Canaryseed could soon be covered by the Canadian Grain Commission’s producer payment security program, as the federal government has proposed regulatory amendments that would add canaryseed to the list of grains regulated under the Canada Grain Act for the 2021-22 crop year.

By adding canaryseed to the designated list of grains covered by the act, licensed grain buyers would be required to post security to cover the amount owed to farmers for canaryseed that has already been delivered.

There have been calls for the change going back to 2002 when two canaryseed buyers went into receivership.

The Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan (CSDCS) has lobbied for the change, including a formal request filed with the federal agriculture minister and the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) following the financial failure of a canaryseed buyer in 2019, which left 44 producers unpaid for deliveries worth more than $2 million.

“The 2019 failure of a company licensed by the Canadian Grain Commission that left many canaryseed growers in financial hardship due to non-payment for their deliveries has triggered a renewed discussion across the sector of whether canaryseed should be regulated under the Canada Grain Act,” notes the regulatory impact analysis statement published in the March 13 edition of Canada Gazette Part I.

According to Statistics Canada, there were just over 160 thousand tonnes of canaryseed produced in Canada in 2020, with Saskatchewan accounting for over 95 per cent.

The regulatory proposal notes there are 28 canaryseed buyers registered with the CSDCS. It says 25 of these 28 buyers are already licensed with the CGC, and these 25 accounted for 99.5 per cent of canaryseed purchases in 2018-19.

The proposed amendments include a draft grading schedule that outlines quality characteristics and maximum limits, which was approved by members of the Western Standards Committee in November 2020.

The draft regulatory text is now open for a 30-day comment period, with August 1, 2021 set as the targeted date for the changes to take effect.

It appears the government and CGC intend to move ahead with the canaryseed changes separately from other amendments that could potentially come out of the ongoing Canada Grain Act review, for which consultations are underway until April 30.

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