The federal government should grant an immediate exemption allowing third-parties to carry out required inspections of grain shipments on the West Coast, says the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.
The Canada Grain Act requires all grain exports leaving Canada by ship be inspected by the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), but most of the CGC’s grain inspectors are participating in the Public Service Alliance of Canada strike that started on Wednesday.
The CGC says it has a limited number of managers and specialists that are not on strike that can perform the mandatory inspections, but that grain export inspections and certification will be “significantly impacted.”
Read/hear more: Third-party inspections and the CGC
A CGC spokesperson says the commission has developed contingency plans to provide official certification through modified procedures.
The Wheat Growers have been calling for removal of the mandatory outward inspection requirement for years, as they say an estimated 70 per cent of Canadian grain is currently inspected by both the CGC and third parties, based on what customers want.
“We are calling on you and your government to be ready to grant immediate exemptions for third party service providers to ensure inspections continue and vessels are loaded and released to the customer,” the Wheat Growers say in a letter to Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.
“Farmers need to continue to deliver last years’ crop before spring seeding to run their businesses and purchase inputs for the 2023 crop. A stoppage would be devastating to the industry, and ultimately to consumers,” notes president Gunther Jochum.