Grain farmers in Manitoba and west all the way to B.C. will be required to sign an eligibility declaration at the elevator when delivering grain after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement comes into force July 1.
For most farmers in that region, this requirement doesn’t actually change all that much, as declarations have been part of the system since 2008 with the removal of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk and changes to kernel visual distinguishability rules.
For Eastern Canada, however, eligibility declarations are not the norm, and farmers in Ontario through to the east coast will be given a one-year implementation phase to meet the new requirement.
Terminal elevators are required to be licensed under the Grains Act but have not widely employed a contractual system for declarations to those terminal elevators, says the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). As such, inland grain elevators and handling operations who sell to these terminals have not historically been contractually required to make declarations or require them from producers when they buy grain.
Operational restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic limit the ability of affected elevators and grain handlers to adjust business practices needed to make and provide a declaration respecting grain, notes the CGC.
“The Commission is satisfied that grain elevators and grain handling operations selling grain to licensees in the Eastern Division require an additional transition period for providing the declarations respecting grain that will be required under the Act, and the Commission is satisfied that control over those elevators and grain handling operations is not essential for maintaining the quality, safekeeping and orderly and efficient handling of grain in Canada during a transition period,” says the CGC.
Crosby Devitt, CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario, says, “There are a number of new challenges that grain farmers in Ontario are dealing with as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These declarations represent a new process and new unnecessary burden for Eastern Canada farmers, and Grain Farmers of Ontario appreciates the extension for Eastern Canada as farmers here prepare for this new practice.”