Federal government announces long-promised trade compensation for egg and poultry sectors, with new details for dairy

The federal government has announced long-promised compensation for the supply-managed poultry and egg sectors, as well as new details and an updated timeline for dairy compensation.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said $691 million will be directed to the egg, chicken and turkey sectors over the next decade as compensation for market access that was conceded in the Canada-EU trade deal (CETA) signed in 2016, and the CPTPP deal signed with Pacific Rim countries in 2018. In a tweet, Bibeau refers to the funds being directed towards “market development” and not payouts to farmers.

It’s the first time Ottawa has announced any compensation for the poultry and egg industries regarding the trade concessions, but the announcement also included further details and changes to the timeline for the $1.75 billion in dairy compensation that was originally announced in August 2019.

The government reports $345 million has already been paid out to more than 10 thousand dairy farms in what was supposed to be the first round of compensation over eight years. On Saturday, Bibeau said the government has decided to accelerate the payments for the remaining $1.405 billion over a timeline of only three years.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says dairy producers will receive payments of $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23, based on their quota amount. The owner of a farm with 80 dairy cows will receive approximately $38,000 each year.

“Dairy farmers want to invest in their farms to innovate and increase efficiencies. Our objective is to be better prepared to face the intensification of competition from imported dairy products made from milk produced elsewhere, as a result of CETA, CPTPP and more recently the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA),” says Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a statement responding to the announcement. “These important investments on the farm can only come with a level of certainty as it relates to the promised compensation. Reducing the timelines for the scheduled payments is recognition by the government of the importance of the foreign competition we face, this is why today’s announcement is so significant.”

Lampron says DFC will now turn its full attention to working with Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Minister Bibeau on compensation for the new NAFTA (CUSMA or USMCA) trade deal.

The $691 million for the egg, chicken, hatching egg, and turkey sectors will be distributed over the next ten years, but the government said these programs have yet to be designed in consultation with representatives from each sector.

“Farmers have waited a long time to see action on this file, and we believe that this is a step in the right direction. We look forward to continuing our work on the investment and market development programs for our sector,” noted BenoĆ®t Fontaine, chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada.

The chair of Egg Farmers of Canada also called the announcement a “positive step.”

“This investment in our sector will provide new opportunities for our farmers to reinvest in their operations and plan for the future as they navigate the market losses as a result of the CPTPP agreement. We appreciate the government’s continued and vocal support for supply management, and look forward to the continuation of this commitment moving forward,” EFC’s Roger Pelissero.

There were several aspects about the supply-management compensation announcement that were unusual, including the fact it was held on a Saturday, and media were only notified of the announcement on Saturday morning. There was no mention of it at the conclusion of the annual federal-provincial-territorial agriculture ministers’ meeting the day prior. On Thursday, Bibeau was asked by the House of Commons agriculture committee about the timeline for compensation for the poultry and egg sectors, to which she responded that they were planning to announce it before the end of the year.


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