Miller reflects on her time at the CGC

The chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) has announced her retirement three years into a six-year appointment.

With 35 years in the agriculture industry behind her, Patti Miller says she felt as though it was time.

“You know, I think you get to a certain stage in your life and you start evaluating your career and where you want to go next, and for me this was just an opportunity to pause and say — you know what, I think it’s time for me to retire,” Miller says.

Looking back at her tenure as chief commissioner, things that stand out for her are the reduction of user fees, dealing with the surplus, making sure the investments were worthwhile, as well as the development of the framework for future investment opportunities.

Speaking of the surplus, she says they made sure there was a contingency reserve to help with the swings of commodity cycles, but they also invested money in the harvest sample program and were able to give farmers additional info on DON and falling number.

She does address the rumour mill when it comes to inter-office politics, and says in no way was that the reason for her retirement.

“I just find that so astounding that people spread that rumour and focus on it, number one, if I have challenges with my colleagues, it’s not going to cause me to leave my job, it’s going to cause me to double down and try and make sure relationships are really good,” she says.

“From my perspective, I have a good relationship with Doug [Chorney] and Lonny [McKague] — I’ve learned a lot from them, and I respect them as individuals. We don’t always agree, and that’s not surprising, and I think it’s kind of healthy that you don’t agree with your colleagues all the time; you don’t agree with your family all the time — but I think people would be very surprised to learn that we do agree on an awful lot of things,” Miller says.

One thing she wished she could have accomplished during her time at the CGC was legislative changes to the Grain Act; however, she understands that trade was a top priority this past year and knows it will get done sooner or later.

As far as what’s next for Miller? She plans to undertake some travel that “doesn’t include board rooms” and connect more with family and friends. Her final month with the CGC will be in June.

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