General Questions

 
 
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What changes are happening to the Canadian Wheat Board?
  • On December 15, 2011, Bill C-18, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, was passed by Parliament and changed the mandate of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). Currently, the CWB has a monopoly on all milling wheat sales, feed wheat exports, malting barley sales and feed barley exports.
  • Starting on August 1, 2012, farmers will have the opportunity to deliver and sell wheat and barley to any buyer they choose. The single desk mandate of the CWB will become voluntary.
  • After August 1, 2012, the CWB will continue to operate and will have to compete with private grain companies for farmers’ business.
  • After August 1, 2012, the CWB will no longer be restricted to marketing wheat and barley. The CWB will be able to market other crops if they feel there is a commercial opportunity.
  • The CWB will be able to continue to offer pooling for wheat and barley and will be able to offer pooling products for other crops if they feel there is a business opportunity to do so.
  • Under the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, the CWB will retain federal government guarantees of borrowing and initial payments until 2017.
  • Under the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, the CWB will have five years to transition to a private entity. After 2017, the CWB will operate under the same regulatory conditions as any other private grain company.
When do these changes come into effect?
  • These changes come into effect on August 1, 2012.
  • Until August 1, 2012, farmers must continue to deliver export and domestic human consumption wheat and barley through the CWB.
  • After August 1, 2012, farmers can sell and deliver their wheat and barley to any buyer.
  • Farmers can now enter into contracts with any buyer to sell and deliver their wheat and barley after August 1, 2012.
I’ve heard there are various court challenges regarding these changes. What do these court challenges mean to the marketplace?
  • Currently, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act has been passed by Parliament and is the law of the land. Some court challenges have arisen and have either been resolved or are pending appeal.
  • Two class action lawsuits have been announced. To date, these cases have not been heard before a judge to be certified. Class action lawsuits need to be certified in order to proceed.
  • Most grain contracts a farmer may sign contain a clause referencing any legal uncertainty around this issue. Farmers are encouraged to read and understand what their responsibilities are in the event there are changes to the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act.
Where does Canada rank in the global marketplace for wheat and barley?
  • Canada is generally a small producer of wheat and barley when compared to global production. However, when compared to global trade, Canada is a larger player.
  • Currently, Canada’s share of world wheat production is around three to four per cent. Canada’s share of world wheat trade is around 15 per cent.
  • Currently, Canada’s share of both world barley production and trade is around seven per cent.
  • Canada’s share of the world’s production and trade has been declining, due primarily to increased competition from Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet Union countries.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Rick Dehod.
This document is maintained by Erminia Guercio.
This information published to the web on May 31, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on May 26, 2014.