Canada Grain Act review: what we heard

After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada Grain Act review process successfully resumed in early 2021.

Despite many challenges, Canada’s grain industry delivered in 2020, with record production and exports. A modern Act will help build on that success and ensure continued innovation and dependability in Canada’s grain sector.

A valuable tool

Different types of grains next to an image of a field

The Canada Grain Act is the legislative framework for Canada’s grain quality assurance system and outlines producer safeguards. The review process is an opportunity to modernize the Act to reflect infrastructure investments and increased shipment volumes over the last half-century.

In certain ways, this process was a half-century in the making: while targeted changes have been made to the Canada Grain Act over several decades, the last comprehensive amendment took place in 1971.

The review

The Canada Grain Act review consultation process opened on January 12, 2021 and closed on April 30, 2021.

66 submissions were received from stakeholders during the consultation period.

Over 100 participants took part in the town hall and three roundtables.

The process engaged national producer and commodity value-chain organizations, plus regional organizations from coast to coast: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic region.

Online Consultations

An important part of the Canada Grain Act review process included online consultations on key issues identified in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)’s discussion document such as grain grading, and producer payment protection. As the Canadian grain sector continues to evolve, feedback from farmers, producer groups, commodity groups, and grain handlers is important so that the Act can meet their needs.

Virtual Town Hall

Following online consultations from January to April 2021, AAFC hosted a virtual town hall with participation from groups representing all grain-growing regions, many of which have decades of experience in the agriculture sector. Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau greeted participants virtually and encouraged bold ideas for the future of grain policy. “I want to stress that I don’t have any preconceived notions,” Minister Bibeau addressed the group online. She encouraged participants to put forward ideas that would carry the industry forward into 2050: “The sky’s the limit! So, don’t be afraid to think big – I want us to get out of our comfort zones.”

Stakeholder Engagement

As a central part of the review process, members from stakeholder groups met with AAFC and the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). The Minister also led three roundtable discussions with representatives from organizations throughout the grain sector.

Distance was no obstacle to the discussions that reached grain sector organizations from coast to coast. Participants shared their first-hand experiences in the industry and advanced ideas to keep the sector strong and well-tooled in the years to come, both domestically and in international markets.

Participants dove into a range of issues during consultation sessions. Topics reflected the realities of a modern grain sector across Canada, and focused on themes highlighted in the discussion document published at the start of consultations. Many also proposed additional changes with respect to:

  • data availability and publication;
  • in-country licensee oversight;
  • the Canadian Grain Commission funding model; and
  • grain delivery contracts.

AAFC will work with the CGC to analyze feedback and to determine the best path forward on modernizing the Canada Grain Act to ensure it meets the needs of Canada’s grain sector. As shown by the turnout and quality of discussion topics, work is well underway to ensure Canada’s grain sector remains competitive in the global marketplace.

Access the discussion items from the Canada Grain Act review process through the What We Heard report to understand considerations for grain policy reform.

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