First Anniversary of Changes to Canadian Wheat Board

Blog, Poverty, Marco Navarro-Genie

One year after liberalising the Canadian Wheat Board’s lock on cereal farmers, it is time to turn on supply management and its marketing boards.

Today, August 1, marks the first anniversary of the liberation of the wheat and barley (among other cereals) markets in Canada.

A year ago today, Bill C-18 came into force, finally granting farmers in the Prairies (parts of BC and Ontario) the freedom to market and sell their own production as they see fit and the freedom to decide whether to belong to the Canadian Wheat Board or any other similar association.

Prairie farmers are no longer compelled by the force of state law to belong to one single group.

The Canadian Wheat Board continues to exist on a voluntary basis.

The federal government showed significant courage in carrying through this important campaign promise. 

After having lost a first round of appeals to block the changes in court last year, a group of farmers opposed to the new arrangement have vowed to fight on. 

It seems unlikely that any court will overturn the will of Parliament in order to return to a situation where any Canadian is forced into an association they do want or compelled to sell their product to a single buyer, right?

It is time for Minister Ritz and his colleagues in government to turn their substantive courage toward removing the arrangements that fix prices for basic things such as eggs, chicken and milk. 

Supply management has got to go, and the sky will not fall when it happens. It’s time for families in Canada to stop paying 50% more for milk, for example, than in any other OECD country.

NOTE: Milton Boyd wrote an excellent paper for Frontier, this time last year, examining likely options during the changes to the Wheat Board –which you can find here.