Editor’s note: The earlier version of this story said the federal government had approved a reduction in user fees for the 2017-18 crop year earlier this week, according to the commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission. A senior CGC communications staff member has since informed us the commissioner “misspoke,” and that the commission is still waiting for Treasury Board approval.
The Canadian Grain Commission has recommended the federal government reduce the CGC’s user fees on August 1, but it’s not clear whether it has received approval to do so.
According to Commissioner Lonny McKague, in the interview below, a reduction in user fees was signed off on several days ago.
However, after posting this interview, a senior communications person with the CGC called Real Agriculture to tell us the commissioner “misspoke” and that the CGC is still waiting for federal approval.
Either way, the CGC has proposed lowering the amount charged for official inspection and weighing services by approximately 23 percent or $0.44 per tonne on August 1, 2017. Based on projected handling of 34.4 million metric tonnes, that works out to a reduction of $10 million in revenue, according to the CGC.
The proposed fee reduction is meant to limit further accumulation in the CGC’s user fee surplus, which has climbed to over $120 million since the current five-year fee schedule was implemented in 2013.
McKague notes the commission has also proposed a new formula to reduce user fees for the next five-year cycle, set to begin on April 1, 2018.
“That’s been presented and is going through the legislative process,” he says.
Meanwhile, public consultations have wrapped up on what to do with the $120 million user fee surplus. McKague says they received around 92 submissions, with a vast range of opinions on how to use the money.
He notes some of the options would require legislative changes, and so the commissioners are investigating the government’s interest in accommodating these ideas.
We sat down with McKague at the Farm Progress Show in Regina to discuss the CGC user fee reduction and where the process is at in deciding what to do with the large surplus (again, keep in mind a senior communications person for the CGC says McKague misspoke when he said the reduction has been approved):
- Grain Commission Proposes 24 Percent Cut to User Fees
- Grain Commission Seeking Input on Lower User Fees and Potential Uses of $107 Million Surplus