Alberta Beef Producers Plebiscite

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 At the request of the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) and in accordance with the provisions of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act and the Alberta Beef Producers Plebiscite Regulation, the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council (Marketing Council) conducted a plebiscite from October 19 to November 27, 2018, on the matter of the ABP’s service charge model refundability.
The plebiscite asked producers to vote on the following matter:

I would like the Alberta Beef Producers to operate with a:
  • Non-refundable service charge model
  • Refundable service charge model
The service charge model structure is a structure under which the ABP collects service charges from producers. Under ABP’s current regulations, a producer may request a refund of all or a portion of their provincial service charge from ABP. The purpose of the plebiscite is to consider whether the service charge should be refundable or non-refundable.

Official Results
The results of the ballot count are as follows:

  • Number of votes cast = 1874
  • 51.3% votes for refundable
  • 48.5% votes for non-refundable
  • 0.2% of votes were spoiled
In accordance with the Alberta Beef Producers Plebiscite Regulation, section 13 outlines the provisions for contesting the plebiscite. No contests were raised to the Returning Officer by the date outlined in the regulation (December 11, 2018).

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Contact Us
For general inquiries, contact Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276), or the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council at 780-427-2164.

More Info:
In April 2017, the Alberta government announced that it would support Alberta agricultural Commissions by giving producers more autonomy to choose which service charge model would work best for their industry.

In September 2017, the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act was amended to give producers of agricultural Commissions the ability to choose their preferred service charge model -refundable or non-refundable. Service charges are collected when an agricultural product is sold, or it is a base charge to each member of a Commission. These service charges enable a Commission to fund operational activities (research, promotion, education, etc.) and undertake initiatives that would benefit its industry.

The first step in the process of determining if a service charge model should change from refundable to non-refundable is for a Commission to request that the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council (Marketing Council) conduct a plebiscite (a vote of producer membership). The Marketing of Agricultural Products Act establishes the regulation making authority for plebiscites - approval from the Lieutenant Governor in Council is required for Marketing Council to develop a plebiscite regulation with approval of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry that guides and directs the specific voting procedure. More information about the various steps in the decision-making process can be found here.

In the fall of 2018, Marketing Council, by way of regulations, conducted plebiscites for two agricultural Commissions - the Alberta Beef Producers and the Potato Growers of Alberta. These plebiscites gauged the perspective of producers on whether the Commission’s service charge model should be:
  • Refundable – a full or partial refund would be returned to producers at their request; or,
  • Non-refundable – service charges would remain with the Commission without the ability for producers to request a refund.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Janelle Hancock.
This document is maintained by Stacey Tames.
This information published to the web on October 4, 2018.
Last Reviewed/Revised on December 12, 2018.