaks by the Canadian Wheat Board to third parties such as Revenue Canada and grain companies.

The most controversial of issues around this is not the information that was supplied but that the CWB could not provide a good reason as to why the information was supplied to Revenue Canada in the internal audit that was completed.  The Canadian Wheat Board stated over the weekend that it quit supplying the information to Revenue Canada in 2006 once they discovered there was no good reason to do so.  Had this information been supplied to Syngenta or Bayer without farmer knowledge I would agree that there should be outrage.  In this case of Revenue Canada and grain companies I think that the issue is quite minimal in negative impact.  Don’t get me wrong the Canadian Wheat Board should have an answer when handling or distributing any information on the transactions of farmers.

I asked Maureen Fitzhenry, Director of Corporate Communications to comment on the situation and guidance on what is being done about it.

CWB Answers Questions on Releasing Farmer Information-Maureen Fitzhenry
[audio:http://realagriculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/maureen-fitzhenry-privacy-issues.mp3]

I think the reality is that this is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.  Whether you like it or not the grain companies are not really third party and the information being supplied is not unreasonable nor will it disadvantage your farm in any way.  It is quite explainable that grain companies require this information to act as the agent for the board and should still be receiving the information they are getting from the wheat board.

It is no secret that the Canadian Wheat Board is a lightning rod for any controversy in Western Canada.  I do think that in this case I will give the board a pass based on the lack of actual impact this has at all.  But I know that others disagree and that is what makes debate interactive.

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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