An internal disagreement that created concerns about a possible crack in the foundation of Canada’s supply management system for chicken appears to have been resolved with the signing of a new national agreement on quota allocation.
Alberta withdrew from the national quota allocation program at the end of 2013, arguing the formula for distributing new quota failed to recognize the province’s population growth. There were fears in the industry that Alberta’s withdrawal would compromise the sector’s ability to manage production — one of the three pillars of the supply management system — and potentially erode government support for supply management.
“The challenges over the years have been many, and have required the whole industry to pull together as a team to overcome the differences, realize the important similarities – our shared vision – and then move forward to completing this agreement,” said Dave Janzen, chair of CFC, in a news release. “This is great news for farmers, and indeed for the whole Canadian chicken industry as it shows, yet again, that supply management continues to evolve to changes in the marketplace.”
The challenges Janzen refers to stemmed from differing opinions between provincial chicken marketing boards over how increases in chicken production should be handled. The new agreement will see 55 percent of future growth allocated based on “comparative advantage factors” between provinces.
CFC says Alberta was the first province to sign the new agreement, and is beginning the provincial process required to rejoin the national agency.
“I am proud of us all for the efforts that have been made to ratify this new allocation agreement, and to modernize the allocation process for the coming years,” said Janzen. “You have shown tenacity and perseverance in making these changes to show that supply management is indeed a modern, evolving system.”