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) is conducting a plebiscite from October 19 to November 27, 2018, on the matter of the ABP’s service charge model refundability.

Marketing Council extended the ABP plebiscite voting period by two weeks (to November 27), as it was originally scheduled to close on November 13, 2018. This fall has been a challenging time for producers with weather conditions that impacted the harvest, along with other farm activities, and in effort to ensure producers are able to cast their votes, the voting period for the plebiscite was extended.

The plebiscite will ask 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.

If the plebiscite results in a vote for a non-refundable service charge model, subsequent regulatory changes to the ABP’s regulations will be necessary for the change to take effect. These changes will require approval from the ABP, Marketing Council, and government. If the plebiscite results in a vote for the service charge model to remain refundable, there will be no change to the current service charge structure or regulations.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: mail delivery services for mail-in ballots may be impacted as a result of the Canada Post labour disruption.

Marketing Council encourages producers to vote in-person where possible at any of the AFSC offices in Alberta from October 19 to November 27, If you have already received a mail-in ballot from the Returning Officer, you can drop it off at any AFSC office,

Marketing Council will continue to monitor the Canada Post labour disruption and will provide any necessary updates as required.

How to Vote
Every voter must first register to vote in order to get on the voters list. You can register to vote three ways:

1.In person at polling stations at Farmfair at the EXPO Centre in Edmonton (7515 118 Ave – Hall B), from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on November 9 and 10, 2018.
2.In person at any Agriculture Financial Services Corporation Office.
3.By phoning or emailing the Returning Officer to receive a Mail-In Ballot.

To register you will need to complete a declaration that you meet the voter eligibility criteria above. You will need to provide your full name, address, birth month and date, phone number and corporation/partnership/or joint venture information. You will be required to show one piece of government-issued photo identification (ID) that includes a full name and address; or two pieces of non-photo ID which clearly show your full name and at least one of these pieces of ID must show your complete address. If registering with the Returning Officer, copies of the ID will be accepted. When registering in person, the physical ID is required.

Procedure for Voting In-Person at Polling Stations:
  • Marketing Council will set up polling stations to vote at Farmfair on November 9 and 10, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Producers must first register to get on the voters list by filling out a declaration and presenting valid identification to the authorized polling station staff. Producers will then be given a voter’s package that contains voting instructions and a ballot.
Procedure for Voting at AFSC Offices:
  • Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) Offices will be open for voting from October 19, 2018, to November 27, 2018, during office hours. Office hours are Monday to Friday 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are closed for the lunch hour (12:00-1:00 p.m.) daily. Please note AFSC Offices will be closed on November 12, 2018.
  • Producers must register first to get on the voters list by filling out a declaration and presenting valid identification to the Registration Officer. Producers will then be given a voter’s package with further instructions and a ballot.
Procedure for Voting with a Mail-In Ballot:
  • To receive a mail-in ballot, voters must first register with the Returning Officer.
  • Producers may register to vote by either:
  • Voters will complete the declaration, including a witness signature to confirm that the name and contact information on the declaration correspond with the identification documents provided.
  • The voter will mail or upload the declaration to the Returning Officer.
    • Voters must include copies of accepted identification documents. A picture, scan or photocopy of both the declaration and identification documents are considered valid for the purposes of registration.
  • Voters will then be provided with a voter package by mail that contains voting instructions, a mail-in ballot and a postage paid return envelope.
  • Please note that mail-in ballots must be received by no later than 4:30 p.m. on November 27, 2018, by ordinary mail at the Returning Officers’ Calgary Office.

Where to Vote

Producers will be able to register to vote one of three ways:

1.In-person at polling stations at In-person at polling stations at Farmfair in Edmonton, AB (at the EXPO Centre – 7515 118 Ave – Hall B)
2.In-person at any Agriculture Financial Services Corporation Office (AFSC).
3.By contacting the Returning Officer at AlbertaPlebiscite2018@mnp.ca or by phone 1-855-667-3311 to receive a Mail-in Ballot.

Who is Eligible to Vote

In accordance with Section 3 of the Alberta Beef Producers Plebiscite Regulation, the following criteria must be met in order to be eligible to vote in the plebiscite:
  • You must be an individual or an individual representing a partnership, corporation or joint venture;
  • You must have valid identification and provide identification information to the Returning Officer;
  • You must be 18 years of age or older or older by November 13, 2018;
  • You must have sold cattle and paid a service charge to ABP between October 19, 2016 and October 19, 2018;
  • You must not have previously voted in this plebiscite; and,
  • You must sign a declaration in reference to the above criteria.
When to Vote

The voting period will start on October 19, 2018, and will end on November 27, 2018. An eligible voter will be able to commence voting on October 19, 2018, by requesting a mail-ballot from the Returning Officer(AlbertaPlebiscite2018@mnp.ca or via phone at 1-855-667-3311), or by visiting an Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) Office during business hours, Monday to Friday (8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

Please note that AFSC offices are closed from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. daily for lunch and will be closed all day on November 12, 2018.
  • For a list of AFSC offices, click here.
Got questions? We’ve got answers. Want more information?

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.
  • To register and request a mail-in ballot, or for questions about the voting procedure, contact the Returning Officer:
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, will be conducting plebiscites for two agricultural Commissions - the Alberta Beef Producers and the Potato Growers of Alberta. These plebiscites will gauge 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 November 9, 2018.