Ministers reaffirm support for supply management system ahead of trade deal ratification
OTTAWA—The federal government is planning to introduce a loss mitigation package to help Canada’s dairy industry stave off the negative effects the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union will have on the sector.
Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland, as well as Agriculture Agri-Food minister, Lawrence MacAulay, announced the package in a joint statement May 2—though the financial details of the program have yet to be determined.
“An appropriate mitigation package is necessary for the Canadian dairy industry,” the ministers said. “Today we commit to meet with industry within the coming 30 days to obtain its views on the mitigation package. Our conversations will address, among other issues, transition support for producers and processors, as well as proposed program and investment options.”
The federal government also reaffirmed its support for supply management in the sector, adding it will work toward making Canada’s dairy industry stronger and more innovative.
Dairy Farmers of Ontario welcomed the news, saying it is “grateful” the government continues to defend the Canadian dairy system.
“With the dairy industry looking to modernize, today’s announcement is very important,” Ralph Dietrich, the chair of the dairy organization’s board, said.
While supporters of Canada’s supply management say the controls guarantee quality and fair earnings for farmers, critics argue the systems raise prices for consumers. Meanwhile, Canada’s protection of its supply managed industries is also a frequent sticking point when negotiating international free trade deals. The country was forced to make dairy concessions under CETA as well as under the tentative Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The government plans to meet with industry stakeholders over the next month to determine the specifics of the package.